Food, Fitness, Photography

Food, Fitness, Photography

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Race week

This week : 

M : run 5.3 / 7:48 / 246 ft
T : run 6.7 w/Corey / 7:32 / 236 ft
W :  yoga 30 min
R : run 5.1 / 7:52 / 312 ft
F : rest
Sa : warm up 1.1
strides 0.3
race 13 / 7:11 / 449 ft
Su : run 4.2 / 7:41 / 167 ft

total miles : 35.8

Saturday's race report can be found here.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Star City Half Marathon 2017

I'll write a full post later, for now just wanted to say that I ran my heart out and had zero oxygen left on the finish line at 1:33:24. Despite the fact that I was running as hard as I could, I didn't hit my goal pace for a single mile. Asthma had the final say despite all my hours of training, but I'm not going to give up. I will run a 1:27 (or faster!) someday!


Lots of thoughts in my head in the hours (and day) since this race. I am an over-thinker by nature, and so I will continue to think about this for awhile, even though I know there's really nothing to be gained from it.  I know that I ran my hardest yesterday.  I know that I run best by feel, and so I did not look at my pace at all during the race.  I was running a PR effort.  As the miles passed by, I was constantly assessing my effort and pushing harder if it felt at all possible. 

My lungs did not feel strong during this race.  Usually, I can make it through at least half the race before I start to worry about my lungs fatiguing, but this time I was really working for air the whole race.  This worried me, but I hoped it was just because I was running an extra fast pace.  I ended up using my inhaler at mile 4 and again at mile 9.  While I hoped that my lungs were struggling because of a fast pace, I worried that I was not in fact running that fast, but I made myself think positively throughout the race and pretend that I was on track for a PR and that all I had to do was push a little bit harder.  And then a little bit harder. 

I was struggling hard for air in the last mile as I made my final push to the finish line, but I kept telling myself it was almost over and I would make it.  It was a huge disappointment when I rounded the final turn towards the finish and checked the time clock as I sprinted for the line.  The clock read 1:33.  Even though I had been afraid I wasn't running a PR, I definitely was not expecting my time to be that slow, especially not for the effort I put in during the race.  My watch only had me at 13 miles on the line and normally I would keep going to 13.1 but this time I just didn't care.  My time was not at all what I wanted, I was barely getting any oxygen, and I just couldn't find a reason to care about being under the official distance. 

My lung haven't struggled that hard on a finish line in a long time.  And when I raced in September, I felt like I was almost ready to run a half marathon without using my inhaler during the race.  Yesterday was a slap in the face to those thoughts.  I did worry when I got sick a few weeks ago that it would weaken my lungs, and I'm assuming that is what happened here, combined with the cold air yesterday.  Even though I got rid of my cold in record time, there is still an occasional cough, and the cold air is always harder on my lungs.  It was in the 40s yesterday, so the logical explanation for my lung trouble is the cold air plus my lungs still being weak from the cough. 

gotta love asthma-attack finish-line face

It's hard to move on from a goal without achieving it, but I always knew that was a possibility with this goal, especially after I got sick.  I now have to switch gears to marathon training so I can PR the marathon at Pittsburgh in May.  I am not going to give up on PRing the half marathon, but it's going to have to wait.  Even if I could find another race soon and afford to pay for it, I'm assuming the cold air would compromise my lungs and keep me from the PR again anyway.  I might try for a race in early March, but if not, I'll have to wait til next fall.  And I'm just going to have to be ok with that.  It's already been 5 years since my race-verifiable PR and 3 since my watch clocked a PR on a course that was long.  What's one more year...?

The only up-side to this asthma race-failure debacle is my legs don't feel like they raced yesterday.  So I'm probably not going to rest quite as much as I had originally planned to after this race.  I am going to try to back off a little bit just because I have been training hard lately and I know my body can only take so much, but I probably won't back off mileage,, just maybe skip some of the faster workouts for a little while.  Famous last words, right?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

6 days til Star City!

