Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday- I make time, not excuses :-D

This afternoon after my dentist appointment (no cavities, YIPEE!), I stopped by Dick's to make use of the gift certificates I won at the 10K Sunday (HOLLA!). I found a cute Nike outfit for my 5K Saturday, and came across a shirt also made by Nike that had a quote that resonated with me. I feel it  really suits who I am as a runner, teacher, and person in general:
I Make Time. Not Excuses.

I'd say it's pretty much my philosophy on how to live life. I know it's cliche, but life really is short. If you want something, get it. Don't wait around for that "perfect" time or chance. Truthfully, I'm not sure there has ever been a time in my life where the circumstances have been completely "perfect" to do anything. They're will always be excuses, whether it be with work, family, money, heartbreak, car troubles, depression, what have you. Put all that aside, and make time to REALLY live your life! 

Soooooo, after my inspirational run-in at Dick's Sporting Goods, I hit the pavement for a solid 30 minute tempo run. Again, the weather conditions in Cleveland have been ridiculously amazing. I will take 75 degrees and sunny every day until fall! I gave myself a 10 minute warm up, and then ran 15 minutes around a 7:00min/mi, and then finished with a 5 minute cool down. I covered a little over 4 miles. I'm feeling well and energized,  and looking forward to the Chardon 5K on Saturday! The weather is looking a little unfavorable (humid and upper 80s...hopefully will be at least in the 70's in the a.m. for the race), but I'm still hoping for a sub 20 minute finish. There should be some speedy chicas at this 5K to keep me on my toes!! We all need a good butt kicking here and there to motivate us to keep getting better!

Rest day tomorrow and shoe shopping, YIPEE!! :-D

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday- Easy 5 with form on my mind!

The past few days in CLE have been absolutely amazing. I greatly enjoyed my late afternoon, 75 degrees and sunny, 5 mile easy run!  My left foot is feeling a bit tender, and was during my run, but nothing too terrible to cause concern. It's just another sign I need new shoes!! I will be getting those on Friday. Despite my achy foot, my run was very comfortable and enjoyable! It was hard to stop once 5 miles showed up on my Garmin. I ran for 39:02 at an average pace of 7:48min/mi. I had tons of energy left over to get in a little Pilates after. Overall, a great workout!

Tomorrow, I'll be running a 30 min tempo. I'm planning on focusing on my form during the peak of my tempo (~7:00min/mi). Maintaining good form is VERY important when running. What's good form? Well, in my opinion, it varies from runner to runner. The more you run, the more your body adapts to perform more efficiently. A strong core is important for any runner to keep good form, so I strongly recommend some form of core exercise (I do Pilates) throughout your training. Try doing it twice a week on your easy days if you can.

Although I can't say what's best for every runner, I can tell you what I do while running to maintain good form (I often get complements on my form from old running guys...so I must be doing something right!!) I always try to focus on looking straight ahead when I run, not at the ground, keeping my shoulders upright and not slouched, and my fists un-clenched (I place my thumb in the middle of my forefinger, and then bring in the rest of my fingers). You want your upper body to be relaxed, not tense, because otherwise you are wasting energy, and you are also preventing your lungs from exchanging gas efficiently. Also, I try to keep my arm swing to a minimum unless I'm bookin' at the end of a 5K. Some people waddle when they run, or keep their arms down and run like they're carrying suitcases, or bob their heads. I can't imagine how that works for those people, and it drives me NUTS when people that run weird like that pass me. But if it works for 'em, who am I to judge? In fact, one of my fav. running girls, Paula Radcliffe, runs with a crazy head bob, and she currently holds the women's world record for the marathon (2:15:25)! So, again, do what works for you!!

Paula Radcliffe...such a sweetie and super speedy!!

Usually towards the end of races when I'm wiped, my form falls apart, I'm hunched over and I'm dragging myself across the finish line (not particularly attractive, hahaaa). I'm trying to focus on maintaining good form the entire race, so what better time to practice it than during my tempo! Speaking of beautiful, below are two more of my all-time favorite running girls in action with great form:

Shalane Flanagan...another girl that runs with lip gloss!

Kara Goucher...recent mommy and still a sensational runner! I ran behind her at Boston (waaaaaaay behind) 


I'm still planning on the Chardon 5K for Saturday morning and looking forward to it! My goals are to run a consistent 6:20min/mi, finish under 20 minutes, and maintain solid form from start to finish. Can't believe it, but I'm just days away from my official NYC MarathonTraining! WOO HOO! :-D

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday- Eassssy speed!

