Sunday, December 31, 2017

Obligatory Year-End Post

I don't usually like year-end posts. I don't often read them, much less write them, but here I am writing one. Just wanted to catch up my blog in a few short paragraphs.

What I got done this year:

  • 5K PR on New Year's Day 2017
  • Marathon PR in March
  • 10K PR in July
  • Half Marathon PR in October
Kinda hard to beat that year!

I did my first Hansons Marathon Method (HMM) training program. I did the Beginner's Program for the half marathon that I PRed.

I ran a lot for me. 1,037 miles. 246 hours.

After my half marathon PR, I took some time off running and moved to a new house 160 miles away from my old place. I started back running, doing the HMM Beginner's Program for a spring marathon at Biltmore in Asheville, NC.

Then I got sick and between being sick and holidays, I missed 3 solid weeks of running. Doing the Asheville Marathon in the 6.5 hour time frame was a long shot with a good solid training program of 16-18 weeks. With 3 weeks down the tubes and my mojo for running at a 2-year low, I made the decision to skip the Asheville Marathon for 2018.

I'm going to try running for fun in 2018. I generally run when I have a goal race hanging over my head, so we'll see how the running for fun is. I do still want a few halfs on the schedule, but I likely won't get a full marathon. And I'm not really planning to go for a PR in 2018. 4 PRs in 2017 will keep me happy for awhile.

Me on an exploratory run this fall.

Due to the move, I have lots of new trails to check out and my trusty treadmill ready to keep me in shape anytime, cold or hot, dark or light. But specific distances and paces won't be as important. Just whatever I want to do as long as I'm not running too hard too much of the time. So we'll see how a more laid-back running schedule works for me. I will be signing up for the 2019 Asheville Marathon as soon as registration opens. :-)

Monday, November 6, 2017

Iron Horse Half Marathon 2017

I'm still here! I have been so super busy the last several weeks! My husband and I bought a house! And a horse! And moved! And I ran my half marathon in mid-October.

Not only did I PR, but I smashed my PR of 2015 by 13 minutes 14 seconds!!! So thrilled with the Hansons Marathon Method training program and my performance. I used the hills to my advantage and pulled out the stops after 10 miles. I had an amazing negative split, running the last 3.1 miles in 31:48, which is a PR for a 5k effort! Granted, I did have some gravity help in the last 3.15 miles but there were some uphills too. This was my goal race. I trained specifically for this race on this day. I trained for 2:35, hoped for 2:30 and came away with 2:26:34, surprising myself. After some food, a shower and stretching, I felt great. Even after driving several hours home, I felt great. I was a little stiff the next day, but overall, felt really good. Definitely going to use Hansons in some form for my spring marathon training!

I took 10 days off running and have done some easy running since then. I've been riding my horses a lot the last 10 days. Marathon training starts in the next week or two.

Our new house is in an equestrian community with horse trails connecting to hundreds of miles of trails in a national forest area. So much running and riding waiting for me just outside my door!

Here are some random pictures for you to enjoy.

My niece, Lillie, on my new horse, Dia, a 5 year old half Arabian mare.
My nieces, Amy and Rinnah, on Serts and Sasha.

View from the back of the house looking toward the barn/garage.

My first run at the new house!! Barn and paddock in the background.

Just after my PR finish!

My splits

My stats

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Half Marathon Training - Weeks 12 through 15

Wow, it's been four weeks since I've put up a blog post! Same old excuse. Really busy. I have been running though! A few highlights from my last weeks of running.

Picture of the Month

Since it's been so long it's not a picture of the week! This isn't a running picture, but it's one of my favorite pictures I took all month. This is my mare Sasha patiently waiting for me to hang turn ribbons at an intersection of trail.

Week 12 - Aug 27 - Sept 2

Strength run in the rain

Ran 44 miles total, so I got all my runs in. My 5 mile tempo run turned into a 7 mile tempo run because it was a cool day and I just kept running. My long run (12 miles) and a 6 mile easy run were on trail. Only one treadmill run this week and a 3 x 2 mile tempo run in the rain wrapped up my week.

Week 13 - Sept 3 - 9

Walking from our truck to the show!

This was such a great week for me personally. Maybe not so great for running mileage, though! On Sunday, several of my family got to see Cavalia in Nashville. It was such a great show! We had a wonderful lunch at Romano's Macaroni Grill before and some ice cream after. Wonderful horses, amazing acrobats, good food and some of my favorite family to spend it with??? Absolutely wonderful!

Monday, I went to run the Franklin Classic 10k. I usually run the 10k AND the 5k, but this year, for some unknown reason, the 5k was starting an hour later than usual. I run slow enough that, in previous years, running the 10k gave me about 10-15 minutes to change my racing bib before the 5k started.  They also removed packet pickup on Friday, so I had to go early on race day to get my t-shirt and race bibs. The t-shirt I got was ginormous! So huge! Supposed to be a medium, but it's so huge, I think Daniel can wear it. All in all, a not so pleasant experience with the "extras" of a race.

My plan was to run my own warm-up, then run the 10k at my half marathon tempo pace, since Monday is Tempo day for me. I ran a 2 mile warm-up by running up to Pinkerton Park and through their paved trails before running back to the start line.

I seeded myself much further up in the pack than I usually do. I have a tendency to seed too far back these days and get stuck behind walkers and strollers. I ended up a little too close to the front, but I tucked myself into the far right lane and let people flow around me until I was running the same speed as the people around me. One of these days, I'll figure it out.

My target pace was 11:50/mi, give or take. My first mile was 11:03. Oops. Slow it down. I managed to slow to 11:24 for the second mile, but began passing people already who went out way too fast the first mile. I was too fast my first mile also, but I was by no means used up. My 3rd mile had a couple small hills in it and I just motored up the hills, passing more people while they walked up hill and even more people as I cruised down the other side. 11:13 for the third mile. By the fourth mile, I was running with people who were still holding their pace or had slowed down to their pace and I didn't pass many people in that mile. 11:22 for that mile. Mile 5 had some mild downhill and I used that to my advantage to do an 11:15 mile. I had pretty much abandoned the idea of running 11:50/mi! I was running well, my breathing was fine. On the flat, I was running around my tempo pace. On the up hill, I was only a few seconds slower and on the downhill a good deal faster. My HR was only a bit higher than a normal tempo run. So while I was running faster than I planned, my body felt ready for it, so I made the decision to just keep going. I was pretty sure I wasn't going to PR, but I let myself run a bit faster on the 6th mile for 10:50, again using downhill to my advantage and passing a few people in this mile. After the 6th mile, I let go and sprinted the finish for an average of 8:13 for that last quarter mile. And came in just under 1:10. A PR! When I was going to just go do a tempo run. Haha.