This week : 

M : circuit training 33:15

T : yoga class 1 hr
run 10 / 8:34 / 906 ft

W : trainer ride 11.1 / 46:57 / 14.2 mph
TRX 10 minute abs

R : rest

F :  run 9 / 7:18 / 679 ft

Sa : run 6.1 / 7:50 / 482 ft

Su : TRX 35:00
trainer ride 12 / 48:37 / 14.8 mph

total run miles : 25.2
total bike miles : 23.1

Thankful to say my cough is almost entirely gone!  I've definitely been taking extra good care of myself lately, and maybe that special homemade chicken soup helped too.  

I hadn't originally planned to run fast on Friday, but I felt good starting out and my legs really wanted to go, so I ended up deciding to let them.  I didn't look at the pace while I was running, just ran as fast as I could maintain comfortably without getting too out of breath, then picked it up even faster for the last 2 miles (7:08, 7:06).  It felt really good, and was a great boost of confidence for me as I enter the final week before Star City!  

In other news, today is exactly 6 years since I ran my first marathon!  I've been thinking lately about how grateful I am to have had Jim as my running partner back then.  When I came up with the crazy scheme to run a half marathon, he trained and raced with me.  He did the same when I decided to be even crazier and run a marathon 11 months later.  If it weren't for him encouraging me, training with me, and traveling to those races with me, who knows where I'd be now.  Maybe I would have eventually run these distances anyway, maybe I would have kept running a 5k a day forever.  But I bet I wouldn't be about to run my 33rd half marathon in less than a week, or planning my 4th marathon in 6 months.  My running fitness has come a long way in the last 6 years, and I can't wait to see how much further I can take it!  

Flashback!  11/12/2011

PS : I can see my abs.  They aren't super 6-pack defined yet...but they are definitely there.  Exciting. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

and then I got sick for the first time in over a year

I really need to learn to acknowledge/heed the warnings my body sends me so that it doesn't have to hit the self-destruct button just to get my attention.  I know that I can fight off head colds when I'm doing everything right, and it's not hard to figure out exactly what I did wrong in the last 2 weeks. My nightly sleep slipped down from 8-9 hrs/night to 7-7.5, which is probably what hurt me the most.  And then there's the fact that I let myself freeze in my apt, while bordering the underweight line, instead of just paying the extra $20/month it would probably have cost me to keep the heat higher.  My body wasted so much energy trying to keep me warm, it couldn't fight off the head cold.  Lesson learned: it's not worth it to save $20 a month.  I'm two weeks out from my race and now I have a cough that is unlikely to be gone by then, since it usually takes me an average of a month to fully get rid of a cough.  The only good side to this is that I'm being forced to take it easier in these weeks leading up to the race, when I would have kept training hard until the last week.  So the forced easier runs will probably help in the end.  But, depending on the coughing situation, I may not be able to get the PR I've been working so hard for.  My lungs have been the only thing preventing me from getting one before this, and they are now compromised.  I haven't completely given up hope yet, and I know there will be other chances next year, but this PR is what all my training has been leading up to for the last year, so it will be really hard if I show up to race day knowing it's not in the cards.  BUT I've been taking extra good care of myself since Wednesday, and even made chicken soup from an entire chicken for the first time ever today.  All I can do now is continue to take extra good care of myself and hope for the best!

The plan this week was a 4 mile tempo on Tuesday and 10 miles on Thursday.  But Tuesday we got out of school at 1 for Halloween, so I decided to take advantage of the extra time and do my long run.  After making plans to run a few miles with Chuck in the middle, I decided to push the first few.  I'm glad I ended up getting those fast miles in, because when Thursday came around I was too sick to do a tempo run.  The last mile was my fastest at 6:50, and miles 2 & 3 were also under 7:00, so I definitely got some tempo miles in this week.

