Monday, August 29, 2011

Week 8: Fogetta Bout It!

WOW. It’s been a while!! Last week was my transition back to school week and was quite chaotic… to say the least! I was back to work officially Tuesday, and back with kiddos Thursday. I absolutely love my job, so my heart is happy. However, being on my feet literally all day (maybe off for my 30 minute lunch break) is making my legs not so happy. Additionally, I had a million personal things going on last week (including two nephew bdays!!! So blessed!!)  so I have had just enough time to squeeze in my workouts. They were the “get it done and go” types. Those are the worst. :-( Plus, I was living on a trucker’s diet and couldn’t manage a full night’s sleep. This left me with about a quarter-tank of energy to get me through my runs. AHHHH!

My 40 minute tempo Monday wasn’t too awful, and I covered 5.27 miles. However, I had a PB&J sandwich about an hour before the run which wasn’t too wise (PB is high in protein and fat and requires a lot of time for digestion. Yes, I’m a nerdy science teacher haaa :-) and resulted in some feelings of nausea. But I was able to maintain a 6:50ish-7:00ish pace regardless so no complaints here! Tuesday was an easy 4 averaging a 7:50 pace, and Wednesday was a difficult (should have been a breeze) 3 mile pace run. I was just feeling totally shot, but still maintained a 7:22 average. 

I made it all the way through my 8 mile easy run Thursday, but it was a tough start, middle, and end. I was just mentally and physically exhausted. I completed it though, 1:05:14, averaging an 8:09min/mi. As soon as I got home and hit the coach I thought, “How the heck have I done this for 6 marathons???” I always seem to forget how hard it is! I was SO grateful for my “rest” day Friday, although I didn’t get home that night  until 10:30! AHHHHH!

By the time my long run came Saturday, I was half way done with my quarter-tank and was nervous about how I was going to make it happen. My carbo-loading consisted of ice cream cake and pizza the night before, which was beyond ridiculous and irresponsible on my part. But, it just looked SO good! Needless to say, my 17 miler took the hit on this one. I decided to run my challenge course (TOTALLY beyond ridiculous and irresponsible) down to Brown’s Stadium and back up. I really just had too much on my mind to think this one through. Actually, I’m giving myself too much credit. The truth is I’m just a moron that makes lots of mistakes when I don’t think things through hahahaa!  Just keepin’ it real here. :-)

The first 8 miles were great, and I was right around a 7:55ish-8ish pace. Once I started the loop back, I rolled my left ankle AGAIN. I caught my fall and it wasn’t too much of a big deal, but I think it was a sign of what was to come. By mile 13, I literally had nothing left. I hit the wall in the worst way, and was doing all I could to just keep my legs moving. I had a gel at mile 8, and I couldn’t feel any of the effects of it. My gas light was ON and I knew it was going to be difficult to make it home without breaking down. As I could sense my potential car wreck status, I started getting careless and sloppy and dropped my bottle of water TWICE. I was therefore low on supply, and with the noon temperatures starting to increase I was making for an even worse situation for myself.  I consequently didn’t have enough water with me to give another gel a chance, so I just kept running.I finished in 2:20:10, 8:15min/mi. I suppose that isn’t too awful considering my crazy week, my lack of responsible planning, and the blisteringly painful remaining miles of the run. So, I guess I’ll just FOGETTA BOUT IT! 

I ended up covering 37.27 miles last week, and overall have 258. 93 miles completed over the past 8 weeks. 

My Week 9 NYC Marathon Training agenda this week (based off of Hal Higdon’s Advanced-2 Marathon training plan):
Monday: 6X800
Tuesday: 4 miles easy
Wednesday: 40 minute tempo
Thursday: 9 mile pace
Friday: rest
Saturday: 19 miles (should be 12, but I have the River Run ½ marathon next week so I’m tossing up the 19 miler to this weekend)
Sunday: 40 minute cross-train

Heading out now for my 6X800 on the track! Back to HEALTHY eating and hopefully good sleeping this week!!! 10 weeks until NYC!!! :-)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Week 7: One more thing... :-)

Week 7: Sat/Sun- I love you, Long Run!

For the first time in a long time, I can report that my long run was the best workout of the week!!! 

I’ve been treating my long runs like the middle-child of my training runs. OF COURSE, I love my long runs. However, I just haven’t been prioritizing them the way I should. I have been more than willing to toss them around, knowing I could be risking a sour workout. As a consequence, my long runs have been bitter and frustrating instead of fun and invigorating. My goal for the remaining weeks until Cbus and NYC will be to treat all of my workouts fairly. They all have purposes, and I shouldn’t sacrifice the quality of one to benefit the other. I love all of my workouts equally and need to remind myself of this!!! The truth is I have to work to maintain a HAPPY family of marathon training. Neglecting any component of this family is tampering with my 26.2 success, and there’s NO way I’m willing to do that!!

Friday was my rest day (also a part of the marathon training family) leading into my 16 mile long run on the Tow Path Saturday morning. My goal was to stick around a 8:00min/mi, willing to take +/- a few seconds. I was planning on meeting my friend, Jen, who is a recent Mommy of two and 110% dedicated to qualifying for Boston at Cbus this fall. Her motivation and dedication is amazing! Thanks to her, I was able to get out of bed although I had a POUNDING headache when the alarm went off at 6:15am. I’ve had issues with insomnia lately and I think that may be a contributor to the headaches I’ve been having…? 

