Sunday, April 23, 2017

Blue Ridge Week

 This week : 
M : run w/Mollie 8.2 / 8:35 / 269 ft
T : group 6.6 / 7:32 / 102 ft
4 x 1600 (6:40, 6:30, 3:30, 6:17)
W : run 4.2 / 7:36 / 230 ft
R : 20 minute yoga for hip flexibility
F : off
Sa : race Blue Ridge 13.1 / 7:33 / 1864 ft
cool down 1 / 9:23 / 0 ft
Su : 40 minute recovery yoga
total miles : 33.2



It's been a good week!  Also, a very rainy week.  Monday Mollie and I were both out of school for Easter, so we got to go for a nice midday run around town.  It felt good for my legs to get some long-er miles in without working too hard.  Tuesday was Track Tuesday of course, and raining, since it does almost every Track Tuesday.  Corey wanted 1600 repeats, and I had been trying to decide between repeats and doing 4 fast miles in a row, so I decided to repeats as well.  I did not try to do them at a normal 1600 repeat pace.  I opted to start slower, and try to make each one a bit faster.  And then of course I did work harder on the last one on purpose... But either way, I was not depleted at the end, which was good.  Didn't want to wear myself out too hard before Blue Ridge!

                                        Monday                                                      Tuesday 



I wanted to do yoga on Wednesday and jog on Thursday, but Spring Program at school was on Thursday evening, and I knew I wouldn't get home til 8 at the earliest.  I thought about running first thing in the morning, but I wasn't sleeping well this week and sleep seemed more important than running.  So, I went for a jog Wednesday and did yoga in my classroom on Thursday in between school and the performance.  Friday was a rest day because I almost always take off the day before a race, but also because there was no time for exercise!  I was at school til 5:30 because my student council was hosting a fundraiser dance so of course I had to be there.  

On Saturday it took me too long to choke down my breakfast so I didn't get to the race in time to do a proper warm up, but in the end I figured that was a good thing since it would force me to use the first mile as a warm up and help keep me from starting too fast.  The race ended up going really well, I didn't let the competition effect my race, and I ran exactly the race I needed to.  I didn't quite negative-split it, but my second half was less than a minute longer than my first half, so I will take it! I feel like the rules for negative-splitting have to be effected by elevation change anyway.  I didn't die until the last mile, and if I'm not dead in the last mile, I'm not working hard enough!  I finished 2 minutes faster than the last year, but still a minute slower than my course PR.   Maybe next year will be my year!  I have very high hopes for improvement in my running as long as I stay injury free!  

I wanted a shake out jog today, but it has been cold and raining all. day. long. My legs are stiff and sore because I was stupid and didn't stretch after the race, and I figured running in the wet cold would not help.  So I just did yoga.  

Blue Ridge 1/2 Marathon 2017

Another fabulous Blue Ridge race experience!  The Blue Ridge team really knows how to put on a good race, from the volunteers, to aid stations, to finish line festival, to the prizes.  And of course the course...it's unbeatable for beautiful scenery and a tough challenge.

It was a gray and rainy morning, but thankfully in the high 50s/low 60s, so I didn't have to worry about staying warm.  I had actually bought arm warmers with this race in mind, but ended up not needing them at all.
pre-race photo

I was very grateful to have my friend Mollie along for this trip!  I had to stay at school late on Friday, and didn't get home til about 6, at which point I still needed to shower, eat, and finish packing.  I didn't hit the road until almost 7:30, but when I picked up Mollie 20 minutes later, she was able to do the rest of the driving for me, which was much appreciated as I was exhausted, and don't feel comfortable driving in the rain or dark on a good day!  

Saturday morning I was slow getting ready and just barely made it to packet pickup before they closed at 7 am, but thankfully I was able to jump out of the car to get there and leave Mollie to go park!  I ended up not really having time to warm up, and ended up jogging for about a minute before standing on the starting line waiting for the start.  I wasn't worried about the lack of warmup however, because I knew I needed to start slow, and figured it would be good for me to use the first mile as a warmup.  

I did my best to keep my pace relaxed during that first downhill mile, not concerning myself with who was ahead of me or passing me.  When we reached the bottom of Mill Mountain, I picked up the effort a little bit, but still made sure I stayed focused on keeping my breathing deep and relaxed.  I knew that I could make or break this race with my lung power, and was determined not to break it.  I often notice that I am not fully expanding my lungs when I breathe in, unless I really concentrate on my breathing and force it.  I tend to concentrate for awhile, and then time will pass and I realize I am not breathing deeply anymore.  During this race, I was focused enough to think about my breathing almost the entire way, and it really helped!  