I kept running and retraced my warm up for a cool down at an easy pace, reliving the race and deciding that while I had PRed, I hadn't run too fast. I felt good and my HR recovered very quickly.

On Tuesday, we left for vacation at the annual Big South Fork endurance ride. Daniel takes care of the water and I volunteer to mark trail. This means a lot of time on my horse, Sasha, putting out ribbons on trees for the riders to follow to keep them on trail. Since I spend a lot of miles, Sasha and I don't get to compete this ride. We just volunteer.

Tuesday it rained and rained and rained after we got parked. We decided not to do any trail marking that day and I decided to hang out with my friends and go to supper rather than go for a run in the rain. So it ended up a pure rest day.

Wednesday, I got up and did an easy 6 miles on the gravel road that bisected our endurance camp before starting my trail marking duties.

My view for many miles and hours from the back of Sasha.

Over the next 5 days I spent 105+ miles on horseback. 41 miles on Sasha marking trail, 16 miles unmarking trail, and 50 miles on Friday doing the endurance ride on a friend's mare. Diane knew I couldn't compete Sasha because of marking the trail, so she graciously offered me Sunshine to ride! I couldn't resist and was completely grateful for the opportunity! Sunshine was a good horse, taking the hills in stride and carried me to a 10th place finish on a tough trail!

So while I only ran 16 miles during week 13, I rode 91 miles on horseback. If you've never done an endurance ride before, trust me, that works the legs!

Week 14 - Sept 10 - 16

Me after a cold long run!

Back to my regular schedule! I rode Sasha 16 miles on Sunday pulling ribbons I'd put up before the endurance ride, but after that, it was back to the pavement or trail for running. My Monday tempo run was tough on sore and tired legs! But I managed to keep to pace and did my entire 6 miles. Back to Bowie Nature Park for my 12.5 mile long run on muddy trails in drizzling rain, a couple of easy runs on the treadmill and a repeat of my 3 x 2 mile strength run rounded out my 44 mile week.

Week 15 - Sept 17 - 23

Finally up to the current week!

Monday was my 6 mile tempo run at River Park. It was super hot and humid! I've gotten rather used to the milder temperatures we've been enjoying. I was able to maintain pace, but it was a definite struggle and my HR was way higher than usual. I also had to contend with a bunch of high schoolers clogging the trail. I don't mind a bunch of people, but if you're running together, at least don't block the entire trail! Some of the groups were completely across the trail

I did a couple of easy boring 6 mile treadmill runs on Tuesday and Thursday. I really need to get another 6 mile program. I'm bored with the one I have.

My adorable 22 week old kittens. Coltrane up top and Snowball below.

Wednesday was my long run. I had to drop off my kittens to get neutered, so I ran around Franklin for 11 miles. I had a course all mapped out and loaded onto my 935.

First issue, it was really hot and I forgot my handheld water bottle at the truck. I didn't realize until I was almost 2 miles into the run (when I wanted that first drink...) and I wasn't going to go back to get it. I knew I could get water along my route, but I had thought I'd use that for refilling, not for the entire water for my run.

Second issue, my 935 crashed during the course, so I had to reset it. Fortunately, the watch didn't lose the first part of my run. So I canceled the course and continued running. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that the GPS didn't lock on! So I ran almost a half mile before it beeped and said it found the GPS signal. Ugh. So I lost 1/2 mile. Of course that half mile is not counted in my weekly total since I have no proof! Not the end of the world, but annoying.

Third issue, I twisted my left ankle pretty badly while trying to walk along the side of a busy road without a shoulder or a sidewalk. That was not fun. I had to walk for about 1/3 of a mile before I felt I could jog on it. It was ok, but still hurt a bit the rest of the run and I had to ice it for the next 2 days (although I did do my other runs on it).

Fourth issue! I had mapped out a course that included no sidewalk for over a mile! Where I twisted my ankle, I knew had no sidewalk, but it was only a short stretch and I was ok with that. But I thought there was sidewalk on the rest of the course. Nope. So I had to walk close to the busy road, but in the grass and uneven terrain with a twisted ankle. Really brought my average pace down. This was a slight downhill and should have been a joy to run. But there were not any convenient back roads that I could use to cut through. I breathed a sigh of relief when I got back to the sidewalk!

All in all, it was I got it done. It was supposed to be a 10 mile run, but was 11 (really 11.5...). And it was well within my long run pace range. Since it was a one-time thing, I don't have to figure out how to fix the course. I'll just let it go.

I run to eat!!! Post long run meal!

After my run, I cleaned up with no rinse bath wipes and no rinse shampoo and found a local eatery to work while I waited for the kittens to be ready to come home.

My strength splits

Friday was another strength run. 4 x 1.5 miles with a 1/2 mile recovery. I did a 1 mile warm up and 2 miles cool down. This was a good run. I took a bit to settle into my breathing, but I hit my paces pretty well and felt pretty good.

42 more miles in the books.

What's next?

More running, but I'm getting closer! My half marathon is on October 15. I have 4 extra days in my training cycle. I do not want to just add 4 days of easy running to my taper, so I need to figure out where to put them before the taper and what workouts to do.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Half Marathon Training - Week 11

Picture of the Week

On Monday, my niece came out to ride Sasha. With Tanna and Serts retired, I don't have any horses where we can both go out and ride. So Lillie has been missing riding. She saddled Sasha and rode on our property.

My mind to your mind. 💑

Sunday - Cross Training

Sasha pauses for a bite unloading at the trailhead.

I was scheduled for a 5 mile easy run, but I decided to take Sasha out for a workout instead. We normally do 18-20 miles when we go out, but I gave her a break and we just did 10 fun miles. She enjoyed the freedom to go her own speed (as long as it was safe).