We got started around 8:30am. At that time, both the temperature and humidity were relatively low. We stuck around an 8:00min/mi talking pace that felt good and in control to perhaps pick things up at some point in the second half. It was so much fun chatting and catching up! Once we hit about mile 6, I could feel the temperature and humidity increase. I felt a little dizzy and wished we were at least a bit closer to the halfway point. I wanted to run the final few miles at a quicker pace, but wasn’t sure that was going to happen with the increasingly yucky weather conditions. However, once I used some gel at mile 8 things started to pick up! We picked up the pace gradually and were hitting most of our miles on the second half close to 7:50. At mile 10, I was feeling awesome and enthusiastic about how great this workout was going. On my past few long runs, I was pleading for my car and Gatorade at this point. But yesterday, I was feeling like my old running self! I was just enjoying the experience! I could see we were definitely ahead of pace, but once we got to mile 14.5 I decided it was time to kick into gear for a strong finish. I always make it my goal to have a strong finish in all of my workouts (with the exception of tempos since that includes a cool down to the finish). I ran around a 6:50-7:00 mile until mile 16. I clocked in at 2:05:47, averaging a 7:52 min/mi. 

Upon finishing, I did some stretching and then headed to the pool for some more stretching.  My muscles were tender and sore, but that’s just a component of the long run experience! Overall, I felt good and was feeling very confident with this amazing workout!

I think the best word to describe this week is tumultuous. However, with all of the challenges I faced, I always made sure to keep my head up. There will always be curve balls thrown at you, and you just have to make sure your prepared if you want to stay in the game! I ran 38.43 miles this week, bringing me to a grand total of 221.66 miles over the past 7 weeks.

My Week 8 NYC Marathon Training Agenda (based off of Hal Higdon’s Advanced-2 Marathon Training Plan):
Monday: 40 minute tempo
Tuesday: 4 miles easy
Wednesday: 3 mile pace
Thursday: 8 miles easy
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 17 miles
Sunday: 40 minute cross-training

11 WEEKS UNTIL I’M RUNNING (****ehHhHM dancing eHhHhm****) IN DA BRONX!!! :-D

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Week 7: Wednesday/Thursday- Battling the Elements

What does not kill me makes me stronger. Although this Nietzsche quote is most certainly trite, I’ve been reminding myself of it as life’s challenges seem to be coming at an accelerating pace these past few days!! I have a great deal of things on my plate, in my personal, professional, and running life, and I’m trying with all of my power to avoid freaking out. Whenever I feel this way, I always think of one of the most hilariously, funny dudes in the world that always makes me smile no matter what:

...I can absolutely relate to that scene hahaaaaaaaaa!

Okay, so I think I've done enough whining about my fall Monday night so I won’t go on about that too much, LOL. However, Wednesday I was definitely STILL feeling the aftermath from it. My ankle, although still swollen, healed quickly. THANK GOD! My arms were still super sore, but I’ll take it. My body was still overall hurtin', but I was feeling better. GEEEZ, is this a preview of getting old??? Hahaaaaaa YIKES! 

I was not allowing ANY circumstances to prevent me from having a quality tempo Wednesday, so I decided to bump it to late afternoon. I figured my muscles would be warmed up by then and I’d be ready to rock it. Around 4pm, I did some Pilates. I took a glance at the TV after I finished, and noticed my peripheral vision was going. I didn’t think anything of it, until I looked at my computer and noticed it was getting worse.  At that point, I knew what I was in for…ANOTHER FREAKING MIGRAINE!!! AhHhHh I had a pretty bad migraine about a month ago, and I don’t typically have migraines this often. I was hoping I could just ignore it and mentally block it out. But once I got my running shoes on and set my Garmin, I glanced in the mirror and realized I couldn’t fully see my face. :-( My biggest regret from my black-out back in March was that I knew before I left for my run that day that I wasn’t feeling right. I DEF. knew I was in for the real thing with this migraine, so I grabbed a cold wash cloth for my head, shut off the lights in my bedroom, cranked on the A.C, and 3 hours later it was over. Absolutely the right decision! But, GOSH, nothing stops me like those migraines. I’m in excruciating pain, like an ice cream headache that just won’t go away, and completely debilitated until it passes. AHHHHHHHH. But the good news is, it ALWAYS passes! :-)

Post-migraine, my stomach was feeling pretty raw. It’s similar to the feeling  of riding a spinning amusement park ride. I knew I had to eat something, so I had a rice bowl from Liquid Planet (DELICIOUSSSSSSSS!). I gave myself about an hour to let it digest, and then headed out for a night 40 minute tempo run. It was BEAUTIFUL outside. The temperature was in the low 70s (or so it felt), there was a nice breeze, and the humidity was low. I did a 15 minute warm-up, and then picked up the pace gradually until I hit 6:50 and maintained that until 35 minutes in, and then finished with a 5 minute cool down. I covered 5.43 miles. I’m LOVVVVVVVVVVING these tempos!!!  The conditions were great to make this an awesome workout, and I feel that I made up for my sub-par hill workout yesterday. WOO HOO!! 

