Racing the Mile

Tuesday I had the opportunity to race the mile at the GTC sponsored Furman All-Comers track meet. I hadn’t attended previously because of my work schedule but I made it work this time because it’s part of some testing that I get to be part of. (More on that to come soon, hopefully.)

I dashed out of work right at 6:30 and made it to Furman only a few minutes before my heart. Obviously, I had very little time for a warm up.

After talking briefly with Matt (who clocked a 5:10 by the way) I made my goal 6:45. I had no idea whether that was reasonable for me or not. Turns out that I underestimated myself again.

I wish I had hit the lap button so I could have splits for each lap around the track. I’ll remember that next time. (Yes, there is definitely going to be a next time. I just don’t know the date.)

As usual, I took off way too fast. I knew that without looking at my Garmin simply because I wasn’t that far behind Matt. I told myself to slow down or I would burn out. That first lap nearly did me in. I couldn’t fathom how I would get through three more.

The second lap started with more of the same, too fast pace. I tried to slow down but not so much that I would miss my goal time. That time of measured speed decrease is difficult to manage when all the blood is rushing away from your brain.

By the time the third lap started I was in a world of hurt. I think the only part of me that wanted to keep going was my stubborn competitive nature. I tried to ease up just a bit and felt a little better but not much.

Just after I started the fourth and final lap. I heard the announcer say that the winner had almost finished. That could have been discouraging but given that he finished in 4:30, it wasn’t that bad.

When I was on the back stretch, the first female finished. I don’t remember her time because all I could think about was making it to that line. I put on a bit of a sprint but it probably wasn’t much faster that I had been going.

Final verdict?

That happened. #sub630mile #booyah

Yeah, I still haven’t been able to pick my jaw off the ground. Matt’s response? Looks like we’ll need to step up your training. (Phrasing is approximate. I don’t think the blood had returned to my head yet when he made the comment.)

I am absolutely thrilled with this result and have the crazy dream of a 5:59 dancing in my head now.

(P.S. It took me 4 times as long to write this post as it did to run that mile.)

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San Francisco 2nd Half Marathon Week 8

Another fun week of training. This is definitely one of my favorite training cycles so far.

Monday recovery run
I expected my legs to feel at least a little bit trashed after Saturday’s PR effort. (They certainly did after the 5k a few weeks ago.) I was pleasantly surprised. After the first mile or so I actually felt fabulous. and couldn’t help getting a little faster with each mile. That’s right. I negative split this run. Who does that? I love the fact that for the first time in my running career I’m getting faster in the summer despite the humidity.

Tuesday easy run + stationary bike + NTC ab workout
This was an average run, nothing bad but nothing extraordinary.
Once again, I loved the ride. I had to push it a little at the end to get to 5.5 but loved it.
I “wimped” out and chose the “easy” abs workout again. Maybe when I can complete it without any modifications at all I’ll move on to a tougher one.

Wednesday “track” intervals
Since I still don’t have access to the track (this week hopefully!) I ended up running these intervals on the treadmill. It took me forever to decide whether I was going to run inside and try to hit the exact distance in the prescribed time or run outside and run the intervals by effort not exact distance. I debated up until making the turn to head into the gym. I cannot wait to get back to the track next week (and hope that everybody follows the rules so Greenville County doesn’t make the school cut off access.)
These intervals were hard! When I figured out that I needed to hold a 6:40ish pace for these intervals I was a bit intimidated. That’s what I need though. I’ve got a second attempt at a sub 22 5k in 2.5 weeks and a sub 1:40 half marathon attempt three weeks after that!

Thursday easy/recovery run
I definitely felt Wednesday’s intervals when I first started this run. It took a couple miles (aka until just over halfway) to warm up. After I did though, I felt great. I even indulged in a slightly faster pace which I probably shouldn’t have. It was so much fun though.

Friday stationary bike
This ride was great. It went by quickly. I didn’t think I was pushing but ended up with the longest distance (in this amount of time) that I’ve logged in a while, if not ever. This pretty much cemented my plan to rent a bike while I’m at the beach. I can’t wait to get out there and explore!

Saturday long run
When I started this run (many hours before I was able to write about it) I was not feeling it. I felt sluggish and not into the run. I just wanted to get it done. It took a while but I finally got into the run. By the time I got to the last twenty minutes and the fast finish I didn’t want to stop. The idea of ultramarathons is really appealing right now.

Sunday rest
It’s always nice when my schedule helps me make sure that a rest day is actually a rest day. ;)

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Shoes and Twinges

(This was supposed to publish last week. Whoops.)

The most important piece of equipment for a runner is the shoe. I find it funny how quickly I forget that.

I have this tendency to look right past the obvious “are your shoes too old?” question when trying to self-diagnose a twinge or odd ache.

A couple weeks ago I had one of those twinges, an out of the blue tightening around my left knee. Of course, my first instinct was to panic but thankfully that didn’t last too long. I launched right into foam rolling and stretching, skipping right over checking the mileage on my shoes.

The twinge receded but never truly went away. I knew it was there and couldn’t figure out what it was, what had caused it and what would make it go away.