After I got home, Daniel wanted to go to town, so we went shopping (Lowes, Northern Tool, Harbor Freight), then to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. They have the most yummy dessert: cheesecake wrapped in tortilla, fried and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, served with ice cream and all of it drizzled in chocolate syrup! No idea if it's actually Mexican or not, but super yummy anyway!

Monday - 5 mile Tempo Run

I thought it was awesome to see other stars and planets in the middle of the day!

Eclipse day!! I lost my driver's license over the weekend so we went to the DMV to replace that. Then out to join our family with a bunch of school kids to watch the eclipse. We were in the path of totality and got to see the total eclipse for just over a minute and a half. It was so cool to watch and see the excitement of some of the kids. We got to see shadow snakes and the corona of the sun as well as solar flares. Super cool!

Then my niece came home with us to ride Sasha and when we returned her to her family, we had dinner with them. Such a full day. When to run?? At 5:30 AM, of course.

I got up and hit the treadmill. I usually prefer to do my substance workouts outside, but there was no time for that. It was treadmill or skip it.

I normally do my tempo runs out at River Park. So I used my iFit subscription to draw out the same course I would run if I was actually at River Park. I set it to a warm-up pace for the first mile, tempo pace for the middle 5 miles and easy pace for the last mile.

My treadmill has incline and a -3% decline, so it changed incline fairly appropriately for each stage of the run. When it was going downhill, I bumped my speed up, just like I would if I was out there for real. When going uphill, I made sure I was only going tempo pace. Outside, I go a bit slower uphill, so overall, my treadmill run was easier than doing it outside.

But it was a good workout and I got to enjoy the rest of my day without feeling guilty that I didn't get my run in.

Tuesday - 6 miles

This was an easy run. I had to do some errands in Spring Hill, so I popped over to Thomspon's Station Park to get 6 miles in. I haven't run over there in a few weeks, so it was the first time I saw the sign changed. The park has been renamed to Sarah Benson Park. Not sure if I'll be able to make that switch in my head, but we'll see.

The gravel circular path is about 9/10ths of a mile. I ran that a full time before heading in the trail part of the park. I ran back there for about 4 1/2 miles, then came back out front to finish out my run. With a good bit of elevation on those trails, I wasn't able to churn out a fast pace, but it's all good on trails. I was just happy I didn't twist an ankle or face-plant.

Wednesday - 12.5 miles

Mushroom I saw along the trail.

Out to Bowie Nature Park. One of my happy places whether on foot or on horseback! Although lately, it's been mostly on foot. I missed my long run last week, so I was pleased to be back.

I ran the Perimeter trail clockwise, then my inner trail, then the Perimeter trail again, counter-clockwise. That would have been about 12 miles, but around mile 5, I popped down to the restroom and to refill my water bottle.

The temp wasn't too bad at 74°. I took a gel at mile 4, mile 7.5 and mile 10. I did easy effort for the first 6 miles, then moderate effort for the next 3, and finally allowed my HR to just reach lactate threshold for the last 3.5 miles.

It was a decent run. My hips and glutes and lower abs were sore for the next two days.

I wore very bright shorts! I had to replace my running shorts with a smaller size and ended up with 3 pretty bright colors! I wanted to get the same style with the nice big side pockets, but lululemon stopped making them and pink, peach and aqua blue were the only colors I could find to buy in my size. I decided to go ahead and buy them since I like the shorts so much and I was worried I won't be able to find any in the future.

Thursday - 6 miles

An unexciting easy treadmill run. I reworked my treadmill run to have me running longer. I still did run/walk at the same ratio as normal, but I bumped up the distance of each interval by 15% each time instead of only 10%. That had me running longer pretty quickly, but also gave me longer walking breaks. It also had the advantage of messing with my mind so I didn't know exactly when the next walk break would happen.

Friday - 4x1.5 mile Strength Run


Last week, I thought my strength run of 6x1 mile with 1/2 mile recoveries would be no big deal, but ended up tough. This week, I was mentally prepared for the badness!

I also got to cut my run from 13 miles down to 10. This week was 4x1.5 mile with 1/2 mile recoveries. So 8 miles for the run and I did a mile warm up. I cut 2 miles from my cool down down to one mile so my run would be just 10 miles.

The weather was super unbelievable for Middle TN in August!! About 58° when I started and only mid-60s when I finished! I was actually cold for the first 2 miles! So I can thank the weather for a better run than last week.

I ran down to the Cason Trailhead. I was able to refill my water bottle and visit the restroom just at the end of my recovery for my second interval.

I ran my first and last intervals a bit too fast. For the last 1/2 mile of the last interval, I just ran without watching my pace on the watch and ended up doing pretty well on that one. Felt pretty good, but was ready for the recovery jog.

I did the 10 mile workout in 2 hours 2 minutes. I was super pleased when I saw that. :)

Weekly Stats

Number of Runs: 5
Number of Trail Runs: 2

Training Miles: 41.5 miles
Training Hours: 9 hours 18 minutes
Average Training Pace: 13:27/mi
Total Elevation:  2,085 feet

What's Next?

I'm on track to have my highest mileage month of running ever. My highest so far is 167 miles in January 2017, during the height of my marathon training. So far this month, I have 140.5 miles.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Weight Watchers and Half Marathon Training

I've been doing Weight Watchers online since May. I've continued training and am in week 12 of Hansons beginner half marathon program.

Weight Watchers Online is basically about food tracking for me. There is a section for blogging and connecting with others, but I didn't use any of that. I know how to track food, but I hadn't been doing it well. I started WW because I wanted a different way that I couldn't "game the system" as easily because I wasn't familiar with the system.

Every food is given a point value. Like a half cup of 1% cottage cheese is 2 points. I get 30 points a day with some wiggle room. They want me to eat at least 27 points a day and no more than 37 points. Anything over 30 points and I start using up "extra points" that they give me. Every week, I get 21 "Weekly Points." I also get points for activities. I have it set up to take points from my activity points before the weekly points. I don't think I've ever had the weekly points used.