Today, I was planning on an early afternoon 8 mile pace run.  However, it was in the upper 80s and a little humid (relatively speaking, it’s been SIGNIFICANTLY worse this summer) around 2pm. My stomach was still queasy from the migraine, so I decided my best bet to make this a good workout was to hold off until the sun went down.  Especially considering the success I had with my tempo last night, I figured it’d pay off to wait. I had some pretzels and two Kashi cookies before heading out around 7:30pm for my run. If I could do it again, I would have just had dinner first. My energy level for the entire run was just lacking. Plus, I decided in advance to make this run challenging....and I never back down from a challenge! :-)

I planned to run down Cedar Hill, up MLK to the VA hospital, around Case up to Little Italy, up Coventry to Fairmount, and then back home. YEP, that’s a WHOLE LOT of Ups! The first 1.5 miles were mostly downhill, so it was a good warm-up and I was right around a 7:10ish mile. This is a bit faster than my goal pace (7:30) for this workout, but I knew I’d be losing some time on the up hills so I wasn’t stressin’ over it! From mile 1.5 through mile 6, I was pretty much completely going up in elevation. There were points that were more dramatic than others, like the steep hills at the VA hospital, Little Italy, and Coventry. But overall, I was going UP and it was TOUGH to maintain my pace! I def. let myself slip on the steep hills and tried to make up for time lost on the more flat parts. Once I reached mile 6 I knew I was way behind pace and needed to pick it up if I wanted to average 7:30 for this workout.  I ran mile 6 around a 7:00 pace, and mile 7 around a 6:50 pace. My Garmin showed 52:55-ish after mile 7. I had one more mile to go, and needed to make sure I stayed under 7:05 in order to meet my goal. I ran this mile hard, despite being SUPER dehydrated and pushing on rolling hills. Although the sun went down, it was sticky and humid…far from the gorgeous conditions of yesterday. I was running in front of cars (like a moron) because I didn’t want anything to prevent me from hitting my goal. AND I SNATCHED IT! I finished in 59:42, a 7:28min/mi average. Although I didn’t run an even 7:30 pace, I’m definitely happy with my strategy. I didn’t overextend myself or get caught up in negative thoughts with the tough parts of the course, which happened to be the majority of the course. I picked the pace up when the time was right, and was able to finish strong. No complaints from me today!! I’m happy with my effort and strategy. The crazy part is after I walked into my apartment, suddenly lightning struck and a HUGE hail storm came down! VERY SCARY! I'm SO glad I didn't get stuck in that...that's dangerous beyond what I'm willing to run in!

Tomorrow is a well-deserved rest day. I haven’t had a day off since the race Sunday, and considering the week I’ve had I’m looking forward to it!! Saturday I have 16 miles on the Tow Path with my friend Jen! I want to stick around an 8:00min/mi, and maybe pick it up for the last four miles if I’m vibin’ it. 

Ohhhhhhhh and here are some extra pics from the rainy Perfect 10 miler Sunday!

Remember to always listen to your body, and also that what does not kill you makes you stronger. : -D

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Week 7: Tuesday- The Aftermath on Hills--oWwWwW!

OW. That’s exactly how I feel. Sore. Beat up. OWWWWWWWW.

Fortunately, I have no serious injuries from the fall yesterday. My ankle is sore and bruised, but I can still run on it with minimal pain. My right arm hurts and it’s hard to lift, but it moves so I’m good! However, my entire body just HURTS. I feel super beat up. I know my fall from yesterday sounds a bit dramatic, but I came down HARD and I’m feelin’ it like WOAH. But, OBVIOUSLY, that didn’t stop me from my 5 X hill workout scheduled for today…:-)

I did some lesson planning up at school in the A.M, took care of some personal things in the afternoon, and made my hill workout an evening adventure. I spent some extra time doing some jumping jacks and stretches to loosen up my body prior to the run. 

I took it easy for my warm up, which was about 1.5 miles. My ankle felt tender and sore, but nothing super serious. My arm felt like it weighed 80 lbs and kind of threw off my momentum a bit. But, once I got to the hill all the pain went away. :-)

The first repeat was okay, and I was around a 7:30ish min/mi and picked it up closer to a 7:15ish mile as I got to the end. I had a small cheering section at the bottom of the hill for the second repeat, which boosted me all the way to a 6:20ish pace that I kept for most of the hill until I dropped to 6:40 near the top (I have no idea where that one came from!) The third and fourth were both around 7:10ish and I boosted it to 6:50 at the end. The fifth was the hardest and my mind wandered a bit as I started. I got caught up in the “this is HARD” thought and realized I was only at a 7:40 pace!!! I picked it up to 7:10 and told myself I wasn’t allowed to stop running until I hit 6:50. So, once I got to the top I ran about .10 more miles until I snatched it (after running a .25 steep hill, that is like running an extra 26.2 miles, LOL). I did a 1.25 mile cool down home totaling 5 miles. 

I was happy I completed my hill workout, but my normal aggressiveness when it comes to this challenge was a bit subdued. I like to finish this workout feeling like I OWNED those hills, but I feel more like “ehhhh I got it done.” Maybe I’m not giving myself enough credit for running on a SORE, beat up body.  Or maybe I gave myself too much credit and mentally cut myself out for the great workout I should have had. OH WELL…there’s no going back now!!

I’m currently laying on my coach, and I’m not sure if I can get up to shower. That is how sore I am right now. I feel like a fragile old woman. OWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!