Then I got my next paycheck. I had already been planning on purchasing a new pair of shoes with it, knowing that I’d need at least one (probably two) more pairs during this training cycle.

Before I headed over to Greenville Running Company (best running store in town and no, they didn’t pay me to say that) I checked my running log. Oops, I had 325 miles on these shoes, not 2xx like I thought. I usually like to get closer to 400 miles but On CloudRacers are pretty close to racing flats.

When the next week of training started I wore the new pair for my speed work session so I could break them in before Sunrise. The next day I went back to the old pair for a few more miles. Almost instantly I could feel a difference. I felt “creaky” and more importantly, I could feel a slight twinge over my left knee.

Lesson learned. There’s a reason that shoe mileage/fit is usually the first probable cause for aches and twinges.

Since I still love the CloudRacers, I may look into getting a more substantial shoe for regular runs since I have higher mileage on the horizon. Having good shoes is important and I don’t want to jeopardize my training wih potential injury because I’m too much of a cheapskate b

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San Francisco Second Half Marathon Week 7 Training Recap

I’m absolutely loving this training cycle. For the first time since I started running almost (only!) four years ago, I feel like I’m actually training for something.

Each workout has a specifically designed purpose. With the exception of the easy/recovery runs, these workouts are tough. They challenge me each time I set out. For so long I’ve backed away from that challenge. The description on a piece of paper intimidated me. Now? Those workouts still intimidate me a bit but I head out ready to tackle the challenge. After all, I am paying for this. :)

I’m also seeing results. Hard work pays off.

Monday intervals
I miss the track. I say that after having never used it until 6 weeks ago. When I started this run (outside), I debated heading inside to the treadmill so I could take out the hill factor. (My regular route has very few flat sections that last beyond a hundred meters.) That’s what I ended up doing. I know that that makes the intervals a little easier but I don’t plan on making it a habit. I also realized that when I thought I was doing “speedwork” in previous cycles, I really wasn’t.

Tuesday recovery run + stationary bike + NTC abs
My legs definitely felt Monday’s speedwork. It took a little while to get warmed up but after I did I felt pretty good.
After the run I got on the bike, a reverse brick of sorts. I felt great on the bike and wanted to go longer but I still had ab work to do.
By the time I got to strength training I was wiped. I chose the easiest ab workout but it still kicked my butt.

Wednesday recovery/easy run
My legs did not feel fresh at all on this run. It took a couple miles to get warmed up. Even after that, this run never felt easy but I don’t mind. Actually, it did get a little easier when I started daydreaming about winning a 5k that takes place at my alma mater in November. Hmm…

Thursday easy run with some short intervals at end
My legs weren’t as fresh at the start of this run as I would have liked but after a little while I felt pretty good. I did the math wrong on the turn around point so this run was a little bit longer than it was supposed to be. At the end I added three intervals (no specific pace, just hard) felt great and confident about the 8k

Friday stationary bike (easy)
This was a nice easy ride. I think I should read articles about the 2014 Boston Marathon every month or so to get my motivation going. It’s like a shot of adrenaline.

Saturday Sunrise Run 8k
These are the best kind of races. They hurt like crazy while you’re running but you finish in a time you never thought possible. (Hopefully I’ll be able to do it again in three weeks at the Red, White and Blue Shoes 5k. I want that sub 22!)

Sunday rest
These days are always enjoyed, especially the bit about sleeping in past 6:30.

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Sunrise 8k Race Recap

The upside to running the same race as your super speedy coach is that he finishes with plenty of time to come back and pace you in to the finish.

The downside to running the same race as your super speedy coach is that he finishes with plenty of time to come back and pace you in to the finish.

Seriously, my heart felt like it was about to explode during the last quarter mile.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

A friend let Mom and I stay at her house last night so that we wouldn’t have to get up an hour before the crack of dawn to get out to Simpsonville. 5am over 4am any day.

The weather, while not perfect, was much cooler than normal South Carolina June weather. Every degree helps.

We got to the start with a half hour to spare, plenty of time to get in my 2 mile warm up.

Once back at the start location I tried to get as close to the front as I dared. It’s a packed race though so I wasn’t able to eliminate all crowding issues.

Right at sunrise (6:16) we were off. The plan was 7:20 early miles and, if possible, negative splits. That would bring me in sub 37, a PR by over 4 minutes. I knew a PR was almost guaranteed so I wanted to pick a challenging but achievable goal. I think I might be getting better at estimating my capabilities.

The first half mile was pretty crowded. Thankfully, the crowd thinned quickly. At first I thought I need to pull over and tie my shoe. I’m not sure what it was but thankfully the shoe stayed tied and I didn’t have to stop.

I felt really good through the first few miles and hit the target pace almost exactly. (I clocked a 7:22 and 7:25 for the first two miles and then 7:10 for the third, most definitely my best mile.)

Then came the mile 4 rollers. I coasted up the first with ease and felt great. While I never felt that great on the rest, they definitely didn’t take as much out of me as the gradual second half incline of my last 5k. When I started to slow I kept telling myself that this race would help bring me closer to that BQ. My pace definitely slowed that mile (7:32) but I hoped to have enough left in the tank for a fast finish.

