Monday, October 24, 2011

The Workout that Wasn't-A Comedy of Errors

not my swim bag...
I've been having trouble getting to the pool three days a week like I want.  Something always seems to go wrong...or I don't "behave in accordance with a decision previously made" and go back to sleep when the alarm goes off.  Last week I didn't even make it ONCE.  So last night I got my swim bag ready (towel, clothes, swim "gear") and put it by the door that leads to the garage.  I put my swim suit in the bath room so I wouldn't have to go search for it, and put the clothes I wear over my suit with it.  I made sure my alarm was set for 4am.  And...I was fast asleep before 8pm!!  (Yes, early, but I was wiped out and knew I needed to get a good night's sleep in order to get up ready to GO at 4.)
not my alarm clock...

I woke up before my alarm went off (at 3:15).  I almost got up then, but knew that would be a mistake since the pool doesn't open til 5.  I closed my eyes, and what seemed like a minute later my alarm was going off.  I'd like to say I hopped out of bed, but that wouldn't be the took a good 5 minutes for me to convince myself I WANTED to go swim this morning.  Finally...up and at 'em.  Because I had everything ready I was able to get out the door by 4:20ish.

pretty much my fuel light
The Dixie Daredevils are having a yard sale on Saturday so we have been taking donations for stuff people want to get rid of...all of which are in my garage (we've got some GREAT stuff to sell so if you like BARGAINS, come to the sale Saturday--Cheval neighborhood-we'll be in the parking lot at the front!).  So...I went out the front door, got in a COLD car and was thankful I had some extra time to let it warm up.  As it was warming up, the "FUEL NOW" light came on.  Wow...what a blessing I was still in my driveway so I could go back in and get my purse (that I usually leave home when I swim).  So...purse in hand, I was off to the pool.

obviously...not my gas station...
When I got about 4/5s of the way there...I realized...the swim bag I carefully packed up the night before--was still by the door that leads to the garage!!  I didn't go out that door and had completely forgotten the bag!!  So, since I was turning around I decided I might as well go ahead and get some gas now.  If the station that's one block off my route was open, I'd still have time to get back to the pool for an hour work out instead of 90 minutes.  When I pulled up, all the lights inside and outside were on, and the music was blaring--YEA!!!  So, I got out, put my card in, pushed the button...and nothing.  Someone came to the door and looked out so I figured I must be the first customer of the day (since it wasn't quite 5 yet) I hit cancel and tried again.  Nothing.  As I was realizing they must in fact be closed, a man pulled up and told me they don't open until SIX!!  (Why on Earth did they have all the lights and music on??)

So...I decided to go well out of my way to get gas...and skip my swim this morning because even though I could still get in about 45 minutes, I'd rather have a 90 minute workout tomorrow.  The car will be "full", the bag will be by the front will all work out for me to workout!!

I'm not really a procrastinator...I'm a planner!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

15K PR!!

In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you I was able to get a 15K PR today mainly because it was my FIRST 15K ever!!  However, I can say my times at 5K, 8K and 10K were all PR times for any races that distance (but obviously it doesn't count since it was mid-course).  Yes, I'm pleased.  I really am.  I even think I'll be pleased tomorrow after I've had more time to think about it!  (If you know me, or have read any other race reports, you know that's really saying something!!)


(my first race with no goofy pre-race "running" pose...)
It's kind of funny.  I went to register for this race yesterday (Friday).  I hadn't been sure if I was actually going to do it or not.  The course is hilly ((((We LOVE hills, they make us strong.)))), and I didn't think I wanted to RACE in the middle of marathon training because I felt like my LSDs (long slow distance runs) should be long SLOW runs, not races.  However, one of my coaches from the training group HIGHLY suggested racing.  (((New quote that will stick with me "forever":  "It won't kill ya!")))  So...I walked up to the packet pick up table with my money and pen out and ready.  Thankfully, I know the guy who always works packet pick up...and thankfully he's really on top of who's running races...because he quickly told me I had already registered!!  As soon as he said it I remembered.

I didn't eat well last night (beans and tortilla chips), but I had been eating well all week long, really watching to make sure I'm getting the "right" amount of (good) food.  Although I did have a serious workout Thursday, my legs felt great.  Friday night I started sneezing and by Saturday morning I had a full blown cold.  I haven't been sick for a while so I'm blaming it on the flu shot I got on Tuesday.

I haven't been eating before long runs and they've been going well, so that's the path I took this morning.  I had not decided if I would take a water bottle because although I like having water on demand, I really hate carrying it, but I took one just in case, along with 2 Gu packets.

