Food, Fitness, Photography

Food, Fitness, Photography

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.  

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Picking up the Pace

For awhile now I have been working on including slower runs in my week, and doing a warm-up mile before running faster miles.  I've also been working hard to hold myself back in the first mile of half marathons in order not to go out to fast.  This strategy has not been working super well for me.  It was not my strategy when I was running my best races, and I do not want it to be my strategy anymore.  My best runs have always been about consistency, not about starting slow and speeding up.  So consistency is what I'm working on getting back to.

I can see how starting slow and speeding up is a good strategy for other people, especially to help warm-up the legs, but here is why I think it is not useful to me.  My legs are not my limiting factor when I run.  My lungs are.  And once I establish a pace, it is really hard for my lungs to adjust to a faster pace.  When my lungs struggle, my legs don't get enough oxygen, and then my legs struggle.  If I establish a quicker pace in the beginning, that is the pace that my lungs settle to, and so I'm able to hold it for awhile.  This doesn't mean I want to start off a half-marathon at 6:00 pace, but it does mean that I don't need to be trying to hold myself to 7:30 in my first mile.

My current training goal is to increase my average pace on weekly runs less than 8 or 9 miles.  Less 8:00-8:30, more 7:00-7:45.  My lungs don't get stronger on slow runs, they get stronger when I make them work.  I ran a strong race at the Bluegrass 1/2, but my goal half marathon time is several minutes faster.  I want to get my lungs and legs used to running faster consistently.  I know that I have to be careful not to over-tire my legs in this process, but I am trusting myself to listen to my body.

This week I ended up with 2 hilly tempo runs, a long hill run, and then another run that was supposed to be 5 and ended up being 7... I felt really good on the first 3 runs. I was getting tired towards the end of today's run, but it made sense after how hard I ran all week!

This week : 
M : circuit training 33:15
T : group run 7.5 / 7:14 / 413 ft
W : TRX 45 minutes
R : run w/Corey 8 / 7:34 / 554 ft
F : horseback ride 45 minutes
Sa : run 10.1 / 8:17 / 1440 ft
Su :  run w/Ben 7 / 7:40 / 367 ft

total miles : 32.6

At various times over the years when running long hill climbs, I have contemplated turning around at the top to run the hill again.  I never actually did it, until this Saturday.  I was in West Virginia to ride my horse and go for a hill run, and the run was going really, really well.  The sunshine and temperature were perfect, the turning leaves were gorgeous, and I felt good.  I was running a 3.5 mile stretch of Rt 60 that had mile-ish long ups and downs.  On the way out from the house, the road was down, up, down.  When I turned around and climbed the 1.1 mile climb, I just plain loved it.  It had steeper sections and less steep sections, but it went steadily upwards for the whole 1.1 miles.  3/4 of the way up, I knew I wanted to do it again.  I reached the top, and actually turned around to go back down.  It was just as gorgeous the second time, and I never for a second regretted my decision.  

I have been frustrated lately, realizing that I have lost some of my hill strength since leaving WV.  Being able to do those long hill climbs this weekend and feel strong doing them made me feel a lot better!  

The view at the start of Saturday's run.

Heading down the first hill on Saturday.

Enjoyed getting to see this cute Pony on Friday!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Recovery Week + Growler Relay

I did my best to keep it light on the running this week, although I did not back off of the strength training.  My legs and body have definitely been worn out from the half marathon last Sunday!  My team for the Growler Relay was 7 people for 8 legs, so I did end up being the person that ran 2, but at least I had only run twice this week before that, and I didn't treat it like a race this year.  (I didn't jog either...but I definitely wasn't pushing myself to the max!)

I didn't get home from Roanoke until almost 3:00 today but a friend asked if I wanted to bike and that seemed like a good thing to do after sitting in the car, especially since I've been trying not to run too much, but still need exercise.  It ended up being really windy for our ride which made it harder than I'd like, but I'm glad I got out and did it.  It was a gorgeous day, and I do need to be getting on that bike once in awhile!

This week : 

M : circuit training 33:15

T : yoga class 1 hour

W : TRX 30 minutes
run 3.6 / 7:43 / 272 ft

R : trail run 4.8 / 9:56 / 997 ft

F : rest

Sa : relay leg- 1 5.3 / 7:37 / 223 ft
relay leg 3- 6. 2/ 7:36 / 213 ft 

Su : bike w/Coby 22.2 / 17.6 mph / 1247 ft

total miles run : 19.8
total miles bike : 22.2

Handing off to our second runner yesterday after I started off the relay.  I've never seen my muscles pop out like that...the camera must have caught the exact moment my foot hit the ground and the impact traveled up my leg!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Grayson Highlands 9-23-2017

I hadn't made plans to go hiking on Saturday, but when I woke up that morning, still sore from Thursday's TRX, I decided that I needed to go hiking because it would be better for my muscles than sitting on the couch all day.  I had a whole bunch of chores to do, but I decided to ignore them, and off to Grayson Highlands I went.  When I arrived, I discovered that there was a festival going on, and most of the ponies had been rounded up for that.  So there was only one pony sighting on my hike.  But the trees are turning, and the sky was blue with puffy white clouds, so the scenery was nothing short of gorgeous.

After a very busy week of extra long days, this hike was exactly what I needed to recharge my batteries. I hiked just under 6 miles with 869 feet of climbing so it made my legs more sore instead of less sore, but it was totally worth it!

on top of the world 

taking in the gorgeous view

...just climbing a tree in the middle of a clearing in the woods...