Yes, easy does it! I slept in a little this morning, and woke up refreshed and ready for a 3 x 800 workout on the track despite feeling sub-par yesterday. I decided to keep the repeats as close as possible to 5K pace (which for me is about 6:20min/mi) to prepare me to get under 20 minutes at the Chardon 5K this weekend. This is quite slower than the repeats I've been running over the past few weeks, but I'd rather save my speed for Saturday!The Chardon 5K is pretty challenging, so getting under 20 minutes will be a great accomplishment for me!

I did a light 1 mile to the track, and then cranked out my first repeat at ~5:40min/mi (ooooooooooops!). I gave myself one quick one, and then eased up on the last two. My second repeat was at ~6:00min/mi and my third was at ~6:20min/mi. Once I finished the third, I felt like the workout was incomplete and wanted to do another repeat. I knew this would be a mistake, so I left the track and ran a light 1.5 miles home. The entire workout ended up totally 5 miles. I stretched, drank some cool water, did a few crunches/push-ups, and am eating lunch as I blog!

Tonight, I'll be helping a good friend from JCU, Kristin, who wants to start running! I'm going to take her on a 2 mile run, alternating a 400 meter walk and 400 meter light jog to get her started. I'm hoping to have her ready for a 5K at some point this summer. I'm SO excited to get her started on her own running journey!!!

Happy Tuesday everyone!!!! :-D

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday- A Tired Girl!

WOW I'm exhausted! I'm not exactly sure why, but I've been sleepy all day and super hungry. I don't feel achy or sore from running this weekend, but definitely not feeling 110%. I consumed lots of good calories today (Kashi cereal with O.J. and coffee for breakfast, PB&J sandwich with carrots, peppers, and an apple for lunch, blue corn chips with organic salsa and a banana for a snack, and a big salad with mixed greens, brown rice and beans, and brocolli and carrots for dinner) so hopefully I'll be good to go for speed training tomorrow. If my energy level is still low, I may switch my easy run scheduled for Wednesday with my speed workout scheduled for tomorrow.

Shockingly, my workout today was actually great! After my snack, I hopped on the elliptical for a strong 40 minutes, and then got in about 30 minutes of pilates after. I ate dinner, and decided to go on a 40 minute walk outside because it was SOOOOO beautiful outside. I <3 CLE Heights so much!

Oh, and great news! Thanks to my buddy and coworker, Jen, I'll be running the Columbus Marathon in October as my final 20 miler prior to the NYC Marathon! Jen qualified for Boston last year, and had a baby this past spring and wasn't able to run. She is one of the most focused and driven people I know, and will be giving her all to qualify again this fall. I'm SO excited to be able to run with her both in Columbus and NYC as she makes her dreams come true!!! She is amazing.

OH, and more great news! I was looking over the race results from the 10K yesterday, and apparently a boy I went on a BAD date with a few weeks ago ran also. And, OBVI, I kicked his butt! Sucks losing to a girl...;-)

Time for bed!! Need a good night's sleep to get back to 110%!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday- A Most Excellent Race 10K!

Turned out to be a sunny, beautiful Sunday!! :-D

I had a low key evening last night in anticipation of waking up early this morning, having a big cup of coffee and a light breakfast, and heading over to Beaumont for the "A Most Excellent Race 10K." The alarm went off at 6:30 am, and I rolled back over and decided I wasn't vibin' a race this morning. Then, I woke up again at 7:40 am, got my act together, and headed out the door at 8:20am for the race.  It was not the relaxing, pre-race morning I planned on, but I'm glad I decided to do it! The money for the race goes to a great organization called Camp Cheerful, which is a camp designed for individuals with special needs. If anything, I wanted to be able to support this camp.

I was amazed at the amount of people running the race when I got there. I registered as quickly as possible so I could get in a least a mile warm up prior to the race. After I warmed up, I headed to the start line to make sure I didn't get stuck in the back of the pack. Although it was chip timed, I always like to be closer to the front so I'm not tripping over people when the gun goes off. I saw my dear friend and cousin-in-law, Jessica and her boyfriend, Mate. Races are always so much more fun when I run with those two...they're awesome!!




