Wednesday, August 9, 2017

2 month slump

The race is exactly two months from yesterday. Two months from right now it'll all be a memory. Every training cycle, right around the halfway mark, I reach the point I'm at now - bored, not wanting to train anymore, fatigued by the daily grind of training, sick of the time commitment, sick of so much laundry. It's not fun anymore.

I need to make it a few more weeks, then in the last 3-4 weeks, the end is in sight and I always get a second wind. This stretch though - make it go faster!!

Something to look forward to: Chicago is bringing in a number of former winners to help celebrate the 40th anniversary, including the woman I've been wanting to meet ever since I started with marathons in 2010 - Ms Paula Radcliffe, who set the women's marathon record way back in 2003 and while the men's record has fallen several times since then, no woman has been even close to breaking Paula's time.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

I wasn't meant to run

I've been wanting to switch to trail running, especially for the longer runs, for a change of scenery and to get a break from the constant pounding on cement. My feet haven't been feeling 100% and I need to baby them however I can.

I know there are trails around here, but I have no idea where. Everything seems too short or it's paved. I found one a half hour away that meets my criteria - mostly shady, packed dirt surface, 4 miles point to point, so 8 if I do the whole distance, there are smaller offshoots as well to tack on distance. Pretty much perfect.

On Saturday I had been wearing my 5 Fingers around the house and drove in them, with the Hokas in the trunk. Parked the car, went to change my shoes and realized I didn't bring socks!!!!!! The Hokas rub blisters and cut my feet without very thick socks. Not happy! I was already there, though, so I ran 1.5 in the Vibrams then switches to the Hokas without socks and ran until my feet were crying. 4 miles, not the 15 the Hansons wanted.

Sunday. I wore knee socks so I wouldn't be scratched or bitten, so I definitely had socks for the whole drive. 25 minutes into the 30 minute drive I realized I hadn't eaten breakfast! Duh! I had had a chocolate chip cookie then left. The Luna bars I bought last night specifically for the run were on the kitchen counter.

So I did 5.15. No food = no energy. I could have run / walked (mostly walked) the whole distance, but why? To be on my feet for 4 hours? The Hansons say there's no benefit beyond 3 hours. To prove I can go 15 miles? I know I can. Two attempts at a long run, two fails! Wasn't meant to run this weekend, I guess.

Anyone have suggestions for trails near me? Unpaved :)

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Page 2

Page 2 of the Hansons. The runs pass slowly but the months pass quickly.

Good: no "red" boxes
Also good: the "yellow" days are consistent. I seem to have converted all my Thursday easy garbage miles to biking. The two Sundays I biked were weather based and bc we had other plans that kept us occupied all day.
Bad: nothing especially alarming

Sunday, July 30, 2017

No pint glass this time

The last Sunday in July is always the Electric Bolt 5k. I've done it twice and gotten second place twice. I really want to score a first place finish one of these days!

Today wasn't it :(

As soon as I started a warm up jog, I could tell I was wearing my slow shoes. Some runs are amazing and others are a lot of effort.

As I lined up near the front (no timing pad so we all have the same start time), I looked around and thought that within the 15-20 people near the front, there were 5 women I would guess to be right around my age, all of whom could potentially/probably beat me. They did.

It's a hard course, very hilly, with a monster hill of a traffic bridge at the end.

And somehow it's always extraordinarily humid. Within two minutes of finishing sweat was pouring down my face, then it got in my eyes so those started gushing as well. I was a mess!

The results went up and I finished 6th out of 13 in my age group. Overall I was 14th out of 84 women. I would have won the 30-34 age group, I would have won the 40-44 age group. I was just in a really competitive group today.

