Sunday, November 27, 2016

Dusting cobwebs off the bikes

This week : 
M : sweatfest 9.5 / 40 minutes
R : turkey jog w/ Lewisburg Run Club 3.2 / 8:54 / 0 ft
F : horseback ride 1:22
Sa : sweatfest 10.2 / 40 minutes
Su : bike 20.1 / 18.3 mph / 1063 ft
total run miles : 3.2
total bike miles : 39.9

My legs were begging for a shakeout jog but I was trying really hard to give my foot some time off after how bad it hurt on Sunday, so I decided to torture myself with the dreaded bike trainer.  I put on an episode of Criminal Minds (the current series I'm marathoning through) and did some easy pedaling until the episode was over.  Tuesday was a half day at school and then I headed to Lewisburg.  Wednesday I got my new orthotics made, got my hair chopped off, and caught up with friends.  I had been pain free since Sunday, although I also hadn't worn anything but my best Danskos.  So Thursday morning I decided to try an easy Turkey-Day jog with a couple people from the Lewisburg run club.  We did two nice slow, flat, loops, and there was no pain.  The orthotics felt good, so hopefully they won't need to be tweaked.  I then decided that to be safe, I would wait til Tuesday before trying to run again.  I got home Saturday evening, and was losing my mind from barely exercising all week, so at 8 PM I gave in and hopped back on the bike trainer.  This time I made myself work a lot harder than on Monday.  I did intervals-ish...I didn't time them, but every now and then I made myself pedal harder until my heartrate got up above 175.  Then today it made it slightly above 50 degrees, so I decided it was time to dust off the Supersix and head outside for a ride. My legs felt a lot stronger than the last time I biked outside!  It seems that running does a lot more for my bike muscles than biking does for my run muscles.  

The plan is to bike outside again's my 1 year "crashiversary."  And I hope to do short easy jogs on Tuesday and Thursday with the Wolf Pack.  

My new do...and the long braid I will be donating!
It may be the shortest I've ever gone...and so far I love it.  
(The facebook world also loves may be my most popular post ever.  
Nobody seems sad to see the long hair go...)

A few friends and I decided we would rather make sushi than turkey for Thanksgiving.
We call it Sushisgiving. 
We had such a great time, we decided we have to do it again next year!

The ingredients waiting to be rolled into sushi-roll deliciousness.
I made some cranberry sauce to dip the rolls a Thanksgiving touch...
This was the third or fourth time I made sushi, but the first time I tried making the rolls with the rice on the outside.  It was a success!  I've always preferred the rice on the outside, so I'm glad it didn't end up being that hard to make them this way.  

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Star City race week

This week : 
T : Wolf Pack 4.6 /8:37 / 203 ft
W : 5 / 7:35 / 364 ft
R : Wold Pack 4.6 / 8:10 / 177 ft
Sa : warm up w/Corey 1.4 / 7:53 / 43 ft
Star City 13.1 / 6:56 / 262 ft
cool down w/Corey 0.6 / 9:26 / 0 ft

total : 29.4 miles

I took it pretty easy this week, afraid to overdo it before the race, knowing the 12+ mile run last week had gone really well but also tired me out.  I've never been a big fan of tapering, but I'd say this is the closest I've ever come.  I guess it was worth it since I had a great race!  

I'm currently not too happy, because I have tendonitis pain in my right foot.  It's rather baffling, because there was zero foot pain yesterday.  My legs are itching for an easy shakeout jog today to loosen up, but I'm not gonna risk it.  I don't want to play games with this stupid pain.  I've been icing it and massaging it and hopefully it will go away soon!  

Star City Half Marathon 2016

By far the best race I've had in a long time!  Crossed the finish line in 1:30:28, feeling strong, successful, and happy!

My biggest challenge/concern for the race was to not start out too fast.  I knew if I started too fast, I would die later in the race and not have a strong finish.  However, I was also worried about starting too slow and never getting up to pace, or not being able to get fast enough to balance out the slow miles for an average pace I could be happy with.  I thought about scrolling through the options on my watch to have my pace on the screen and try to keep it somewhere between 7 and 7:30 for the first mile, but the pace feature isn't that accurate while running, and I don't think staring at my watch is the way to go.  My best races were run without a watch, but I refuse to run watchless now that I have Strava because I would hate to pass up the opportunity to look at my race stats afterward.  I knew my best chance for a successful race was first of all to not get carried away with the front of the pack, and to run entirely by feel and not look at the watch.  "Conveniently" it was chilly and I was wearing a pullover with thumb holes for the race.  I put the watch underneath the sleeve, and once I made sure it was running, I put my thumbs in the thumb holes and never looked at my watch (til the last mile).