The sun came out as we were waiting for the gun to go off, and I started breaking a bit of a sweat which concerned me a little. Hot races can be quite challenging! I ran the course during my easy run on Wednesday, so I made a plan of attack for the course. It was a double loop course, the first 1.5 miles was a straight shot with a gradual descend in elevation, followed by a turn into the last 1.5 miles, which was a straight shot but a gradual increase in elevation, and then repeat for the second half. The 10K and 5K started at the same time, so I told myself I wouldn't pay attention to anyone else's pace and I'd focus on my own. I'd never run a 10K before, and I was worried I would put out too much too soon and be burned out for the second loop. So, I decided my plan would be to run the first 1.5miles at a 6:40min/mi, the second 1.5miles at a 7:00min/mi, and for the repeat I'd pick it up for the the first 1.5 miles at a 6:30min/mi, and the second 1.5 miles at a 6:50min/mi.

The gun went off and off we all went! The first 1.5 miles felt great, and I stuck around a 6:40min/mi which I was happy about. I skipped the first water stop, and was hoping there would be another one around mile 3. I always choke a bit when I drink water in races because its usually pretty cold and I'm bookin' it, so I usually skip them for 5Ks but knew I'd need it for the 10K. I held back and stuck at a 7:00min/mi  for the second 1.5 miles, which again I was pleased with. It was VERY hard to hold back with all of the 5K runners flying by me. I had to keep telling myself "you want to finish. CHILL OUT." And, I listened! I crossed the 5K mark around 21:00 minutes, had a drink of water (and choked on it a bit, annoying!) and kept my head straight and focused for the second loop. I heard a woman shout "WOOOO FIRST FEMALE!" and I was thinking 'HUH? Really??" I honestly had  no idea, and didn't really believe her. But, it gave me the adrenaline boost I needed to float around a 6:25-6:40min/mi for the 1st 1.5 miles of the second loop. When I turned the corner to finish the 2nd 1.5 miles, I eased up when I should have pushed a little more. I stuck around a 7:00-7:15min/mi. Once I got to one of the intersections which was NOT the final intersection, I was READY for the finish line. Then, finally mile 6 showed up and I did my best for a strong finish to the end. When I crossed, a guy asked for my name and I soon learned that I was the first overall female finisher!! My official finish time was 42:19, which was a 6:50min/mi average. I ran a smart race, not necessarily my best, so I was happy for the recogntion!! I received Indian's tickets and $50 worth of gift certificates to Dick's Sporting Goods. WOO! Jess and Mate had great races as well and both placed in their age groups!!



After the awards, I stopped by Starbucks for a skinny vanilla latte, had some Kashi cookies, and headed to the pool! Not too shabby of a Sunday!

So, this is my last "off" week before my official NYC training begins!! CAN'T WAIT  to get started!!! I'm going to tone it down a bit this week, and hopefully get a 5K in next Saturday. I ran the Chardon 5K last year and it was hilly, but pretty. I think I may do it again!

Week run-down (based off of Hal Higdon's Recovery Plan http://www.halhigdon.com/):

Monday: 40 min cross-training
Tuesday: 3X800 on the track
Wednesday: 5 mile easy
Thursday: 30 min tempo
Friday: rest
Saturday: 5K
Sunday: 8 mile easy

19 weeks until the ING New York City Marathon!!!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Saturday- Coooooooooool long run!

In the minds of most people, 63 degrees and cloudy is a miserable Saturday morning in June. For runners, it's GLORIOUS! Considering how sticky and humid my long run was last weekend, I was happy to get in a comfortable, solid long run. I made it out to the Tow Path this morning for the first time since last summer. I've missed it SO much! It's beautiful, flat, and there is no traffic/stop lights to worry about! I ran 11.27 miles, with a 7:59min/mi average, in 90 minutes. That's right around the pace I plan to run my long runs for my NYC training. I'm going to vary my long run locations, but ideally, I'd like to do them in locations that have some hills. From what I've heard, it's a pretty challenging marathon that ends with rolling hills through Central Park. I want to be as prepared as possible, so I will try to incorporate as many hills as I can find into my long runs. The long runs are the most similar workouts to the marathon itself. So, it's best to plan your long run courses to be as close as possible to the actual marathon course.

