Saturday, August 20, 2011

I was an Energizer Bunny...but not today!

Yes, during last weekend's long run I felt like the energizer bunny!  It was 6 miles and I ran the whole way! And, I ran FAST!

Well, today's run was 7 miles. And it was SO TOUGH!!! I walked multiple times. I had the worst side stitch of my life...I could barely do baby steps for awhile & thought I was going to have to take a long walk home. My feet hurt. My shoes were bothering me. My coach had set paces and I was way off. I was running my miles a lot slower than I have in a month. Ugh.

When I got home, I had several thoughts.

"Man, I can hardly walk! And, this was only about HALF of a half marathon!"

"Wow, that pool looks refreshing. I'm hopping in there!"

"My tummy hurts...I think I might vomit...or something."

"What was I thinking?!? I signed up for THREE half marathons!"

So, I did hop in the pool. Kind of gross, I guess, but it is my pool. I just pull of my shirt and get in with my running shorts & running bra. It is only 8 am and no one else is up & around yet. Ahhh...the water did feel good! I

As I thought in the water, I drank my Muscle Milk. After about 10 minutes, I was able to stretch IN the water. Man, it feels good! And, while I sat & stretched & then did a little light swimming, I got to thinking...

First of all, LESSON LEARNED!!! Yesterday, I did a HARD 45 minute bike ride...a PR! And, I tried yoga...for the first time! Ummm...NOT a good way to prepare for a long run! I need a day of rest, or maybe swimming, before a long run. I'm actually usually better the day after and can do a bike ride or something. But, not so challenging as I did yesterday!

Also, maybe I'll try Vibrams??? You see, I started running a year ago with 2 pairs of shoes. Since I ran so little to start with, I'm just now retiring my 2nd pair. I bought 2 more of the same style of shoe and have only started wearing pair #3 about 6 weeks ago.

Well, the first time I wore the shoes, I had to quit after about a mile. And, I was at the lake and didn't have any other shoes. They just HURT! I put them away for awhile, and then started trying them for shorter runs. Still not great, but I'll get used to them, right?

Last week was the first long run and they felt OK...not great, though. The toe area feels 'big' and they just aren't as comfy as the others. Today, the toe area felt really I was swimming in there! I almost stopped and retied them, but I didn't. The fronts of my feet (balls of my feet) were aching, especially on one foot. And, they were even falling asleep. Now that I've been home awhile, my feet are still not feeling well. I don't like these new shoes.

I've also been reading "Born to Run." It had a slow start, but now I'm really enjoying it. Well, one of the guys runs barefoot and was talking about how they ran in the old days, how the Tarahumara run (a running people in Mexico), and how God created are feet as a miraculous instrument designed perfectly. My sil runs with her Vibrams and LOVES them! Maybe it's time I give them a try. At the least, I'm taking my 'new' shoes to the store along with my 'old', well-loved shoes, and asking them why these aren't working for me.

I'll be taking the rest of the day easy, and don't plan on any exercise tomorrow except perhaps some light swimming or pilates at home. Then, on Monday, I'm trying out a weekday women's running group!

Some days are tough, but we've got to be tougher!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

21 mph!!! & Yoga...Not for me!

I  really struggled with what workout(s) to do today. Since my daughter is now in school, I have lots of free/me time! And, there are so many classes at the gym(s) that I want to do. Today there were so many 'fun' things to choose from! But, I had to remember I have a 7 mile run tomorrow, so I needed to be careful what workout(s) I chose.

I chose to do two. The first was a bike ride. I ended up riding 10 miles. And, I kept my pace at between 15-16 mph (except for the warmup). That's GREAT speed for me!!!

The best part, though, was this little straight-way that I usually love to run. I RODE it this time. And, it's about 1/4 mile without any stop signs or anything. So, if you go back & forth, you get a good 1/2 mile ride (or run) with on the turn around to slow you down. Well, the first time, I decided to push myself and see how fast I could ride it. 19 mph...whew! I ended up riding this road 3 times, and by the last time I got my bike up to 21 MPH!!! WooHoo!!! Besides going down a hill, I'm pretty sure this is the fastest I've ever rode. I'm excited!

Later in the day, I tried a "mat science" class which is a combination of yoga & pilates. I tried this about 6 months ago but at a 5:45 am class. That one tended to be mainly pilates. This one, I think, was mainly yoga. Well, I didn't like ALL!

