Wednesday, March 25, 2015

... Training for a PR - Week 1 ...

I'm writing this as I am on a flight that should have happened yesterday to New York. We won't go into the details, as I'm still annoyed about how the airlines deal with weather delays.

Ever since I have started to run a higher number of races I never feel I'm in active training, as there is always a race around the corner. Before I just had one race in mind and that what I trained for a ran the training plan for that race specifically. Now I just run, no miles, no plan.

The Corporate Half PR was a welcome surprise, but it made me wonder what if I actually trained. I'm very laid back when I run. I can't really get any speed until it's race day. I really don't know why.

So now I'm trying a training plan for my May Half.

I'm now under an 8 week training to conquer a Half PR.

Week 1 -

Training Plan Miles: 28

Training Miles Done: 12. Tomorrow there are miles to be run. I don't think there will be too many miles done as my sister is in charge of my NYC weekend, and the agenda seems quite full.

Hill Repeat: Fail. It was my first hill repeat. It was hard and my hill was half the distance I had to run.

My Week: Hard. Since Sunday I have been at work with meetings from 7:30 until 6:30. Entertaining and dinner. Home by 10ish each day. It was very tiring.

My thoughts: I'm stressed and it shows in my running. Especially now that I have a set goal/plan in mind. I still have my monthly goal, but since there is flexibility in how I reach the mileage goal, that never seems stressful. This however is a true training plan and here I do feel the stress when not completing the miles assigned.

I am going to end far from the goal mileage for the week. I'm trying to concentrate on the week ahead, but being in New York with my sister won't help. Late nights and a planned agenda are not the perfect combination.

Things I have done lately.

Fun 3.14 Pi Run with my daughter. 3.14 miles at 3:14:15. Amazing, to share anything with my girls. And I actually almost like this picture of me.

 

Funny moment. I say with amazement that this happens to me often. I run for the end of my run. Never thought I would become so comfortable with running in the cold weather. Too bad this is not a full body picture, as in person it was very funny. My friend had tights, gloves ... I had a runnung skirt.

 

Special Moment: Volunteered on a very cold and rainy day at the Shamrock 4 Miler with RunningWorks. Always a great day in the company of my friends and supporting this amazing cause.

 

Great moment. Due to the training I'm trying to push my speed. On this particular day, my legs were feeling heavy and my Achilles was not helping me. I was about to cut my run short and I decided to take a moment to take it all in. After that moment my body totally changed and finished my run renewed.

That is all for now.

... a dopo ... J

 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

... Charlotte Corporate Half ...

I guess we all have things happening in our lives, so it would be futile for me to think that I am the only one affected by a bad work week and disappointments from people you trusted. I have always loved to work, so when things seem off at work, this actually takes a toll on my well-being. I know I should put work in the correct perspective, however it is hard to change something you have been doing for so long. I am trying though it seems a little unsuccessfully this week. I did work a few nights until midnight, however these should not account for my excessive tiredness. On Thursday night I actually fell asleep at 9:30. Yes, 9:30! I felt completely drained … In addition to this my Achilles, that has been feeling strong lately, gave me discomfort and pain. I haven’t been doing my PT exercises, so I guess I am partly responsible.


I think I only ran twice during the week as I believe I may have exaggerated last week.


Now back to Friday. I left the office feeling good as I had completed my to do’s … I left around 7 ... a little later than I would have liked, but happy! I came home to my wonderful puppy, had a light meal, (due to a delicious Chick-fil-A meal had at lunch time), and went to bed. I didn’t prepare my race outfit, totally uncharacteristic of me … again, I just felt depleted of any energy.


