Sunday, February 28, 2010

Time to Get Serious!

It's less than a month until race day and I treated the last week as such.

February 19-February 25

3 miles (Umm...31:something. This was NOT a run I pushed myself on pace.
4 miles (39:40)
3 miles (28 minutes flat)
10 miles (1:42:38)
4 miles (39:18)

For a grand total of 24 miles, despite being (sort of) sick. Why I have such a hard time shaking colds, I don't know. I stopped taking the cold medicine after a week and tried to make my body heal itself. Those 24 miles probably didn't make things easier for my little army of white blood cells, but I can't imagine the effects of lounging around for 2 weeks on my training. So it is what it is. And thankfully, I've at least been running inside.
**Here's a question for you readers. I've heard that training for a marathon is hard on your immune system and makes your body more susceptible to colds. Could this also be true for half marathon training? Or is that just not enough running? I'm curious because I've gotten a cold each February that I was training for a half. But that could also just be because February is a winter month?

Additional Things:

  • I was told by a marathoner I know and a trainer at my gym last week to push it until "I felt like going further would be pushing it too hard, and then STOP." So that's what I did. In terms of mileage especially.

  • The last four mile run I did was with a girl who has done 3 marathons (at least). She comes into the gym at the same time I do and talks to me on the treadmill. Another (plus 1) for treadmill don't have to hold the same pace as your running buddy!!! And stopping early while running with an impressive running buddy just isn't going to happen.

  • Another exciting moment from the past week, was a girl I know told me she saw me "running fast" the day i did the 3 miler in 28 minutes. She probably saw me sprinting at the end, but I don't get that a lot so I'll take it!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mary Lou Retton Run

This week it was do or die when it came to a 10 mile run. My cold still isn't completely gone, but I'm feeling much better than I did a week ago. I'm not taking medicine around the clock either which is a good thing. Everyone whose been around me for the past week has told me "I sound A LOT better." Anyone who hasn't seen me for a week immediately asks, "Are you SICK?"
The yin and yang of this cranks me up.

Last night I was tired. I sort of didn't feel like going to the gym at all. But, I told myself I needed to run at least 6 miles. When I got to thinking about it doing a 10 mile run later in the week wouldn't be any easier, and there is the potential for more snow here, so I figured it would be best to go for a Mary Lou Retton Run (aka. 10 miles)...and I have to say it was about as PERFECT as a 10 miler could get given the circumstances.

Last fall I went on long runs with my friend Meghan. It's been a lot harder to coordinate our long runs this winter, so it's usually just me on a hot date with the treadmill. Between iTunes and college basketball, I stay entertained. BUT entertaining yourself for a 6-8 mile run isn't really the same as 10 miles.

Last night the sales manager at the gym came and ran next to me for miles 2-4. Can we say: GOD SEND. This was not planned, but he wanted to talk about work/sports/life. Honestly, we could have talked about anything. He jokes around a lot like me. And for those two miles I took a break from my iPod. When he finished his two mile run he told me

"Have fun with those ten miles dude"

and I, PRAISE GOD, only had a 10k left to do on my own. I do six mile runs on my own all the time. I told myself "You've got this."

I started the run out at a pace of 5.7 (or 10:31min/mi) just to be sure I wouldn't cut this run shorter than 10 miles. After the first hour (5.77 miles) the treadmill stops, so I used that for my Gatorade chug (And to blow my nose.)

Side note--Sometimes I make fun of things I see at the gym on twitter. It would make my day if someone tweeted: "Just saw a girl at the gym run for an hour, stop to blow her nose and cough, then she started running again?! What the hell?" I guess I'd have to find it too...

Anyway, I maintained the speed of 5.7 until I reached 8 miles. I then sped the treadmill up to 5.8 When I was almost to 9 miles I put the treadmill on 6.1 and started gradually picking up the pace. I know I was running at 6.5 my second to final lap. The last lap I finished with a sprint.

I completed 10 miles in 1:42:38. That's a personal (training) best for me!

Some additional thoughts are that I probably have it in me to pick up the pace a little earlier in the run than I did. And I'm not so sure why I've avoided doing more than 10 miles pre-half marathon. It makes so much sense to do more.