First of all, I applaud those of you who do yoga. It is TOUGH! I just couldn't even begin to keep up with the others. But, also, I have 2 problems...1) I'm very inflexible 2)I have a ganglion on the palm near the wrist of one of my hands.

So, we were doing a 'downward dog' and the teacher said everyone should put their heels on the ground. Well, mine are probably 3 inches UP in the air! Really, my ankles do not bend much more than 90 degrees. So, the teacher comes and speaks directly to me and tells me to get my heels down. She pushes me down several doesn't help! My ankles just don't bend!

And, we spent a LOT of time on our hands...doing planks, downward dogs, and all kinds of things. Well, besides not having the strength to do this, it was KILLING my ganglion. Ouch!!!

Lastly, I knew this was one powerful workout...and that I'd pay for it on tomorrow's run. So, I 'snuck out' the best I could after about 30 minutes. And, no, I will NOT be trying yoga again. Well, at least not anytime soon! I much prefer my pilates reformer!

I have a 7 mile run in the morning! My hubby is out of town so I've actually hired a neighbor to come over and 'sit' while my daughter sleeps. I plan on running from 6:30-8:00 ish. Whew! At least it won't be THAT hot out yet! We've now had 18 days with above 100 degrees!!! We set a new record several days ago. And, it doesn't look like we'll get relief anytime soon. Oh, well. My body is pretty much used to least early in the morning!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hills & Learning to Finish STRONG!

Today I ran my first 'real' hill workout! Here's how it went...

First of all, I didn't get to start until 9 am as I dropped my daughter off for her first day of school! (She's 10, but we've homeschooled until now. BIG DAY for both of us!) So, at 9 am it was already 86 degrees. When I was finished, it was 89! And, most of my first 25 minutes was IN THE SUN!!! Ugh!

I ran a warmup mile, mostly in the sun, at 11:55. (My warmups are even getting faster, though it was a comfortable pace!) Then, I did "the hill" 5x up & down. The hill is in a park and is kind of 2 hills. You start in the grass near a soccer goal and run up a fairly steep hill, down a little & then a little flat area, and then up the 2nd part of the hill. There are a few trees (so shade!) near the base and at the top. I stopped every time to walk a few seconds & get a few drinks of water. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

When I was done with the 5 ups & downs, I was only about 1.8 miles, so I did a slow run to finish mile 2 in 15:21. (Remember, this was up & down a hill & quite a lot of water/walk breaks!)

I was really tired by then, and it was hot. But, I found a shady path to run for mile 3. I couldn't really start running again and walked quite a bit of the first 1/2 mile. I started telling myself I could run 2 minutes and walk 1. This helped, though I haven't had to pull this trick in awhile!

I tried to run most of the 2nd half of a mile without walking. I told myself the faster I finished, the sooner I could get in the a/c! I was running slow...about 13 & 14 minute paces.

When I saw I only had about .2 miles left, I decided to push myself. I've been practicing this as I have yet to have a race where I finish strong! Well, I started running faster, and faster, and faster. I hit 11:00 then 10:30 then 10:00. I tried to see a 9:something...I did! I ran FASTER! I ended up running 8:45 by my Garmin! (When I downloaded, it shows I finished at 7:40!) WooHoo! I'm learning how to RACE!!!

I'm learning to dig DEEPER and can't wait to start racing again!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Swimming Drill: Thumb to Thigh

Besides doing pilates on the reformer (with my daughter agian!) today, I did a short swimming workout. I would have done 30+ minutes, but my daughter really wanted to play. So, I asked her to let me have 20 minutes to swim laps and then we'd play. After doing the reformer today, do you know what she 'played'? Aqua Yoga! It was a pretty good workout, too!

Anyway, I found a 'new' site called "trinewbies" and have been reading over it the past 2 days. I wanted to find new drills to improve my swimming. This site has 4 drills and says you might work on one at a time, so that's what I did! Tonight, I started with the "thumb to thigh" drill.
Basically, this drill helps you to make sure you are pulling the maximum amount of water by keeping your hand underwater until your thumb grazes your thigh! (You can read more on the site.)

So, tonight's swim workout was as follows:
20 x 25 yards of "thumb to thigh" with fins w/4 breaths between 25s
100 yards freestyle w/o fins
100 yards freestyle with paddles
100 yards freestyle w/o fins...FAST!