So, the whole way up Mill Mountain, I was running only as fast as I could run without tiring my lungs.  I kept the same effort going back down.  I used to really push the uphill, and then try to fly down the other side to make up as much time as possible.  Now I know it is smarter not to coast down the hill so that I have plenty of energy to pick up the pace at the bottom.  I also wanted to make sure I saved plenty of drive for the later climbs.  On Mill Mountain, I knew there was at least one woman in front of me.  I got passed by 2 more as we neared the bottom of the hill, but I let them go.  Shortly after reaching the flat, I was told I was in 6th place.  Now that I was almost 6 miles into the race, I was ready to start pushing harder.  I gradually picked up the pace, and passed the 2 who had passed me on the downhill.  

Almost off of Mill Mountain. 
Feeling relaxed and running strong.

At mile 7, the course started going uphill again.  I used my inhaler shortly afterwards, on a flat spot, when it was easier to control my breathing and make sure I would get the full benefit from it.  At that point I knew I was running a really strong and smart race, and wasn't going to risk losing it because of lung trouble.  I know from past races that if I wait til I'm sure I need the inhaler, it's too late for my legs to recover from the oxygen debt.  I kept myself strong up the long steep climbs to the top of Peakwood.  It's a brutal climb, and a few people ahead of my were walking.  At some point on that hill, I passed 3rd place.  2nd place was within sight as I reached the top.  There was a turn around, and we were close enough that we were both on the turnaround at the same time, so that we didn't actually face each other going up or down.  I passed her a minute or two later, as I opened up and pounded out the downhill.  There was less than 4 miles to go, I was done holding back.  I gave that downhill as much as I could give it without getting hurt, as everything was slick from the rain.  There were a few smaller uphills after that, which hurt since I was now running as hard as I could, but every time I started to slow I dug deep and surged forward again.  The hardest part was the last two small inclines.  There was at least one bridge, (my memory is getting fuzzy on this part) there may have been 2, and those short inclines were hard!  But I made it up them and down the other side.  With less than a mile to go, I gave everything I had until I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 1:39:27.  2nd place female and 10th overall.  

last quarter mile sprint to the finish




The photographer stopped me as I was gasping for air and trying to keep moving to bring my heart rate down slowly.  Having to stand still and attempt to smile for a photo was possibly more painful than the run had been, but I managed!  

I love the addition of the sparkly blue letters this year!

I waited to catch my breath and find Mollie, and then did my cooldown.  I could feel my right calf starting to cramp before I started, but I hoped the cooldown would fix it.  It didn't, and as I was jogging I realized that the thing I forgot in my hurried packing was my stick. But lucky me, there was a massage tent set up in the finish line area, so after my cooldown I headed straight there and let someone roll out my calf for me.  

The race organizers and sponsors outdid themselves on the prizes this year!  I got a goodie bag full of stuff from Fleet Feet Roanoke (pictured below), I got my feet scanned for a custom pair of orthotics from Foot Levelers (they won't be designed with my tendonitis issues in mind though, so I may or may not be able to use them for running...either way they'll be useful in non-running shoes though!), and I got a $150 gift card to WalkAbout Outfitters.  I usually spend the gift card on a bunch of stuff, but this year I decided what I really needed was a good rain jacket with a hood, so I got one of those and a t-shirt.  (Few things make me feel old quite like my new-found acceptance of hats and hoods.  I've always hated wearing both hats and hoods, but now being warm and dry is so much more important...I almost enjoy wearing hats now! I still hate how hoods rob me of my peripheral vision, but having a dry head in the rain is nice.)

Now I'll have to learn to like trucker hats, so I can show off this one!

While getting my feet scanned for the orthotics from Foot Levelers, I enjoyed talking to the 1st place female runner, and to the 3rd place male runner, who I met at the Hill Challenge race back in August.  I wish I could get to Roanoke more often to spend more time with all these great people and train with them!



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Meal Prep : 4/18-21

Rosemary-Garlic Pork Tenderloin
Carrot-Mushroom Risotto
Green Beans

The meat : Sprinkle crushed rosemary and garlic powder over a 2.5 lb pork tenderloin and bake at 400 for approximately 60 minutes.  (Until internal temperature reaches 145 F)  My thermometer is broken (because I left it in the oven and it melted...) so I had to overcook this one a bit to be safe.  I need to buy a new thermometer.

