Sunday, December 27, 2009

Let's Bring It Back

Hello... to anyone who stumbles upon this. My attempt to have a running blog last winter basically came to an abrupt halt when SHIT HIT THE FAN at work. The hours got insane. I didn't get enough sleep. I barely had any time to myself. And when I did I was running...rather than blogging about it.

I can honestly say that I love running even more today than when I started this blog. RUNNING IS THE ONLY THING that got me through those horribly long hours that were demanded of me and what helped me to keep plugging along in a work environment with extremely poor job security. I wish I could share a happy ending with you in terms of my job, but I can't.

Wouldn't you know it, despite busting my ass, I did in fact lose my job. Not even a week after I successfully completed my first half marathon. Talk about ironic...feeling on top of the world...then getting stability ripped out from under you. The crazy part is that I actually remember thinking..."Okay fine. I lost my job but I ran a half marathon!" Just thinking about the race was reason for me to smile.

I ran the Monument Avenue 10k days after being laid off.

I'm not sure if anyone else has used running as a coping mechanism for difficulties in life but that is what it was for me. These days I'm a million times happier not at that job, but financially things are tighter. I enjoyed a break from a training regimen for a few months after the Shamrock Half/Monument Avenue 10k. I didn't stop running entirely; I went on 3 mile runs to stay in shape. If I was feeling adventurous I went on 4 or 5 mile runs.

However, after a few months of THAT, I decided I needed a goal to work toward. I signed up for the OBX Half Marathon without knowing anyone else who wanted to run it. My friend, Meghan, was training for the Army 10 Miler so I we went on a few long runs together. Me helping her train turned into me agreeing to run the Army 10 miler with her on top of the OBX half. What can I say, I like running?

I always had the idea in the back of my head that I was going to bring this blog back.
The archives are there. I wouldn't say any of the writing is incredible, but what was going through my head as I trained for my first half is a lot different than my perspective now. It's nice to look back and see where I came from.

I'm currently training for the 2010 Yeungling Shamrock Half Marathon in VA Beach. I liked that race so much last year that I wanted a second helping. This will NOT be the only long distance race I run in 2010. I've already decided that. I'm tossing ideas around in my head about other races. So, this time has come... To bring this blog back.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Running After Work SUCKS

Seriously. I made myself do it yesterday before going out with friends. I completed 5 miles in about 55 minutes. But it just is not as desirable as AM workouts or running on the weekend.

Here are the reasons why:

1.) When I work out at 5AM (ish) the only people in my gym are also hard core about working out. My favorite is the guy who has to be atleast 60 who is always there before me. I think he does about 5 miles on the eliptical. Seeing older people still in excellent shape really excites me. I I want that to be me someday. And to have a husband that works out hardcore as a senior citizen :-)

I digress, the gym is a little quieter in the morning. No one is very loud that early. And the shared passion for exercise is so obviously in that room.

Here is my experience last night...

Tons of guys. A couple girls. There is one open treadmill that I get on and start walking. (I always walk .25 to .3 miles before I start running. My calves get wayyy too tight if I don't do this.) My calves seemed especially tight last night, so I put the machine on pause (There is a 2 minute limit for this feature.) I left all of my stuff on the treadmill, and stretched my calves by putting each foot up against the wall individually. I only used like a minute of the "pause time." As I was about to get back onto the treadmill this guy pretty rudely says "ARE YOU DONE?" I politely tell him I am about to start running. He looks pissed and gets on an eliptical. When the guy next to me finished on the treadmill, the guy on the eliptical switched to that treadmill and started running. He was struggling a bit. Not sure how far he ran. But I was still running for quite a while when he got off. I think he assumed he was in better shape because he was a guy and I'm a tiny girl with long hair. Oh Snap. Or he was just rude. Either way...I don't enjoy the crowded gym after work.

2) I am sooo much more tired. Even if I don't get a ton of sleep for some reason I wake up in the morning feeling very fresh. Working out at the end of the day after walking around DC in heels is just that much harder for me. I cover quite a few stairs during the day, so, I also think that might make my calves feel extra tight before I even start the workout. I've learned that I just have to force myself through the first 2-3 miles and then I'm mostly fine.

3) I don't enjoy the workout as much because usually I am trying to rush off to something fun afterwards. It's more of a check on my list of things to do. I have friends though that say they can't workout in the morning. They just can't get up and prefer the nighttime workout.

Weekend workouts are by FAR the best. Today I'm supposed to run 9 miles (eek!). Tomorrow I am taking a break. This will be a big indication of where I am at. I'm less nervous than last week.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Things Are Coming Along

This weekend I am supposed to run 9 miles, so I'm getting pretty close to being in the shape that I need to be in to run this thing. I am set to complete the Hal Higdon training plan the second week in February, so then I will have to get creative with my workouts until March 22nd.