Oh! My coach had suggested I use the paddles to develop arm strength. And, the lady at the pool store warned me to be careful with can hurt your shoulders! So, I decided just to do the 100, and WOW!!! you can certainly feel the difference! I swam it SLOW!

I'm a little uncertain about what I'll do tomorrow. Hubby is out of town so I can't wake up & run or bike. And, it's my dd's last day of summer! I might either swim in our pool in the morning or do a Jillian Michael's DVD or something off of NetFlix. Or, I might see if my dd wants to go for a run or bike ride in the morning, though it'll be pretty slow.

On Thursday I have my first 'real' HILL workout! And, I need to do Strength Training. On Friday I plan on SPINning! Then, Saturday is my long run...7 miles. And, I'll probably bike Sunday morning and take Monday off. We'll see, though! But, that's the general plan for now.

With my 5K, 3 half marathons, and sprint triathlon coming up, my basic plan is to: run 3x, swim 2x, bike 2x (1 on the road & 1 spinning), pilates 1x, other strength training 1x. That's 9 workouts, but with my dd in school I should have time! At least until my volunteer 'job' starts in less than a month!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Changing up the runs is FUN!

Today my coach had me do a different kind of run. I warmed up for a mile (as always!) and then did the following. 1 min at 12:45 pace, 1 min at 11:45 pace, 1 min at 10:45 pace, and 1 min at 9:45 pace. Then, I was allowed a recovery minute (I slowly jogged the first time but walked the others) and then I started it all again! I did this 4 times. Then, I ran a little longer and ended up doing 3.4 miles.

First of all, my Garmin isn't quite sensitive enough to tell me immediately what my pace often takes half a minute for it to figure it out! So, it was basically impossible to do these paces correctly. (It'd been better to do on a treadmill.) I actually just kept bumping up the pace every minute...and ended up at about 9:00 instead of 9:45.

Anyway, I'm really enjoying all of these different kinds of runs! It's fun to watch my watch and try different speeds. I don't know how to explain it, but it is so much better than just running 'x' miles or 'x' minutes every time!

Hope you are having a great start to your week! I guess I'll be hitting the pool in the morning. Not my favorite thing, but I found a new drill I'm going to work on. Hopefully, it'll help!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Incredible 6 Mile Run! & Safety Tips

Today I was back to training with my US Fit running group. The 'red' team (10+ min/mile marathoners) was doing 7 miles while the 'blue' team (half marathoners of all paces) was doing 4 miles. My running coach wanted me to do 6 miles. Since all of our runs are out & back, I went withe the 'red's and turned around at the 3 mile mark.

To start with, I wasn't really enjoying it. I didn't sleep well last night knowing I needed to be up before 6 am if I wanted to make the run. In fact, I finally turned the alarm off & decided I'd just run on my own when I got up. Well, after not a lot of sleep, I woke up a little before 6. I knew I wouldn't get back to sleep so I decided to give the group another try. It's not that it has been 'bad', but I like running on my own & I didn't want to be the 'only one' turning around after 3 miles.

We started running at 6:30. It was already 82 degrees - and humid. (This is Houston!) I started in the middle of the pack but was the last person by the half mile mark. I was wanting to stay at about a 12:45 pace for at least the first 3 miles. I knew I could go this far without walking IF I didn't push too hard. Well, the group was running 12:30 and sometimes 12:15. I decided to keep them in my sights.

There was a moment when I decided this was my last run with the group. (Though I later changed my mind!) There is a 'sag' coach, I guess you'd call them. There are multiple coaches with each group and 1 is assigned to make sure everyone is accounted for. Well, she turned around & realized she wasn't the last one. She was running with 2 other ladies & must have said first one lady then the other turned around. It made me feel uneasy that everyone was looking to see who was being so slow! But, that's part of the mental game, right!? I had to run MY run for today. I decided I could hang back and let them 'pull' me with an invisible rope. I didn't know the course, so I didn't let them get too far ahead. I figured they'd walk eventually and I'd catch up. (Well, they never walked that I saw, but others did walk & I caught up to them!)

The route we run starts off in a neighborhood for about a mile. Then you have less than a quarter mile on dirt and then it turns into a nice blacktop trail. There are some 'hills'. Nothing too long or too steep, but it is great to have that as part of my training as my regular neighborhood run is FLAT!