Bluegrass 1/2 Marathon 9-24-17

WolfPack Run Club, ready to race! 

I had no idea what would happen during this race. I was worried that I would hit a wall like I have during my long runs, but I also knew there was a chance that I would have a good day and race day adrenaline would see me through.  I've had a lot of training hiccups lately, but I know I am still in better overall shape than I was a year ago!  

I skipped a warm up this morning because I was standing in line for the bathroom, but I was completely ok with that.  I knew that skipping a warm up would help me start just a little bit slower, and use that first mile for a warm up.  My first mile didn't actually end up being all that slow, but at least it wasn't 6:00 pace!  I did not allow myself to look at my watch (other than to glance at my HR occasionally) until after I crossed the finish line.  I even managed to keep my eyes on the ground when I passed the time clocks at mile 7 so that I wouldn't see them and start obsessing about my time.  I did catch the number 4 at the beginning of the clock but that was it!  I ran the whole race by feel, keeping my pace as strong and consistent as I could.  I spent several miles on the heels of the 4th place woman.  She pulled ahead in the 5th mile, but I slowly reeled her back in, passing her on an uphill (the only way I know how to pass people!) in mile 7, and then I held my place til the end. After how strong I felt throughout the race, I was a bit disappointed to see that I hadn't broken 1:30, but I was still happy with my race.  The fact that I was running strong and mostly under 7:00 matters a lot more than breaking 1:30.  I only had 3 miles over 7:00 today!  Plus, I actually finished the 13.1 in under 1:31, since the course was long.  Now I just need to shave off 3 more minutes by November...
I was impressed to see that my second fastest mile was mile 13!  I was struggling hard for air at that point, but didn't want to use my inhaler that close to the finish.  I was afraid that my oxygen debt was slowing me down, but 6:41 pace is pretty impressive for oxygen debt!  (I did use the inhaler in mile 6, I was running so well and didn't want to risk losing it because I waited too long to use the inhaler!)

I have learned in my past few half marathons that starting slow is not the best plan for me.  It's true that I shouldn't go out at a 6:00 pace, but I shouldn't go out at a 8:00 pace either.  I do best with consistency, which means I need to start close to the pace that I actually want to run.  If I start too fast I will burn out, and if I start too slow I won't be able to pick up the pace later in the race.  I have always been good at consistency, so I don't know why I kept trying to mess with it by starting extra slow!  I also run best when I hide my watch and run by feel...I really need to make sure I do that in every race.  

Half marathon #32!

The number of half marathons I have run is now greater than the number of years I have spent on this earth!  Today's race went spectacularly well considering all my training hiccups lately!  More about the race in a separate post. 

This week : 

M : circuit training 25:45
run 6 / 7:43 / 479 ft

T : yoga 60 min
run 5.7 / 8:07 / 226 ft
(4 x 800)

W : rest

R : TRX 30 min
run 4 / 7:48 / 276 ft

F : run 3.1 / 7:57 / 157 ft

Sa : hike 5.8 / 869 ft

Su : warm up 0.1 / 7:54 / 0 ft
race 13.3 / 6:55 / 495 ft
cool down 1.8:56 / 30 ft

total miles 33.5

I put myself through a great TRX workout on Thursday.  I was still sore on Saturday, so I decided a hike would be better for my muscles than sitting on the couch.  But then I decided to go to Grayson Highlands and hike up and down some mountains, so I'm not sure my plan worked out so well.  It was absolutely gorgeous though, and I had no regrets about my decision. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

7 is the magic number

7 is the magic number.  For this week anyway.  I didn't even attempt a long run this week.  I don't think I could handle the mental side of it if it went badly with only a week to go til race day.  I hate that my last long run pre-race was bad, but I'm glad I had some really good 7 mile runs this week, and I'm going to be counting on race day adrenaline next Sunday.  Also, constantly reminding myself I don't have to race hard next weekend.  I just have to run.  It can be a long training run if necessary.  I just really really don't want it to feel like my last long run did.

I was excited all week about how low my HR was staying even when I was running faster than usual, and I hit a new V02 max of 56 on Tuesday.  Then today when I was running I spent a bit more time in Z4 and realized that most likely the main reason my HR has been lower all week has been because of the lower temperature.  It was considerably warmer today, so my heart had to work harder.  Duh.  I'm still glad to see improvements in my fitness even if they are related to cooler temps!  It says potential good things about how my fall training will go once I don't have to battle the heat.  Gotta have something to look forward to with the cooler weather instead of just dreading being cold all the time.

This week : 
M : circuit training 33:15
run 5.5 / 8:03 / 440 ft 
T : yoga class  60 min
group run 6.3 / 7:48 / 305 ft
W : rest
R : TRX circuit 43:00
run 7.5 / 7:29 / 486 ft
F : run 7.6 / 7:55 / 650 ft
Sa : rest
Su : run 7.1 / 7:48 / 522 ft
total miles : 34

On Monday, I taught my first after-school fitness class to some co-workers.  I'm excited for this opportunity to hep others improve their fitness, have some workout buddies, and make a little extra money!  I also do a TRX workout with Gail whenever we can coordinate schedules.  We made it happen this week, and I really loved being able to work out twice, with people, this week!  It is a lot easier for me to get motivated to work out when I have people to do it with.  This week was also the beginning of Tuesday after school yoga for teachers, so I now have that set in my weekly schedule as well.