I have a 40 minute tempo scheduled for tomorrow. NO HOLDING BACK ALLOWED!! :-)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Week 7: Monday- Man down...and back UP!!! :-)

For those of you recently following my blog, I had a mishap (if you will) back in March on an easy run…March Madness

Today was another mishap of much less severity… 

Originally, I was going to do some cross-training today. After I over-indulged (in a moderately gluttonous fashion BLEH) at a cookout after the race yesterday, I decided to switch plans. To detox and make myself feel better, I did my cross-training and some Pilates last night to burn off some of those calories. I’ve been eating terrible lately and I need to be more conscious of it. YUCK!
Since my workout for today was out of the way, I decided to pop in an easy 4 mile early evening run. My legs were a little stiff, but overall I woke up this morning feeling great! The endorphins must have still been kickin’ in after the Perfect 10 miler P.R. yesterday! It was perfect running weather around 7pm, so I did a little stretching and then headed out the door….

I was running up Euclid Heights, and at an easy 8:00min/mi pace, reflecting on the race from yesterday. Then, into the first .75 mile, I was crossing the street onto the sidewalk and BAM I was on the pavement. I’m not sure if I didn’t pick my foot up enough on the curb or what, but all of the sudden I was SMACKED on the ground. I’ve fallen multiple times (I’m a bit of a klutz, LOL) but this was HARD. I used my hands to break my fall, but still managed to land on my left ankle, right knee, and right hip (I don’t get it either, LOL). I sat there for a second and just took a deep breath. I was on the verge of a panic attack from the fall, and had no clue if I did any real damage to my ankle or knee.  A car was approaching a stop sign nearby, saw me fall, and also saw me sitting there. The person just drove away. :-( They didn’t even bother to roll down the window to ask if I was okay. Unbelievable. I knew I had to get up, so I slowly picked myself up and started running. My right hand was super numb but I could move it so I knew I was in the clear there. My ankle was a little sore but okay. I knew I was fine. :-) As I kept on running, I started to cry. I felt for a few seconds there my running life flash before my eyes, which I know sounds a bit dramatic, but it was very scary. Plus, it breaks my heart to know that someone could be so careless of another human being.  I think that’s what hurt me the most… :-( I know I’m too sensitive, but even writing this out is making me tear up…

The good news is, I was able to finish up all four miles right on my easy pace: 31:59, 8:00min/mi. I’ve gotten freakishly good at staying on my easy pace!!  The bad news is my ankle is pretty swollen, my knee is banged up, and my right hand hurts a lot.  I also have a bruise on my right elbow that is making my arm hurt, too. GRRRR.  I tried to do some Pilates, but it was just not a happening. I’ll have to do some extra Pilates later on this week to make up for it.

I have 5Xhill tomorrow which I should be fine for. I’m going to make this an evening run as well because I will be up at school in the A.M. Fingers crossed I’m okay!!!!

I guess I should have stuck to my cross-training today. I don’t know what it is about these easy runs!!

Oh...and today is another example of why everyone should have Road ID!!! They used my story as testimonial for their product hahaaaa!: MP's Road ID testimonial

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Week 6: Sunday- Perfect 10 miler

Sorry for the delay in my blog updates!!! Life is getting crazy, and is about to get even crazierrrrr, so it will be hard for me to be as up-to-date on my running adventures as I’ve been all summer. Oh, reality, why must you creep on me so fast?? :-)

Okay, so let me get caught up here…

Thursday, I ran a 7 mile pace run mid-afternoon after spending the morning at school. I did a great deal of lifting and unpacking in my classroom prior to my run, which I felt was a good little warm up before I headed over to the Tow Path. I wasn’t feeling particularly well with a scratchy throat, swollen glands, headache, and runny nose. I’m not sure if it was allergies or a little bug, but it wasn’t anything that I felt would hinder my run too much. However, for whatever particular reason, I was just not “on” while doing my pace run. I was able to maintain my pace, but it just didn’t feel as comfortable as it should.  Into the first mile, I could taste a little bit of blood which I think came from my irritated throat (gross) but I felt okay overall. As I was getting into mile 3, a biker passed me and told me I looked good and encouraged me to keep up my pace. That was DEFINITELY the piece of motivation that helped me to keep on.  Just another perk of running without headphones!! Once I turned around at mile 3.5, I was feeling better but definitely dehydrated. I had water with me fortunately, which helped me to keep up the pace despite feeling YUCKY. The last two miles were the most challenging, mainly because I was fighting negative questions going through my head: “Why the heck is this so hard? Is this a pace I should be setting my 26.2 goals at? Am I sick? Did I do too much lifting today?” Finally, I sucked it up and again thought about that nice biker and his remarks. I just kept pushing, and then finished 51:36, 7:22min/mi. I rewarded myself that night with a Red Robin cheeseburger and fries. I just told myself I could use the calories hahaaaa.  :-)

Friday, I was scheduled a 4 mile easy run. I decided to do this run with my sister, who I’m trying VERY hard to get into racing. She runs casually, and has run 2 half marathons, but she’s not interested in taking any further than that. She has a lot of potential, so I’m trying to motivate her! I ran at her pace, and enjoyed chatting and gossiping the entire time, hahaa! We ran 36:23, 9:06min/mi. A bit behind the pace I normally do my easy runs at, but it felt good to take it easy!!!

Saturday, I took the day off and caught up with my dear friend, Jeness, and then spent the afternoon/evening doing wedding venue shopping for my sister with my sisters and Mom! It wasn’t exactly a “rest” day, but those will be pretty much unavailable for the next year, LOL. 