There were some good parts though:
I finished and didn't get injured
I sat down at the finish and watched other runners and walkers finish, seeing the joy and the pain in their faces
Almost immediately after finishing, a man said he had been following my pace for a long time and I had a strong fast start. That was the highlight of the race - No one has ever followed my pace, I'm always the follower, not the followee.
The run is done nice and early so I have the whole day to finish my book and binge a CW show without exercise hanging over my head.
I won't do another 5k until Cincinnati in May 2018 :D

There's always next year.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A great 10

Saturday's prescribed mileage was 10 easy. The forecast was horrendous - upper 80s and high humidity, a "feels like" temperature in the 100s. Yet heat can't be a reason to skip the mileage, especially on a "Something of substance" run. It was pleasantly cool in the morning and I saw several runners outside, yet we had things that needed to be done and couldn't be rescheduled. By the time it was run-time, I needed a different answer than running all 10 outside.

The boyfriend and I went to mom's house for a bit and my solution was to run to the gym - exactly 1 mile, run 8 on the TM then run back to her house. It was so crazy hot the first mile kept me slower and served as a warm up then later as a cool down.

On the TM, I ran ladders increasing from 11:40s to 10:30s then back down again. The TM makes it way too easy to go faster than the Hanson want. On a long slow Saturday they recommend 60-90 seconds slower than race pace.

It felt easy. My legs wanted to go so much faster than my brain was holding back. Halfway, I knew I was in the downswing and would be done in 50-55 minutes. No sweat, that seemed easy. At mile 7, I hit a groove and kept the pace at a steady 11:14 and started laddering the elevation.

When I finished my miles at the gym, I rinsed my washcloth in cold water for the run home. I was hot and pouring sweat, but I felt incredible! The next day my feet are good, my quads are good. My right calf is a little tight so I'll need to roll it. I was pouring sweat so I was wet the whole time and my thighs chafed a little as a result, but with body glide, that, too, is easily managed.

What a great great run!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Forgetting the good

For all its mind-sucking boredom, there is actually some good about treadmills that I had forgotten:

Climate control. It's still 90 degrees and 80% humidity as I type this at 10:30pm. The gym is always low 70s and lower humidity. It's always light, no heat of the day, no thunderstorms.
Predictability. I know exactly what's coming (nothing). No dogs, no squirrels to dodge, no bikers sharing the sidewalk, I don't have to lug around my mace.
Elevation. I run in the flattest city in the state, yet Chicago has that nice incline at the 26th mile. I can now train for that.
Tempo. It's a lot easier to push the tempo when the machine is doing it and my only job is to keep up.
Cubbies for my keys (and a sweat towel or water if I want it).
Besides, it never hurts to break it up with an episode of Jeopardy! mid-run :) I'm going to get my $$ worth this month!

Thursday, July 20, 2017


I love summer, I love all the sunlight, I love that it's light out past 9pm. The only thing I don't actually like is the heat. I've been trying to run through it and toughen up myself. This week, however, has been oppressive. Wednesday had a heat index of 100+, Thursday's forecast was over 90 with crazy humidity. The next week doesn't look any better.

*Could* I run through it? Sure, I could also run at 4am, or I could always run at midnight. Just because I physically CAN do something doesn't mean I SHOULD. Biking works in an emergency but it's not a valid substitute for 7-14 days of training if I'm injury free.

So I called up Planet Fitness to ask about their very short term options. They're not great and I don't want to provide them my bank numbers to automatically debit the dues every month. I don't want to pay their $39 "member fees" on September 1st either. Theoretically it'll be cooler and less humid then anyway. I asked about signing up then immediately canceling, therefore giving myself a 5-6 week membership. That was certainly an option, but...

"I don't actually have a checking account," I said. "Can I pay cash?"

"We have a one month prepay option," Colleen said. Why did they not offer me this in February???? It's a lot more than their $10 a month advertised rates, but it works for me. So I signed up on Wednesday for 30 days and had a glorious run.

It was tempo Wednesday. I did 4 miles at tempo then kicked it up every 0.15 of the last mile. The incline ranged from 1.0 to 2.5. Then as I was leaving, Colleen pointed out the six treadmills that are set to "marathon mode" and have NO auto shutoff function for massive 60, 90+ minute runs. Awesome :)

I can't think of anything more stereotypically American than paying money to run in the air conditioning...