Thursday, June 21, 2012

Intervals and Race Results

I am very motivated by goals. Since my 10K is over, I needed to find something to work towards to keep myself going. After reading my 10K race results, I decided speed is my next thing to work on. After running for a little over a year, I have gained perspective. In the beginning, finishing a race was good for me-I was competing against myself only. I still feel that way, but after seeing that only 11 people out of 450 finished behind me in the 10K, I have decided to try to increase my pace rather than my distance. I think I will eventually try a 1/2 marathon, but for now, I want to just get better, faster and stronger.

To begin this, I started doing intervals this morning. I was nervous (as usual when I get ready to run) mainly because my feet have ridiculous blisters on them that have been hurting really bad after the 10K. I have the same shoes, so I am not sure why, but they are really bad. I found a pyramid interval workout that goes like this:
5 minutes - walk/slow jog

1 minute at 5K race pace

Recover (easy pace) for 1 minute.

2 minutes at 5K race pace

Recover (easy pace) for 2 minutes.

3 minutes at 5K race pace

Recover (easy pace) for 2 minutes.

4 minutes at 5K race pace

Recover (easy pace) for 2 minutes.

5 minutes at 5K race pace

Recover (easy pace) for 2 minutes.

4 minutes at 5K race pace

Recover (easy pace) for 2 minutes.

3 minutes at 5K race pace

Recover (easy pace) for 2 minutes.

2 minutes at 5K race pace

Recover (easy pace) for 2 minutes.

1 minute at 5K race pace

Slowly jog for 5 minutes.
Since I ran the first half of the 10K at an 11 minute pace, I decided to run the "race pace" intervals at a 10:30/mile pace. I know this is slow for a lot of runners, but for some reason it is my pace at which I feel like I am pushing myself. I followed the plan using a treadmill, and it was great. I don't even know how many miles I went because it was all about the time. I think it was a bit over 3 miles. I am glad it didn't end up being a super long distance because my feet are still recovering from the 10K, and I did not want to make them worse with another longer run. I think I will make interval running a normal part of my routine, and possibly sign up for a 5K that I will race to see how fast I can go. I can't believe that a 5K seems like a short distance! My goal is to be able to comfortably run a 10 minute mile, and race around a 9 minute mile. Then maybe I will look to increasing my distance again...
So, my photos from the 10K were available online a couple of days ago. I died laughing when I saw them. First of all, I wore black compression shorts and a black top, which is comfortable for me. However, it looked like I was wearing a unitard to run in. Second, my habit of wearing my headband over my ears to keep my headphones in resulted in me looking like I was wearing a shower cap. Lastly, they took most of the pictures at the top of the huge hill, when I was walking and breathing hard, making me look like a wuss. I had a good laugh, and then showed Warren. He started laughing, which set me off. We were both in tears. I haven't shown anyone but him, and we laugh every time we look at them. I have since tried new headphones, which allow me to keep my headband in a normal spot on my head. I thought of this photo when I saw my photos:

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Today was the big day! Niki and I met before the race so she could get some coffee, and so we could take one car to avoid trying to find 2 parking spots. We got there, walked up the big hill to the start line, and right as we got there, the race began. I was surprised at how few people there were, but then remembered that the last race I was in was HUGE, so maybe I was expecting the same.

I felt great for the first mile, despite the heat. It was nearly 70 at 7:30am, and really humid. As always, I struggle from on mile 2. I felt better at mile 3, then I hit the "hill". One of the main features of this race is the "hill". The 5kers don't do the hill, but the 10kers do...right after mile 3, in the middle of the race. What they fail to tell you, is that there is another hill, right before the "big hill". I ran the pre-hill, and was really winded. As I approached the big hill, I knew there was no way I would make it up if I ran it. So I walked it; I was glad to see that almost everyone else around me was also walking. Unfortunately, they were taking photos of the runners right at the top of the hill-right where everyone is walking, winded and tired. Bad spot.