When starting WW, I realized I wasn't fueling my runs properly because I didn't want to use the points. A single Gu gel was 4 points. So for a long run that I do 2-3 gels on would make me think twice about fueling my run. That wasn't smart for me, so I made this deal with myself. Anything I eat WHILE RUNNING is free. So gels and picky bars are all freebies as long as I consume them when the Garmin clock is running.

I am only doing easy runs up to 6 miles. I don't fuel during those. I usually do those first thing in the morning and eat breakfast afterwards. Sometimes I'll have an apple or 4 oz of grapes immediately after if I have to drive home before eating breakfast.

For my SOS workouts (tempo, long, and speed runs), I eat some simple carbs (1 packet of instant grits) and a little protein (1 small "sausage" patty) about 45 minutes before the workout. That I track in WW. I fuel during my SOS workout as needed. Immediately after, I eat Apples or Grapes (4 oz) or baby carrots (4 oz) or all 3 if I'm really hungry. Those are all Zero Point foods, so I don't feel guilty about eating those! Then I'm just eating normal foods the rest of the day as if I hadn't run at all. If I get hungry, I eat Zero Point foods that I like.

For tracking my runs, I only track STEPS. Not the actual workout. So if I get 25,000 steps, 12,000 may be from a run, but I don't track a run and then 13,000 steps. I just track 25,000 steps, period.

Every 2-3 weeks, I throw everything out and eat whatever I want for a day or two. This resets my brain, if not my metabolism.

Since May, I've lost 10+ pounds and I'm not as good about tracking my food and steps in the app because I've hit my goal weight and I'm really just not too worried about it at this point. I'm still snacking pretty sensibly with lots of fruits and veggies and still eating a lot of the same foods I did when I was tracking. I'm still weighing almost every day and if I need to tighten up on it again, I will.

When I first started WW, I couldn't find a lot of strategies for doing WW while training, so I just made it up as I went along.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Half Marathon Training - Week 10 or the Five Mile Week

Picture of the Week

Not terribly exciting, but the picture of the week is definitely my treadmill screen! I ran the SAME workout 4 times this week! Could have been worse. I could have not run at all!

Sunday - 5 miles

Saturday night I didn't go to bed at a decent hour and Sunday I spent many hours doing household paperwork. I finally dragged myself to the treadmill before supper to get an easy run in.

Monday - 5 mile Tempo

Rain, rain, rain!

Monday found me at River Park for Tempo Monday. I was scheduled for a 4 mile tempo run at 11:49/mi. When I started it was raining at steady pace, but not too bad. After a half mile, the rain eased up and I thought, that wasn't too bad.

I did my mile warm up and ran 2 of my tempo miles. The first mile was a tad fast at 11:43. The second was even faster at 11:25. However, that second mile has a good downhill on it and I wasn't going to hold back on a downhill, that's just silly!

I took a Gu as I reached my turn-around point and headed back. And it began to rain again. Just a little at first, but then more and more until I was running in a full on downpour. My third tempo mile was a little fast at 11:36, but my fourth mile was at 10:45!

Oh, that fourth mile. I kept running, but as I ran, I came out of some of the cover the trees were providing and the rain hit me full force. I wear contacts and the water was coursing down my face into my eyes, making my contacts swim. My left contact decided to hide at the bottom of my eye socket, so I couldn't even open that eye. My right contact stayed in place, more or less, but I could barely see through that eye. I think there was water between my contact and my eye. Or something. And what did I do? Why, I kept running, of course. This is a tempo run and you keep running.

I managed to stay on the path and not veer or trip into the road. Finally, I got back into some tree cover and the rain let up just a tad. The fourth mile chimed and I decided I wanted another mile to redeem myself. It'd be nice to have at least one of my tempo miles at the prescribed pace!

My left contact decided it was safe to come out and popped back into place. I blinked several times and suddenly my right contact settled and I could see again! Oh, the joy!

Soaked after a very wet run!

It was still raining. I ran the fifth mile in 11:32. I give up, I said. Time to do the cool down mile and call it a good run. I ran to the pavilion near my car and strangely enough, there were no other cars in the parking lot. Only crazy people run in downpours like that. I walked around for a few minutes and then stretched. I ducked back into the rain without a thought. I hadn't melted yet.

I did feel bad for my car. I had a couple of towels, but I didn't take the time to change before heading home.

Turned out to be a pretty good run, if a bit faster than it should have been.

Tuesday - 5 miles

Another easy treadmill run. My farrier came out to the house to put shoes on Sasha, so I didn't have time to drive out to a trail.

Wednesday - 5 miles

And. Another. Treadmill. Run. Ugh. I had an early appointment and didn't have time to do my long run at Bowie Nature park. I ran the same program I do for my easy runs, but I played with the incline and was running at a max incline of 6%. I'd let it go down a half percent every couple of minutes, then bump it back to 6% when my walk interval was over and I was running again. Ended up getting just over 700 feet of elevation gain that way.

Thursday - 5 miles

Yet another treadmill run. Just the regular program. No incline changes. I'm getting sick of this treadmill program!

Friday - 6x1 mile Strength Run

Finally, I got to run outside again! Yay! Although, I about choked on the humidity when I stepped out of my house to go run. I went to the Murfreesboro Greenway, the scene of my speed workouts this training cycle.

This workout is paced just 10 seconds faster than race pace. So my goal for each mile repeat was 11:39. Then a half mile jog between each. I did a 1 mile warm up and 3 miles of cool down for a total of 13 miles.

For some reason, I wasn't scared of this workout. I'd been scared of the speed workouts, but those were all ok. This one, though, I wasn't scared of and it was HARD. I wasn't scared of it because, after all, I'd just run 5 miles on Monday faster than I was supposed to run these mile repeats, but I didn't get that jog recovery. So how hard could 6 miles be? Apparently, quite.

I ran from the General Bragg trailhead south to Barfield Road and back again. I finished my last mile repeat south of Old Fort Park and was dismayed to realize I still had 3 miles to run back to the truck. I was TIRED. My legs were starting to hurt. I managed to jog most of the last 3 miles, but I did drop to a walk a few times. It was the transition from running to walking that hurt the most. A lot like the last 4 miles of my last marathon.