The grain : Saute chopped green onion in olive oil until soft, then add 1 cup arborio rice.  Stir to coat rice with oil, then add 1 cup of white wine.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed.  Add garlic powder and salt to taste. Add chicken stock one cup at a time, cooking until liquid is absorbed after each cup, until rice reaches desired texture.  Add 1 grated carrot after 2nd or 3rd cup of stock.  Add chopped mushrooms in last few minutes of cooking.

The vegetable : Snap ends off of fresh green beans.  Steam for a few minutes with a little bit of water (barely enough to cover the bottom of the pan), olive oil, and garlic powder.  Remove lid after a few minutes, and cook another minute or two.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Last minute 5k...because, hills!

I came across a race called Hike the Hill 5k, in Abingdon, scheduled for April 15.  I thought that was the date of Blue Ridge, so I figured it was not an option for me.  Then I found out that Blue Ridge was a week later than I thought it was...and I couldn't find a good excuse not to run the Abingdon race.  (I mean, resting for Blue Ridge was an excuse, but not a good enough one to keep me away from a hill challenge!)  I'll post my race recap tomorrow or sometime this week.  I'm waiting to see if any race photos come out...


This week : 
M : run 10 / 7:33 / 561
T : group 4.3 / 7:51 / 151 ft
W : rest
R : run 8 / 7:34 / 581 ft
F : 45 minute Power Yoga
Sa : warm up 1.6 / 7:22 / 79 ft
race 2.76 / 7:34 / 414 ft
cool down 0.7 / 9:51 / 89
Su : bike 21.2 / 17.3 mph / 1286 ft
total run miles : 27.4
total bike miles : 21.2

On Monday I decided I needed another long hill workout since I still had almost two weeks til Blue Ridge.  So I went out to the closest hill from home that most closely resembles the Mill Mountain climb at Blue Ridge - White's Mill Road.

I ran down to the bottom at a moderately hard pace, and then really pushed the uphill coming back.  My pace was close to 7:00 and I was feeling really strong, until I reached the steep part towards the end, and then I completely died.  I dug deep and found every bit of grit in my body to keep pushing for the top, but it was a major struggle, and I fell way off my pace as I gasped for air and my legs slowed from lack of oxygen.  Needless to say, I will be running that hill again, and trying to make strategize better so as to make it to the top without dying.  But it will have to wait until after Blue Ridge at this point.

Heading down the hill...sporting some nice blue argyle compression socks!


On Thursdays run, I again decided to push some hills.  I ran a moderate pace in between the hills, and pushed the uphills.  And I sought out as many uphills as I could during the 8 miles...some long, some short.  The last one looks tiny, but it was really steep and definitely hurt that late in the run!

Today's bike ride was supposed to be pretty easy, but the wind had other ideas.  I still managed not to quite overdo it out there, but I had to work harder than I wanted to with the wind in my face for the last 7+ miles!  It was a gorgeous day though, I rode out to the Emory & Henry campus and back.




Sunday, April 9, 2017

Calendar Fail

I found out today that the Blue Ridge race is not in fact on the 15th, but on the 22nd.  It's usually the 3rd Saturday, so I guess that's just what I put in my calendar and never actually remembered to verify it.  So...I just wasted 2 weeks that I could have been still doing long marathon-training runs.  And now I'm going to lose another 2 weeks or so. And I could have run the Bristol half marathon with my friends yesterday!  But on the bright side...I have more time to work on speed and lung strength for Blue Ridge.  I'm trying to look on the bright side and not just be really mad about my inability to verify a date.

This week : 
M : 6.1 / 7:12 / 82 ft
the plan : warm up, 4 miles @7:00, cool down
4 mile actual splits : 6:49, 6:56, 6:46, 6:36

T : 4.8 / 828 / 568 ft
hill repeats x5 
(0.2 miles, 112 ft of gain, average time 1:55)

W : 20 minutes of yoga

R : TRX 30 x 45/15
group run 5.1 / 8:17 / 312 ft

F : off

Sa : walk/jog 3.3 while spectating the Bristol 1/2

Su : 8.2 / 7:35 / 466 ft

total miles : 27.6

hill repeats

view from 1/3 of the way up the hill

Monday, April 3, 2017

Meal Prep Monday : 4/3 - 4/7

Lunch This Week 
Leek-Mushroom-Swiss Mac
Baked Chicken Thighs
Mixed Veggies

The Mac : 1/2 lb rotini pasta, boiled and drained.  2 large leeks, stalk portion only, chopped, and rings separated. 4 mushrooms, rough chopped. Leeks were steamed til tender, then I threw the mushrooms in and cooked for another few minutes.  Cheese sauce : 1.5 tbsp butter, 2 oz cream cheese, big handful of shredded colby jack, 2 slices of swiss cheese, 1/2 c milk, 1/4 c flour, garlic powder.  I mixed it all together and poured into a glass baking dish, then I spread 4 slices of swiss cheese on top.  Baked at 425 for 30 minutes (til brown on top)

The Chicken : 4 chicken thighs, baked at 425 for 1 hour.  I didn't season them at all. 