While I was on the Tow Path, I was doing some thinking. As some of my readers know, I ran Boston this past spring. It was truly AMAZING, and I had concerns that running it again might take away from the greatness of my first time experience. However, I qualified for Boston again at Boston, and also at the Marine Corps in October. I feel like if I don't do it again this spring, I'll feel left out and regret not participating in one of the finest events in the entire world that I qualified to be at! So, as long as the registration is still open when I can register on day 5 (I ran 3:30:15 at the Marine Corps, which puts me in the "fives minutes or faster than qualifying time" wave for registration), I'm doing it! For those of you unaware, Boston established a new registration system to ensure the fastest runners can register first. Boston registration closed out in 8 hours this past fall, so they designed this new system to keep Boston the quality marathon that it is!! For more info: http://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/participant-information/register.aspx

SOOOO with Boston in mind, I REALLY hope I rock a sub 3:20 at NYC in November. That will pop me back in Wave 1 in Boston. In the past, you have until February 1 to submit a faster time to get into a higher wave. I hope that still applies. Otherwise, Wave 2 will suffice!

Tomorrow, I'll be running "A Most Excellent Race" 10K here in CLE Heights. I'm hoping to run at least a 6:50min/mi average. With all of the racing I've done over the years, I've somehow never run a 10K so I'm not sure what to expect! I'm not thinking I will have any 1st place trophies after this one, lol...anything around 42 minutes will make me happy!!

Today, I'll end with an excellent quote that proved to be true when I qualified for Boston for the first time back in 2010: "You can have anything you want, if you want it badly enough"~Abraham Lincoln :-D

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday- Reflective rest day!

Ahhhhhh day of rest! For most of us crazy running lovers, it's a challenge to take the day off. Running is our sanctuary. It's the time to set aside the craziness of the real world, clear out our heads, and get a more lucid image of our lives. As complicated as everything else is in my life, running is the complete opposite: it's simple. You get on shoes and GO! With that in mind, I'd like to continue running for a long time (I'll be the 80 year old lady winning her age group in 50 years...I GUARANTEE IT!). To do so, it's important to take care of your body. So when it's a rest day, take the rest day! That means no cross-training, no pilates, NADA! Just RELAX! :-)

Running has not only given me mental stability, it's also helped be an all around healthier person. I used to eat chocolate cake for breakfast, laffy taffy and french fries for lunch, and nachos for dinner (no joke). I was ignorant and not concerned with how my poor eating habits were effecting my body because it wasn't noticeable on my lil Irish girl body frame. It wasn't until I started running that I learned that you really are what you eat. I take lots of vitamins to stay healthy (vitamin d, calcium, fish oil, a multivitamin, and biotin for good hair and nails...again, refer to the title of this blog! haaa), in addition to a pretty healthy diet. "Diet" does not mean depriving yourself of food. In fact, it's the opposite!! I probably eat more than most people, but I eat the right things. I eat lots of whole grains (whole wheat pasta instead of refined, white pasta and brown rice instead of white rice), fresh fruits and veggies, beans, organic condiments like peanut butter and jelly that are made of natural products instead of preservative filled yucky stuff, etc. I eat three big meals a day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a snack in between lunch and dinner. I also stay well hydrated (be careful to not over-hydrate...I'll explain my story with this later on) and well rested (try to get anywhere between 6-8 hours of sleep a night). When I became healthier, my running performance GREATLY improved. If you click through my racing times from 2008-2011, you can see the dramatic improvements.

I'm so grateful that running has come into my life, and am forever indebted to my former coworker that inspired me to run the Cleveland Half Marathon. THANKS, JESS!!!
Me, my running inspiration Jess, and my lil sis Kristin at the CLE Half Marathon in 2008

So, my message for today is to open your heart and your mind to inspiration! It's amazing the things you can do with inspiration if you just believe in yourself. The picture on the front of my blog page is me as I'm turning the corner on to Boylston Street, on my way to the finish line of the Boston Marathon. That day will forever be one of the most amazing days of my life...and I earned every second of the experience. It's reflecting on all of the hard work and time I put in to get there that makes me most appreciative. I'm so grateful to have had that awesome opportunity!!

I've got my fingers crossed for some sunshine today...could use a little poolside time!! Tomorrow morning I'll be heading to the beautiful Tow Path for a 90 minute long run. And, again depending on how I feel, I'll be running "A Most Excellent Race" 10K on Sunday in CLE Heights!!

Speaking of inspiration, check this out! http://youtu.be/8SbXgQqbOoU

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thursday- tempo thoughts!

