Sunday, July 29, 2012

Run and done!

Hal said to do 9 miles on Saturday. Easy enough. Ok, not really. It's actually still a really difficult run, but compared to the past few weeks, it was less miserable. Most Saturdays I like to sleep in late, relax, have coffee, eat, etc. It generally takes me about 4 hours to go from waking up to actually running. I didn't have the luxury of time this week since I had a 2 pm funeral. I had to get dressed up and drive to the cemetery, which meant I had to be done running shortly after noon and I didn't wake up until almost 10....

Somehow it happened. Sweet! The thermometer I pass said 74 degrees. It seemed warmer in the sun, but in the shade, in the cloud cover it was nice. Between miles 6 and 7 I always pass a church and it was open. Hallelujah! Service was hours from starting, so I stepped inside and asked if I could use a faucet. Thank you! My water holster holds a measly 20 ounces, but I finished the run with water still sloshing around.

Some days just finishing the miles is accomplishment enough. Saturday's run wasn't anything special. It wasn't my fastest run ever. It also wasn't complete agony the whole time. I managed to stay under my race goal time, if only by 4 seconds per mile. By comparison last Saturday's killer 12-miler took me 50 minutes longer to finish an additional 3 miles. Yikes!


Friday, July 27, 2012

The good ending

Tuesday evening it was really cool and comfortable, so when faced with running 6 miles on Wednesday, it made sense to wait for the cool weather. The problem was that it never happened!!! When I headed out on Wednesday night it was after 7 pm and still in the upper 80s and really humid. Gross!

Cute Google logo :)
The run was tedious. It felt like every mile took forever, at least until I turned on to Rosedale, which is my favorite street for running. It's a wide street, it's flat, and I can see the stop light at the end so it's obvious where and when I'll be done.

I had a few mini speed bursts on Rosedale, but the last 0.6 miles was the best of all. I was exhausted. I could wring out the sweat from my shirt, my water was gone, but I felt strangely energized. It was no longer a slow jog, but an actual run. My arms were pumping hard, I was breathing hard, my legs were moving quickly and turning over quickly. I felt like a real runner!

Final time: 1:04:04. I wanted to finish under an hour, but I can't be too disappointed. I stayed under my race pace and it was 86 degrees!!! Sheesh! I get some leeway in that temperature! :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Running burnt

I've experience two different kinds of running burnt. 5-6 weeks before the Martian I was mentally burnt out. I was bored with running and while my body could handle any distance Hal prescribed, my mind was bored and struggled to finish the runs.

NOT ME!!!! I'm not nearly this red!!!!!
Tuesday morning was a completely different kind of burn. Monday was wonderful, glorious "No exercise Monday!!!" Rather than stay home, I headed to the beach at Maumee Bay State Park. A day off has never felt that good and I dragged my chair into the water, almost level with the water height. I read, I relaxed, the waves crashed over my chair. It was soooooo relaxing. The only running thought I managed was "Hal who???" I slathered sunblock over my entire body, yet by the time I went to bed, realized I had still gotten burnt. It was really splotchy, indicative of sunscreen sweating off in random spots. The worst part is I wore a key-hole top so I have a nice circle burn :( The burn wasn't too painful and the only places that might be a problem were my hip and my underarm area where my sports bra fits.

Tuesday morning was hot and humid. At least it was the first time I stepped outside. I knew it would only get worse as the day went on, so I had 2 glasses of water and 1 1/2 Kashi cereal bars and forced myself to go. In those 15 minutes it had cooled off considerably and felt great. Fake out! Five minutes later it was super hot again. Thankfully it was only a 3-miler day.

It got done. My shorts rubbed my burnt hip. My bra rubbed my burnt chest. Aside from the burn, it was still a lousy run. I felt really weak and exhausted, although I guess that's to be expected on Tuesday runs. Tuesdays are always super low mileage, with the main purpose of getting my legs and body running again after the beating inflicted by the long Saturday run.