So, today was the day of the Perfect 10 miler. This race was set to be my first real test of my current level of fitness.  I felt very nervous going into this race for a few reason: (a) I haven’t raced a long distance since Boston, (b) my long runs have been kind of “off,” and (c) my pace run on Thursday was much harder than it should have been. I wanted to run under 1:10, but was just not sure that was going to happen.  I woke up this morning at 5:15am, and it was cool, dark, and raining softly. PERFECT sleeping weather, LOL! I didn’t sleep well last night, and was out late Friday night, and contemplated for a second skipping the race and getting in some extra ZZZs. I chuckled at my laziness and then got myself moving! 
Perked up and ready to roll!
I got to the course around 6:50am, just enough time to finish up my coffee, use the Ladies room, and get a good 1.5 mile warm up and stretching in before the race began at 7:30am. My warm up went well. My legs were feeling refreshed, the weather was cool and breezy, and my anxiety went away. Every once in a while, I have to remind myself why I run: because I love it and it’s FUN! When I run for the love and fun of it, I always do my best. There are plenty of more reasons to be anxious, and running shouldn’t be a contributor!!! SO, I knew I was golden for a good race regardless of the outcome!  Plus, I ran into some of my favorite running ladies, including my cousin-in-law, Jess!! She’s always such an awesome, uplifting person to run with. I also ran into Debbie, who is a hard-core long distance running gal always full of spunk and positive energy! I’ve met some truly amazing people throughout my running journey. You guys are awesome!!
Me and lil Jess!

Okay, so we lined up at the start line which was a big cluster around a tiny chute that we were directed to run under (…I think? I couldn’t hear the announcer!).  There were lots of speedy chicas there, which I was grateful for. It’s such a great a motivator to keep working hard, and a reminder that there is A LOT of room for improvement.  I wasn’t looking to win this one, just to meet my sub 1:10 goal for the confidence boost I needed in my NYC training. I saw one chica in particular that always runs a tad bit faster than I do, and she does a really good job of running at an even, consistent pace.  I wanted to run behind her and keep an eye on her so I could use her to pace me a bit. Then, the race started and off we all went!! I wanted to stay around a 6:50-7:00ish pace throughout the race, so I started out easy and allowed people fly by me.  The first mile went great, and I felt comfortable and was right at 7:00 minutes when I crossed the first mile marker. I picked up the pace at the second mile, and was down to about  6:50ish. The third mile was awesome! I felt comfortable, confident with my pace, and decided to just go with it. I was closer to a 6:40ish pace, but was anticipating losing some time around mile 5 due to a gradual incline in elevation, so I wasn’t sweating it. And, NO, I wasn’t sweating it at all! Not only was it cool and breezy, but it also started to drizzle around mile 3 and rained all the way to the finish line. It was AWESOME!  Mile 4 went okay, but I  was trying hard to stay focused on my own pace and not the people around me. A lot of people were slowing down and running around a 7:10ish pace, either because they went out too fast or they were anticipating the tough part of the course, but I just kept passing people and focused on my own pace.  Once I was into to mile 5 and could feel the gradual incline, a guy pulled up to my side and told me he had been pacing with me the entire time. It honestly made me feel a bit nervous, hahaaa! That’s a lot of pressure!! He said he wanted to pace me to the finish, and encouraged me to pick it up. He was going to break 1:08, which I didn’t feel comfortable going for. I told him “ahhhhhhhhh okay I’ll be behind ya!” And then off he went. I appreciate the kindness though. I always emphasize this, but runners are seriously the nicest people in the world. Just another reason I love this sport so much (and another reason why running with headphones is a mistake!!).  Mile 6 and 7 went really well, because you loop around and run a gradual decline. Also, you run past other runners which helps you get an idea of how you’re doing comparatively, and it’s also just fun to see everyone out there! Once I got to mile 8, I knew I was ABSOLUTELY meeting my goal and was SO happy. I was a bit too happy too early, and ended up getting passed by a chica that had a lot of left over spunk to get to the finish line. The original chica I was using to pace myself was still in front of me, and was also passed by this spunky chica. So, I didn’t feel discouraged and kept going! This chica was clearly just having an awesome race. After I got through all of the turns and little hills on mile 8, I crossed through into mile 9. I was breathing somewhat heavy at this point, but was in control. I wished I could push a bit harder than what I had left, but I just gave all I had until the finish. I glanced at my Garmin as I was getting closer to the finish, and saw 1:08. I was so excited, and also exhausted, but wanted a strong finish. I chugged and chugged, around a 6:40ish pace, and then BOOM crossed the finish. I MET MY GOAL!!! I ran 1:09:15 (still waiting for official race results, but that’s what they said at the awards), a 6:55min/mi average, and won first in my age group!!! I was SO happy I was under 1:10, and SOOOO happy my pace average was under a 7:00min/mi!!  I ran this course last year at 1:10:34, so this is over a minute P.R.!!!  Oh, and this is also my first long distance no-Ipod race…another big accomplishment for me! Hahaaaa! 

Overall, I’m very pleased with the race. I’m pleased with my strategy throughout the course in addition to the overall outcome. I took advantage of the “easy” parts when I was feeling good, and didn’t get discouraged by the more challenging parts where my pace slipped a bit. I also realized that maybe I’m not ready to pace a marathon (my goal was to pace the CLE Marathon this spring if I get into Boston again before cap fills), because it definitely made me nervous knowing that someone was counting on me to keep up his pace!! But, we’ll see!

SO, six weeks down, I passed my fitness test, and am READDDDDDDDDY to begin week 7!!  This week, I completed 33.72 miles and in total have completed 183.23 miles over the past 6 weeks. 