This week : 

M : hill run 6.3 / 8:34 / 725 ft

T : circuit training 33:15
run 9 / 7:27 / 397 
(3.6 hard, 4 moderate w/Chuck, solo finish with last 1 hard)

W : rest

R : run 5 / 9:02 / 344 ft

F : rest 

Sa : walk 1.6
TRX 35:00

Su : run w/Corey 12.45 / 8:09 / 814 ft

total miles 32.7

In other news, there are only 2 months left in the year and I am 80+ miles ahead of my goal for 1500 miles in 2017.  October saw the fewest runs of any month, but the 3rd highest mileage, 2nd highest elevation gain, and it definitely had a greater percentage of faster runs!  I've already passed last year's mileage, and the 2 years before that were each under 1000.  It's nice to be injury free!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

ugh, winter is here

I made myself a training schedule to follow until Star City and I followed it really well until today, when I decided that the planned 4 miler was not in my best interest.  I needed a shakeout, but it was too cold and damp for an effective shakeout so I did yoga instead.  Turns out I would have seen the first snowflakes of the season if I had gone for that run...I have no regrets.  I am so totally not ready for winter.  I've had the heat on for almost 2 weeks now, and I know I made it til November last year.  Also, despite all the layers of sweats I wear, I keep having to turn up the heat higher and higher.  This top floor apartment has ceiling heat, who's brilliant idea was that?! And I currently have no downstairs neighbor, so no heat rising from below.  I really hope someone moves in soon... I made my budget assuming I'd manage to keep the heat around 55 like I did last winter, not taking into account the fact that I currently weigh less than I did last year, and that I have no downstairs neighbor.  I fully expect to gain some weight back after this race, but I'm thinking I still won't be able to tough out the cold quite as much as I did last winter. 

In other news, I nailed my track workout this week!  And it was a big win for my lungs.  I actually ran the whole way to the brewery to meet the guys (0.7 miles) and then started towards the track with them before realizing that I had not used my inhaler.  And I wasn't even having trouble breathing yet.  I was half-tempted to try the whole run without it, but I had mile repeats planned and didn't want to risk bombing them.  We practically run by my place to get to the track though, so we made a pit stop.  My goal was at least 3 mile repeats, at slightly faster than goal half marathon pace.  I wanted 5, but I knew I would stop after 3 if I didn't feel like I could hold the consistency.  After 4, I was still feeling really good so I went for 5.  I probably could have done 6, but it was full dark by the time we finished the 5th, and it wasn't worth it to keep running when we could barely see the track and we were getting really cold.  5 was a good workout though, I was running strong and consistent (6:19-6:22 pace), barely out of breath at the end of each one, and the 400m walk recovery was plenty. 

This week : 
M : circuit training 33:15
run 5 / 8:19 / 545 ft 
(easy effort hill run)

T : yoga class 1 hr
run 8.4 / 8:43 / 344 ft
(5 x 1600 w/400 walk recovery)

W : rest

R : run w/ Corey 10 / 7:34 / 502 ft 
(8 @ moderate effort (7:40 ish), last 2 hard - 7:15, 6:46)

F : TRX 45 minutes

Sa : run 8.3 / 7:57 / 650 ft

Su : yoga 30 min

total miles : 31.7

T-20 days til Star City!  

Sunday, October 22, 2017

A successful long run! And exciting news!

News first : I've been toying with this idea for awhile, but some things came together recently and I decided to just go for it!  I have officially signed up to get my Personal Training certification through NASM!  I'm also taking their Fitness Nutrition Specialist course.  At some point I plan to get a certification to coach running as well, but I have to choose a different organization for that.  NASM is letting me spread my payments over 12 months interest free which enabled me to start right away, but I will probably need to save up money for the coaching cert. Once I have my certifications, I will probably only do online coaching since I already have a full-time job teaching, but I also may look for local summer employment as a personal trainer.  Originally I had thought about getting into online coaching without getting all the certifications, but after some research and remembering how sue-happy everyone is these days, it seems like that would not be a good idea.  So I'm going the official route.  And of course going the official route means I will be that much better of a coach in the end, because even though I might pretend I know all there is to know, of course there is always more to learn!

This week : 
M : circuit training 33:15
run 6.2 / 11:02 / 883 ft
(hill workout : road/grass/trail) 

T : yoga 60 minutes
tempo run : 8 / 7:18 / 233 ft
(3 mile progression 6:42, 6:31, 6:10)

W : rest

R : run 15.1 / 7:43 / 955 ft

F : TRX 45 minutes
walk 1.2 miles

Sa : run 5.8 / 8:04 / 361 ft

Su : hike 1.7 miles

total miles : 35.1

I've avoided trails for months because I'm always worried about my ankles, and now a month before my big PR attempt I decided I just had to go run some trails.  They are fun!  However, I am really relieved that I didn't roll an ankle, and I'm hoping to keep myself off the trails til after my race.  This is the most dangerous time of year to be on them with all the leaves falling!