And (WARNING: I'm going to get sentimental here) the online blogging-running community has proven to be a huge motivator this time around in my training! I'm pretty much flying solo. Not discussing my training with friends much. I started this blog for a documentation of what it looks like to casually train for a half marathon, not thinking I would get encouragement or regular followers. So a final thought I have is, IF you are secretly reading this AND secretly thinking about running a race. Start a blog as you go through the process! I might just stalk you...)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

One Month Until Raceday!!!!


At this time next month, I will have completed my third half marathon in 365 days. The Yuengling Shamrock Half conveniently falls a day before it did last year on the calendar, allowing me to say that. I feel like for the most part I'm on track to be ready for this race, no problem. I just can't putt around between now and March 21st. I'm hoping for a 10 mile run this week. And for the first time in my life, I'm hoping to do a run longer than 10 miles in preparation for the race.

It can't hurt right? I tend to have the mentality "I know I can force myself to run 3 more miles on race day" and do a few 10 mile training runs. Only problem is it does kind of start to suck after mile 11. So hopefully, I can run 11.5 or 12 miles before race day. We'll see. My motivation for doing so is I'm running this race with my friend Meghan, who is a half marathon virgin. We did the Army 10 Miler together and I want to be able to be goofy/silly/pumped up ME for those last two miles. Not be on the verge of tears. (It always gets kind of emotional for me those last two miles.) Actually that's putting it nicely. I'm not a crier. The thoughts that go through my head are:

A) A repeat of "This sucks. This sucks. This sucks." Note how well that works for a cadence. A "this" or a "sucks" for every step ;)
B) "Just run the whole thing and you never have to do another one of these again."
C)"You will never forgive yourself if you walk."
D) WHERE is that mile marker?!

So, basically I'm Little Miss Sunshine at the end.

I may have to whip out these phrases with Meghan but hopefully I can do some Party in the USA singing and HI-5ing or something. I think mentally it's going to be huge for me to not have to worry about a hill like in the OBX half. The bridge on my blog title is from that race.

Although I've touched on a few of these. Here is a recap of my runs last week:

Friday, February 12: 6.5+1.5 miles
Saturday, February 13: 1 mile
Sunday, February 14: 4 miles
Wednesday, February 16: 8.5+ .5 miles

So a grand total of 22 miles. Not too bad for feeling like death starting Monday.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

8.5 Miles with a... COLD

Sunday morning (Valentine's Day/Chinese New Year) I realized that my throat was sore. I didn't let this stop me from doing a 4 mile run in under 40 minutes (39:25).

Monday morning my throat hurt more....and by Tuesday I told my boss that I had to go buy some Advil Cold & Sinus or I would be going home for the day. There isn't a pharmacy that close to my work, but in less that an hour I had "the goods." Really acquiring this medicine is pretty intense. They keep it behind the counter. You must have a valid driver's license. And your information gets recorded. I guess this is an attempt to bust at home crystal meth factories taking place in suburbia. Or a fun chance for us sick adults to feel like we are characters on Desperate Housewives, since we've out grown the free lollipop.
I like the way the package shows a ray of sun beaming upon "Advil." I've tried more than one cold medicine and Advil Cold & Sinus by far seems to have the best results for me. Two different versions of Tylenol cold medicine just turned my nose into a faucet :-/

Anyway, if you all will allow me to get nostalgic for a second... I got VERY sick around this time last year as I was training for my first half marathon. I typically don't get a lot of colds. I'm more of a spring allergies kind of girl (if anything.) The reason I got sick last year was a combination of stress from lack of job security AND lack of sleep due to my workload. Maybe also flying in a small plane to Oklahoma. Basically I got the common cold and couldn't shake it because I didn't have time to rest. I took some time off of running, but for the most part just figured out a way to suck it up. *Read: Advil Cold & Sinus.* I SHOULD have gone to the doctor. My cough did NOT sound good. However, I knew the Dr. would tell me to rest and there was no way in HELL I was going to miss my first half marathon. So run it with a cough, I did. One of my fondest memories of that race was actually around mile 8 when I heard another guy struggling with some phlegm in the back of his throat. I thought "Yes! I'm not the only stubborn idiot out here. What's up my brother?!" No really. Mid-run I thought those words: "What's up my brother?" And no. That's not a phrase I use regularly.