I started out the race at a nice easy pace.  I was worried that I was going too slow and that I wouldn't be able to get up to speed, but I made myself keep the pace til after I passed the first mile marker.  Then I let myself open up just a bit.  I passed a few other women in the next 2 miles.  As I passed each mile marker and still felt good, I pushed the pace a little bit more.  I was slowly picking off people one at a time.  I concentrated on my breathing periodically to make sure I was breathing deeply, as I have a tendency to breathe really shallowly and that doesn't help the asthma issues. I spent a few miles in the middle debating whether I needed an extra hit off the inhaler or not.  I didn't want to use it if I didn't need it, but I didn't want to wait too long and let my legs go into oxygen debt with miles to go either.  Around mile 9 I caved and let myself take half a dose.  I was still pushing a little harder with each passing mile, and I could feel that I was going to struggle for oxygen.

I had no idea what kind of pace I was running, but I was feeling strong and hoped it was a good one.  With about 3/4 of a mile to go, a kid passed me, and as he ran by he said "we're under 1:30, come on and push to the finish."  It almost didn't register in my mind, because I didn't believe I could actually be running that well, but after a slight delay I kicked into the reserves I didn't know I had and put in the energy to keep up with him.  I was getting warm and had wanted to pull my sleeves up but hadn't because I didn't want to see my watch.  At that point, I pulled up the sleeves.  We were at 12.4 miles and 1:26 on the clock.  I gave the rest of that race everything I had.  As I came within sight of the finish I could see the clock just past 1:30.  I pushed and got across the line before the seconds got to 30.  My watch hadn't quite reached 13.1 yet, I think it was just over 13, so I kept going after the line, but I couldn't go very fast because of the finish line crowd.  My watch hit the 13.1 at 1:30:47.  I am extremely grateful to that 15 year old who was kind enough to tell the girl he passed that we were under 1:30 and encourage her to push harder!  I would have had a good time regardless, but I would not have broken 1:31, and it's possible that if I hadn't sped up I actually would have slowed down, as I was tiring and losing steam.  Finding out how close I was to my former half marathon times gave me the extra boost of adrenaline that I needed.

I was 2nd female and 18th overall.  I knew I was in second place for most of the race because several volunteers told me as I passed them, but I never laid eyes on first place.  She ended up finishing in 1:27.  I hope to get there in the not too distant future, but I know I'm not there yet!

Finisher medal, Triple Crown medal (for running all three Roanoke 1/2s this year), 2nd place plaque, and my winnings : winter running mittens and a hat

All-in-all, a pretty consistent race!  The slowest mile was the only one with a significant hill, so it makes sense that it was slower. And it was a tough hill!  (I loved it of course)

My calves were getting a bit cramped after the race, since I wore my race shoes even though the course was pretty flat.  They aren't great for flat terrain heel striking over long distances.  They are a better shoe for shorter/faster races, but I can also get away with them in longer races if there are enough hills.  Anyway, I decided to try out the post race massage tent for the first time ever.  I let someone roll out my calves with a torture stick, and it was definitely worth it!  She rolled the tight muscles til they loosened up, and probably saved me from several days of calf pain. 

And it wouldn't be a race weekend without finding some delicious food!
Friday dinner : Pesto Chicken Montabello at Ragazzi's

Post-race Lunch : Lad Na at Taste of Asia
I also had a salmon-avocado sushi roll, but ate it too fast to take a photo.

Post-race Dinner : Bacon Cheeseburger at Wasena City Tap Room

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Final preparations for Star City 1/2

Getting excited for my next half marathon, coming up on Saturday!  Stuck to my new routine of speed work on Tuesday and long run on Thursday.  Hoping to keep to that schedule...except for this coming week, when I will be taking it easier in preparation for Star City.

This week : 
M : 7.3 / 7:50 / 495 ft
T : speedwork 5.5 / 8:32 / 148ft (6 x 0.4)
Wolf Pack 2 / 8:48 / 33 ft
R : 12.4 / 7:50 / 558 ft (last 3.5 w/Ben)
Sa : 4 / 7:38 / 253 ft
Su : shakeout w/Ben 2 / 8:51 / 39 ft
total miles : 33.2

One of my happiest "accomplishments" this week was running both longer runs (Monday and Thursday) without my orthotics, and without tendonitis pain!  It's like my feet are normal again!  Still haven't decided if I'm racing with the orthotics or the superfeet insoles this weekend... Since one of the orthotics is cracked and currently reinforced with duct tape, I know it's only a matter of time until they are no longer functional, so I'm trying to move away from them, but I also want them to stick around just in case the tendonitis starts making noises again.  