The marathon training group met up to run a 2 mile warm up, which didn't feel all that great.  My nose was stopped up and my mouth felt like cotton.  I talked to a coach who had offered to pace me about my race strategy--try to aim for 9:00 miles, and then hope to increase speed toward the end.  The course is pretty hilly, but the weather was nice... I felt like I should be able to push for that pace and he agreed.

Just before start time I sucked down a Gu and some water.  I had my water bottle, but at the last minute I decided to leave it behind.

Race Time

The director really needed a MUCH louder bull horn because no one past the first few people on the start line could hear a word of the announcements...but we had no trouble whatsoever hearing the GUN go off to start the race!!!  Just as we got started running well, my Dixie Daredevil Captain (Turtle as far as this blog goes) ran up beside me.  My race plan changed.

All of the sudden, all I wanted was to BEAT HER!!  I knew she's gotten faster, and has been doing really well, however I felt like I could take her!!  I announced this plan to my coach as well as Turtle!  She's as competitive as I am so I felt like it would make for a good race.  She told me her plan was to run with her coach (in the 13.1 program) at a 9:30-9:00 pace.  Perfect.  I could run with her and take her down at the end.

Or so I thought.  She was feeling particularly strong (as most people do at the start of a race).  I should have known better, but I tried to stay with her....until maybe about mile 3, which we hit at 26:00.  (I had not been looking at my watch and had no idea what pace we'd been running, I just knew I didn't think I could hold it for another 6.3 miles, and when I heard the split, my thought was confirmed.)  She slowly started moving away from me....but I kept my eye on her.

My coach had kept a solid pace so he caught back up with me.  He reminded me I needed to run my own race, not allow Turtle to control my day.  Although I agreed with him, I kept her within the take-down zone.  After another mile or so I think he realized that and told me if we stayed steady, we'd real her in.  I wasn't sure at that point but I had hope.

I didn't look at the pace on my watch at all because I felt like I was staying steady.  Although I didn't think I was running a 9:00 pace, I felt like I was giving all I had.  Looking at my watch wasn't going to be any help at all.  At each of the water stops (a total of 2-one of which is on the way out and back, so really 3) I walked about 10 steps to sip some water.  (I still haven't learned how to drink out of a cup while running.)  Other than that, up hills and down hills, I just kept moving, while staying singly focused on Turtle's back, looking for any sign of weakness.  My hope was to stay behind her until I could see the finish then I planned to kick in my sprint to move ahead of her.

About mile 7.5 (I think) a woman who I thought was in my age group (but who had a birthday recently and moved up) passed me...looking VERY STRONG...and then she passed Turtle, who wasn't too far ahead at that point.  I think about mile 8 Turtle was only about two steps in front of me.  I reconsidered my earlier strategy of waiting to overtake her at the finish.  When my coach passed her, so did I.   At about mile 8.5 a guy from my training group caught up with me...and passed me about after about a quarter mile.  I wanted to stay with him, but I was struggling.  He, on the other hand, was talking.

About mile 9, I was in front of Turtle, behind the guy in my group was just in front of coach was somewhere right behind me (I thought), the girl who passed me back at mile 7.5 was out of sight.  I wanted to speed up, but didn't feel like I could.  About that time I had a SEARING PAIN in my foot/ankle.  (It was in the bottom of my left foot, on the outside edge, like from the ankle straight down to the underside of the foot.)  My first thought was that I needed to stop, but I realized I was only about a quarter mile from the finish so I HAD to get there.  It didn't keep hurting as bad as that initial pain so I figured it was fine.

We rounded the corner and the finish was in sight...I had no idea what kind of kick Turtle might have in her so I put the target on my training buddy's back....and PUSHED IT IN as hard as I could.  I ALMOST had him.  If we'd had just a few more yards I might have been able to overtake him, but as it was he finished a second ahead of me.  (My time was 1:24:49....a 9:06 pace.)

Yes...I beat Turtle!!  :D

Post Race

I was supposed to run another 4.5 miles to get in my full 16...but my foot was KILLING ME so I skipped it.  I ate a banana, watched the awards to see what I want to shoot for next year (!!) and went home to ice my foot.  Can I just say I HATE HATE HATE icing anything other than cold drinks??  Putting my foot in a bucket of ice water HURT and was excruciatingly painful.  I managed 15 minutes and that was it.  It still hurts, but at least nothing else does!  I have no idea what's going on with it, but if it's still hurting tomorrow, I'm going to the doctor.  I'm not going to run until it's not hurting.  (It honestly feels like a pre-injury pain, not just like something is sore.)

