Saturday, September 30, 2006

My longest run...ever

Some days...I just shake my head and wonder how I even get through most days. I can be a bit slow in the ol' brain at times and that causes interesting (or down right stupid) things to happen.

The plan today was to run 14 miles total...with 8 miles at HR 160 or so and the other 6 as part of my warm up and cool down. That's what I thought about and that's what I set out to do.

Last week I felt a bit ill...pretty far from home on my 12 mile run so, I decided that I'd work off of a loop that is close to my house. I knew the loop was 4-5 miles or so...i didn't know *exactly* how far but I thought it was a good loop that I could do 2 or less loops of it for 8 miles. I drove it. It was 4.6 miles in total for the loop. Cool...I do a three mile warm up, and then run less than 2 loops and have part of the 2nd loop be my cool down with some more mileage tacked on.

Problem was...i wasn't thinking when I was driving or contemplating exactly this loopyness. So...what do I do? I mark out how far 4 miles on my loop is...and only drive it one time. Therefore...I've set myself up to run 8.6 miles. First loop 4.6 miles...and I get to the second loop.. all i know is where the 4 mile bailout point is. Basically, not thinking clearly about the total distance when I drove it to begin with.

This miscalculation actually doesn't hit me until i'm at mile 7.6 (slow in the brain this A.M.)...and I start to think about where the supposed 'end' of my 8 miles is. I've been monitoring my watch and have realized that i'm running rather fast for me (so cool) when I start to think about what time it should be about at the end of 8 miles if i'm doing roughly 9 min/miles (or less)...I realize that i only have 3 minutes to get to the end of 8 miles...yet the 'end' of my marked out route is...wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy farther than 3 minutess away.

My thought to myself:

"What is going on?, uh oh...silly didn't think through this whole one loop being 4.6 miles thing did ya and then you only marked out the next 4 miles...therefore you are set up to do 8.6 miles...doh!"

So here's the conversation in my head :

"Well I could just 'guess' where the end at 8 miles don't really want to run 8.6 miles do ya? We can just drive it after and figure out total distance and time."

My other thought :

"Just run the silly extra 0.6 miles...and do the math with your watch when you are done...suck it up...ya goofed, it's not the end of the world and when you run the 1/2 marathon you will be running further than 8 just deal with it, you can adjust your cool down from 3 total miles to 2.6 miles, but that's all you can compromise "

The second thought won.

So for the 8.6 miles I ran it in 1:17:05 avg HR 161

Do a little math (correctly this time)...that's 8:58 min/miles on average!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And it's actually sub that, as I know my first two miles were 9:10's....wooohooo!! So exciting to me!

In the end i ran a total of 14.2 miles...the farthest I've ever run. :-D

I felt really good...actually great until the cool down...and then the lactic acid decided to talk to well as my feet. Yowch. Took one gel around mile 6...seemed alright on the stomach. And considering I ate dinner at 11pm last night...and ate frightening food...a turkey ruben and fries(i love sauerkraut...but I wasn't sure if my running stomach would like that the next day)...i'm amazed that I didn't feel yucky running. I've learned that the night before long run dinners can be fine or not fine...and there is no rhyme or reason that I've found so far with things settling or not settling down the next day. So strange.

Just two weeks til Hartford! Exciting.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

hills and schtuff

The focus at the moment is running workouts as the last race of my season is a 1/2 marathon. I'm constantly amazed at what each running day brings, as it is new and something new is learned. I've discovered I like running a heck of a lot more than I did before, not just because I am seeing improvement(but that is really fun), but I'm discovering what 'training' is more about. Focus is a good thing.

My 6 x 0.25mile hill repeats went well. It took 37 minutes, 12:20 min/miles for the hills....some funny math on my end of things made it look like the last time I did these repeats it 'supposedly' took me an extra 10 minutes...and then I realized, I wrote something down wrong. I still saw some great improvement...34 seconds per mile of improvement, not 3 minutes per mile of gave me a laugh at either the mistake or improvement...not sure which at the moment (but i'm beginning to think i didn't have a 3 minute/mile improvement.).