Woke up this morning feeling like a 90 year old woman. My ankles and calves were feeling exceptionally achy. My first thought when I got out of bed was "no way am I running a 5K this weekend." 5Ks sound easy because the mileage is MUCH lower than a marathon race. But don't be fooled; they are certainly a challenge! You are putting out full speed from the moment the gun goes off until you cross the finish line. Even 30 seconds off pace can hinder your chances of hitting your target time goal. You have to be on the entire time. The scene in Napoleon Dynamite where Kip electrocutes Napoleon with the time machine and he's saying "KILLS! KILLS!"...that's exactly the thoughts that go through my head as I'm running 5Ks. Call me a masochist, but it's a great feeling when you push your body to its limits. It's just fun! And, that's why I love 5Ks. :-D

Chardon 5K 7/3/10--can you see the similarity? haaa
Sooooo, as I was limping around like granny this morning, I ate some breakfast, had a nice, big cup of coffee, and relaxed a bit before heading out for my 40 minute tempo run today. During the first five minutes of my tempo, my ankles and calves were feeling pretty uncomfortable. But once I picked up the pace at 10 minutes,  the pain eased away. Then, it started to rain (I LOOOOOVE running in summer rain), my adrenaline was WAY up, and I rocked the next 20 minutes of my tempo. I ran in between a 7:00-7:20min/mi, although I was feeling 6:50min/mi but held back to not over-do it since I was so sore this morning. I slowly decelerated to an easy pace (8:00-8:20min/mi) for the last 10 minutes, and covered 5.17 miles (which is a 7:44min/mi average...this doesn't mean much for a tempo since I run significantly different paces throughout it).

So, what's on the agenda for this weekend? Good question. I've been going back and forth, and will likely change my mind again. Yes, I'm an indecisive person, however I try my best to be a "smart" runner. In my opinion, being a "smart" runner means listening to your body. If your exhausted, sore, or just not feelin' it, the world will not end if you alter your running plans. Often times, these are signs of over training which can overall hinder your running performance. So, if you wake up the morning of a long run and aren't feeling it, switch up your schedule a little bit and get it in later. If you wake up feeling that way every day, then there might be a bigger problem!

So, back to the weekend. Tomorrow is my REST day (and I need it!). I'm thinking I will do a 90 minute long run Saturday on the Tow Path. The Tow Path is AMAZING and I haven't made it out there in quite a while, so I'm looking forward to it! So, that means I'll be skipping the 5K in Westlake. If I'm feeling it, I'll do the 10K that's going on in my neighborhood Sunday. We shall see!!

Related to my blog today, I'll end with one of my favorite quotes:

"The pain is temporary. It may last a minute, an hour, a day, or a year, but eventually it subsides. And when it does, something else takes its place, and that thing might be called a greater space for happiness. Each time we overcome pain, I believe that we grow." ~ Lance Armstrong

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wednesday- 5 mile easssssssy run

80 degrees and sunny...no complaints here! Today was my 5 mile easy run after my speed work yesterday. I decided to run around the course of the "A Most Excellent Race," which is going to be held in my neighborhood on Sunday. It's a 5K loop that is absolutely beautiful and pretty flat. If it were on Saturday, and I'd absolutely commit to it. Sunday tune-up races (which will be scheduled into my training over my 18 weeks NYC training) can be tricky. I call them "tune-up" because I pretty much to do them as a part of my training for the finale- THE MARATHON! Anywho, when these races are on Sundays, I have to shuffle around my long run so I still get it in without exhausting my legs prior to the race (I always put in 110% when I run races...I'm too competitive to hold back!!!). That usually means I complete my long run after the race, which I have mixed feelings about. Your muscles are pretty strained after a race, and usually your adrenaline is up so you don't necessarily feel the effects until later that night or the next day. So, you might put out more than you should running a long run after racing. If I have the option, I'd rather run a tune-up race on Saturday and run my long run Sunday. When it comes to the Marathon, I prefer Sunday (or Monday for Boston, WOO!) so I have Friday and Saturday to rest up!