I probably didn't fuel enough for 13 miles in the heat and humidity. When I finished it was 85° and 75% humidity. I had my normal packet of grits and "sausage" patty before I left the house. I had a gel at mile 3.5, a caffeine SaltStick cap at mile 7, another gel at mile 10 and a final caffeine SaltStick just as I finished.

The shorter water fountain had the most wonderful cold water!!!

I did drink lots of water. I carried my larger Nathan soft flask and refilled it at the Cason trailhead both times I passed it and at Old Fort Park on the way back to my truck. I also tanked up on water when I refilled.

I like the SaltStick capsules. Those have pretty much eliminated my post run headaches. But I definitely need more fuel than 2 Gus and a SaltStick cap for a 2 hour 45 minute run.

Weekly Stats

My training pace is faster this week due to so much time on the treadmill. It's definitely easier for me to run on the treadmill, so I can get a faster pace.

Number of Runs: 6
Number of Trail Runs: 0 😢

Training Miles: 40 miles
Training Hours: 8 hours 35 minutes
Average Training Pace: 12:52/mi
Total Elevation:  1,195 feet

What's Next?

Week 11 is coming up. I'm curious to see how I handle the next strength workout. I survived the one this week; it was just harder than I expected.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Half Marathon Training - Week 9

Picture of the Week

On Monday, my boss took several of the team out for lunch to the Villalba Italian Restaurant in Nashville. We had the best waiter and he brought me this heavenly puff for my appetizer. It was SO good! Remember, kids, always eat dessert first! You might not have enough room after the meal.

Sunday & Monday - Rest Days

I take Sabbath (Saturday) as my normal rest day. I also took Sunday and Monday this week off from running. Sunday we were out of town, so it was easier not to run, but I was getting bogged down in the running and needed a break mentally more than physically.

I know that the Hansons Method is supposed to break me down a little and help me push through, so maybe I "broke" that somehow. But I'd been reading a lot of people's training recaps and got bogged down in how long it takes me to do my runs. My long runs have been 10 mile runs. I take about 2 hours 20 minutes to run that. Seeing other runners post that they do their runs in much less time got me frustrated about how long it takes me to do the same run. Because it takes SO much time out of my day. So so much.

I am a slow runner. I know that. I'm getting better at running and I'm getting faster slowly. I've been running for 9 years, but only the last 2 have I gotten serious about my running and my training and if we want to get completely honest, only after my first marathon. Kinda what marathon running did to me. Made me sit up and pay attention. In order to take my running to the next level, whatever level I want that to be, I had to run more and be more intentional about running. But I'm still slow.

So I decided to take a 3-day break from running and from eating "correctly." I allowed myself to not run and to basically eat whatever I wanted. Since we were out of town part of the time, I actually didn't take full advantage of the eating thing like I thought I would, but never mind, it was nice not to have to track everything that went into my mouth.

I decided to skip my 5 mile easy run and my 4 mile tempo run for this week and just pick back up on Tuesday with my easy run.

Tuesday - 6 miles - 13:23

My first run was on the treadmill. We have a lot going on right now and I decided I didn't have time to drive to a trail for my easy run. So I hopped on my trusty treadmill. I did my run/walk workout where I run at 12:30/mi for about 1/3 of a mile and then walk for a minute or so and then go again. Each run/walk interval remains the same run/walk ratio, but gets longer by 10% each time. That's a 5 mile workout that I have set up on iFit, so I just tacked on an extra mile at the end of that to get 6 miles. Again, easy mode. I bumped up the incline to 0.5% just to get a little rise in my HR.

Wednesday - 10 mile long run - 14:03

One of my favorite stretches of trail. Doesn't hurt that it's about 3/4 mile before the finish of my long run!

Back out to Bowie Nature Park. I really enjoy running at this park. There is some elevation and it's a trail, but I somehow feel like it's an easier run than Henry Horton that is actually flatter and more groomed trail. I think it actually is the elevation at Bowie that makes me happy. I am a decent downhill runner so I can make up time on the gentle downhills without losing too much time on the uphills.

I took the morning off from work, so I got to the trail later than I normally would. It was still only 76 degrees and 70% humidity when I got done with my run. So so crazy to have these cool temps in August. I'm not quite used to it!

I break my long run up into segments for effort. This time I was able to run 6 miles at an easy effort, keeping my HR under 148. By the end of the 6th mile I was having trouble maintaining pace at that HR, so I bumped my allowed HR up to 157. I was able to maintain that through the 9th mile, and only had to bump up to 166 (estimated lactate threshold) for the final mile. My long runs bump up to 12 miles next week, so this sets me up perfectly to be able to run the first half next week at an easy effort, then the next 25% at a moderate effort and only 25% at or just under my lactate threshold.

For fuel, I had my normal packet of instant grits and a "sausage" patty before I left the house. I had a Gu at mile 4, a SaltStick capsule with caffeine at mile 6 and another Gu at 8.5 miles. I carried my larger Nathan handheld and refilled it at mile 6. I had a boiled egg and apple on the way home and ate a normal lunch at home.

I did a strength workout in the evening. My only one for the week.

Thursday - 6 miles - 13:23

This was just a boring repeat of my treadmill workout from Tuesday. I had planned to take my horse out to ride, but I had errands to do in the afternoon, so I ran early, then worked for 1/2 a day before taking the rest of the day off to take care of things. I did have some twinges on the outside of both legs just above the ankle. I think that had to do with the strength workout I did the evening before. It wasn't bad, just a little soreness that I wasn't used to feeling there.

Friday - 8 miles - 4x1200

This was my final speed workout of this training cycle. 1 mile warm up at an easy jog, then 4 intervals of running 3/4 mile at 5k pace (10:50/mi) with a 1/4 mile recovery jog, followed by 3 easy miles for a cool down. I headed to the Murfreesboro Greenway. It's flat, paved and a pretty place for a speed run.

My first 2 intervals were 15 seconds/mile too fast at 10:36/mi. My third interval, I thought I'd settle down a little, but then ended that one with a 10:24/mi average pace. My left shoe came untied near the end of the 3rd interval, so I ran carefully and as soon as the interval was over, stopped to retie it. Of course, I over-compensated and tied it too tight, so a few steps later, I was retying my shoe.