Tuesday's tempo run started out with a vague idea that I wanted to be 6:45 or under.  We picked up the pace a bit after the second tempo mile and it felt good, so at the end of the 2nd mile when I saw the split, I decided I was doing a progression and kicked it up another notch.  At that point, the guys stopped sticking with me and started pushing the pace themselves, and it turned into me just trying not to lose sight of them for that 3rd mile.  I was super excited with how fast I pulled off the 3rd mile, and how strong I felt! 

On Thursday, the guys couldn't make it to run club so I decided to start my run early and run til I felt the need to stop. I was hoping for 10-12 but also trying not to get my hopes up too high.  Each time I had to choose whether to go further or turn towards home, I felt good enough to go further, until I knew I was getting 15 miles.   I did not allow myself to look at my pace at any point during the run, but I did try not to let it feel like a jog at any point.  I had to work hard for the last 2 miles, but I was amazed when I finished the run and found out how far below 8:00 my average was!  Now I am feeling much more confident about my chances of getting a PR at Star City on November 18!  I do know that there are many things that could go wrong between now and then, or during the race, and I am determined not to beat myself up if I don't get that PR that I so desperately want, but it will be nice to at least know it was within reach!  It hasn't felt within reach until now.  

Letting out my inner child in the woods today.

A baby waterfall is better than no waterfall!  
And this one's only a 15 minute drive away.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

fewer runs, same mileage

This is how I would like to get my mileage more often.  Fewer, longer, runs.  It would be really nice to start getting closer to 40 miles in 4 runs, but that's too ambitious for me right now.  I am really happy with how this week's runs went however, and know that if I can stay strong and train smart for the next month, I have a really good shot at the half marathon PR that I want.

This week : 
M : circuit training 33:15

T : yoga 30 min
group track 9 / 9:40 / 305 ft
(lap ladder : 4, 3, 2, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4)

W : yoga 50 min

R : run w/Corey 10.2 / 7:40 / 584 ft

F : TRX arms & abs circuit 33:15

Sa : long run 12 / 8:10 / 794 ft

Su : rest

total miles : 31.2

Track Tuesday : half-time recovery on the way down the ladder, full-time recovery on the way back up.  1 lap walk + another minute or so in between the 400s.  1600s were intended to be at goal half marathon pace.  I was aiming for 6:30ish.  It's hard to run half marathon pace on the track, but at least having the thought in my head helps me not run my intervals too crazy fast.  Tried to get just a little bit faster as the intervals shortened. 

1600 : 6:27
1200 : 4:46
800 : 3:08
400 : 1:26
400 : 1:29 
800 : 3:14
1200 : 4:44
1600 : 6:24

On Thursday, I was exhausted and just tying my running shoes felt like a chore I didn't want to do.  BUT I got my shoes tied, pulled myself off the floor, and showed up to run club.  I knew I might not get more than 4 miles, and if I continued to feel bad after starting the run I wouldn't have pushed for mileage, but I also knew that running might actually increase my energy.  And it did!  I ended up feeling stronger the further we got.  I could have called it quits at 8.5 but instead I decided to add on instead of running straight home as we finished a big loop.  With 19 miles in two runs it seemed like I may as well stick with the theme and so I planned to get my 30 miles in just 3 runs this week.  

I hoped to feel strong after coming off a big hill in Saturday's run, and to add on more miles, but I was done for at the top of the hill, so I ran it on home.  I knew I could make it the last 2 downhill miles home without sacrificing pace too much, and knew that quality was more important than quantity, so I didn't make myself add to get to 14 miles like I considered.  

I spent most of today (Sunday) debating whether or not to go for a shake-out jog, since I'm feeling pretty good and it's always tempting to try and get more miles in, but ultimately it looks like I have decided to wait for tomorrow.  I want to be able to get a few miles in after circuit training tomorrow.  As much as I love the "Fewer runs, greater miles" thing, I'd like to get a good 14+ mile run next weekend, so I'm thinking it will be better if I do fewer, slightly shorter, runs throughout the week.