So back to today! I completed my 5 miles in 38:40, and averaged a 7:44min/mi. That's slightly faster than I should have ran considering this is my "easy" run. I like to stay a little under 40 minutes for my 5-mile easy runs, so I should have held back a little bit. My feet were feeling sore as I was running, which I think is a sign that it's time for some new shoes!! I'll be heading to Fleet Feet in Northfield next Friday to get a new pair of Mizunos! I usually buy new shoes at the beginning of my 18 weeks, and wear them through my training to the marathon. Some people buy two pairs of shoes and alternate them as they train, which might be a good idea. That's a little too pricey for me! I've been wearing Mizunos for every marathon I've run. I LOVE 'EM!!

I got home, stretched, did a little pilates, and had a delicious dinner of whole wheat ravioli, red potatoes with corn and green beans, and a big spinach salad! My feet are up now (still a little sore...) and I will be relaxing for the rest of the night! Tomorrow, I'll be running a 40 minute tempo run. This is the run originally scheduled for Sunday. Since I will be running the Westlake 5K Saturday (I think I've made up my mind!), this race will replace the 3X 1mile at 5k pace that I was supposed to do tomorrow.  Later y'all!! :-D

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday- Rainy Track Workout

There is nothing more I love than rainy summer runs!!! I'm not exaggerating, I seriously love it.

Today, I hit the track for 8 X 400 and it was great! I have so much fun with my track workouts. I put on some great, upbeat tunes on my Ipod to get me psyched and then put out all I've got! I love the feeling that comes with pushing myself to the max!!

I usually do a light 1 mile jog to the track from my apartment, and then get the ball rolling! It's important to bring water with you for your track workouts, especially in the summer, because you will need it!! My Garmin isn't working with my computer for some reason, so I don't have specific record of my repeats. However, I keep a close eye on my Garmin as I run and each repeat was about 5:45min/mi. I took about 400 meter light jog breaks in between each repeat. However, I usually pick up the light jog to about a 7:00min/mi the last 100 meters to ease into my 400 meter repeat. Otherwise, in my opinion, I lose a little bit of my repeat working up to the pace I want to hit. After I finished all 8 splits, I completed my workout with a light 1 mile jog back home. I made sure to stretch for a good 10 minutes and drank some cool water. Unfortunately, I just BANGED my knee on my coffee table getting up to check my phone. Most of my injuries come from non-running activities!! Fingers crossed it's just a small bruise!

Speaking of injuries, most new runners feel intimidated by speed training and are fearful of causing injuries and skip it "because they're not fast anyways." It's through speed training that you can transform yourself into a fast runner, or become an even fast runner than you already are!!! Sore muscles are a part of the process, so don't let aches and pains discourage you (unless they persist for quite a while, then you may want to seek medical attention...always listen to your body!). As long as you stretch before and after your run, eat healthy, and take it easy on your "easy" days and rest on your "rest" days, then you will be good to go!! I also recommend doing SOME (not all) speed training on the treadmill. Not all runners agree with me, but in my opinion, you can get some awesome workouts in on the treadmill. Plus, you can crank up the speed to a specific setting and push yourself to complete it. However, for mental purposes, you need to do track workouts as well. You need to feel the pain of the speed and fight to keep it although your body is telling you to quit. You learn to do this on the track, and this will help you in your racing.

Well, the sun is coming out so it's time to hit the pool!!! I'm thinking of either doing a 5K in Westlake Saturday or a 10K in CLE Heights Sunday. I'm thinking I will be doing the 5K because it's on Saturday and will allow for my flexibility in my weekend schedule. I'll keep ya posted though!!

As Dean Karnazes says, "When all else fails, start running." :-D

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday- Cross Training Sweat!

Happy Monday everyone!! I'm currently hanging out in my all-time favorite Starbucks in CLE enjoying a decaff mint tea (I try to stay away from caffeine after 4pm...otherwise I'm up ALL night), reflecting on my day and staring at the massive amount of homework I need to do for this Chemistry course I'm taking this summer. At the moment, blogging about my workout of the day is sounding much more appealing than this homework...sooooooooo here it goes!

Delicioso
So, today is my cross-training day, and I completed 40 minutes on the elliptical. When doing cross-training, I always keep in mind Bruce Jenner's tips to Kim Kardashian on Keeping Up With The Kardashians (is the name of this blog starting to make sense? ;-D ) as she was attempting to work off her booty. He said something to the effect of "I measure the intensity of my workout by how much I sweat!" And, I agree!! If I'm not getting out a serious sweat in my workout, I'm taking it too easy. Sometimes, I day dream in my workouts. If that happens for an extended period of time, I'll add on a few minutes to make up for it. Cross-training does not imply a "rest" day. It should be done with intensity. You want to build the muscles you don't typically use in running. It helps make you stronger while relieving your body from the stress of the pounding that comes with running. Ultimately, it helps to make you a better, more efficient runner. Get a good mix made up on your Ipod and make sure you WORK IT!