Well off to sleep...trying to shift my schedule earlier more with the hope that one day I might actually graduate. The earlier wake up time is making me constantly tired...I'm still in the phase where i'm stumbling around all afternoon and in desperate need for coffee all day long. It'll pass with time. Must press on.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Good Stuff

It's been a long, great week. I somehow convinced my thesis adviser that sending me to DC for a training thing would help me graduate in a sane fashion (well as sanely as a grad student can graduate in). I think I can now use a computer program to solve any worries in this dissertation and if it won't solve those problems, I can make it look like it can solve my problems. :-)

Before I left I researched ways I could get my running and any cross training in. I looked up on the website (the international health racket and sports club association) health clubs that were near my hotel so I could get a spin class in or a swim and some running. IHRSA is supposed to be a way to look up places to work out that are part of a community of other health clubs. Ummm...let's just say that even though MY home club and health clubs near my hotel were listed on these things AND I called places in advance...i got the run around like no body's business. No one knew what I was talking about, and most were really rude to me in the process. Sigh...oh well. I did get 3 days of running in, a ridiculous amount of walking in...and in the end got the running mileage I needed OUTSIDE in the beautifully warm (compared to the NorthEast) weather. So I think I was happier anyway doing things that way.

I have a fun 12 mile run tomorrow...and I'm a mere 3 weeks away from my half marathon. Good stuff.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Race Day Fear that Came TRUE

The power went out the NIGHT before my race on Saturday morning!!!!

My alarm (that is plugged into the wall, mind you)was set for 4:55. But what saved me was my laundry. Yes, my laundry. Our dryer has a nasty habit of sometimes not drying things fully. That evening, I was doing my laundry, and had a few items I needed for my race going in the dryer. I thought to myself "if I should wake up in the middle of the night (which is something I rarely do), but if I should, I will get up and check to make sure my clothes are dry."

It was 12: something. I'm having a retarded dream that keeps going in circles and I'm trying to wake myself up and stop it anyway. My printer starts making noise like it's printing something and I wake up...disoriented, wondering why in the world it would be making such a noise. I made up some bizarre reason why the printer is making weird noises because I just wanted to roll back over and go back to sleep. Ummm...i love sleep. And then I remember the promise I made myself..."if I should happen to wake up I would check on my laundry".

I do the internal debate "The laundry is most likely fine, why would I even want to get out of bed?" But I am struck by the thought "But the sense of irony if everything isn't dry tomorrow at 5am and you had a chance to get the laundry will be sad you didn't check on it". So I trapes to the basement and in doing so discover the blinking clocks in the kitchen...ohhhh it was the printer turning ON that woke me up. Laundry is fine, and disaster averted.

Now because i'm slightly neurotic and having the power go out is a fear of mine I would have actually been fine, because I had set a second alarm on my phone which wasn't connected to wall power. And all would have been well because I have super cool housemates and one was up reading at the time when the power went out and got up and made sure I was up re-setting my alarm as she was worried about my alarm not going off for the race. The whole thing was not the best pre-race night, but sometimes that's how it goes.

So the race was a 5miler, but in reality it was a creative long run. I was slated to get there early so I could do a 4 mile warm up run, then run 5 miles at high racing intensity, and then a 3 mile cool down run. When my friend J and I got there, the volunteers had just shown up and were beginning to set up. She took a nap in the car as I did my warm up run. The area of the race was pretty rural and sometimes I have to laugh at running in the country as the mile markers are things like "big red barn on the left" or "set of cows that are eating on the right" or "tractor on the right". Since I live in the country, I do enjoy running in the country. The morning sunrise was beautiful, misty, and almost dreamy.