After I got past the hill, my motivation picked up. I knew the hardest part was over, and I just needed to run 3 more miles to finish. I had a Gu, and felt really energized. At mile 5, my feet began to really irritate me-they had both blistered pretty badly over the past few weeks, and they were killing me. I told Niki after that I was sure my socks would be soaked with blood-thankfully I was just being dramatic, because they weren't. :) I had set a goal to finish within 1 hour 15 minutes. I was excited to be beating that pace for the first half of the race, but walking the hill ended that. I still finished in my goal time though, which made me really excited.

Here is a pic of Niki and I after the race.

I am so happy to have finished in a decent time, and am really proud of myself for only have to walk the hill. I celebrated by spending time with my family-this is me with my sisters:
Now all I have to do is try to figure out what goal to set next...there will always be another :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bad Timing

According the website countdown clock, there is T-minus 2 days and 20 hours until the Kalamazoo Klassic, which is the 10K I have signed up for. I am terrified and nervous. My timing for this was terrible.

My past two weekends have been a blast. I celebrated the upcoming wedding of one of my dearest friends, and rolled right into a week of intense prep for Warren's daughter's open house, which was this past Saturday. We had a great time celebrating her accomplishments with our friends and family. On Sunday, I felt like I got hit with a truck. Monday, it felt like 2 trucks. When I get that tired I can't sleep well and my stomach just turns upside down. On Tuesday morning, I decided to take a day off work to try to reset myself after another sleepless night. I slept all morning and part of the afternoon, and then decided to get my weekly allergy shots in the afternoon.

I have been taking allergy shots for 6 months without incident. Yesterday, I moved up to my highest level of dosage. Twenty minutes after my shots, I felt like my underarms, ears, and back of my head were on FIRE. They itched like crazy, and I started getting hives. I was taken back to a "reaction room", given several pills to take, and stayed under observation for about an hour. Thankfully Warren was with me to keep me company and to make me laugh. After the medicine they gave me kicked in the itching went away pretty quickly, but my hives stuck around for most of the night. If I wasn't already drained, this totally did me in. Thankfully I was able to at least sleep last night, but I still don't feel caught up.

So, even with all that, I knew I needed to get a run in since I am expected to run 6.2 freaking miles this weekend. I recently bought a new hydration belt that I want to wear for the race. Being the control freak that I am, I don't want to wait for the water stations during the race because it is going to be really hot (almost 70 at 7:30am). I knew I wanted to get used to it, so I wore it out tonight. I also had some Gu, which I am still trying to figure out if I like or not. Because I was tired after work, I had 1/3 of the Gu before my run, wrapped it in foil, and stuck it in the little pouch on my new hydration belt. I planned to do 5.5 miles tonight.

As soon I started I knew it was going to be a rough one. My legs felt like they weighed 100 pounds each. The belt was tough to get used to, and my brain was telling me to stop the minute I started. I stopped to stretch my sore left leg muscle at .75 miles in (this has been a nice trick that has helped my hurting leg after about 1 mile); at 1.5 miles I stopped to go to the bathroom (which I have never done during a run before); at 2.4 miles I decided to have the rest of my Gu. I zipped open the zipper, and saw that it had gone everywhere, and that stuff is STICKY. I felt so defeated, I nearly quit. After walking for a few minutes, I decided to keep going for a while longer. I made it 4.5 miles, not my goal for the day. To keep it in perspective, me a year ago would be very proud of me today for running that far, walking breaks or not. I am trying to stop being so hard on myself :)

Please send your good thoughts my way for this Saturday. Given the chance to do it again, I probably wouldn't schedule a race after two weekends with major events. I know I will finish the race, but I want to do better than finish-I want to run the entire thing, and finish in a decent time.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

You run, you learn

Life has been really busy, but I have still been is almost compulsive because of my nerves excitement about the 10K in a 2.5 weeks. I have a TON of (really fun) things going on before that too, so I am nervous I won't have enough time to get all my training runs in before the big day.