Have fun with your cross-training and mix it up. Any cardio workout other than running is consider cross-training: swimming, biking, elliptical, power walking, stair climbing, etc! I recommend alternating your cross-training so you're not doing the same thing (I have an elliptical in my apartment, so until teaching starts back up and I have access to the school gym I may stick with just that. I'm trying to save money and avoid a gym membership until winter. We'll see how long this lasts!!!) But, I recommend mixing it up!

A strong core is VERY important for good running form. I did a little bit of pilates (will get back into doing more pilates once the NYC training officially begins), and I think pilates is an awesome way to build a solid core. I try to do pilates twice a week. I usually do it on my cross-training day and my easy run day.

Had a big dinner of whole-wheat rigatoni  with organic pasta sauce, accompanied by a spinach salad with red onions and tomatos. This is great fuel to get my body ready for my track workout tomorrow. The Starbucks chocolate chip cookies are also looking pretty good right about now...:-)

Time to get that chem homework done. Until tomorrow everyone!!!

MP :-D

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday- Beautiful Tempo Run

This afternoon, I ran a wonderful 35 minute tempo run! Tempos are my favorite workout. When running a tempo, you start out at an easy pace, gradually pick up to slightly faster than marathon pace (occassionally 10K pace) and hold that for a while (relative to the total length of your tempo), and then gradually decelerate back to an easy pace for the remaining time of your run. For my tempo run today, I ran 10 minutes at an easy pace (~8:00min/mi), then about 5 minutes at marathon pace (~7:30min/mi), and then picked it up to ~7:00min/mi pace (was feeling ~6:50min/mi but held back to not over-do it...that's not the purpose of these workouts!!) for 15 minutes, then slowed it back down to an ~8:00min/mi pace for the last 5 minutes to cool down. Overall, I covered 4.62 miles and averaged a 7:35min/mi pace. I was feeling very reflective of why I love running throughout this workout...nothing else helps me clear my head and make me appreciate life quite like it!  As soon as I got home, I drank some cool water, stretched, did a few crunches, and will be heading over to Liquid Planet to get a smoothie after I finish this up!!

In case you are wondering how I am able to determine my time/pace/distance, it's with my Garmin Forerunner. If you do not yet have one, get one!! It's a great investment, and a key component to being a successful, smart runner. My beautiful and amazingly supportive little sister got it for my birthday and I can't imagine running without it. LOVE IT!
Garmin Forerunner (don't leave home without it!!)
Okay, so here is my run-down for the week (makes me think of Jim and Charles Minor from The Office heheee). Keep in mind that this is my "off" training before I officially begin my NYC Training. This comes from Hal Higdon's Marathon Training Recovery Plan (http://www.halhigdon.com/):

Monday: 40 minute cross-train (this is supposed to be a 5 mile easy run, but I recommend STRONGLY that you do cross-training while you train. It helps develop and strengthened muscles you don't work when running, and gives your body a break from the pounding that comes from running. It still should be done with intensity or it loses its purpose!!)
Tuesday: 8X400 on the track
Wednesday: easy 5 miles
Thursday: 3 X 1 mile at 5K pace (...I'm thinking I'm going to run a 5K or 10K this weekend and I'll just swap this with my Sunday workout. I'll keep ya updated!)
Friday: REST!
Saturday: 90 minute long run
Sunday: 40 min tempo

Just 139 days until the NYC Marathon!!!!!!!! :-D

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Saturday- Sticky Long Run

My initial plan was to wake up at 7am, have a light breakfast and coffee, and head out the door for a nice, long morning run. The glass of red wine I had at Southside in Tremont last night called for a change in plans. I don't know what it is about red wine, but it always gives me the WORST head aches the following day...even just one glass! So, as a result, I decided to attempt to sleep it off, head out to buy Father's Day gifts for my dad and brother, stop by a graduation party for a former student in Aurora, then get in my long run.