I had a restless night … dreamt of my Half and basically rested close to nothing. The alarm went off at 6. I quickly hopped out of bed and showered quickly, chose my outfit. I was undecided between my black running skirt and my black running skirt, a black top and another black top. Note to self #1: Buy a few running outfits that are not black …


I was not feeling my race … being a Facebook fan … (basically all running, Buddhist, or yoga related posts), I posted a comment on my friend’s post. I told her I was not feeling great about the race. I felt nervous and tired. She very wisely and beautifully put said … "Just smile and enjoy the sunshine. That smile will carry you through". Her comment touched me, as I love to smile and when people smile. I love the sunshine and today there was going to be plenty of it. But mostly it reminded me that every race does not have to be a perfect race. I am my own worst enemy. Note to self #2: Remember to smile through the miles …


I walked to the start line … I love running local races, no hassles with parking and an automatic warm up mile. As I was walking I felt my left calf tense, it was so odd, no pain … it just felt contracted. I actually ran with the feeling all through the Half. I kept wondering if it was going to cramp up on me. Thankfully it never did.


The morning was cold, beautiful and sunny. I went to the start line after saying hi to a few friends and we were off. Around mile 2, my friend caught up with me and we ran together for a bit. He said I pushed him … I loved that … he was very sweet as 99% of the times he is faster than me.


The first 9 miles were perfect. Pace better than expected. The last 5 miles seemed to be pure hills. Yet still enjoyable. I remembered to smile … Note to self #3: Train on hills!!!


Tough and amazing, long hills. Not much crowd support, but no different that other local races.


It was a perfect running day, with my running friends and a city I now love completely. Oh, did I mention a 4 minute PR!


Hope your day and week ahead are just wonderful.


Now off to a wonderfully lazy nap with this guy!

 

… a dopo …. J

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

... February Races Continue ...

I decided in 2014 that I would try to run regardless of the environmental conditions. This is why I ran in -33C (with windchill) in Canada ... and this is what I looked like:

 

 

For some reason the frigid temperatures felt refreshing. I loved it!

***

I love running races on dates/holidays, any holiday, really. They have to fall on the specific date, and this was the case of the Polar Plunge and 5K at the U.S. National White Water Center.

I am not a trail runner, so you can imagine my surprise when I realized it was a road race. What a bonus!

I love the races at the USNWC. The atmosphere is friendly and low key.

The day started cold as could be ... How could I feel cold after a week in Canada!!! However the cold was made better by the prescience of fire pits. I was actually worried that I was getting too close to the fire.

We lined up leisurely at the start line. We got the countdown. The start line was a mess and I almost fell as another runner tried to move to the front.

I ran a PR! My time was a great improvement, don't know if I'll easily repeat the feat. Second in my age group. I was happy. And finished with the plunge into the lake. I would say that my Saturday was perfect.

***

My last February race was the Charlotte 10 Miler on an incredibly cold day. It didn't feel that bad before the race. During the race I didn't feel my strongest ... but I was happy with my performance.

 

One minute improvement over last year and the same hard course with the worst hill at mile 9!

Next on the agenda. A Half Marathon.

... a dopo ... J

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

.. Super Bowl 4 Miler ...

On February 1st, I ran the first annual Super Bowl 4 Miler benefitting RunningWorks As you know this is a program I volunteer with. It is a harsh reality to face while on the program, so much homelessness, but I believe in it.

I believe that really RunningWorks! Dedication and commitment translated to any area of your life. I hope I have been able to have an impact with those that I have had the pleasure to be with during my volunteering.


Yes! I was sure Seattle would win.

My fellow volunteer and friend.


The day before the race I volunteered on behalf of RunningWorks at packet pickup on Saturday ... a lot harder than I expected. Hard work!!!

It was a great turnout for a new local race ... about 1200 runners started Super Bowl Sunday with this wonderful race.

The course was unbelievable ... challenging but fun. The first mile was at 7:22 ... too fast I thought ... but it felt great ... until I felt my shoe laces become untied. Hands all bundled up and half frozen I decided to just tuck them in ... not a good idea.

 

Meeting up with friends!



A few feet after my shoe laces were flying all over the place ... I saw a couple standing on the side of the road and asked them to tie my shoe laces. And so he did ... as I kept seeing everyone pass on by.