Niki (who is doing the 10K with me) and I went out Sunday morning to run. The temps here in Michigan were in the 90's the past whole weekend. Sunday morning was a bit cloudy, and it looked like it might rain, which I would have welcomed on a 4 mile run. We started out with the temp in the mid-70's, and by time we finished our 4 miles, it was almost 90. It became completely sunny and the temp went up by almost 15 degrees in about an hour. I was DYING.

Tonight, I went out to do 4.5 miles. At one mile I started to feel that familiar pain in my leg. I stopped, did some stretches that have been helping, and went back at it with great results. I was running in a small park near my house that has a .75 mile track. When I hit my goal of 4.5 miles, I was half way around the track. I decided to just keep going until I hit 5 miles. It was much cooler, which helped. I think it is kind of funny though how my body began to reject any distance over my set goal. Right after 4.5 mile my knee and right calf began hurting...they have never bothered me before.

I was talking to one of my best friends and recent fellow runner this weekend about the training and upcoming 10K. I told her I have realized one of the reasons I have learned to love running. Each and every time I go for a run, I have to overcome a new challenge. It teaches me something new every time. Here's what I have learned so far:

  • I can go nearly 2x the distance if the temperature is at or under 70, and feel much better doing it
  • My mind will give up before my body does; a quick body and breath scan gets me back on track
  • I will not reach every goal I set every day, but that doesn't I won't steadily move towards the long term goal
  • The longer I run, the better I feel; the first 10 minutes are complete torture
  • Running with a friend is huge motivation, even if you never say a word to each other because of your headphones
  • If you feel a pain that isn't normal, stop. It won't just work itself out. 
  • I will quit earlier if my clothing or headphones are bugging me. Therefore, I only wear about three different outfits to run in, and wear a specific type of headband over my ears to keep my headphones from falling out constantly, regardless of the temp. I'm sure people comment on how awesome I look ;)
  • Just because shoes cost more doesn't mean they will work better. Likewise, the way shoes look should be the last reason to buy them
  • Don't run in anything made of cotton
  • If you feel like you need to walk, then walk. Eventually, you won't feel that way anymore. 
This list is brief, I think I could go on for a while longer. I know it will continue to grow too. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Foiled by a 9 pound (monster) cat

I planned to run last night after work to get my second 4 mile run in for the week, with plans to do a third over the weekend. I left work last night with several errands and a post-work engagement. I thought I would have enough time, but I did not. I wasn't too concerned because I knew I would have time to go before work today. I made plans to go to the gym with a friend this morning to do my 4 miles on the treadmill.

Warren leaves for work at 5:25am...this morning when he left, our cat, Vlady ran out. This is not a good thing. Anyone who has ever been to our house has heard, "Watch the cat!" when they leave and enter. Vlady is a bengal, which is a mix between a tabby and an asian leopard. Hunting is a strong instinct for him, and the chipmunks around the house drive him CRAZY. He has become an expert at running out the front door when you least expect it, which we aren't fond of since he is declawed and an indoor cat. He also kind of resembles a small raccoon, so we don't want someone shooting at him or something. This is him:
So, since he ran out this morning, Warren came to wake me up because he couldn't be late for work. I dragged my butt out of bed, grabbed a flashlight, and went out searching for him. It was too dark, so I decided to wait for it to get lighter before I went out. I went back out around 6:15, but needed to leave by 6:45 to get to the gym. An HOUR later, I still had not found him. I was not happy. Frustrated, I sat on the front step and pouted. Not 3 minutes later, Vlady came running towards me with a limp chipmunk hanging from his mouth, very proud. I was able to grab him, and then spent 5 minutes shaking the thing out of his mouth. By some miracle, the chipmunk ran away as soon as he let go. 

So, my monster cat interrupted my training schedule, ticked me off, and lost his chipmunk. He was as mad at me as I was at him.

By time I got home from work, the temperature gauge in my car said this:
Guess I will be back at it tomorrow morning, unless my monster decides to run outside and ruin my run again. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

It's all mental

So I have had two good runs since the shoe incident. My old shoes are treating me just fine, and somehow, a miracle has caused my leg and ankle pain to just be gone. I really just don't get how it could be so bad for over a month, then just be gone, but it is.