...not very wise. I've officially decided that all of my summer long runs HAVE to be in the morning (ideally heading out before 7am)  to avoid the heat and humidity that comes with CLE summers. Plus, it's important that you simulate race situations as often as possible with your long runs. It's just as important to prepare yourself mentally as it is to prepare physically for running. Most races (with a few exceptions) are in the morning, so you really should do your long runs in the morning. You should also practice the eating and drinking you plan on doing before, during, and after running with your long runs. It will give you an idea of what works and what doesn't work. It's better to learn that during your training than in a race!!

Fortunately, although sticky and hot, my run wasn't terrible. For safety purposes, it's not a good idea for me to post exactly where I run. However, I will say that it is absolutely AMAZING. I love Cleveland so much. There's so much diversity, culture, soul, and beauty...I can't imagine living anywhere else!!

"I Will Be Keeping My Talents in Cleveland" (Hanging at Southside in Tremont)
Anywho, there were moments in my run where I struggled a bit. Around mile 4 I was running along Lake Erie (very cool!) and the humidity was killing me. I pushed through and had a few strong miles after until I hit a big hill around mile 10. I REALLY had to push my way up it, and did! I finished my last mile strong and was overall pleased with my run. I ran for 11.17 miles in 90 minutes, 8:04min/mi average.

I'm currently munching on a granola bar, yogurt, and some veggies. It's important to get in GOOD carbs and protein immediately after your run to replenish your starved, strained muscles that need to repair. Also, HYDRATE (but not too much...I've got personal stories to share on that) and STRETCH!!

Tomorrow, I'll post my running schedule for the week after my 35 tempo run! Just two weeks until my NYC Marathon training begins!!! WOOOO!!! :-)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday- Day of Rest!

So, again, bear with me as I figure out how to work this Blog. I may modify my blogging and the format of this page as I go to make it more reader-friendly. But here it goes...

At the beginning of each week, I'll make an outline of my running schedule. My goal is to blog each day to reflect on my work out of the day. I won't be officially starting my NYC Marathon training until the first week of July, but OF COURSE I'm running in the off season! I'm currently on the Hal Higdon Marathon Recovery training plan (on repeat at this point...). You can find all of Hal Higdon's excellent, detailed (and free!) training plans here: http://www.halhigdon.com/. I will be using the Advanced-2 to train for NYC. I used that plan for the Marine Corps, and Hal's Boston Bound for Boston. I'll discuss my NYC training plans in more detail over the next few weeks. One of the most important things to do when starting your marathon training is find a reasonable plan that (a) fits your schedule (b) you feel comfortable doing (c) you will stay consistent with. If you don't feel like it meets a, b, or c, modify it so it does or choose another plan.

As I said, until my NYC marathon training begins, I'm currently in recovery mode. I enjoy this time of laid-back, low mileage for many reasons: I can run lots of fun 5Ks without interfering with my training plan, I can stay out late on the weekends,  and I can eat burgers, fries, and greasy pizza whenever I want!! Mainly, it's nice to have a change in pace and focus my running mainly on the joy of the experience. Plus, it's fun to win races! I won the Flag Day 5K in Mentor on Tuesday. This is a painful, hilly 5K so I was pleased with my 20:18, 6:32min/mi time. It was a wake up call that I need to do more hill work (first wake up call was at Boston...those hills kicked my butt!!)
Flag Day 5K: First Place Overall Female!
With my Big Bro and my nephew!
It was so awesome to see my big bro, sis-in-law, and nephew as I crossed the finish! Although my bro's a major distance running skeptic (and is currently looking for a 0.0 sticker for his car hahaaaa), he has always been my hero. He's my confidant, psychologist, life coach, mechanic, teacher, comic relief, role model, and best friend. :-D

For my Boston training and recovery training, Friday has been my day of rest! I've learned throughout my running the importance of REST! It's a part of the workout, and a key component to your running success. Enjoy it and DO NOT skip it. Doing too much puts you at risk of injury and can lead to exhaustion. Both of which can significantly impair your ability to reach your goal. Today, I will be doing homework (teacher's don't get the summer "off"...so don't be fooled!), meeting my hilariously funny little bro for lunch, going to the pool, and then meeting up with friends for dinner!

I plan on running 90 minutes (about 11 miles) tomorrow morning. I've run two 5Ks this week so I'm planning on taking a break from racing this weekend. I'm using these next few weeks to get re-focused on my goals for NYC: to run a CONSISTENT 7:30min/mi and get back under 3:20 again!