My last interval I decided to do the same thing I did for the previous two speed sessions. I decided to just run and see how well I could do. This was not only my last hard effort for the week, it was my last speed interval for the training cycle. Strength runs start next week at 1 mile intervals with half mile recoveries. Those are longer, but I slow down to an 11:40/mi pace for those.

I ran for awhile and then it got harder about half-way through. I thought about just dialing it back and jogging the rest of the interval, but decided, nah, just go. So I did a quick body scan from head to toe. Everything was fine. No unusual pain. I released some tension in my shoulders and hips as I scanned and then began to count every other left foot fall to focus on my running. I did have music in my ear, but I don't remember what was playing. Very near the end of the interval, I was quite ready for it to stop.

As soon as my GPS dinged, I slowed down and began to jog. A voice in my ear said I'd done that 3/4 mile in 6 minutes 57 seconds. I, of course, had no idea what pace that translated to, but it was a full minute faster than my first two intervals. I checked my watch and was happy to see 9:16 pace. I was actually expecting closer to a 9 minute pace, but it was fine. That was probably the fastest I've ever run a 3/4 mile stretch without some downhill help.

My recovery jog was very slow, waiting for my heart rate to drop. My breathing was ok, just my HR took a little time. After the 1/4 mile recovery was over, I picked the pace up a little and did an easy jog for another mile. That was enough recovery time and I was able to quicken the pace a little for my last 2 miles, but still in the easy range.

I'm not sure if I'm happy or sad the speed workouts are over! They weren't nearly as scary as I thought they'd be and I surprised myself with how fast I could run on the final intervals for the last 3 weeks. I do wonder if I am being too conservative in my pace target, but I think I'd rather be a bit conservative, avoid injury and get some confidence in my abilities rather than be too aggressive, maybe get injured and maybe depress myself when/if I couldn't hit the target.

Weekly Stats

Number of Runs: 4
Number of Trail Runs: 1

Training Miles: 30 miles
Training Hours: 6 hours 39 minutes
Average Training Pace: 13:18/mi
Total Elevation:  814 feet

What's Next?

More running, my dear Watson. I am hoping to spend some time with my mare. Sasha is getting pretty sassy without some structured exercise. If I do ride, it will probably have to take the place of an easy run or two in my running schedule. I know easy runs are important, but so is riding! :-)

Half Marathon Training - Week 8

I missed my blog post last week. We were out of town and our internet was out all weekend to boot! So I'll only do a quick recap from week 8. Annoyingly, enough, the internet is being bad this weekend also!

Picture of the Week

I'm definitely a runner that takes pictures. I rarely regret taking a few moments out of my run to take pictures, but I have times where I wish I'd gotten that picture. I actually have one of those regrets from my recent 10k PR race. There was a beautiful scene of Nashville while running on one of the bridges and I didn't pause to take the picture because I was actively trying for a PR. But I did PR, so I'm torn about regretting missing that picture! :-)

Anyway, said all that to say, I have decided to add a Picture of the Week segment to my training blog posts. The idea is for it to be a training run picture, but who knows! It could be anything.

This week's is a picture I took on my Sunday morning run during my cool down. So blessed to have so much beauty around me!

Training Week 8 Recap

Sunday I did a run from the house on the road early in the morning. I usually don't like to run on our country roads, but Sunday AM is pretty quiet traffic wise, so I did an easy 5 miles. It was only 65 degrees and I was cold when I was in the shade. That's so crazy in late July!!

In the evening, I did my first strength training workout using a Hansons 6 week schedule. It's supposed to be 3 times a week for 6 weeks, but I'll be lucky to do 2 a week. Still, some is better than nothing!

Monday I did a 4 mile tempo run at River Park. I tried to not do the last mile faster than race pace, but I accidentally hit the lap button in the middle of my last mile and had to guess at how fast to do the last 3/4 mile to get that mile to come out alright. I guessed a little wrong and did the last mile at 11:34 instead of 11:49. The other 3 miles were spot on within a couple seconds.

Tuesday was an easy trail run for 6 miles. I've been struggling with my easy trail runs, but this was an ok run. Not a great run, but ok. I used my Camelbak vest with the back bladder full. I had to put my phone in one of the drawstring pockets because the full back bladder pulled the zipper pocket too far into my arm pit for my phone to comfortably fit there. I'll have to play with the straps to see if I can fix that.

Wednesday I went to Bowie Nature Park for my 10 mile long run. I nailed my average pace at 13:53/mi. I'm pleased that I can run that on a trail. I also did my second strength workout for the week.

Thursday I hit the treadmill for 5 miles. I originally thought this was a 6 mile run, so when I saw only 5, I was unreasonably excited about that. It was also nice to do an easy run not on trail. Turn treadmill and Hulu on, turn brain off, run. No worrying about terrain or twisting an ankle.

Friday Speed run day! I really like speed runs. They make me feel like a runner! This time was 5x1000 with 400 meter recovery jogs. I did a 1 mile warm up, the intervals, then 2 miles cool down jog. My interval pace is my 5k PR pace that I set this year of 10:50/mi. I did each of the first 4 intervals at 10:40/mi give or take and the last interval, I managed a 9:02/mi pace. Sometimes I think I underestimate how fast I can actually run, but I don't want any injuries, so I let myself run that last interval faster, but not the others. I got rained on in my last cool down mile, but it felt good, so I wasn't too concerned about getting more wet.

Week 8 Training Stats:

Number of Runs: 6
Number of Trail Runs: 2

Training Miles: 40 miles
Training Hours: 8 hours 59 minutes
Average Training Pace: 13:28/mi
Total Elevation: 1,759 feet

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Half Marathon Training - Week 7

If you noticed that I went right from week 5 to week 7, good catch. I mislabeled my blog post last week. I just finished week 7 of half marathon training.

Sunday - 5 miles Treadmill

I tried to run first thing in the morning, but I just wasn't feeling it. Technical malfunctions and just a general lack of motivation made me not run in the morning. But I turned on the air conditioner in my treadmill room in case I was able to get the motivation. Going into a very hot closed up room later in the day wasn't going to encourage me to run.

By 3 PM, I was feeling guilty for skipping my run and not riding either. So I got my running clothes on and went to run on the treadmill. I did my 5 mile workout where I do run/walk and each interval is 10% longer than the previous one. It wasn't some magical good workout, but it was done and I felt accomplished for doing it.