After the rough day Thursday, I went out with renewed determination Friday. I met my friend Niki at a trail after work, and we decided to do 3 miles. It was her first run since she completed a half-marathon. It was also nearly 90 degrees and sunny. We took it slow (slow for me, REALLY slow for her-she runs a lot faster than me) and made 3 miles easily. It was so HOT though! My face was all red, and I just couldn't cool down. I just hate running in that kind of heat.

I went out for 4 miles tonight. The weather was great, overcast and 60. As soon as I started, I felt like I was going to panic. It was really breath was short and labored, I felt nervous all over, and tense. It was almost like I was having a panic attack. After about 1/2 mile my breath expanded and became more steady, my shoulders relaxed and I was fine. I made 4 miles just fine. As I was thinking about why I felt like that, I realized that I am nervous every single time I get ready to run. I don't know why, but I get a really nervous feeling in my stomach and shoulders. I think it might have been worse today because I have some extra nerves about an event I have put together for work that is happening tomorrow. The run itself helps to get rid of my nerves, but it seems to spike them right before. I am not sure if it is a lack of confidence, a worry about injury, or something else I just haven't figured out yet. The first 1/2 mile today, I thought to myself 20 times that I had made a mistake signing up for the 10K. I don't think that now...running is such a mental challenge for me. As soon as I think I have something figured out to make it easier, something new shows up to challenge me. I saw this the other day, and I think it is so appropriate for tonight :)

So my plan is to make this a 4 mile week, next week a 5 mile week, then do a couple of 6 mile runs before the 10K in three weekends. Ahh!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bad start

Day 1 of 10k training. I was excited to go out running tonight because I had new shoes. I have decided that I would run 2 days in a row, then 1 off. After each day off, I would increase my distance by .5 miles, slowly working up to 6 miles as I get closer to the 10K. I planned to run 3 miles today, a fairly easy thing to do for me. 

I put my new shoes on, with the PowerStep insoles as recommended by the person at the running shop. I ran 1/4 mile before the bottoms of my feet started to feel sore. I attributed it to new shoes, and needing to break them in. By time I got to 1/2 mile, I was limping really bad. I was running on a fairly busy road, in a place where many of the people driving by might possibly know me. I have a personal rule that no matter how bad it gets, I will NEVER walk while on this road, because people might see me. I broke that rule today...that's how bad it hurt. Thankfully, I was right near Warren's parents house. I took my shoes off, limped in my socks through their yard, then drove their car back home. Of course I was near tears from frustration. Nothing new. 

A few months ago, I had some problems with the bottom of my feet, bad enough that I had to get my feet taped by a podiatrist for almost 2 weeks. I had strained tendons in my feet, and my arches had fallen. When I was having that pain, I couldn't wear PowerSteps because they hurt too bad. They healed ok, but the pain I felt with the PowerSteps was EXACTLY like that pain today, which scared me. I had to take 3 months away from running when that happened. So, when I got home, I took out the PowerSteps, put back in the regular soles, and went back out on the same route. I ran past the first distance that I made, but soon after the same pain returned. I stopped, turned around, and went from frustrated to PISSED. I began walking home, which included limping by Warren's parents house. They saw me, and called Warren, who came to pick me up from the side of the road. I was so relieved to see him. I was almost crying and took my shoes off immediately. Thankfully I can return them. I am going to just buy the same exact shoes I have. I guess the saying is true-if it isn't broke, don't fix it. 

So, this isn't exactly the way I envisioned my 10K training beginning. I now am nursing a hurt leg, hurt knee, and sore feet. I had a fleeting thought tonight as I was limping down the road...I thought to myself that maybe running was just too hard on my body, and it wasn't the right thing for me. I have grown to love running too much to give it up, I just wish I could be injury free. My registration for the 10K is enough motivation to keep me going. I am going to pick it back up tomorrow, with my old, comfortable, lovely shoes.