Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Half Marathon Training - Week 12

I barely ran last week, so I rather cringe to say it's half marathon training, but still, I am in training!

10k medals to the left; half marathon in center left; endurance horse back riding mileage center right; marathon far right

One great thing that happened last week was that my husband hung up a medal holder for me. It's in front of my treadmill. I'll be starting marathon training after this half marathon cycle and I daresay I'll be spending a lot of time on the treadmill this winter.

I'm not going to do my usually daily recap for each of my runs. I ran 3 times. All on the treadmill, all an easy run/walk pace around 14:00/mi.

I was taking it easy for a couple of reasons. 1) I wanted to be sure I hadn't injured myself when a bruise popped up on my right outer thigh just above my knee. 2) I was going out of town to ride an endurance ride and was resting up for that.

The endurance ride didn't happen. We drove out there and were there, but the ride itself never happened. I'll post on my endurance blog about that in the next few days after I have time to process it myself.

Fortunately, I never had a single issue from the bruise. I don't know why it popped up, but it's gone and I'm going back to training.

This week, I've already missed Monday's run, but I'll continue on with training the rest of the week.

The Iron Horse Half Marathon is just 2 1/2 weeks away. I paid to have my run packet mailed to me, so I already have that. Saves me from having to do the out of town packet pick up thing the morning of.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Half Marathon Training - Week 11

Well, this was my first fail kinda week of this training cycle. I've been very consistent with my workouts, hitting most of them, adjusting as needed. But I made a mistake on my first run that resulted in some missed runs.

Monday - 6 miles @ 12:00

That 12:00 average pace is the problem. I was very busy getting back from vacation and I didn't have time to go to a park to do my steady pace run. I've tried hard to keep the treadmill runs this cycle to my easy runs and do my substance runs (hill, steady pace, long runs) outside, but I couldn't justify the extra 90 minutes to drive somewhere. I should have.

Or rather, I should have kept to my normal pace. My steady pace runs are supposed to be at 12:36/mi. But I programmed the treadmill to 12:00 with a 1% incline.

My legs were very heavy for the first 2-3 miles, but I lowered my head and stuck with it, my legs lightening up half-way through. My average heart rate was very good.

After the run, I had some mild shin pain in my right leg, but that resolved after a couple hours and I figured everything was fine.

Tuesday - 5 miles @ 13:54

Back to easy miles for this run. I did my normal run/walk on the treadmill. Again no time to go out to run. Absolutely no problems on this run. Just my nagging thought that I should bump my paces a little after the half because it felt way too easy.

Wednesday - 10 miles @ 13:29

Apparently my camera caught me in a deep breath after my run.

For my long run, I took the time to drive out to Stones River Greenway in Murfreesboro. I really enjoy that trail system. This time, I parked at the General Bragg trail head and ran through parts of Stones River National Battlefield.

They have a very good water bottle filler at their restrooms. That part of my run was partially on trail. Fun when it's dry, but would be slippery when wet and not suitable for my street shoes, but it was dry so no worries.

After running through the battlefield, I returned to my truck and passed it by, running down to Old Fort Park to get the rest of my miles in.

I managed to hit my long run average pace spot on! I was thrilled. Only a couple of miles at about 13:50 and a couple at 13:06, but the rest very very close to target pace.

Mind-wise, this was NOT a very fun run, honestly. After I got done with the battlefield, the other 5 miles were a bit of a slog through, but hitting my paces certainly made me happier.

Thursday & Friday - Rest Days

I was not scheduled for rest days for the rest of the week. However, Thursday morning, I noticed a large black/purple bruise on the outside of my right leg, just above my knee. Other than poking at it, there was no pain, but there was a small knot in the middle of the bruise. I had felt no pain on any of my runs this week. I can be a bit clumsy didn't remember banging anything hard enough to get a large bruise.

To be on the safe side, I ditched my Thursday easy run and my Friday hill run. Bruising means bleeding somewhere and I don't want to push through something and end up derailing my overall goals.

My best guess is I did something Monday that caused a bit of bleeding. I ran too fast, for too long, without building up to that speed. And since it was on the treadmill, I didn't get the benefit of different stride lengths and slightly faster and slower speeds. I thought I'd be ok, but I'll have to be more careful. Maybe the bruise had nothing to do with that workout and maybe it did. But I'm going to take it as a lesson.