My Week 7 NYC Marathon Training Agenda this week (based of Hal Higdon’s Advanced’2 Marathon Training Plan):

Monday: 40 minute cross-training
Tuesday: 5Xhill
Wednesday: 40 tempo
Thursday: 8 mile pace
Friday: rest
Saturday: 16 miles
Sunday: 40 minute cross-training

Happy Training Everybody!!!!!!!! :-D

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Week 6: Mon/Wed- Don't Let it Get Away!

I’m glad to know that so many are enjoying reading my blog! :-) I started blogging for all that have been curious about my running, and it has turned into a cathartic method of reflection for me! Apparently, even Humidity reads my blog and has seemingly got the message to go away!! The weather has been glorioussssssss the past few days which has greatly helped ensure that I get in some quality workouts! It’s also served as a reminder that Fall never forgets us and is right around the corner. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Fall because, in no particular order: 

(a) it signifies the beginning of a new school year and I’m a nerdy teacher in love with her job
(b) I can wear all of my long-sleeve t-shirts and track jackets I’m obsessed with
(c) the trees just look so pretty when they change colors
(d) the CLE BROWNS are back in action!
(e) perrrrrrfect running weather 
(f) it’s marathon season!! 
I could probably come up with about a thousand reasons I love fall but who really cares, right?? ;-) (ohhh one more:  I will be 29 this fall, last year of the 25-29 age group…YIKES!!) 

Monday I hit the track for 5X800. I decided to walk to the track, and on my way there saw the street blocked off by the police. I assumed this was a crime scene investigation and turned around (CLE, although beautiful, has some safety issues, LOL), and then a cop got out of his car and told me it was okay to walk through. He informed me that they were shooting a movie! I kept walking, and saw one of the houses at the end of the street was FILLED with huge lights and tents! It was a legit movie set. VERY cool stuff going on in CLE lately! Once I got to the track, I did a 1 mile warm -up and then got started.  My focus going into the workout was to stick around a 6:20 pace, not much faster or slower, and to keep it for the entire 800 meters. On the first repeat, as usual, I was a little too spunky and pounded it out under 6:00. The second and third were my most comfortable around a 6:10, and the fourth and fifth were the most challenging, still around 6:10. I wish my Garmin functioned with my computer so I could analyze my runs a bit more (actually, maybe it’s a blessing in disguise, LOL…I tend to be a bit over-analytical in most aspects of my life if you haven’t caught on already heeee). Overall, GREAT track workout. I felt strong, in control of my breathing and pace, and not overly spent on my cool down walk home! 

Tuesday was an easy 3 miles 23:21, 7: 47min/mi. It was a great run to relax and enjoy the scenery. Unfortunately though, the abrasion on the back of my right ankle cut open and bled EVERYWHERE again. It’s so disgusting and annoying. It’s fine with a Band-aid some days, and a HOT MESS other days. The pain is manageable, but the blood is just nasty. YUCK!  I cleaned up the mess and finished with some Pilates.

The weather today was amaaaaaaaaazing! I’ve had some anxiety lately regarding important (but great) things approaching, and I couldn’t shake it out of my system. I didn’t want it to taint my 35 minute tempo scheduled for the day, so I got in my Pilates first. Then, I got out the door to enjoy the blissfully bEaUtIfUl day in CLE. I glanced up at the sky and felt like I was looking at Heaven. :-) The first 10 minute segment was my usual casual warm up, and then I glided into the 20 minutes and held around a 650-700ish pace, and finished with a 5 minute cool down. I didn’t feel like I ran fantastically, mainly because my mind was in a million places and it was hard to stay super focused on my pace. However, this turned out to be my best tempo! I covered 4.72 miles…the most miles I’ve covered in a tempo of this time yet! WOOP! Oh, and the ankle was in good shape at the end which made it even better!

Tomorrow morning, I’m heading into school to start to get ready for the school year. Then, I’ll be heading to the Tow Path to get in a 7 mile pace run. Initially, I wanted to keep it easy in preparation for the 10 mile race I have Sunday. But, that’s three days away….so I don’t need to sacrifice my fav. workout!  I’m super excited for the Perfect 10 miler. The weather is forecasted to be great, so it should be a good test of my long-distance racing fitness! Anything under 1:10 will make me a happy girl!

It’s a beautiful night for a run, after a BEAUTIFUL day. So, if you haven’t gotten out there yet, DO IT! Nights like tonight are guaranteed to only make your day better! What you don't have you don't need it now.What you don't know you can feel it somehow. What you don't have you don't need it now. Don't need it now. Was a beautiful day. :-)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Week 5: Weekend- Humidity, You Ain't No Friend of Mine!

ENOUGH. I’m over you. 

Way back in June, I contemplated how I was going to handle you.  You were exciting and challenging, and I sought out inspiration from deep inside thinking that maybe, just maybe, I could break you. Although I knew I could never change or control you, I thought I could learn to overcome your inconsistent, despicable, and infuriating ways. I thought you’d make me feel empowered and invigorated. But, I gotta be honest about how I feel: YOU SUCK. I recognize that I will be faced by your inevitable visit for a few months every year pretty much for the rest of my life as long as I continue to live in the greatest city in the world: CLEVELAND!!! However, for now, I’m OVER this and am ready to move on. It’s gotten to the point where you make me sick, LITERALLY, and I don’t want to put up with you anymore.  OHHHHH, and for the record, it’s not me, IT’S YOU. 