 

My Garmin auto-pauses and brought me in at 8:10 average pace. According to my watch I was going to come in at 7:54 min/mile. I could have had a 7 something mile had I not had to stop twice for my shoe laces.


Regardless, of that I am ecstatic that my Achilles did not hurt, I felt strong and happy ... and my time was not half bad.

 

Keep running ...

 

A dopo,


J

Monday, February 9, 2015

... repeating races ...

I have only been a few races that I have run more than once. I have run the Komen 5K, for example, more than once in honour of my friend Julie, and last year in her memory. This particular race I hold close to my heart because of her, but other than that I have run very few races more than once.

My thoughts on this are as follows.

Afraid of tainting the memory = do not repeat ... I obtained my current Half Marathon PR in Athens, GA in the Ath Half. This was a half that was not even on my race calendar. With my Achilles still hurting and what seemed a never ending series of hills, this race was just supposed to be a fun race with friends. No PR in mind.

The truth is that from the first step I felt amazing. It was a glorious day in a beautiful city. My legs cooperated even up the hills. I probably could have pushed myself a little more, but was worried about slowing down during the last 5K. (See Thunder Road below).

I would recommend this race to anyone, however I am afraid to attempt it myself again.

Why? As much as I hate to admit it, I would be afraid of being disappointed. You can't have the same race twice ... In good and in bad. But this one was really good ... so I want to keep that memory intact.

Wanting to "show" the course = repeat ... I have had, fortunately only a handful of races where I have felt horrible. Once such race was the Brixx 10K and 5K. Here too, I knew from the first step how bad it was going to be.

I am not the fastest of runners, but I'm not too slow either, so I position myself accordingly. Towards the front without being a nuisance to the fast runners.

On this particular day my friend needed to visit the restroom prior to the start. I had her keys and her water as the crowd assembled at the start line. I waited and waited and finally when she arrived we were stuck in the back, forcing us to weave through the crowd to gain some space to move. My friend went up the sidewalk to gain this ground, however this is something I really don't do, as I like to respect the race course. In hindsight I think I should have.

Humidity was at 96%, the late start, and the excessive crowd left me drained. On top of that the water stations were past their usual points and I felt I needed the water. Not a good feeling. Waiting to reach the 4 mile water station I spoke up out loud about how thirsty I was ... I must have sounded really desperate because a fellow runner kindly handed me her water bottle.

My time was horrible and during the race I thought of just giving up. I'm glad I didn't ... but I was exhausted. To top it all off, we missed the start of the 5K that followed. I didn't touch the mat, so I only had a clock time. I had recovered somewhat after putting some fluids in my body, but going out when they pick up the mat is not a good feeling. My friend decided not to run. I'm glad I did.

I swore that day that I would never do it again ... However I signed up again this year ... However, I double booked this race with another Half I had mistakenly dated in my calendar. But ... I will be back in 2016!

Another race I want to repeat is Thunder Road Half. It was supposed to be my second Half in 2010, only to be sidelined by injury. The year after a hard recovery, I changed it to a 5K and then deferred it again in 2012. Do t know why this race made me uneasy.

I finally decided I was going to run it. People had been warning me about its difficulty, however I felt I had to run it.

Untrained I ran the first 10 miles with ease. (By ease I mean a challenge that felt good, because it is a tough course). I remember thinking I only have a 5K ... and after that thought ... I fell apart. Hardest 5K of my life.

Funny thing is I fell in love with the course, and signed up to come back the following year and show the course.

I was on track, but my boss decided to run the Half with the office and I was chosen as a running mentor. My intent to show the course had to be put in the back burner.

I loved the coaching experience, and my group of new runners did wonderfully. The goal was start together and finish together. And that I did. I crossed the line after everyone had crossed. However ... I still haven't shown the course. I intend to, come next November.

Summarizing: I will most likely repeat a race if there is unfinished business or of it is an iconic race like Boston. Running races that benefit a cause that I hold dear will grant a repeat, but other than that I will leave my races touched once. At least, that is how I feel today.

Happy running.

A dopo,

J