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed this race.
I truly enjoy racing...not just running, but RACING.  I like having someone to BEAT.  I like the competition aspect of it.  I have a STRONG desire to improve (which I have and I am).
I met every goal I set for this race--keep a fairly steady pace (although miles 2 and 3 were too fast) that was faster than I train (I have seemed to run races about the same pace I train at--no longer!!), finish in the top half of my age group (11/26), under 1:30...and added after the start, to beat Turtle!!

Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Promise of Pain Delivered and the Three Erics

I had an email conversation recently with Eric Charette about marathon training.  I was concerned about trying to figure out what pace I needed to be running.  The pace outlined in my plan was slower than what I believed it needed to be, but at the same time, I didn't want to over reach and end up getting injured.  He gave me some good information and then had this to say:
This is going to hurt... I promise you that.  This is going to be difficult.  I promise you that.  But you have it in you to do it.
I lived out his promise on the track yesterday.

I had missed our group workout Wednesday night so I ended up having to do speed work on my own.  It might have been okay except I swam first...on an empty stomach...and it turned into a speed work session also.  See, I have the good fortune of being able to swim with a Master's coach who tells me what to do in the moment so I have no idea what's coming up next.  Yesterday he had me finish the morning with 6 X 100 FAST...I did my best to do my best--I seriously nearly puked in the pool!!  I've never pushed myself THAT hard for THAT long.

After I changed from my swim suit to my running outfit, I started mental negotiations.  "I haven't eaten anything, I should eat then go back out later for the track workout.  I'm EXHAUSTED from the's okay to skip a speed workout, that's life, right?  If I go ahead and do it, I have an excuse not to push as hard or stop it early.  I don't want to get hurt."

There it was..."hurt"...  I immediately flashed back to Eric's words of wisdom.  He promised it WOULD hurt.  He promised it WOULD be difficult.  But he also told me I had it in me to do it.  (There is a difference between "hurt" and "injured" and I'm learning it's really not okay NOT to push into the pain cave under the guise of injury protection.)

So...THANKS TO ERIC, for making that promise and giving me the same boost so many other great friends have given me in the past (believing I CAN do "it"), I drove straight to the track!!  The workout was supposed to be a mile warm up, 12 X 400 -every other one at a 2:15ish pace, then a mile cool down.  I didn't want to stress out about the pacing so I just decided to give it all I had each time and not look at my watch.  The first time around I honestly thought I wouldn't be able to do it a second time.  After the recover 400... I did in fact do it again, but it felt like it took me a lot longer.   After a second recovery, on my third fast 400, I wasn't sure I was going to make it all the way around.  When I hit about the 250 yard "mark", Eric's words SCREAMED in my head...over and over for 150 yards.


After the third recovery I didn't want to go a fourth time...but I knew I still had 3 more fast 400s left to finish what was on my plan for the day.  About that time words from another Eric (Patterson) rang in my ears...  SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP!!  I remembered a post he wrote a long time ago about behaving in accordance with a decision previously made-something that has stuck with me ever since reading it-and I started my fourth fast 400, although after about 200 it felt like I was going to hurl the previous night's dinner (since I had yet to eat breakfast)...or maybe pass out before I made it all the way around the track.

I almost quit then, sure I wasn't even coming close to my target pace goal since I could feel myself slowing.  But, during my fourth recovery I remembered too many quotes from yet another Eric (Doehrman) to list.  So on my fourth and fifth fast 400s I thought something about giving less than 100% in training means not being able to give 100% in a race...good athletes train even when they don't feel like it...the need for being comfortable in the PAIN CAVE...and (even though I was on a flat track, for some reason I could hear Eric D. saying:) "WE LOVE HILLS--THEY MAKE US STRONG!!!  (During the 5th recovery all I could think was BREATH, don't puke...)

As I started my sixth and final fast 400...all three Eric's were running along side of me (at what amounts to a jogging pace for them)...yelling at me.  In a good way.  In an encouraging way.  In an inspiring way.  They were all telling me to embrace the pain and KEEP RUNNING!! PUSH!!!  FASTER!!!  JUST A FEW MORE SECONDS!!!

As I jogged/walked my final recovery 400, and then ran/jogged my mile cool down, I looked at my times.

