Sunday, March 28, 2010

New York Half Countdown: 1 week to go!

One week away and I'm feeling pumped!!! All the training is pretty much done. This coming week I'll have a few small runs as I taper down and then it's race day!! This will only be the 2nd race we've brought our kids to (the other one was a 5k where we pushed them in strollers). So I'm really happy that the girls will get to see me run and be at the finish line. Talk about motivation! Not only will I have Taber there but knowing that Teya's huge smile and Brinley's squishy checks will be waiting for me at the end will definitely pull me through those last tough miles.

Taber's taking Friday off and my friend's husband has Friday off too, so we're all going to caravan down to New York together. We might check out some sights on Friday or we might just settle in at the hotel, take the kids for a swim, do a major carbo load and hit the sack! Either way I'm just really excited for this weekend. It's been 5 months since my last race and I'm ready to get back into it!

Training went well last week. My long run was kind of funny because I ended up doing it on my treadmill. Long story short, my normal route is cambered and really hilly. Brutal on the knees. I'd been having some shin and knee issues so I was hesitant to run that route. Then my friend got injured and wasn't going to be able to run with me, and the weather was forecast to be 14 degrees. All those things combined made me decide to just pound it out on the treadmill.

It actually went really well and was nice to be able to control my pace. I did the first 6 miles at 6.5 mph (9:13 min/mile pace) and the last 6 miles at 6.6 mph (9:05 min/mile) I threw in a couple sprints at 7 mph (8:34 min/mile) and ended up finishing in an hour and 50 minutes, around a 9:10 pace. I finished my first half marathon at a 9:06 pace, so I'm getting close! I don't know if I'll be able to match it again but I'm competitive enough with myself that I'm going to try! If I don't, no big deal, but it's always fun to have something to shoot for : )

Weekly Goals:

Monday: 5 miles
Tuesday: 3 miles or cross
Wednesday: 5 miles + strength
Friday: 60 minutes cross
Saturday: 12 miles


Monday: 5 miles, outside avg pace, 9:00 min/mile
Wednesday: 3 miles treadmill avg pace 8:48 min/mile
Thursday: 5 miles, treadmill avg pace 8:55 min/mile
Saturday: 12 miles, treadmill avg pace: 9:10 min/mile

Friday, March 26, 2010

iPod Dillema

On Monday my iPod died 2 miles into a 5 mile run. I started freaking out because I'm usually super dependent on music to push me through so I felt like a scuba diver who's oxygen tank just got ripped off their back. I let my mind go into panic mode, thinking of the big hills ahead and wishing I had been thinking and actually charged the dang thing before I left the house.

Part of me wanted to just stop but I was already 2 miles out, and even if I DID stop I still had to go 2 more miles to get back home! So I gathered my thoughts, focused on my breathing, and plodded ahead. As I settled into the relative silence I began to notice the beautiful nature all around me. I heard the birds singing, the wind blowing through the trees, water dripping into a puddle. Every little sound seemed amplified. This new and natural soundtrack had an unexpected effect on me, it made me run faster! All along I thought it was my music that made me run fast ( and I still think that's true for certain songs) But overall, being able to connect with my surroundings and listen to my breathing and my footsteps and the way I was running, it made the run go by faster and feel less labored.

When a fast song comes on with a heavy beat it makes me work harder, and I feel more tired. Without the music dictating the ebb and flow of my pace, my speed was actually more consistent and came more easily. I finished the 5 miles in 45:03, almost exactly a 9 minute pace (9:00:06 to be exact.) And I felt great!

Still, I didn't trust myself without music. So I plugged my iPod into our new computer to charge it up. Since it's a new computer it asked me something about erasing and syncing my music, I absentmindedly clicked "yes" and my entire song collection vanished. When I tried to put music back on, it wouldn't let me! So, Wednesday and Thursday's runs were also sans music. Amazingly though, it was fine! Wednesday I logged 3 miles in 26:25 min, 8:48 min/mile pace, and yesterday I did 5 miles in 44:35 min, 8:55 min/mile pace.

So this week I've had a positive experience running without music, but I'm still a little torn as to whether I should race with my iPod next week or not. I'm trying to fix it and I will probably at least bring it as a back up in case I need some extra "juice" to kick it into the finish. I don't know though, I ran my first half marathon without music (accidentally left the iPod at home) and had a great experience and a great finishing time. So yeah, it's a dilemma, not sure how it will all work out.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

New York Half Countdown: 2 weeks to go!

This week was another solid week and I actually only had to run on the treadmill once! 3 of my 4 runs this week were outside thanks to the beautiful spring weather we've been enjoying.