I passed a building whose marquee read "Satan called. He wants his weather back." That about says it all.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Help me Hal, that was terrible!!!!

Saturday was the 3-month mark to the Free Press. One friend said "That's a long way off [and a long time to be in training mode]." Another friend said "Wow! That soon?" I agree with both of them. In some respects it seems a lifetime away, in others, it'll be here in the blink of an eye.

My buddy Hal said to do 12 miles. I love sleeping in late, so I did so. The next best option was to wait and run in the evening when the sun had passed its peak height. I had been asked on a date, however, which meant I had to run in the middle of the day. Ugh! I could have gone to the Y, but it didn't seem too bad outside. Haha was I fooled!!!

Before heading out I had 900 calories and 2 huge glasses of water, slathered on sunscreen, and wore both a bandanna and a visor to help with sun and sweat (it was a good combination for keeping sweat off my face). None of that helped one iota.

My route didn't help either. The easy way to run 12 miles would be to run two 6-mile laps. I don't like doing multiple laps though, so I rearranged my route to be a serpentine out-and-back. It was awful. It started as run 9 minutes, walk 1, then after 30 minutes became "walk as needed," including an 8-minute stretch of solid walking.

Being in the shade wasn't terrible, but the sun was brutal and my only thought was "I need water!"I stopped at a church hoping to refill my water holster, but it was too early for Saturday service, ergo the building was locked. I trudged on, parched and panting. I wasn't just thirsty, the dehydration was causing super weak muscles and a fuzzy, light-headed brain.

Around mile 9, I was on a road I almost never use when a car honked. My immediate thought was "get a life, jerk!" Then I thought "hmmm that's the same as my brother's car." Said car pulled into a driveway and I approached it, realizing it was my brother and his kids. Hallelujah! "Do you have water?" I gasped. He gave me both kids' sippie cups. I was completely grossed out at drinking after kids, but the dehydration was worse. I guzzled one, and poured the other into my holster. I had 3.5 miles to go, so I was off. Something good was that I never seriously considered asking for a ride home.

I wanted to quit so many times. 7 miles was good enough, right? Well, not really. Hal says it's ok to rearrange and skip the shorter runs in an emergency, but don't skip the long runs, no matter what. They're the crux of the training program. If I quit after 7 miles, I would still have to do the full 12 on Sunday. Some people might break up the long run into a 7 and 5, but I don't. I see the long run as having to be done all at once.

It was AWFUL!!! It got done, but my time was abysmal. At that pace, I wouldn't even break 5 hours. Yet I keep telling myself that Hal, Nita, Scott, all the serious runners I know advise me to not be focused on the time when it's extreme heat or cold. So I tried to focus more on the fact that I finished than on the horrendous time I logged.

Then I got home for the worst part of all - my date cancelled due to a family member being in the hospital. Did he not realize I spent the entire horrendous run looking forward to the date? Boo!!!!! Had I known the change in plans BEFORE my run, I would have waited and run in the cooler evening. Double boo!!!!

Marathoning is all mind over matter and I feel like the matter won. The hot, dry, sunny matter kicked my @ss. Yet at the same time, I FINISHED!!! Maybe the matter was just more challenging but my mind won after all? :D

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Absolute insanity!!!

In 2013, I won't have to do 2 marathons in 9 days because the Martian is April 13 and Toledo isn't until April 21. (Yes, for every reason and second that I hated the Martian, I'll do it again because it's close to home and will give me a goal and reason to stay in shape all winter) After looking up the dates, I spent a few weeks reveling in the idea of having two weeks to recover.

Then I had a fun thought....Lansing launched a new marathon in 2012...I wonder when it's April 21.

New plan for 2013: 3 marathons in 3 weeks :D I see this (or even the 2 in 9 days) as bigger and more significant athletically than the Goofy marathon and a half over 2 days.

