Friday, August 31, 2012

I'm a good student (week 2 & almost week 3 done)

I'm way behind on blogging here I guess. I've composed plenty of posts in my head. Wish that counted.

I finished week 2 of training and have my long run left for week 3. Week 3 has been a DOOZY, but Carrie warned me it would be.

When I saw some of the paces she wanted me to hit this week, it looked impossible. But I was willing to try because in the last few years I've found that I'm usually capable of more than I think I am.

But first, here was week 2's training:

I took a rest day after my 8-miler.

Tuesday, 8/21: Tempo run. 1 mile warm, 9:03, 8:56, 1 mile cool. This felt pretty hard, but I pushed and got the times I wanted.

Wednesday, 8/22: Cross-training. 30 minutes, Insane Abs.

Thursday, 8/23: Rest day. Also at the beach with the kids, which meant a lot of walking, jumping waves etc. I like to think of this as cross-training too.

Friday, 8/24: Progressive run. 9:56, 9:50, 9:56, 9:30, 8:49. My last mile was crazy because a lady almost hit me, then a little dog ran out into the street barking at me and chasing me!

Sunday, 8/26: 10 miles, average pace 10:27. 1.15 mile cool down. Overall I felt pretty strong on this run. It's helping so much to have someone to run with. There were a few times I was tempted to slow down, but I pushed through it because I knew I could!

This week has been pretty high in mileage and fast in pace. But I did 2 tempo miles (with .25 recovery) that were just over 8:30, which is SO FAST compared to my normal speeds.

Yesterday I headed out for a "hilly route" and tried to push up the hills I ran instead of slowing down. My average pace was well under 10:00 for the 4 mile run. I was pushing, but I wasn't going all out--but that's one of my fastest "by feel" runs. EVER.

Tomorrow morning I'll be running 12 miles. It is crazy to me that my 3rd long run of this training cycle is already 12 miles and the race is 13.1. But I know that's how you get faster, that's how you take time off your pace, that's how to get stronger. I am so thankful that I am strong enough and have enough base to follow this challenging plan.

Next week is supposed to be easier, but I also understand I should attempt a race-pace run of 5-6 miles. Which means the 9:00 region. It will be challenging, but I am willing to give it a try.

This past week as I've gone out for these harder runs, part of me is scared and feels like I won't be able to hit the paces. But I have, pretty much every time. And as I've thought through this on my runs, I've been reminded that I am by nature a good student. I'm not a genius by any means but I always got pretty good grades (except for math--my nemesis!).

I get good grades (hello "A" in a 5-unit chem class, while working almost full-time and mothering 3 kids) because I am a good student. I complete assignments and homework. I do assigned reading. I prepare for tests and quizzes. I pay attention in class and take notes. Simply being a good student gives you a huge advantage in a class.

It's the same with running. I am a good student of running. If Carrie thinks I can hit a pace and gives me the assignment, I will go out and give it my all. During this weeks tempo run, I didn't hit the max of 8:50 she gave me (I ran 9:07). I was a little bummed, but I KNEW going in to the run that my legs were tired from the mileage and heavy week. And I KNEW I gave it my all, so 17 seconds over was still ok.

Being a good student pays off in school, and in running.

I'll be back in a few days with a more detailed wrap-up of this week and my 12-miler.

Get an extra run in on this holiday weekend! (for you U.S. citizens!)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Week 1 training: DONE

I completed week 1 of training for my next half marathon. My legs are a little tired as this is the most number of times and the most miles I've run in a week in a month or more. It's a good tired though. Getting my miles back up after several weeks off feels good.

I am ready to OWN this half marathon. A few people who's opinions I trust have told me they are confident I can take the needed time off my pace to get a 2-hour half marathon.  I believe in myself too and in addition to getting all my training in this week, a few other great things happened to help propel me towards my goal.

A few nights ago I was reading my blog list while unwinding in bed (as I always do) and read that Carrie from Luminosity was offering a FREE consultation or training plan to the first three people who contacted her. Carrie recently finished her running coach certification and just launched her website too.  Carrie and I have commented back and forth on our blogs and Daily Mile and Twitter for some time now. I loved following her journey on her first marathon as I was training for mine as well.