On Thursday afternoon I ran the fastest 3 miler I've done since my Turkey Trot back in November. I finished it in 25:55 min, which is an 8:38 min/mile pace. I was really pumped to see those numbers on my watch when I finished. It's been really really hard to get my speed back up after letting it go down the drain this winter. When I first started running again I would get so frustrated that I could barely run 10 minute miles anymore. Still, I just kept pushing along, and it's amazing how slowly but surely you can teach your body to work harder, go faster, and run longer.

Even today after running 10 miles I couldn't believe how great I felt! the last 2 miles, when I'm normally tired and slowing down, were actually my fastest today! After 6 weeks of running I'm finally starting to get my fitness back. I'm still not where I was before. I can't believe I ran my first half marathon at a 9:06 pace. I tried doing that today with just 10 miles and I couldn't sustain it. I ended up averaging 9:26, which is still great, but just makes me realize I still have some work to do.

Speed aside, I'm really happy with how my training is going right now. It feels really good to get out there and do something that challenges and fulfills me.

Weekly Goals:

Monday: 5 miles
Tuesday: 3 miles or cross
Wednesday: 5 miles + strength
Friday: 60 min cross
Saturday: 10 miles

Weekly Outcome:

Monday: 5 miles, on the treadmill, avg pace 9:07 min/mile
Tuesday: 47 min strength DVD
Wednesday: 5 miles, outside, avg pace 9:36 min/mile
Thursday: 3 miles, outside, avg pace 8:38 min/mile
Saturday: 10 miles outside, avg pace 9:26 min/mile

8 mile Provo Canyon adventure

Here are some cool pics from my 8 mile run with Kevin a couple weeks ago when I was in Utah.
Since Kevin normally runs 3 times faster than me, going at my pace gives him plenty of time to goof off and take pictures. I'm glad he did because the trails we ran were absolutely beautiful.
The weather was a chilly and I forgot to wear gloves so that's why my hands are tucked into my sleeves. It was a sunny morning though and there were lots of runners on the trails.
I loved being in the shadow of the mountain. I miss the mountains SO much! The elevation was KILLER though, and I really struggled in the beginning.
Kevin just zipped along like it was nothing. But he never pushed the pace (at least if he did I didn't notice) and he was nice enough to walk for a brief stretch about 3 miles in when I needed to catch my breath.
at mile 3.5 the path was no longer plowed. There was a sign that said stay off the trails during the winter or somthing like that. But Kevin was like, "Oh don't worry, we're just going to run in the snow for a little while, it will be easy."

Easy for him maybe, but I thought running in the snow was hard! One of my friends trained for a marathon all winter and did quite a few long runs in the snow. After going half a mile I have NO idea how she did it! It was worth it though when we got to the falls.
Kevin decided he needed to take a glory picture standing on the rocks in the water fall. He made a treacherous climb on a steep snowy hill in SHORTS! Of course he fell through the snow and his poor legs got an unexpected ice bath.
He did get his Glory Shot
But he paid a price! Not only did he fall in the snow, he also got attacked by a burr bush. He might've fallen in the water on the slippery rocks too but if he did I don't think I'm supposed to tell anyone that ; )
After our photo op stop we headed back and the way out of the canyon was downhill so we had a much easier time coming back. All in all the run was tough for me, much harder than my last two long runs that were further in distance. Still, I had a lot of fun, laughed pretty hard and got to enjoy a giant jug of chocolate milk courtesy of Kevin who claims it is the best recovery drink out there. Hey, if Kevin says it, I believe it!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

New York Half Countdown: 3 Weeks to go!

This past week I buckled down and I feel pretty good about how it went. Not only did I pick up the speed from last weeks 10 min+ paces, but I also got some cross training in. YESS!

The biggest success I had though was finally getting a handle on my eating habits! After eating half a bag of Hershey kisses and almost an entire box of Samoa girl scout cookies in one setting while I was in Utah, I realized I might need some help in the food department.

So on Friday, with the weekend looming ahead, I got on the computer and signed up for weightwatchers online. I did the online program after having both of my girls and really liked it. This time I'm not looking to lose a lot of weight, just to get some accountability for what I eat. All weekend long I tracked every single bite of food that went in my mouth. It really made me think more and helped me avoid absent minded eating. I successfully passed on milkshakes when we were at the mall and everyone else was getting them, I turned down cookies at church, and I even said no to the tub of Hagen Daz pineapple coconut ice cream Taber offered to buy me Saturday night. Normally all of those things would've made it into my tummy but things have changed. If I'm going to be a runner I need to fuel my body with the the right stuff!

And that's just what I did. I made egg white omelets with chopped bell peppers, mushrooms, onions and tomatoes for breakfast, ate flat bread sandwiches with hummus, feta cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes and sliced peppers for lunch, and carefully measured my portions for dinner, making sure to include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. What a difference! No more sloggy sugar hangovers or afternoon cookie binges!