Monday - 3 miles Tempo

Me before the run. This is a pretty weird picture!

I ran this tempo run at River Park again. Basically the same run I did last week. A mile warm up, 3 miles at half marathon pace, and a mile cool down. I paced this run almost identically to last week. Hitting my first 2 splits right on target and running the last mile at 10k pace. It was hotter this week than last and my average HR for each mile showed it, being about 5 bpm higher.

I don't know how many more weeks I'll throw in a faster last mile. I probably should rein it in and run my half marathon pace. That is, after all, the point of the workout. To run half marathon pace and get it ingrained in me. But... we'll see.

Tuesday - 6 miles Trail

After the run. This was as much enthusiasm as I could muster for this run.
Love the trees and the lighting though.

This was a terrible run. Just awful. I went down to Henry Horton park to run first thing. I ate a small non-sausage patty and a banana about 40 minutes before I started my run. That's not unusual. About what I eat before easy runs.

During the first mile, I twisted my right ankle and fell to my hands and knees. Great start. :-( I walked for 3 or 4 minutes. I decided to go ahead and go to the bathroom about 1/2 mile down the trail and if my ankle still hurt a lot, I would just call it and go home. By the time I got to the bathroom, the pain wasn't nearly as bad, so I decided to go ahead with my run.

Not sure if that was a mistake or not. It was a horrible run. I was super tired, even though I'd gotten a decent amount of sleep the night before. And my legs were tired. Maybe I shouldn't have run that last mile of my tempo run at 10k pace after all. My splits were really slow. 3 of them were at the slow end of my easy pace, 2 of them were a full minute slower and the first split (where I twisted my ankle and visited the bathroom) was 3 minutes slower. Not just slow, I just felt like a big slug sliming my way across the trail. I was so tired; I couldn't even be happy it was over! That was too much energy to waste as I still had to drive home, take a shower and work the rest of the day.

I iced my ankle several times through the day. Wondering if I should even bother with my long run on Wednesday.

Wednesday - 10 miles Long Trail Run

But, of course, when push came to shove, I was running the next morning. My ankle felt fine and I was ready to give the long run a try. I was back at Bowie Nature Park for my long run.

Bowie has a Perimeter trail that is about 4.5 miles long and then several shorter trails inside that loop that interconnect with each other and provide access points to the Perimeter trail. So I had mapped out a course that ran the stand alone Horseshoe trail (about 1.25 miles long), then the Perimeter trail and then an inner loop that used short sections of the Perimeter trail to get me to other inner trails. Turned out to run very nicely and I'll likely run that again.

Have to enlarge. How many deer?

The run went much better than my easy run the day before. I eased into the run with a slow mile then was able to settle into a good rhythm.

Just at mile 6, I stopped back at my truck to refill my handheld and grab an extra gel if I needed it. I did not stop my watch while at the truck, but let the fact that the timer was still running motivate me to do my aid stop as fast as possible without dilly-dallying or letting the thought of going home early sink in.

I did slip into the bathroom for one minute 43 seconds, but I did stop my watch for that since it's a concrete building and I didn't want my GPS signal to go whacky on me. But I still minimized the amount of time my watch was stopped.

I was so eager to get back on trail that I went down the wrong trail! I caught myself within 100 meters and turned around to take off in another direction. I'd forgotten that I wanted to run a different inner loop configuration this time.

By mile 7.5, it was getting harder to maintain pace, so I let my HR drift upwards for the last couple of miles to be able to maintain pace. But I was still within my HR limits for a long run. Any more miles at this point and I likely would have had some trouble maintaining pace and keeping my HR down. Good thing I got to stop at 10! :)

It was a hot and humid run at 85° with 80% humidity, but overall much better than my "easy" run on Tuesday. I ate breakfast of a packet of instant grits and a small non-sausage patty (I'm a vegetarian) about 50 minutes before running. I took 3 gels during the run. That might sound like a lot of fuel to faster runners, but when it takes 2 hours 20 minutes to do a 10 mile run, 3 gels is about right for me.

Thursday - 6 miles Trail

hydration vest with full water bottles

Wednesday evening, I got a Camelbak Circuit hydration vest. I've written an initial review on it and put it in its own post, so you can go there for more information about that.

I returned to Henry Horton to rerun the same 6 miles I did on Tuesday. I was hoping to have a better run as noted in the hopeful grin in my picture above. Taken before my run.

And yet. Somehow. this run was worse! Same general weather, same fuel. This time I made it 1.6 miles before twisting my left ankle! I twisted the right one on Tuesday. At least I managed to stay on my feet and not end up sprawled out on the trail. I whimpered and limped down the trail until I could walk normally. Then I took up a slow jog. I felt the pain on every single step. It wasn't excruciating, but it was there. Keeping me company.

Me. After the run. Not thrilled.

My run was slower even than on Tuesday. I did feel a bit better overall, not quite as tired, but I still couldn't get any speed up to even hit the slow end of my pacing zone. I did enjoy having extra water, although I did have to make an unscheduled pit stop during my cool down.

Me before the run (note the hopeful smile) without
the vest so you can see the pretty inknburn shirt!

I did get a new inknburn t-shirt and got to wear it for the first time on this run. I love their shirts. I'm addicted to them. So there you have it. New gear was the best thing about this run and likely the only reason I did it.

Again, I spent the day icing my ankle. This time the left one.

Friday - 7 miles Speed Workout 6x800

5 miles into my run. Hoping to beat the rain!

This was my second speed workout on the Hansons program. The first 3 speed workouts on the Hansons program are 12 x 400 meters, 8 x 600 meters and 6 x 800 meters. All with 400 meter jog recoveries. I missed my first workout, so I did the 12x400 last week. Because I did well on the 12x400, I decided to skip the 8x600 workout and do the 6x800 which would put me squarely back on track with my workouts.

Because of the jump from 400 to 800 meters, I was a little apprehensive about this workout. I was prepared to back off from 5k pace to 10k pace if I needed to. I was also a little worried about my ankle.

The forecast the night before called for rain all day on Friday, but when I got up, there was a clear spot in the radar, so I ate a non-sausage patty, grabbed an apple and headed to the paved Murfreesboro Greenway for my run.