The plan for Tuesday was 800s, but the flat street near the brewery that I wanted to do them on turned up a bit short.  I decided it was close enough.  I didn't plan on an exact number; I knew I would do at least 4, but planned to keep going until I felt like I couldn't hold a steady pace anymore.  6 turned out to be my number.  I was trying for half marathon race pace.  I did put extra effort into the last one, because that's what I like to do.  

(1st one on the list was part of my warm-up)

Thursday I made sure I didn't stay at work too late, so that I could get most of a long run done before dark.  Ben was planning on 3 miles for his last run pre-marathon, so I planned to get about 7-8 miles and then loop back through the parking lot to pick him up for the 3.  I started at 4:40, and as I got a few miles in, knew I could manage 9 before the time I told Ben I would swing back through.  12 sounded even better than 10-11.  I was really pleased with the pace I was keeping, without exerting too much effort.  I swung back through the parking lot at 8.9, and ran 3.5 more with Ben.  (Our loop got us back to the brewery in under 3 so we added an extra loop). This run went a long way in helping me feel ready for my upcoming race.  IF I can hold myself back from going out too hard, I expect a very successful race.  If, if, if.  My biggest challenge right now...gotta learn someday!

I had hoped for another long run on Saturday, but when I planned that, I had planned something more like 10 on Thursday and 10 on Saturday.  After 12+ on Thursday I figured I'd be lucky if I got 8 on Saturday.  Then I contemplated taking it off to give my legs more rest time, but they were asking for a run, so I went for it.  Sometime after 3 miles my legs decided they were done, and I did the smart thing, listened, and headed for home.  As much as I wanted more longer runs before this race, I don't want to overdo it and make my legs too tired to race well.  

I wanted a shake-out today, but figured rest was more important given how my legs felt yesterday.  Then Ben decided he wanted a post-marathon shakeout and asked if I wanted to join him for an easy 2 miles.  I figure an easy 2 miles is basically a day off, so I joined him and we talked marathon woes, lessons, and "I-told-you-sos" for 2 miles.  As of yesterday, I want to do another marathon, and I'm hoping he will be my training partner... I think getting my endurance up to marathon level will help me get my 1/2 times down, and I know the training will go so much better with a running partner!  (I wouldn't even be considering a marathon if I didn't think I had someone to train with...)

And now...Tuesday's recovery bar words of wisdom. 
Fitting after a speed workout, since they are definitely not in my comfort zone.  Or like zone. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Hills, Hills, Hills!

I didn't originally plan for this week to involve mostly hill workouts, but that's what it turned into, and once it started, I didn't see the point in changing it!  I decided on Tuesday that it was past time for some hill sprints, and talked two others at the Wolf Pack group to join me : Ben and someone new.  Then on Thursday Ben and I planned to meet early so we could get in a ten miler before dark, and I suggested we run down to the bottom of White's Mill and we did.  And we ended up going up the long hill faster than we went down it.  I spent the weekend in Lewisburg and planned a long hill loop for Saturday morning, but it was 27 degrees Saturday morning, and I was staying in a house with no heat (waiting for a new furnace to be installed).  The thought of putting on cold running clothes to go run in the cold was really not appealing.  So I stayed in warm sweats until I went out to the barn for a trail ride at 11.  I almost let myself take yet another day off today and call it an easy week, but I managed to talk myself into getting out the door once the frost melted.  And once I was out there, I convinced myself that it would be silly not to get my 30 miles for the week when I've been on a streak for 6 weeks, and I should really be pushing it to 35 by now.

This week : 
M : 6 w/Amanda / 7:59 / 240 ft
T : 4.6 hill sprints / 8:50 / 568 ft
R : 10.7 w/Ben / 7:33 / 581 ft
Sa : 3 hour horseback ride
Su : 9 / 8:07 / 823 ft
total : 30.3 miles 

I put about 85% effort into the first 6 sprints, going for consistency, and 100% all-out effort into the last one.  Lungs were hurting bad in the last one! I'm impressed with myself for being so close to the same time for the first 4!  You can see that the oxygen debt started hurting me after the fourth one.



trail riding on winding country lanes

And now a message that I just happened to catch on the back of Thursday's recovery bar.  
I love this message, and am tempted to write a whole blog post about how important I think it is.  
I might do that...later...