I'm happy to be back in control again and I think this will be just what I need to really rev me up for my race in 3 weeks!

Weekly Goals:

Monday: 5 miles
Tuesday: 3 miles or cross
Wednesday: 5 miles + strength
Friday: 60 minutes cross
Saturday: 9 miles


Monday: 4 miles, outside, avg pace: 9:16 min/mile
Wednesday: 5 miles on treadmill, avg pace: 9:08 min/mile
Thursday: 2 miles on treadmill, avg pace 9:09 min/mile- 20 min strength DVD
Friday: 50 minute strength DVD
Saturday: 9 miles outside: avg pace 9:54 min/mile

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New York Half Countdown: 4 weeks to go

Didn't get a lot of running in last week but the runs I did do were a lot of fun. Last Tuesday me, Becca and Laura, (another friend who is joining us for the New York Half) met at 5:30am to get a 6 miler in. There is something so rejuvenating about watching the sun rise in the morning. It was a great way to wake up, running through such pretty New England country, past a couple little farms with cows and a quaint little white church. I loved the views (hated the hills) and thoroughly enjoyed having company to chat with along the way.

After that I took off to Utah for my brother's wedding and in all the mayhem of travel, wedding, and visiting family I didn't run again until Sat. Luckily my brother in law Kevin, who is a running Jedi, was in town as well. He was game enough to go on an 8 mile run with me up beautiful Provo canyon. I will post more on that later but let's just say it was gorgeous, HARD, funny, adventurous, and memorable. The higher altitude really threw me off but I finished, and I guess that's what matters.

Weekly Goals:
Mon: 4.5 miles
Tues: 3 miles or cross
Wed: 4.5 miles + strength
Friday: 50 minutes cross
Sat: 8 miles

Tuesday: 6 miles: average pace: 10:10 min/mile
Saturday: 8 miles: average pace: 10:15 min/mile

Focus for next week (or I guess I should say this week since it's already half way over!) Speed up the pace!! I'd like to run my half around a 9:30 pace. I've got some work ahead of me to get back up to speed. Tonight was good though and I'm going to keep working at it. 22 to days to go! WOO!

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and the Slightly Embarrassing

The Good: Last week I ran every single mile I was supposed to on my training schedule!

The Bad: Unfortunatley I didn't do one minute of cross training!

The Slightly Embarrassing: After publicly admitting my need to get my eating under control I had a record week of gluttony and saw the scale move up once again.

So what does that all mean? On the positive side, I'm really proud of myself for fitting 19 miles of running into a busy week. That being said, I've GOT to figure out how to fit my cross training in because I know if I don't, my legs will be sooo mad at me once we start hitting double digit runs.

I'm also a little embarrassed about the way I ate last week, especially after making a goal not to eat like that. But on Saturday I had an epiphany that makes me think this week will be a lot better. Saturday was Teya's 4th birthday bash. We had 11 little girls over and it was a busy busy day. With the party prep, the actual party, and then the recovery afterward I was exhuasted. 9 o'clock rolled around and I still hadn't done my 7 miles for the day. I was determined to get that run in though so at 9:15pm I marched downstairs and jumped on the treadmill for a long run. I never like to do more than 5 miles on the treadmill but I didn't have any other option so I just started cranking out the miles.

As I stared at my reflection in the dark window in front of me I had this kind of out of body experience watching this woman, this tired mom in front of me, dig deep and find the will power to do something that is hard to do. I saw the sweat coming off my forehead and watched my steady breathing and suddenly my reflection broke into a smile. The same thought that got me into running in the first place flashed in my mind, "I CAN DO HARD THINGS!" If I have the willpower to force myself to run 7 miles, on a treadmill, after a long and tiring day, I can certainly find the willpower to say no to unneccessary amounts of sugar and junk food. I don't have to eat every sweet and delicious thing in front of me like it's the last yummy treat on earth. There WILL be other treats.

So, this week I'll be flying across the country to attend my brother's wedding. There will be many opportunities to overindulge but I'm going to be strong, and pass on the stuff that's not necessary. (and so we're all clear, toasted coconut ice cream IS necessary, just wanted to get that out there ; )

Weekly Goals:
Mon: 4.5 miles
Tues: 3 miles or cross train
Wed: 4.5 miles plus strength
Friday: 50 min cross train
Saturday: 7 miles

Mon: 4.5 miles on treadmill, finished in 41:50 min. avg pace: 9:17 min/mile
Wed: 4.5 miles on treadmill, finished in 42:30 min. avg pace: 9:26 min/mile
Thurs: 3 miles on treadmill, finshed in 27:20 min. avg pace: 9:06 min/mile
Sat: 7 miles on treadmill, finished in 1:07:55. avg pace: 9:42 min/mile