I quickly fired off an email to Carrie hoping I was one of the first three, and I WAS! I am really excited to work with Carrie and am now extra motivated to be a success story for her. Carrie is going to base my training on the Train Like A Mother Half Marathon Own It plan that I started and help me with my paces and some other adjustments as well.

She already sent me a schedule for next week and it makes me extra excited. It's nice to have someone tell you the paces you should run and then based on how they go, we can adjust further. YAY!

In addition to this great development, I have found a long run partner--one who I think will push me when I need it!

Last year when I was featured on Another Mother Runner, I connected with another mother runner in my area (haha, great pun!), Leslie. Turns out thanks to Facebook, we realized we had a mutual friend, who is also my next door neighbor. After months of chatting back and forth on FB, we finally met up in July at a local free run and again a few weeks ago.

Yesterday she offered to meet me this morning for my long run. Leslie isn't a morning runner, so that was huge! She was looking for the motivation to get back to regular running and she is faster than me, so she wanted to help push me to that sub-2 half.

So we ran together this morning and it was great! We both struggled a bit and took a few breathers, the biggest issue being HEAT and humidity--and that we are both getting back to regular running. Regardless she still pushed me and the time flew by having someone to chat with instead of just listening to music. We hope to run together as many weekends as possible and maybe even during the week too if our schedules can coordinate.

I am off to a GREAT start with training. Hopefully when I start my nursing classes next Monday I'll still fit in all the running I need to. This first semester my classes are all afternoon/evening, so I should be able to get all my runs done in the mornings.

Today's 8 mile run:

10:13, 10:02, 10:38, 10:06, 9:52, 10:45, 11:26, 9:46
Average pace: 10:21

Pace was a bit all over the place, but I was very pleased with the run. And look at that final mile!

Weekly summary:

Monday: 3 easy miles
31:00/ 10:28 pace

Tuesday: Tempo Run, 4.5 miles
19:00/ 9:16, 9:35 tempo miles w/ .25 recovery
27:00/10:51/ 2.5 miles Warm & Cool

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Rest (play at beach with kids! jumping waves is a workout!!)

Friday: Ladder Workout, 4 miles
41:00/10:14 pace

Sunday: Long run, 8 miles
1:23/ 10:21 pace

Total miles: 19.5
(If I had kept track of my miles closer, I would have tacked on .5 somewhere for an even 20!)

Bring on week 2!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fingernail moon still in the sky

Training for my fall half has begun. The half I hope to PR in and a huge bonus would be to run 1:59:59.

The last month I've enjoyed sleeping in more, doing DVD's later in the morning and running just a few times a week

Training means I can't (or don't want to) miss a run. And like many moms, early mornings while the kids are still asleep is the only way to ensure a run. The hubs leaves at 6:45am. Which is also about when my youngest two wake up.

I love my morning runs, but I love sleep too. We've been in the midst of a big heat wave and even at dusk it's hot. At 6am its more bearable but I still pour sweat.

This morning my alarm went off at 5:35am. I contemplated running later in the day. But the pending heat finally pulled me out of bed at 5:45am. I was on the street at 5:55am with the fingernail moon still in the sky, pink just beginning to crest the hill to the east.

Pink fire ablaze in the east, as I finished my two tempo miles and began to cool down.

4.5 miles later I pulled back up to the blouse, just in time for hubs to leave. (this is not my house, just a view along my run)

And it was a good day.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Olympics thwarts the best laid running plans!

Remember how excited I was to get back to my morning runs?

Yeah, well, I didn't account for the Olympics! I have been staying up later than normal watching, since I can usually sleep until 7am. 7 hours of sleep is about perfect for me. I also require unwinding time in bed. I used to suffer from serious insomnia. Until the advent of the iPhone. I can now browse my phone in bed for 20-30 minutes and then I fall asleep quickly after that. I can be falling asleep in the living room, but as soon as my head hits the pillow, I'm wide awake.

So watching the Olympics until 11pm means I may not be asleep until midnight. And 5:45am comes awful fast after midnight. Too fast yesterday morning in fact! I hit my snooze button so fast. The hubs even asked if I was getting up to run and that didn't rouse me. I emphatically told him "no."  I squeezed in a short Insanity workout later in the morning.