To be honest, I'm getting a little frustrated with the 5 mile runs. Like they take me almost an hour, and if I'm going to run that far, I want to just do my long run. I guess with due time this distance will seem like nothing.

Today I ran 6 miles (well 7). I got up around 11 stomach was kind of hurting. I wanted to start my day off with a run. I got to one mile on the treadmill and decided it wasn't happening. So I took a nap. Then got up, had a snack, and ran 6 miles. (I felt so much better the second time around.)

I'm starting to think that taking days off throws off my rhythm. Like, it's better for me to just run a mile than to run nothing. For some reason my muscles feel LESS tight when I do this.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Running After Work and iTunes

I RAN 8 MILES TODAY! And it wasn't really all that hard. The only pause I took was after 5 miles for a sip of Gatorade and I was off jogging again. (I'm trying to simulate the water stations...or get used to the idea of a water break.) At this point in my training speed and times do not matter to me at all. I want to run at a pace that is less than 12 minutes per mile on the day of the Shamrock. I don't really have much to go off of except that when I did the Ashland Railroad Run 10k... I finished in 1:02:something. That's pretty good for 6 miles. A little over 10 minutes per mile. I know in that race I started off fairly slow... and kicked it up for the last two miles. I would say that is my strategy at this point for the Shamrock... pace myself...and have enough energy to "bring it home" the last 3 miles.

I set the treadmill at 5.1 today. Which I maintained until the last 2 miles when I increased my speed. I always think it's better to finish strong than to run out of energy too quickly. The last mile was under 9 minutes! The first time in my life I have run 8 miles and I was able to do the last one at that pace....what an incredible feeling.

Three thoughts I want to throw out there:

1.) Running after work is really difficult for me.
I think because my feet hurt from walking around in heels and I just prefer a morning run. When I did 7 miles, I forced myself to do it after work (although you are supposed to do the long runs on the weekend.) Honestly, it kind of sucked. It wasn't hard in terms of endurance but my legs felt like lead for a lot of it and I forced myself to keep going. I just assumed it was because I was running 7 miles.

Today was the exact opposite. I felt great after the first 5 miles and excited to do 3 more. I definitely got a runner's high and felt like I could do more. I am sticking to the Hal Higdon plan because I think its better not to shock my body with a dramatic increase in distance. I like that he calls for consistency in training.

This week I kind of slacked off with the running during the week. I did 3 miles on Monday... took Tuesday and Wednesday off... and then ran 2 on Thursday and 1 on Friday. (At this point that is pathetic. If I was just working out that would be okay (maybe)...but I have to run 13 miles in March. 1 mile is a joke in terms of preparation.)

I have to be at work at 8:30 A.M. My commute takes 45 minutes. Now that the shorter runs have increased to 5 miles... its kind of hard to get that in before work... I've decided to go for punctuality over training... but I will need to figure something out. I definitely prefer morning runs over evening runs (and freeing up the evening).

My favorite feeling of all is waking up and knowing the only thing I HAVE to do is run. (Like today through next Wednesday). So that is why I'm not too concerned about the slack off this week. I know I will get all of those runs in between now and Wednesday. Today was the most important of all!

2) MAKE A LONG RUN PLAYLIST! I did that I think before I started training at all. I have Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer at 3 miles and Rodney Atkins's If You're Going Through Hell around 7 miles. I might want to move Livin' on a Prayer to my new halfway point... but having a long run playlist seems to be the best idea in the world.

I ONLY listen to this playlist if I am doing a long run. If I am going on a shorter run I listen to a different playlist with more random songs. I think it helps to recognize which song is coming next and in my mind know where I am. If I listened to the same playlist everyday I would be so sick of it. But I have the "familiar tunes" for when it counts.

3) This is kind of related to #2... the rules of the Shamrock 1/2 marathon state that headphones, iPods, Mp3 players, etc. are banned. There are bands playing music at some of the mile markers and I figured it would be okay to run sans-iPod.

The other night when I was watching TV instead of listening to my seemed to take forever just to get up to a mile. I THINK I was more bored because I was on the treadmill. I used to run outside without an iPod and it was fine because of the change in scenary. I guess I never realized how much of a security blanket it has been for me in terms of the training...

Yesterday I started googling if this rule is actually enforced. I found mixed results. Some said that with thousands of people it is virtually unenforcable. I'm thinking I will sneak it... even if I don't start out using it.. as a just in case?