Weekly Totals

Training mileage: 21.00 miles
Training time: 4 hours 36 minutes

Total Mileage*: 22.40 miles
Total Time*: 5 hours 5 minutes
Elevation Gain: 93 ft

* includes warm-up and cool-down

Coming Up

I'm off on vacation again the later part of this week. I was scheduled for 2 easy runs, a steady pace run and a long run, but I'm just going to do 2-4 easy runs at 2-5 miles each. Then I'll see how things are. Due to vacation, I likely won't get my next blog post up until the middle of next week.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Half Marathon Training - Week 10

What a crazy week! I was scheduled for 4 runs this week, but I only managed 3 since we were on vacation in the mountains. I did walk a LOT, but I won't count any of that here. ;)

Monday - 10k + 5k @ 12:04

5k start

This Monday run was Labor Day, so I went to do the Franklin Classic. This is the 3rd or 4th year I've done this race and I really enjoy it. Since the 5k starts 90 minutes after the 10k, I get to run both races.

I waffled a lot on my strategy for this race, since it was a race, but also "just another long run" as part of my half marathon training. I finally settled for "run as much as possible" while giving myself the option to walk if needed.

I ended up running both races except for walking through the water stations. There were 6 (!) stations on the 10k and 3 (!) on the 5k, so I got a walking break about every mile.

I managed a 11:57/mi pace on the 10k and a 12:19/mi pace on the 5k. Neither one of those was good enough for a PR at those distances, but they were both PRs for that course. During the 10k, I spent almost the entire run chanting "slower, slower" to myself and I think that enabled me to still run well in the 5k, although admittedly, I wish the 5k had been a little faster. Still very solid performances and I'm happy with both races.

My hill training on Fridays seems to be yielding results as I was able to run even on the hills and the "hills" weren't nearly as scary as they were last year.

Wednesday - 3.5 miles @ 13:55

There are some cool rocks out there.

We went to Big South Fork to help out at an endurance ride on Tuesday and were there for the rest of the week. Wednesday afternoon, late, I managed to squeeze in a 3.5 mile run, even though I was scheduled for a 5 mile run. It was a trail run and some parts were sandy, so it was tougher than my usual recovery runs, but I managed to keep to my recovery pace. It was about 90°, but the humidity wasn't too bad.

Thursday - 10 miles @ 19:06

Sign at a trail head explaining the trail marking system.

Thursday afternoon, I found I was done with my endurance ride volunteer duties for the day, so I went for a trail run to get GPS tracks for my husband so he could put more trails on Google Maps. I originally planned a 5 mile run, but the route he wanted would take me about 8. I was ok with that.

Some of the trail was really rocky and steep, so it was sort of a hiking run. I ran where I could and hiked when I couldn't.

I missed one of the trails that Daniel wanted me to get, so I ended up running 10 miles instead of 8. I got a message to him through my inReach satellite communicator to come pick me up at another trail head so I didn't have to run back to camp and add another 3 miles to my run.

I used a single water bottle and refilled it from the creeks with my Sawyer Mini water filter. It was a lot nicer to carry the water filter than multiple bottles of water.

On one of the trails, I came very close to a black bear who was about 20 feet off the trail. I was running along watching my feet; you know how you do when you're trying not to trip and face plant. I glanced up and off to the side and there he was! I was so shocked to be so close to him. I saw him first (I guess I run with a light step??). Thoughts of what to do if he decided to come my way flitted through my mind when he glanced over his shoulder and freaked out when he saw me. He ran away very fast. No pictures, but that's the closest I've ever been to a bear!

I was supposed to run again on Friday, but there was an endurance race going on, so I volunteered all day and never got the chance. I suppose I could have snuck away for a run, but I didn't and I didn't really feel the need since I got as many miles as I had originally planned anyway.

I spent a lot of time on horseback marking trail. This is my 13 year old endurance mare, Sasha.

Weekly Totals

Training mileage: 22.99 miles
Training time: 5 hours 54 minutes

Total Mileage*: 24.24 miles
Total Time*: 6 hours 21 minutes
Elevation Gain: 1,785 ft

* includes warm-up and cool-down

Coming Up

This upcoming week is a 5-run week, so I'll be running every day. 5 days in a row doesn't really scare me anymore. :)

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Week 9 - Half Marathon Training

This week was a 5-run week. After last week's adventures, I was tired and sore! I wasn't sure how I'd be able to handle running 5 days in a row and my longest week, mileage-wise, of my training cycle so far. I'll only have one other week this training cycle that is this many miles.

Monday - 5 miles @ 12:19

After my run.