The race was a 5K and a 5miler. Basically you ran with the 5Kers for your first 3 miles and then split off watching them finish while you ran on. Someone was trying to make chit-chat with me at mile 2 with the comment "are we almost there"...trying to be funny. I'm thinking, no...i'm not at the 1/2 way point. I just reply that “it depends on what you are racing". She replies making it sound like there is no way she’d ever run the 5 miler and implies that people who do are crazy. I nod and smile, and keep on moving. If she only knew…

Being in the middle of a 5K for most of the race was pretty fun because there were lots of kids about enjoying the race. I saw one kid who I think will be a future Ironman. He had a Fuel Belt with two bottles filled with gatorade. I don't know where else he was also running that day, but he was PREPARED.

The race itself went pretty well for me aside from some side stitches and the fact my diaphragm was cramping and not letting me breathe very well. The goal was to race with a HR in the 170s. I had an AVG HR of 173, and a final time of 43:44, 8:44 min/mile pace. I was pretty stoked about that.

After the race I had my 3 mile cool down. As I came in after my cool down I realized was the last racer in the area (aside from my friend in the car)and the volunteers were packing up everything. The thought came to me “I'm one of those people.” I just did a 4 mile warm up and a 3 mile cool downs and then RACED on top of it. I know the further goal is a 1/2 marathon and the purpose of the race was for racing and times, but it did not destroy the fact that I'm one of those people. I don't know when I became one of those people but i am. Triathlons do crazy things to a person I guess.

It was a good day that even though a race day fear of mine came true all was well in the end.

In the future, I will always set two alarms and never feel silly about it.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Somers Great Escape

Well tomorrow I'm running the Somers, CT Great Escape 5miler. Admittedly, i'm a little nervous and concerned because my knee decided to make a HUGE fuss yesterday during my 6 x 0.25 mile hill repeats. Sharp pain...but only while running...

I've been stretching and icing and icing and stretching and taking naproxin sodium and hoping and praying my knee will be fine both tomorrow and in 4 weeks for the Hartford 1/2 marathon. More concerned about the 1/2, but I would really like the 5 miler go well too.

So I'm off to bed...and hoping this whole icing scheme works. :-)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Wall

I didn't see it coming.

I wasn't prepared for what it held.

It came out of nowhere.

There is indeed a wall on that track I run...

The plan on Tuesday was for a 4x800 track workout. The goal to run each 800 under 3:40 and retain my focus.

1st 800: 3:28 (those fast thoughts did seem to pay off)
2nd 800: 3:33 (going well, must retain focus for 3rd set)

Next 400...focus on letting go of thoughts. My body is telling me it hurts, I acknowledge how it feels but don't let stopping be an option. Breathing hard I know I have it in me. No negative self talk. Trying to lose my thoughts.

I'm on the last 50 and something 'happens'. It's not a matter of my mind/body saying it 'can't finish this' because it's merely is as if a wall has been placed in front of me and there is no argument about it...I am done.

I stop, admittedly, slightly confused I try to figure out what's just happened and emotionally/physically/mentally I am broken down. It's like hidden emotions come spilling out...onto the track. I take inventory and realize there is no way this workout is going to be finished. I cool down and try to piece myself together.

It was so strange, and being the forever analyzer I attempted to figure myself out. But there was no figuring out what 'happened' just did. It's those hidden emotions, ever wonder where they go? Well now I know that they can show up when you aren't expecting them. But i'm learning to let go of the experience and of what it held. Sometimes we can’t always ‘figure out’ what is going on underneath, we must more acknowledge that it is happening, accept that it is what it is, not judge the event and most importantly move on. It took a little evaluation, acknowledged what happened and in the meantime I’ve learned I must keep moving.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Mark it done

So saturday I had a case of the "pizza was a bad choice for dinner on friday" and felt ill all Saturday. I was slightly worried that the run would not get pulled off the next day ...but all was not lost on Sunday. I got up early, and was on the ground running by 630, not bad for a weekend. The weather was absolutely perfect for running. Mildly chilly the first half mile, and then just perfect for the rest of the run.