The first part of the last mile wasn’t much different than mile 4. I kept hoping for a flat section. My legs felt the pace by that point.

Finally, we emerged onto East Curtis Street and I could see First Baptist. We had a little under a half mile to go but I knew the finish was close and tried to step up the pace.

Then, a little over a quarter mile from the finish, I saw Matt running towards me. I knew he was coming to pace me into the finish but a part of me wanted him to keep running. Sure enough, he was there to pace me into the finish. This wasn’t an “I’m going to run at your pace and say a few motivational things” kind of pacing. This was a “you’re almost done so you should sprint” sort of pacing.

My legs and lungs felt like they were on fire as we came flying around the final two turns. (flying for me at least). The finish was cruel. We had to pass the old finish line (at least, the finish line of two years ago when I ran the race). The final bit also had a little incline as well. I so wanted to ease up, just a little, but didn’t thanks to Matt. Now that’s what a running coach is for!

I crossed the finish line in 36:26, only 15 seconds short of a 5 minute PR. For an 8k that’s a difference of almost a minute per mile. Hard work definitely pays off.

The icing on the cake came a few minutes later when I watched Mom finish in 41:33, only a minute slower than 5th place Grand Masters Female and good enough for an age group win by 4 minutes! (She’s been running for just two years!)

Sunrise 8k

Look at that stride!

Sunrise 8k

Finish line photo

Sunrise 8k

Award winners!
(I managed to snag 2nd in my age group.)

This was an awesome way to start off a Saturday morning and a great way to get me pumped up to keep up the training and go for those goals.

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San Francisco Second Half Marathon Week 6 Training Recap

This was a fabulous week of training, definitely not easy but that’s what made it so awesome. Week 7 is also race week for the Sunrise 8k (more coming later on that) so I’m excited to see what it brings.

Monday tempo intervals
I loved this run. The intervals were hard but I was determined to run them at the prescribed pace. I missed the mark only on the first one. It took a little longer after the warm up to get up to speed. The other four I managed to run right at or a little bit faster than the prescribed pace. I know I should really work on nailing that pace but it’s harder than one would think. :) The last interval nearly killed me or at least it felt like that, probably because I finished it by running up a hill. I still want more.

Tuesday stationary bike + NTC abs
I should really stop saying how much I need more ab work. (I think my coach is listening ;)) This workout went well. I hope to try out some of NTC’s other ab workout offerings soon. (I just need to preview them first so I don’t waste half the workout trying to figure out how to do the exercises.) My abs started complaining early on in this workout but I kept pushing. I think (and hope) that I’m getting stronger.

Wednesday track intervals
I loved having a tough track workout on National Running Day. These intervals (1000m) were hard but I was determined to get them as close to (if not right at) prescribed pace. I was so close on the first four, only 1 second behind pace. Something clicked on the last three when I managed to finish them 5, 8 and 9 seconds (respectively) ahead of pace. Whoops. I definitely need to work on pacing. Sadly, this will be my last track workout for two weeks because my local track is closed for renovations. I will be so excited to get back once it reopens.

Thursday easy recovery run
I needed the recovery run. Thanks to a combination of a tough track workout Wednesday, not enough sleep the night before and the ever present humidity, my legs (and whole body) were pretty tired. I took it easy through this run yet somehow managed negative splits. (I really have no idea how that happened.)

Friday stationary bike + NTC abs
The ride went well and quickly. (Maybe I should watch TV episodes on my iPad for rides more often. :D)
I tried out a new 15 minute ab workout today. This one was so hard! I knew that I would have some good DOMS Saturday and I was right. Hooray for getting stronger!

Saturday long run (progression)
Once again, a Saturday shift at work means no blog post for the day. On the flip side, it also meant that I got in 11.5 miles before 7 am on a Saturday.
This was a great run despite the incredible humidity. I’d forgotten just how much I can sweat. :) This was, possibly, my first ever progression run and I loved it. I, of course, had trouble sticking to the prescribed pace for each quarter but managed to get the average for each quarter at or really close/a little faster than the prescribed pace. I definitely felt the pace during the last 10 minutes.

Sunday rest
I took advantage of the rest day for sure. Heat and humidity make long run days even more draining. Plus, I wanted to make sure I was rested in advance of speedwork Monday.

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San Francisco 2nd Half Marathon and Twin Cities Marathon

Because there are only 8 weeks between San Francisco and Twin Cities, I will not create a completely separate training page for Twin Cities. Additionally, I hope that my preparation for San Francisco will contribute significantly to Twin Cities. Thus, this particular training cycle will be 20 weeks long.

Week 1
1st long run of new schedule
Week 2
Covenant Race for Adoption 5k
Week 3
Long run with fast finish
Week 4
Week 5
Beating the weather
Week 6
Week 7
Sunrise 8k
Week 8
Week 9
Racing the Mile
Week 10
Red, White and Blue Shoes 5k
Week 11

Week 12

Week 13
San Francisco Second Half Marathon
Week 14
Julie Valentine Run2Overcome 10k
Week 15

Week 16

Week 17

Week 18

Week 19

Week 20

Week 21

Week 22

Week 23
Twin Cities Marathon

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