But last night I made sure to be in bed earlier, Olympics or not. And I was up running a little after 6am. Just an easy 3 miles (and I kept it at an easy pace too) but perfect for getting back in the game. I could have gone a little longer, but the hubs had to leave for work. And it was already so humid, unusual for So California.

Here I am again, watching the Olympics at 10:25pm. We don't have TiVo or DVR so it's "live" or nothing.

Good thing the Olympics end just as half marathon training begins.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

T minus 1 week

I'm starting to get excited about running again. Well, more excited.

I love running. I absolutely love it. But still sometimes I need to take a step back, so that I don't burn out. It's similar to mothering. I love my children desperately. Being a mom is one of my favorite things in life. But every once in a while, I need to get away. I need a girls night. I need alone time.

Quite ironically, running is often my alone time in the midst of mothering.

After my January marathon I took it easy for several weeks. I ramped back up to train for a May 10k and then right back into training for a July 15k.  I've run about 40 miles in the past month, compared to 72 miles in June!

Interesting side note: I've run 411 miles so far this year. I need to double check, but I think I ran around 500 last year and had a goal of 750 this year. I may actually exceed that goal. I wonder if I could hit 1,000. Hmmm. New goal?

Even though I haven't been running, I've done a lot of sweating with Insanity. I know that cross-training is important and the interval training of Insanity is really good for running.

But next week half marathon training begins. Part of me wishes I was training for a full, but with starting nursing school in 3 weeks, I need to see how that goes before I commit to training for that long distance again.

Maybe it's the Olympics. Maybe it's that I'm refreshed. Maybe it's that I know I need to start getting back into an earlier morning routine since school will start for the kids before I know it. Maybe it's that I want that 2-hour half marathon so bad. Maybe it's the "Own It" plan in Train Like A Mother.

I'm ready to run. Ready to run plenty of miles and find a way to cross-train and strength train too.

I'm setting the alarm for 5:45am.

It's time.

Friday, August 3, 2012

sanity run (alternately titled, running is my drug)

We had a wonderful two days at Disneyland this week and took our time getting home on the third day.  Today we had a slow morning, went to Costco, I went through some boxes and downsized even more stuff that I brought home from my office. We went swimming at a friend's and then home for a late dinner where everyone was hungry and it couldn't be ready fast enough. I ran out of time to fix myself a gluten-free meal, so I ate peanut butter and banana on a rice cake.

My patience was running a little thin. I was feeling twitchy.

Which meant only one thing.  I needed a sanity run.

After four full days of being "on" with the kids and family, and almost four days without my usual exercise, I was in desperate need of an endorphin fix.

As soon as the younger girls were in bed at 7:30am, I headed out for a 30 minute run before it got too dark.

Maybe it was watching the Olympic 10,000 kilometer race today and seeing the winner surge on the last lap and win by a landslide. I can't run at those speeds and never will, but I can run my heart out just like she did.

It was just what I needed. I ran fast, because it felt good. I negative split the run, which is always nice. I enjoyed the oranges and pinks in the sky as the sun was setting. I cleared my mind. I was recharged by being alone with myself and my thoughts.

Running used to be a discipline and to some extent it still is. But a few years ago, running also became my drug. My fix. What keeps me sane.

Running purges me of any negativity I'm feeling and prepares me for negativity I may face.

Oh running, I'm addicted to you.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

three things thursday

1. We got back this afternoon from a 2-day trip to Disneyland. It was fun. And exhausting. And overwhelming. And memorable. I haven't exercised since Monday, but I just mapped the walk from our hotel to Disneyland and we walked 4 miles alone between the two. And that doesn't account for all the walking inside the parks. Or how often I carried my 3 yr old or my 5 yr old. We didn't want to deal with a double stroller (which was a good call because it would have been a nightmare in the crowds) but the 5 yr old wasn't so up on walking the whole time.

2. Eating a gluten-free Wheat Belly diet wasn't so fun at Disneyland. But I didn't have any significant headaches nor did I have to take any Advil while we were there, which is pretty much unheard of for me. I didn't research beforehand if there were specific suggestions for gluten-free food in the parks. On Tuesday for lunch I ate a kids "Power Pack" which included string cheese and yogurt. Not really vacation food. But, no headaches.

3. I'm looking forward to getting back to Insanity and running. I think my half marathon training starts in a week. And I'm ready to get better at gluten-free eating.