Steady pace day. Boring me, back to River Park! I like to have the comparison week to week right now. It's energizing to see my progress from week to week. Eventually, I'll probably get sick of doing this and want to mix up where I run, but until then, I'm going to keep rocking on.

I was sore and tired from the endurance ride, but I decided to try to do the steady pace run. Target pace 12:36/mile. It was warm with 88° and 64% humidity. I managed to run the entire thing. I ate a single Gu gel at mile one. When I stopped running my left hip and outer thigh hurt for a minute or two, but I walked it out and then stretched it really well. I took a really hot bath when I got home. Heat seems to be an important element of my recovery process.

My average pace was 12:19, so a bit faster than planned. My actual splits weren't too bad though. 12:30, 12:29, 12:28, 11:48 and 12:23. If you knock out that 4th mile, I did gradual negative splits, which is pretty cool. Mile 4 I got carried away on a slight downhill having too much fun with my music. While this training cycle is about pace, heart rate and breathing control, I don't want to scold myself too much for enjoying myself and having fun, especially when I still hit my splits otherwise. :)

Completely happy with my performance on this run

Tuesday - 5 miles @ 13:53

Back to the treadmill for 5 easy miles. My left hip gave me a little pain for the first mile, but worked out of it. This was on a 0.5% incline. 4.5 minutes at a 13:03/mi jog and 1 minute walking. My heart rate maxed at 143, but most of the time well under. A very easy run. Time to bump the incline on these.

Wednesday - 10 miles @ 13:24

Pillar announcing the greenway trailhead.

I drove out to Stones River Greenway in Murfreesboro for my long run. Average target pace 13:29/mile. Overall, I felt this was a hard run for me. I did run/walk intervals of 4 minutes 15 seconds at a 12:30/mi pace and walk for 1 minute. Over the course of my run, the temp climbed from 72° with 94% humidity to 85° and 73% humidity.

Overall, I did a good job of hitting my splits within about 10 seconds of goal pace. My heart rate was getting pretty high on the last couple of miles, though. I did ok on my heart rate for the first 5 miles, then had a 10 bpm jump and then didn't recover from that. I got pretty distracted and my split for mile 6 was 13:06 because I wasn't controlling my pace very well. Apparently, I never really recovered. I'm going to hang out at the 10 mile mark for my long runs for the next couple of weeks.

Thursday - 5 miles @ 13:59

My workout profile.

Back to the treadmill. I got bored on Tuesday, so I changed up my run by bumping the incline to 1% and changing up my run/walk intervals so I was running up to 5 mph for some of the intervals and never really knew when I was going to walk or jog. Not knowing exactly when I would walk or jog was interesting, but I think I defeated the purpose of the easy run by running faster than my prescribed 13:03/mi pace for some of the intervals.

Friday - Hill Friday - 4 miles

Sleepy, but ready to run.

Best Hill Friday so far. My uphills were about the same speed as when I ran this hill 2 weeks ago. I still did the 30 minute jog; 90 second walk uphill. But I really paid attention on the downhills and ran to keep my HR 145-155 even on the downhills. This bumped my overall average pace. I really didn't want to do this run when I started, but I'm glad I did. Overall, I'm happy I'm doing specific hill training this cycle. I think it's making me a stronger runner.

Next time I run this hill, I'm going to alter my uphill intervals. I still feel challenged by the 30 second jog, especially on the steeper parts of the hill, but I'm more than recovered by 90 seconds, so I'm going to drop the walking interval to 75 seconds and see how that goes.

Happy to be done with another week and proud of my Friday Hill Run!

I'm really pleased with how my runs went this week. Almost 30 training miles, my longest week, coming off an endurance ride and a lot of running to boot and still hitting my paces. Pretty happy with how this training cycle is going.

Weekly Totals

Training mileage: 29.49 miles
Training time: 6 hours 33 minutes

Total Mileage*: 31.77 miles
Total Time*: 7 hours 31 minutes
Elevation Gain: 1,255 ft

* includes warm-up and cool-down

Coming Up

Due to more vacation time in September, I'm going to break from my 3-run, 4-run, 5-run pattern. So this week, I'll run 4 times instead of 3 and the following week 5 times. I feel confident that I have a good base to skip the 3-run week this time. We'll see how that goes!

First up is the Labor Day Franklin Classic. This is the 3rd or 4th time I've run this event. They have a cool deal where you can run the 10k and the 5k for only $5 more than running the 10k. So I like to do both. Too bad I only get one shirt! Completely looking forward to this run!