Mixed Veggies : 4 small carrots, sauteed in olive oil until they started to brown.  Then I chopped and added the  leaves from the leeks, 6 mushrooms, and 3 small yellow squash.  



The meal : ...Not the healthiest one I have made, but leek mac n cheese is so delicious!  Gouda is usually my go-to fancy cheese for mac, but I've been on a swiss kick lately so I decided to use that instead.  I won't be eating this every day anyway, I still have some lunches left over from last week because it was a hectic week and I ended up not needing my lunches every day.  (Tuesday was provided by a coworker, and I was out of town Thursday-Sunday)






Sunday, April 2, 2017

Operation "Run Faster, Make Lungs Stronger" has Begun

...and so far so good!  I made my plan for the week based on pace instead of mileage, and I stuck to it well!  I actually exceeded all my pace goals, but that's perfect because the paces I had set ahead of time were really just minimums.  The goal was to try to stick to them so as not to start too fast and then lose the pace, and they did help me prevent that from happening.


In other news, all my hard work with TRX is paying off and 
I can see muscles in my arms now!


This week : 

M : 6.2 / 7:28 / 25 ft
yoga stretching
plan : 1 mile warm up, 4 miles @7:20 pace,  1 mile cool down
4 mile actual splits (7:02, 7:08, 6:59, 6:48)

T : warm up 1 / 9:00 / 62 ft
track workout 4.2 / 6:00 / 102 ft
cool down 1 / 9:20 / 0 ft
round-robin x 12 ab workout with group
plan : warm up, 3 x 1600 @ 6:25 pace, cool down
actual : 4 x 1600, average from 6:20 - 5:46, 4 minutes rest in between

W : TRX, full body 30 x 45/15
plan : TRX, full body

R : 7 / 7:25 / 276 ft
plan : 1 mile warm up, 6 miles @7:30 pace, 1 mile cool down
actual : 0.5 mile warm up, 6 miles ranging from 7:27 - 7:01, 0.5 mile cool down

F : off

Sa : 8.2 w/Adam / 7:34 / 66 ft
plan : 10 miles @ 8:00 pace

Su : 4 / 7:55 / 118 ft
yoga stretching
plan : jog, yoga

week total miles : 31.8

Consistency on splits didn't really happen this week, but on all runs but the track workout, split inconsistency has to do with placement of up/down hills.  I was trying to be consistent on the track, but the GPS was messing up and marking my splits in the wrong places, and therefore the pace info it was displaying was also not accurate.  I definitely worked to make the last one the fastest though.  

On Thursday, I had to make an unexpected trip up to PA, so I ran first thing in the morning before making the 6.5 hour drive.  I ended up sleeping an extra 40 minutes past my alarm because I decided sleep was slightly more important before a drive than the run, and that is the main reason I cut my warm up and cool down short.  Not that they completely made up for the 40 minutes by any means, but they still saved me a bit of time.  I usually have trouble running faster in the mornings, but I did some warmup yoga before the run, and it was at least after the sun came up, so I managed to stick to (overdo) my planned pace.

On Saturday I was catching up with a friend I haven't seen in years.  He only wanted 8 miles, and I decided it wasn't that important for me to get the planned 10, as long as I was running faster than the planned pace.  We started the run close to an 8 minute pace but gradually picked up speed throughout, making the last mile the hardest effort.

After some cold and gray days in PA, it was nice to arrive home and get out of my car to 75 degrees and sun!  I enjoyed my jog.  It was an easy effort for my legs, but a moderate-hard effort for my lungs, which are struggling a bit from spending 2 nights in a house that has been empty for a few months.  I think that combined with the fact that I wasn't running while in that house, and therefore not using my inhaler, caused me to notice the difference.  Since I wasn't running while there, I didn't even notice that my breathing was getting slightly more difficult until I was on my way out of the house.  Now, after 2 days in a row of running, I'm sure my lungs are just about back to normal.  

Gorgeous and 77 degrees for my run!

It was so nice out, I did my post-run stretching outside too!