The plan was two miles of warm up, run 6 at high effort, two miles of cool down. Warm up went as planned, had a 10 year old girl join my run for a bit. She should keep with it...although I should have mentioned that running in jeans isn't exactly the best way to do it. She looked like she was having fun.

Then the 6 miles...goal as usual keep my HR up...above 160...and just run. The first 3 miles flew by, mile 4 completely disappeared...i sware I was so surpised to hit mile 5 and so quickly! I was in a zone...and was still running at a good clip. I was running 9ish miles from what I could tell. I was pretty excited about that. Mile 5 went really slow though. Not time wise running, but time seemed to stand still. It was a little surreal. I would think I was running really slow, but then I realized that very little time had passed and I was doing fine. I had that happen to me in the 1/2 marathon last year at mile 9. Although last year it was an issue of losing focus and slowing down, and this time it was more an issue of time just suddenly not moving. Weird

It went well with a final time for the 6 miles being 55:21, avg HR 162. Improvement from last week as the six miles had a time of 59:41 avg HR 159. Nice.

The rest of the day sorta seemed to go down hill for me though. Somedays you can only have one thing at a time go well. At least it was the running. Ended up breaking a string on my violin at church (and had 4 other extra strings, but not the right one), spilled coffee and food on myself, jabbed a stick into my foot, and locked myself out of the house. It got to the point where I just had to laugh otherwise I was going to cry. Although it was kinda funny...and true of me, slightly scatterbrained and clumsy.

Today was swimming and yoga. WHY in the world I couldn't drag my sorry butt to the pool this morning so I could do a pre-work swim...i don't know. Therefore I then required a lunch time swim. Sometimes that's obnoxious to me, but I am greatful that the pool is right across the street from my building. So I guess I shouldn't complain. It went well aside from my shoulder now hurting, very weirdly.

As for yoga, some days I love yoga, and some days I hate it. As in get-me-out-of-this-stupid-pose-before-I-kill-you-you-pschyo-yoga-teacher...kind of hate. Today was an I-LOVE-YOGA day. I don't know why, everything was stiff from running and usually that then makes a pretty painful class, but I felt strong and the stiffness didn't bother me for some reason.

Tomorrow track workout: 4x800s again...each set to be under 3:40. Hmmm...i'm interested to see how that goes. This type of training is so new to me that sometimes I just think..."how does one do that?" Looking at my times, I know, physically I can do it...but it's that mental aspect of how does one mentally tell one's body:

"OK we are now going to run 3:40 or less for an got that?".

It's just weird. Do I just think 'fast thoughts' and my body will run as fast as it should? I'm learning as I go, so I'm interested to see how I'm going to pull this one off and how I end up thinking about it. At the moment, i'm just visualizing fast times, and hoping that helps somehow. The whole mind-body connection with athletics is so strange, but truly fascinating. Planning for it to be fast as it should's got to be...I don't think I have another choice :-)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

week o' training

Suddenly it's saturday and I'm not quite sure how I got here. Time has a funny way of escaping me when I'm not paying attention. Now that school's back in session and all the undergrads are running around acting very...lost...I feel this momentum starting to gather. I feel like this year is going to be insanity, and that somehow i'm being taking to a the top of a really tall hill and soon enough just going to just end up being dropped off of it and somehow end up at the bottom. Hopefully the bottom has a degree in hand and a job, but until then I must endure being thrown to the bottom of this very tall hill...ok not a hill a mountain.

Back to training, this week has contained a track workout of 4x800's and some hill repeats....mixed in with getting back in the pool and continuing to get out on the bike.

The track workout was turns out I could join the tennis team :-)...ok they were just taking up my space on the track...and talking about me quite loudly. I just wanted to say:"Dude...I'm not deaf."

The workout itself turned into a lesson learned in focus...or in losing focus. As my 800s looked like this:4x800
1) 3:41 Avg HR 171
2) 3:38 Avg HR 176
3) 3:49 Avg HR 176
4) 3:45 Avg Hr 178

That third repeat i guess I checked out and ended up in la-la land. This week is more tracky-ness so we shall see how that turns out.