My ankle didn't bother me at all during the run. The weather was 75° with 100% humidity, but no sun and a light breeze which felt heavenly after I got sweated up, which was pretty quick. I carried my small Nathan hand-held and left the vest at home. I don't think I'll use the vest during speed workouts.

I did a nice easy jog for the first mile, speeding up near the end to prep for the first half mile interval. I took off like a shot and had to dial back my speed for the first 3 intervals. My jog recoveries, that seemed too long during my 12x400 workout, went by pretty quickly. But I was jogging slowly, just concentrating on keeping jogging instead of walking. I did stop to take a couple of pictures or slowed to a walk to adjust my gear a little, but managed to jog for the most part.

By the 4th interval, I was still taking off too fast, but it was getting easier to get back into my target pace and a little harder to stay there for the entire half mile. My 5th interval was about the same.

My 6th interval, I took off too fast again, but this time, I decided to see how long I could hold a faster pace, so I didn't make myself slow down. This was my last hard effort of the week. Tomorrow was a rest day. I figured I'd be able to hold it for a quarter mile and then wouldn't even be able to hold to my 5k pace for the rest, but I was wrong. I managed to run that half mile in 4 minutes 47 seconds, a 9:34/mi average. Which is huge for me. Now I'm sure I couldn't have run the entire workout like that, but I was surprised I could run that for the last half mile of a tough week.

While running my cool down mile, I tried to do math in my head, trying to figure out how many miles I had for the week. I thought I would be at 39.5 when I finished this mile, so I decided to tack on an extra half mile to hit 40 for the week. I ran the last full mile too fast. Just 20 seconds slower than half marathon pace. So I really dialed it back for my final half mile to actually get a cool down.

Come to find out, my extra half mile got me to 39 miles for the week, not 40. Oh, well!

I did not take any gels during this run. I had a SaltStick capsule and an extra-strength tums along with a bottle of water when I got done. I used to use a Hammer Fizz tablet in my water bottle, but I still had headaches after a hard and/or hot workout. The past 2 weeks, I've been doing the SaltStick capsule and tums and the headaches have all but disappeared.

Weekly Stats

Number of Runs: 6
Number of Trail Runs: 3

Training Miles: 39 miles
Training Hours: 8 hours 59 minutes
Average Training Pace: 13:49/mi
Total Elevation: 1,535 feet

What's Next?

Well, more running. Week 8 is up on deck. Not many changes, though. An extra tempo mile and a new fun speed workout.

Camelbak Circuit Hydration Vest - Initial Review

Last week, I received new running gear! Yay. Always a fun thing! I got a CamelBak Circuit Hydration vest to help with hydration on longer runs with little access to water. I have an Amphipod belt that I used during marathon training, but when I put 4 water bottles on it (40 oz or 1.2 liters total), I had trouble with the back ones giving me some bruises. So I decided to try a vest.

Shoutout to my mom who helped me decided what color to get. They have a purple one and a black one. The black one has blue trim. The purple one has "fiery coral" trim. In the pictures online, the trim looked red. I don't generally like red and purple together. But my mom said to get that one anyway. So I did. When I got the vest, the trim is more hot pink than red. I'm not a big pink person, but hot pink is ok in the right circumstances and this is one of them.

The Circuit vest has 2 front pockets that are made to hold soft flask water bottles in addition to the 1.5 liter bladder in the back. The vest did not come with the water bottles, but did come with the bladder. Camelbak does make water bottles to go in this vest, but I didn't purchase those.

I have an 18 oz Salomon soft handheld. I don't really care for the way it straps onto my hand, so I don't use it much. I pulled the harness off it and used it in the vest.

I also have a Nathan Exoshot soft flask handheld that I absolutely adore. It is billed to carry 12 oz, but really only about 10, but still, it's a great size for me and the harness for my hand is great for me. I don't have to have it tight, or I can have it tight. I tried to fit the bottle into the vest with the harness still on the bottle, but that didn't work too well, so I grabbed my spare Exoshot flask and used that instead.

I took out the back bladder for the first run. I took it on an easy 6 miler. I really wanted to see how the vest would be without the weight and oppressive heat of the back bladder. And on a 6 mile run, did I really need more than 26 oz of water??

There is a small pocket perfect for a couple of gels just above the right water bottle and a tiny key pocket above that. I put a spare pair of earbuds in the key pocket and a couple gels in the gel pocket. (I didn't eat gels this run; just wanted to see how they'd ride there)

Above the left bottle, there is a zippered pocket that just fit my Google Pixel XL. Of note, this is the only pocket that zips. The other smaller pockets have a flap and the back pocket where the bladder goes has a flap. The water bottle pockets have drawstrings with stoppers.

I took off running and the Salomon prompted squirted out of the vest pocket and plopped on the ground. No worries. I shoved it back in and tightened the drawstring and that was the end of that. I figured if I didn't have to tighten that, why should I. But then, I did.

As I ran, I adjusted the straps of the vest until the front straps were as tight as they could go. As the water bottles deflated, I was a little annoyed at the vest bouncing up and down a little, but since the vest itself is very light and once the water was mostly gone, there was very little weight, I decided it wasn't too bad and the ability to have 26 oz of water and have my hands free was a big plus.

Showing the side straps

I might want to try to tighten up the side adjustments a little more to help with the bouncing when there is little water, but I need the water bottles to be in front of my body and out of the way of my arm swing. When my husband was helping me adjust it the night before the first run, I immediately felt where the bottles were the most balanced for me.

Vest from the back; no bladder and nothing else in the back pocket.

My phone rode just fine in the zippered pocket. Since my phone is so big, it's a little cumbersome to get in and out, but not too bad and I didn't have any trouble with the phone being right there. I was happy my phone was not in my pocket and as it was very close to my bluetooth earbuds, there was no interference and I was able to listen to my podcasts with clarity.

The vest might come in handy on some winter runs when I have to shed clothing while I run. I can run with the vest with no back bladder and have that pocket to stash a jacket or arm sleeves and gloves and other such things. Hard to think about winter runs when it's 90°+ out!

It was a successful first run. I need to continue to practice with it and at some point add the back bladder to it to see how it feels completely full.