Oh the insanity!!!! I can't wait!

At least this time I'll know the 2nd and 3rd races are on the calendar so I won't spend 5 days post-marathon eating Jets and ice cream.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The deviant social experiment

Last weekend was ridiculously hot. Saturday I went sailing in Lake Erie and while I felt seasick, then exhausted after a "non-drowsy" pill, I could still say it was better than running 11 miles!!! Sunday I watched the Tigers and generally procrastinated the day away. By 5 pm, it was still super hot and I knew I still had the 11-miler hanging over my head. It was also about 90 degrees with a heat index closer to 100.

Grudgingly I dragged myself to the Y. 11 miles in the heat just wasn't happening. I knew the Y would be absolute boredom of the worst kind, but I'd be able to log my miles. 110 laps. It was sooooooo boring!!!!

The Y has a 3-lane track that alternates direction every day. Despite my love for counterclockwise running outside, it has to be clockwise in the Y. There is a big glass wall that separates the gym part from the pool part and it functions like a mirror. I definitely absolutely 100% do not like watching myself run. Watching myself run 110 times was worse than the prospect of counting 110 laps of utter boredom.

Sundays at the Y are always really empty and when I started, I was the only person on the track. So what if the directional arrow said counterclockwise? I was going the way I wanted!!! Two miles in, a guy told me we were going the other way today. It was rude, but I responded that I was running for 2 hours and would outlast anyone going the correct way. That's exactly what happened. We were the only two people on the track, so he stayed in the outside lane, I used the inside and it was fine.

Two separate people came onto the track at different times, started going counterclockwise, saw me going clockwise, then went back to the direction sign, doubled checked it, then went my wrong way!!!

When I finished my miles and began a bike cool-down, a guy started walking the track going my way!!!!! Hilarious :) Without a word I convinced an entire gym to go my direction, despite what the sign said (and they take the directions pretty seriously!!!)

Next time I'm going to stand backwards in an elevator and see what happens :D

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Devolution Thursday

Hal Higdon doesn't say anything about speed work or hills on Thursdays. His Thursdays are identical to the Tuesdays - a short run to build mileage and aerobic capacity. Doing speed / hills was my own upgrade, with the advice of Nita. It's always hard. I dread Thursdays because the mileage is small, but the challenge is great.

This past Thursday I didn't run all day. It was too hot! Finally after Jeopardy!, I realized I had to run then, or I never would. It was scheduled for a speed Thursday and I just wasn't excited about it. I skipped the speed work and devolved to what Hal recommended - an easy 3-miler. My route is actually 3.13, but whatever. Even with the straight mileage, it was miserable. I was dehydrated before I even started, but like the majority of runs, it got done. Most days logging the mileage is enough. Averaging under 10:00 per mile was a bonus.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Passing a moving car :D

Week 4 is the week that separates the women from the girls. Hal Higdon increased the Wednesday mileage from 5 to 6 and the Saturday long run jumps from single digits to double, 11 to be exact. Wednesday was hot and dry, but by 7 pm, it wasn't super terrible. Ok it was still 81, but compared to earlier in the day and other days, it felt downright balmy. I filled my water bottles and I was off.

Just before mile 4 I saw a group of girls running together. They were high school age, evidently getting in some summer conditioning for their sport. Cross country? Who knows? They were ahead of me and I wasn't exactly trying to catch up, until I noticed a car driving alongside them, very slowly, with its 4-way blinkers on. I realized it must be the coach and he unknowingly became my pace car. I picked up the pace and drew closer, closer. It seemed every time I got really close, however, he sped up! Mile 4 was by far the fastest of my run because I was determined to pass the pace car! By the time I finally did, the girls were well behind me :D

I had wanted to break 1 hour for the run. My final time was 1:00:10. Boo!!! Granted it was 6.11 miles, but I still wanted to be under an hour! It was better than 2 minutes faster per mile than last Friday so that's pretty significant. Although the dreadful time from last week doesn't count due to the extreme heat and humidity. My Wednesday time was right about where it "should" have been.