The hill repeats freaked me out because I ran them almost a full minute and a half faster than last week with an avg HR almost 10bpm lower. Freakish.

The plan was to do a ten miler today, but i woke up and discovered that pizza is NOT a good night before a long run food item. OK not a good item in general...felt sick to my stomach all day. Even took a nap. Started to have the freak out of "What if I still feel gross tomorrow!" thought, but i'm starting to feel better so I don't think all is lost.

I'm five full weeks out from the Hartford 1/2. This whole less than two goal sometimes will freak me out from time to time. It'll come, it'll come. Guess I just have to run fast then...

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Ever have those days after a hard workout where you just stare at things and nothing really enters the ol' brain? You are actively trying to think, but it is not working. Nothing is processing even though you are trying as hard as you can to concentrate. It is in that state of mind that the mouth becomes slightly agape and you just look...well...silly. All you can think is "just focus", but the words in front of you don't form much of anything. The body is heavy and for some reason the brain isn't functioning fully. You haven't? Well...then...err...move on to another post :-)

That was me today in the grocery store, post long run, post breakfast, shower...ect. There I am attempting to hard as I can...on which toilet paper is the cheapest on sale. The numbers were going into my head, but...things weren't making sense, in a very strange way. Staring...staring...staring...i'm just standing there.

I'm thinking "I just want to go home and take a nap. Why doesn't this make any sense to me?"

And then I hear someone next to me say: "It's a hard decision you've got there...picking out toilet paper".


Are you talking to me? (mouth agape staring at toilet paper?? )

I turn and stare at this guy talking to me (with my mouth probably still slightly agape and I begin to wonder if he's making fun of me...ok maybe he was...).

I'm thinking as hard as possible now: "Do I know you? I know you...think come on do know this person".'s one of my teachers from my dept.

He make some comment that my inability to decide is based upon me and my scientific nature to compare things as I 'price shopped'. He tried to make me feel better as he's done that too.

I laugh...ha...ha...ha...halfheartedly.

Um...yea...i need to be going now. Feeling rather silly for staring at toilet paper for 10 minutes without being able to make a decision, I grab some that I think are fine price wise and move towards the checkout.

post running Brainfog...dude that sucks.

fun with running

It's been fun...running...that is. This week has been interesting between finding out I can run a single mile in 7:24 and doing my first hill run repeat...ever. Today was a long run and again, I looked forward to it. :-)

OK so this whole rain-Earnesto storm still hasn't showed up and it's 3 in the afternoon as I write this, but it was supposed to be here much I got up much earlier than i'd like for a Saturday, just so I could try to dodge the storm. (I think I need a nap now)

Today was my 8 mile long run. It consisted of a 1 mile warm up, then for 6 miles then 1 mile cool down. Just like last week. With sore quads from this week between mile timing, biking, hill running and biking I didn't know how they would hold up for the middle 6 miles where I was to keep my HR around 160ish and just run. My hope/goal was to match close to how long it took me to run those 6 miles last week which was 60:30 with an avg HR 162.

The warmup mile went well, after few false starts...but finally got going. The first half, 3 miles, seemed fine, got to my turn around and noticed that I was close to the same time as last week at 29:43. Things look good. Second half...going well. At the five mile mark I look down and realize that I'm sub 50mins...somewhere around 48 mins. Huh? Little bit of a surprise on that one as I was expecting 10ish min/miles. The last mile I realize that it actually is a moderately hilly mile. Nothing I'd do 'hills' on, but not a pancake. I get to the end of the fast running part and I stop the watch and it reads: 59:41 with an avg HR of 159. Faster time with lower HR than last week...I'll take that thank you very much.

On the docket for this week: another fun day at the track, hills, and 10 miles...along with some yoga, biking, and the pool will re-open this week. Looks like a good week.