I passed several people including one of the coaches while he was walking. I told him I'd be turning around the 3 mile mark. I wanted to let him know so they didn't think I'd disappeared!

I hit the 3 mile mark and felt really good! My pace was great. I felt like a little energizer bunny. (I thought of that several pace felt so good I was wound up like that little bunny!)

At about mile 4 I caught up with a lady who had a triathlon shirt on from the weekend before. I talked to her for awhile. She had done it as a relay and done the running portion. She said she was impressed by how hard a triathlon was and I told her about my experiences. We were running a little too fast for me and I finally told her I couldn't keep up the pace so she should feel free to go on. It's kind of funn, because she did...and I caught up to her about 5 minutes later while she was walking. I didn't see her again.

I hit the one hour mark at about 5 miles. I had not walked a SINGLE STEP!!! WooHoo!!! This is amazing as I used to stop at LEAST every mile. Wow. What a difference! I have learned, in just the past few weeks, that I can run a lot farther without walking if I have the right pace. But, my farthest 'run without walking' was 3.5 miles. I hit 5 miles...and decided I WOULD run 6 miles without walking.

At mile 5.1 I got a small side stitch. Hmph! So, I slowed just a tad and focused on breathing. My coach told me I should visualize the oxygen going to my muscles and I tried that. It never got worse, but it didn't really get better either. I ran with a side stitch for the last .9 miles!

I ended up running 6.00 miles in 1:37:37. That is a 12:17 pace! That is GREAT for me!!! (And, just wait until the weather cools down!!!) And, I was steady...just as my goal miles were: 12:36, 12:07, 12:13, 12:07, and 12:07. (That last mile I was sometimes slower than a 13:00 pace and at other times closer to 11:00...because of the side stitch.)

After the run, we had a seminar from one of the coaches. He is a police officer who travels the country doing anti-terrorism talks to other officers. Well, he talked to us about safety. Here are some of his tips:

...wear an ID (like Road ID)
...don't run alone (this one's hard!)
...if you do run alone, let someone know your route & when you'll return
...women should dress 'frumpy' and not be wearing big jewelry, etc
...wear bright colors against traffic
...if a runner (or someone) is approaching you, look them in the EYE!!! (don't let them 'sneak' up on you) can say 'hi' or whatever, but let them know you are aware they are there!
...WEAR some kind of "Road ID" with your emergency info - emergency contact, any medical conditions, and blood type - you might not be able to talk if an ambulance picks you up!!!

Be safe out there & hope you all have a good run, or whatever you're doing, this weekend!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

3x800 & Strength Training...ouch!

This morning, I did my 3x800 run...outside in the heat, though at 6:30 in the morning. I started out by running 1 mile at about 12:50. Then, I walked for about 2 mins. I did take walk breaks (actual WALK breaks) between each run. Then, I started my three 800s.

My coach wanted me to stay at about 5:10-5:20 for each 800. That's about 10:20-10:40 per mile pace. Well, my times were 5:09, 5:07, and 5:06! I was trying to stay between 5:10-5:20, but my Garmin watch is acting up a bit so I couldn't keep it really steady. I was really tired after this and finally ran another 1/2 mile at about a 13:20 pace. I'd planned on running a total of 4 miles, but only ran 3. This was both because I was TIRED and I needed to get back so my hubby could leave for work.

About 2 hours later, I met with my old strength trainer. (She's also my 'buddy' from my 2nd sprint was her first tri, and my 2nd.) WOW!!! She worked me out HARD!!! First, we did some leg works...and my legs were already tired. But, I appreciated it! Then, we did a LOT of upper body training. I've really been neglecting my upper body.

A few things we did...
20 pushups (3 times)...BUT, we did it on an incline (with feet on ground & arms on bench) and I had to go to the floor on my kneeds for the last set. Yikes!! I really want to work back up to 20 pushups at a time!
45 second plank...BUT, I had worked up to 90 seconds! I probably could have done 10 more seconds, but not much more.

Anyway, everything she asked of me was so hard! But, back in April I would have done a lot better. I need to decide if I'm going to start paying for a trainer again, or being more dedicated on my own...or even start going to a weekly group class! (School starts next Thursday so I'll have a lot of time.)

Tomorrow is FRIDAY (yeah!) and I plan on doing a 45 minute 'indoor cycling' class. This is like the 'endurance' class I did on Monday, but this one is called 'race day'. Hmmm. We'll see how it goes!