1:38 (6:34 pace)
1:41 (6:46 pace)
1:44 (6:58 pace)
1:46 (7:06 pace)
1:47 (7:10 pace)
1:42 (6:50 pace)

I like how even though the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th intervals did get progressively slower...I was able to speed up for the last one (with the help of the three Eric's yelling at me all along the way!!).

I know those are not fast times for most people...but I think for most 42 year old women who have been running less than 2 years, that's not too stinking bad!!!  

Eric was right.

Thanks for stopping in.  Come again soon!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Silly Nerves

It used to really get to me, but I think it's funny now.  Well, most of the time anyway.

I get nervous before almost every run.  I wonder if I am going to be able to do it (run), if I'll be able to go the full distance I "need" to (in order to stick with my plan, or to run with my buds).   I don't know where these nerves are coming from, but it seems they are ever present.  Most days I can brush them aside and "know" before I take the first step things will be fine...then there are days like yesterday. 

I was supposed to run 14 miles with my marathon training group at 6 am.  So many thoughts raced through my head...maybe you should just run by yourself, after all you'll have to run alone in the race, wouldn't it be better to train haven't been feeling very good, you'll probably have to stop haven't ever gone that far on the road, you're going to get hurt...isn't it better to just take it really easy, there's no reason to push to run faster, just finishing the marathon should be a good enough goal...(and my personal favorite thought) you're going to get lost because there won't be anyone there to run with you at your pace and you'll be wandering the streets looking for the way back to the car.  (That last thought is particularly funny because I wear a GPS watch that has a "take me home" feature on it...not to mention there are people running all paces in the group on a well marked course...)
I went to make a FaceBook post about how silly it was for me to be nervous, and saw a post by one of the coaches that said, "Ok marathon group you can do this.  For some of you this will be the longest run you have ever done.  From here the miles slowly stretch out until race day.  You got this.  We are going to have a great run this morning! encouraging. right he was!

Because I was making myself a turn-by-turn instruction sheet with the course route (hey...I didn't want to get lost, remember?) I screeched into the parking lot at the last minute.  The group leader told me who I would be running with that morning.  I looked at the others who were running with him and realized I had just graduated to the fast kids' group!

Let me give just a little back story.  When we signed up for the group, we had to give our half marathon times and most recent race times.  Those times are NOT indicative of the pace I've been running.  My race times are from triathlons, and my most recent half was in February (I've trained up quite a bit since then).  Consequently the paces outlined on my initial training plan were slower than what I usually run.  I've basically been ignoring the times on the plan and running what I think I need to run.  At the last group training night we were doing a warm up, tempo (mine was 3 miles), then a cool down.  The pace on my plan was 9:21.  I ran an 8:40, 8:27 and an 8:10.  (Yes, tempo runs should be consistent, but I don't really know what my time "should" be, so I just kept trying to push the pace...the 8:10 did NOT feel good toward the end, and if not for my coach, I'm sure I would have slowed a bit.)  Well, Saturday's run was slated to be at a 10:47 pace.  I planned in my mind to go out at maybe 10 and then work my way down.  When I got there I was told we'd be running at a 9:30-9:40 pace!! first thoughts were, "I can't do this.  It's too fast to think about doing that for 14 miles."  I remembered how I felt at the half in New Orleans.  I ran it at an average of 10:30ish, but pushed the last mile down to a 10:00 pace and felt a little sick.  But...wait...that was in FEBRUARY.  I wasn't trained up then but have trained all summer long.  Why not??

As we were running, our main coach kept telling us we were speeding up.  When the pace would drop to about 9:00 I could feel it getting a bit harder.  But at 9:15ish I felt like I could run all day long!!  What a great run!!!  I will say the weather was pretty much perfect (a little chilly to start, a little windy at times...perfect!) which I'm sure had a huge impact on how great we were all feeling.  Plus, it's SO much easier to run with a group than it is to run alone.  The last half mile wasn't completely fun.  I was ready for it to be over.  (But, I think it would be like that no matter the distance.)  When we got done several coaches were talking about ice baths.  I planned on taking one when I got home, but boy do I HATE to be cold.  I decided to skip it and see how that felt.  Today-NOTHING is sore.  There are some parts that aren't totally happy with me, but nothing hurts. 

Fourteen miles.  I ran FOURTEEN MILES. 

So why is it when I think about running tomorrow with Daisy I am nervous I might not be able to run the whole 3.5 on the trails??  Will I always feel this way?  Silly nerves.

Thanks for stopping in.  Come again soon!