ARRRRRRG. This angry lil blog entry concluding Week 5 of my NYC marathon training is directed towards public enemy number one: HUMIDITY. It’s taken over summer here in CLE, and I’ve NEVER been more ready for fall!! I know it’s temporary, and it will make me a better runner pushing through it. But after a while, enough is ENOUGH! (P.S. I’m not really that angry, just a bit of sensationalism to finish the week hahaaaaaaaaa :-) )

Okay, SO my weekend plans were a bit tweaked because I decided against pursuing the 5K P.R.  I was up much later than anticipated Friday night, and woke up at 6am Saturday morning just not vibin’ it. I got up for a bit, analyzed exactly why I wanted to race so badly that day, and decided it wasn’t worth it. I need to have faith in my training and current level of fitness, and not be so fixated on proving this to myself. I’m in a great place right now, and I just need to CHILL and believe in what I've got! Plus, I’ll have another chance to 5K P.R. at the end of September. I decided to sleep in a bit and do my 14 miler as scheduled instead of bumping it around for the 5K. SO, I went back to bed for another 3 hours…

… I probably should have just made it one, because I didn’t end up getting out on the road until 10:40am. By this time, it was in the upper 80s AND SO SO SO HUMID. It was the disgusting, unbearable type of humid, and I knew I was in for a SERIOUS challenge. I decided to make the course fun, which I thought may bring in for some positive distractions from the negative, devious weather conditions I was going to be faced with. I planned to run an up and back 14 miles to the CLE Brown’s Stadium. WOOF WOOF!  The good news is that the “boo-boo” on my ankle was nicely concealed by some great sports Band-aids I got the day before, so it wasn’t an issue. The bad news is, the run pretty much stunk from start to finish. I’m not sure exactly what my problem was, and it’s not fair to entirely blame the humidity, but I just couldn’t power through the way I should have. The first few miles were okay, and I hung around a 7:50min/mi, but I slowly climbed down to an 8:00min/mi around mile 4 and stuck there.  The further I ran, the hotter it got and the more I was overcome by super negative feelings. I was getting frustrated by my effort, which felt like a 7:15min/mi, but was actually barely a 8:00min/mi. But, I kept trucking! Then, once mile 5 came around, I realized I set myself up to run on the WORST PART of the CLE Marathon race course. It’s a long stretch that is BARREN except for cars driving on the highway parallel to it. When I saw I was reaching this, I contemplated turning around. It was so hot, I was mentally lacking in motivation, and knew whatever I ran out I’d also have to run back. But, being the psycho-challenge-obsessesd-moron that I am, I ran it anyway. There are SO many long distance races that have painful stretches like this, and there are no short cuts to the finish. You have to push through! So, I did. However, it was TOUGH. There were literally no people around. I was waiting for tumbleweed to roll through, LOL! Once I got to Burke Lakefront Airport, I was at around mile 7.25 on my Garmin. Brown’s Stadium was at least 2 more miles away, and since I was doing an up and back run, I decided to turn around. With the extreme heat and humidity, and my ‘tude of the day, I didn’t want to over-do it. I needed to stick to the 14 miles I was prescribed. The 7 miles home were the hardest. I was pouring water on myself to keep cool, all the while trying to ration the water I had left. The PAINFUL CLE Marathon stretch was awful, but I did it. Once I got back on MLK, I tried my best to give a 7:30min/mi pace a try for the remaining few miles. I had nothing left, and I couldn’t consistently hold it. That was a VERY frustrating feeling.  Then, once I got to the final .5 miles up Cedar Hill (pretty much a death sentence) I completely ignored my Garmin and just gave whatever effort I had left. When the Garmin beeped WORKOUT FINISHED, I was SO relieved. I finished in 1:54:14, averaging an 8:10min/mi. Okay, so it wasn’t my best long run, but I finished. I faced some difficult mental challenges in addition to the extreme humidity, and I’m glad I was able to push through. I chugged a liter of Gatorade along with tons of cold water, and then headed to the pool for my version of an ice bath, LOL. It feels good to have the cool water on my sore muscles, and really helps reduce the muscle inflammation that usually comes with my long runs.  

This week, I ran 31.67 miles, bringing me to a total of 149.51 miles over the past 5 weeks. This was another great week despite some early week post-5k+long run muscle soreness and pushing through challenging weather conditions, but I still ran strong and completed all of my workouts!

My Week 6 NYC Marathon Training Agenda (based off of Hal Higdon’s Advanced-2 Marathon Training)is:
Monday: 5 X 800
Tuesday: 3 mile easy
Wednesday: 35 tempo
Thursday: 7 mile easy
Friday: 4 mile easy
Saturday: rest
Sunday: Perfect 10-miler

This is a step-back week, and also my first prescribed long-distance race to get a solid glimpse of my training!!! Very exciting! Fingers crossed HUMIDITY STOPS CREEPIN’ AND STAYS AWAY. But, I’ll just have to roll with the punches on this one. It’d be foolish to think it won’t be showing up uninvited Sunday morning.  If it does, I certainly hope they have sprinklers on the course again this year!!

89 days until the NYC Marathon babyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!! I CAN’T WAIT!!!!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Week 5: Thursday: Blood, [some] Sweat, NO Tears


I knew as soon as I started my 7 mile run yesterday that my right ankle was somewhat irritated. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized that my cute pink running shoes were covered with blood, and that this little irritation was a huge abrasion. OWWWWWWWW! 