Then when I got home I looked at my foot. Dirt? Sun? Gross.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The dreaded summer cold

Saturday morning I received a last minute invite to the Tigers game that afternoon. Between saying yes and actually departing for the game, I realized I just didn't feel well. I was exhausted and had a sore throat. Yup, the first two signs of an impending cold :(

Sunday predictably brought the ear aches, along with massive sneezing and nose blowing. Boo!!!! I spent most of the day laying on the couch, napping a few times. Sunday night I was in bed at 7 pm, with the lights off by 9:30.

Monday I feel ok. I can breathe through my nose again, not so much snot. I still feel super weak and a little woozy. Trying to keep mega-hydrated. This sucks :(

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Losing my marbles

When I left yoga on Friday night, it didn't feel too warm. I drove home and the breeze was pretty cool. Granted it was a 45 mph breeze from driving with both windows open but it seemed better than it had been, so I decided to do my Saturday run on Friday night again. Last week I really like getting it over with and waking up on Saturday, enjoying the day without a long run hanging over my head. It was great enough that it was worth repeating the change.

Ate 2 eggs and an English muffin with peanut butter when I got home. After that I HAD to run to burn off those calories. Thankfully it was a shorter recovery long run of 6-miles, if that makes any sense. Every third week Hal has a shorter long run to rest. Build mileage for 2 weeks, lesser distance for one.

Within a half mile I wanted to stop. At mile 1, I wanted to turn around. At mile 2.5 I told myself running 5 miles would be close enough. It was one of the worst runs of my entire life, worse than running the Martian through the rain, worse than the 20 mile training run. The only one that comes close was running through Hell on Halloween in 2010 when I had bronchitis and had to keep stopping because I was light headed and woozy.

When I do a long run, I generally schedule my breaks - either run 9 minutes walk 1, or run 13 walk 2. For the first 4 minutes I planned the 9&1 idea, but very quickly realized I couldn't run 9 minutes in the humidity. It became "walk as needed." As a result,  my time was abysmal, but time doesn't matter when it's that hot and humid. Finishing matters, although I probably never should have started the run outdoros.

With the hot, dry weather, plenty of people water their lawns and many a time I stopped to dance in the sprinklers. Some people shut off the water when I was approaching so I wouldn't get wet. Very nice, very considerate of them, but the sprinklers were the highlight of the run!!!

Towards the end it seemed to cool off, but was it really cooler, or was I just suffering dehydration induced chills? Never before has stepping into the a/c felt that good.

If it's this hot next week, I'm running my 11 miles at the Y, all 110 laps of it...

Friday, July 6, 2012

Life surprises

I realized a few things that really surprised me in training for the Martian and the Free Press.

My entire life I've avoided oranges like the plague. I love orange juice, but if it has any pulp, forget it! It feels so slimy and gets stuck in my teeth and I feel like I'm chewing juice. Yuck! I always assumed oranges are just like the heavy pulp, so I never had one. Ever. Besides I can't stand anything sour and I assumed oranges were super sour. Then my brother mentioned he and his kids like cuties. They're even pickier eaters than I am! The taste of orange is so yummy and I figured if I didn't like them, I'd give the whole bag to him. Big surprise - I loved them!!!! They peeled easily, had a really sweet taste and no pulp! What have I been missing all my life???? If only cuties were available all year! I would eat 3 or 4 a day!

I also realized cold weather running isn't that terrible. I don't especially like it, but I can dress for it. The best part of cold weather running is that I can run any time of day. I can sleep in, relax, head out mid afternoon and it's totally ok. I don't love the cold, but it beats this awful heat. Aside from the time of day, there's not much to be done with the hot weather. I can wear wicking clothing, but it doesn't really cool me off. boo! It's much easier to dress for the cold, even if it makes me look like a marshmallow.

A third surprise has nothing to do with running but it fits the life surprise theme. I've been at my job for 6 non-consecutive years. The first four years I worked exclusively in middle and high schools. When I re-hired, I replaced a woman who retired and my boss assigned me an elementary school! What?! She said she would re-assign me as soon as she could, but within a month, I said it was ok and she could leave me there. I actually liked working with kids. Wow! When they're not germy, they're pretty cute. Besides I'd rather teach Charlotte's Web than The Crucible or Shakespeare.

Of course the biggest surprise of all is that I became a marathon runner!!!! Never in a million years did I think I would run multiple marathons. That's for serious athletes to do, not studious book-worms. I guess I fooled everyone, especially myself :D

I guess the moral of the story is try new things. You just might like it!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The best decision I made all day

When I moved my Saturday run to Friday, it shifted my whole running schedule, but that's ok. Saturday was recovery from long run, Sunday became no exercise of any kind, then Monday rolled around. If I went back to the schedule, it was "No exercise Monday!" but it also meant 3 days without any exercise, which is a long time off when I feel fine and I'm training for a serious event.

I spent the entire day in the a/c, then after Jeopardy! stuck my head outside and it wasn't terrible. It was hot and humid, but I didn't know what the next day would hold. The weather was tolerable so I moved my Tuesday run to Monday and it was SUPER!!! I did 3.13 miles and every mile was faster than the previous ones. It didn't hurt terribly and didn't feel like that much work. It was one of the best runs I can remember. Definitely the highlight of my day!

Tuesday was stifling but in the evening it cooled off to 76 degrees. The humidity was 95% though. Yuck! Nevertheless I decided to do my Wednesday run on Tuesday night. 5.15 miles later I was drenched in sweat and needed to wring out my shirt. Ewwww. I used my hot weather strategy of run 9 minutes, walk 1. The last 0.6 miles I told myself I would finish under 6 minutes. I finished in 5:04. Yay! Both Monday and Tuesday I was under 10 minutes per mile average.

Wednesday was hot hot hot and miserable! Heat index of 105. I went to a parade and I was dripping sweat just sitting still. There's no way I was running in that! I can completely skip today though and be right back on schedule on Thursday. A major storm is coming through. I'll see how I feel after. Maybe add in a baby 3-miler. Maybe do nothing. Either way is ok.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The unscheduled Friday run

I haven't run on a Friday since ummm September 2011? I started training for the Martian in mid-October, so definitely no Friday runs since then. Looking at Saturday's forecast, it looked awful. The best temperature was at 5am and I really hate waking up that early. I also dislike running first thing because I have a difficult time getting enough calories and water beforehand.

I toyed with the idea of running on Friday night instead. I didn't leave the house until just before yoga and realized it really wasn't too bad outside! Certainly not the sweltering furnace I was expecting. With the breeze it was almost tolerable. Immediate decision - move my long Saturday run to Friday night.

Headed to yoga, trying to calorie up and hydrate before and during class. Came home all stretched out and relaxed. The couch and Tigers game looked really good, but I headed out for my 9-miler. It was 87 and humid when I started, 83 and humid when I finished.

As with any long summer run, I ran through every sprinkler I passed. I stopped at Cabrini church to refill my water bottles. I planned my breaks - run 9 minutes and walk 1.

It was an entirely ok run. When it was over, I felt like I could have kept going, so obviously I didn't push myself enough :P The time was slower than my Free Press pace, but the serious runners I know advise me to not worry about time or pace in extreme heat or cold, just log the miles and listen to my body. Besides I was still in the 10s.

The irony is that on Saturday evening it cooled off considerably and was awesome running weather. Ah well. Felt great to wake up on Saturday and not have a long run hanging over my head. This Friday night thing might be worth repeating!

Next Saturday: 6 miles baby! I love the mini-breaks Hal gives me every third week :D