[some] Sweat-

FINALLY, a Thursday run that’s nice and cool!! AHHHH it was SO beautiful! It’s amazing how much the heat/humidity takes out of us, and how little credit we give ourselves for bearing through the horrendous conditions. Most of the month of July was like running on a treadmill in a sauna. But, as all the running experts promised, it makes our body that much better conditioned for the cool conditions when they make their inevitable visit!

My Thursday 7 miler was not a pace workout this week, but a comfortable easy-does-it workout. I’m forcing myself to take full advantage of the easy days, and wanted to stick around an 8:00min/mi. I just wanted to enjoy this run and not worry too much about pace, even if I went a little slower than planned. And, that’s JUST what I did, but managed to freakishly run EXACTLY on pace….similar to my 13 miler on Sunday!! I finished in 56:00, EXACTLY an 8:00min/mi average. WEIRDDDD! The run went so well, that I didn’t even pay attention to the pain of my bloody ankle!! It was nice to come home and not be drenched in a torrential down pour of sweat, LOL!

NO Tears-

While I was running, I was doing a lot of reflecting on the past few weeks of training. I’ve been doing well, my fitness level is improving, my body is toning into great shape, and I’m loving all of the challenges that comes with advanced marathon training! After my 14 miler this weekend, I have the Perfect 10 miler race next weekend. My marathon training intensity will be full blast after the race…just in time for the beginning of the school year!!

I know my focus should just be the 26.2, but I REALLY want a 5K P.R. this summer. This weekend may be my last chance to snatch it. I’ve only run two flat 5Ks this summer, one of which I ran 19:38, and the other I CHOKED LBJ-style and ran 20:20ish. All the other 5Ks have been super hilly, and my times have all been right around 20 minutes. I can’t help but wonder what my times would be had they been flat courses...? I think what’s killing me the most is the 20:23 (the announcer said 19:34, then when the official results came  it said 20:01, and now it says 20:23...I have no clue what's right!!) I ran on Saturday at the Zoo. Although the course was super challenging and I was the first female by well over a minute, I don’t feel satisfied with my time. I want to prove to myself that I’m better than a 19:38. I’m going to give it one more try tomorrow at the Cleveland Clinic Independence 5K.  Judge me if you will, but I’m a crazy, dedicated, perfectionist driven to excellence. :-) Once my 5K P.R. is checked off my list, my focus will be STRICTLY 26.2!!

So the plan is Saturday: 5K. If I’m feeling it, I’ll do the 14 miles after. If I’m not feeling it, then I’ll either do the 14 Sunday or Monday. I will be 110% listening to my body for this one. Part of the convenience of being DONE with that chem course and having a few weeks of break before teaching starts is the flexibility in my schedule! Now, let’s just hope my beat up ankle holds up. Also, I’ve been having some upper-back pain. Fingers crossed my rest day today does the healing trick!!!

I’ll finish today with a quote by the sweetest little girl, wise beyond her years, that approached me at the pool while I was reading the latest issue of Runners’ World: “WHY DO ALL YA SKINNY PEOPLE THINK YA GOTTA BE RUNNING ALL THE TIME????” By the end of our conversation, she offered to buy me a hot dog hahahaaaaaaaaaa :-)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Week 5: Wednesday: Marathon state of mind!!

SO happy to announce that from this day forth, I will no longer be running around chemistry homework! I had my final this afternoon and am OFFICIALLY on summer break!! WOO HOOOOOOO!!! There’s only a few weeks left, and I’ll likely be up at school getting my classroom ready by the end of the week, LOL…but I’m happy for a few weeks of some freedom!

I made my 3 mile pace run scheduled for today an evening run, hoping to catch the rain. Seriously, I LOVEEEEEE running in the hot summer rain!!! It’s so much fun, and I’m always guaranteed an awesome workout. Unfortunately, I missed the rain but fortunately, it was cool and breezy which made for good running conditions to get in a solid pace workout! I really wanted to stay as close as possible to 7:30min/mi throughout the run. My legs have been too spunky lately from all of the 5k races I’ve run this summer, and I need to get myself marathon-focused. A 7:30 pace just doesn’t feel natural yet, but I’m getting there. I tend to go on and on about how important these pace workouts are, but they are!! Your mind needs just as much training as your body does, and this is such a great mental workout. My brain is telling me “anything over a 7:00 is SLOW” and I get very jittery when I run pace workouts slower than that. But, the reality is I’m DEF. not ready for a marathon that fast yet. I need to CHILL, be patient, and stick to 7:30!! I need to keep a marathon state of mind!

I finished 21:19, 7:06min/mi and did some Pilates after while my muscles were still warmed up. I followed this with a nutritious dinner: salad with mixed greens, red onions, and tomatoes,  whole grain pilaf with black beans, corn, and green beans, and some whole wheat pita chips and salsa. Once all of this digests, I’m planning on getting in some more Pilates!

Tomorrow, I have a comfortable 7 mile run. I’m planning on sticking around an 8:00min/mi pace. This is not a pace workout this week, but it will be next Thursday.

OH, and FYI, the official results came in from the Wigs For Kids 5K Saturday. My time was 20:01, just 2 seconds from my goal!!! AHHHH!…I'm happy for the time considering the challenges on the course, but still it's digging at me!! But, as much as I’d like to get in a 5K Saturday to knock out my goal (there are several flat 5Ks on the Hermes agenda this weekend and it’s been A WHILE since I’ve run a flat race…), I don’t think it’s a good idea. I need to get in a solid 14 miles this weekend, and I don’t want it to be on tired legs. But, HmMmMmM……;-)