So, running with a cold is something I'm pretty familiar with. After taking Monday and Tuesday of this week off, I decided to just suck it up and run tonight. I had kind of a bad day, and needed this mentally more than anything. I ran 8.5 miles in 1:28:17 with no walk breaks/etc. (Basically the whole run was at a 10:30 pace). I had thought about pushing myself to do 10 miles but figured I should wait until I was feeling a little better. After going to the restroom at the gym. I decided to just go for another half mile which I completed in 4:58. So I actually ran 9 miles with a COLD. I'll count 8.5 miles as my true long run distance, and the 9 miles toward my mileage for the week.

I'm sort of curious to see if I feel better or worse cold-wise tomorrow.

Oh and one other thing. Adam (The Boring Runner) is doing his first ever blog giveaway. You should check it out! Even if you don't want to win a nice water bottle or gu's, his blog is hilarious and he's a really fast runner! I've listed his blog to the right under "Blogs I Read Frequently."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

8ish Miles

Well I got 8 miles in yesterday. However, it wasn't without stopping. If I'm taking a glass is "half full" perspective, the last time a scheduled run turned into a "speed workout" it was because I wasn't "feeling it" on a 3 mile run. So my endurance is coming back!

I did 6.5 miles at a 10:20/mi pace. I felt good, but I guess maybe I was a little tired from my 4 miler the day before? Or I was just being LAZY. And I had to pee. After I took a bathroom break I decided there was no way I was leaving the gym only running 6.5 miles. That just wasn't enough.

So I ran another mile in 9:45.
Then I walked .1 of a mile.
Then I ran .25 of a mile in 2:11.
Walked .1
Ran .25 in 1:57.

Speed work is still something really new for me, but I'm hoping it helps. It's a good feeling knowing I was hitting those times AFTER a 6.5 mile run. I'll feel better once I complete another true long run.

Today I ran one. I was SORE. Sometimes I think it helps to get a little movement in for recovery versus no running at all. So that's what I did.

Oh, and since there were some questions about the weather in DC last week.... check this out! Hahaha. I don't know this guy, but this is so awesome!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I Did My Best

Don't worry I haven't been crying. But, between life being hectic and tons of snowfall in DC... "I Did My Best" is all I can say for my Half Marathon training this past week.

Again, it's not about being perfect. It's about a commitment and being real. Here's what went down.

Wednesday, 2/3-- I went to UVA for the Men's Basketball game v. NC State. This was an all day trip. I caught up with a friend from college who moved to Charlottesville then went to the game with my fam. No running.

Thursday, 2/4-- After getting back late Wednesday night, I worked from 10 AM- 11:30 P.M on Thursday. Thats: Gym, [Nanny]ing, Second shift at the gym (Not laundry.)

**My week is now starting at Friday because I took those two days off. And this is convenient, since I don't know how I ended up with training weeks starting on a Wednesday anyway**

Friday, 2/5-- 6 miles. (62 minutes.) I was running at a slower pace, expecting to do more than 6 miles. The snow was falling kind of hard and I decided getting home safely was more important than a couple more miles.

Saturday, 2/6-- Snowed in.

Sunday, 2/7-- 3 miles. (29:something.) Again I'll get better at recording times.

Monday, 2/8-- No time. Worked a lot.

Tuesday, 2/9-- 7 miles. Again running at a 10:30 pace. Again snow is falling. The long run is "long enough" at 7 miles...when I decide making it home safely should be my priority.

Wednesay, 2/10--Snowed in.

Thursday, 2/11-- I HAD EVERY INTENTION OF RUNNING BETWEEN 6-8 MILES. Last minute I agreed to babysit all night. I did a quick 4 Miles after work (39:11).

So...this week I ran 6+3+7+4.
That adds up to 20 miles.
That's really not that good. I was talking to my dad about this and he said "That's 20 more miles than I ran."

True. But he's not signed up for a half marathon. Anyway, like I've said before, I think it is good to have a lighter week as long as it's ONE not a cluster of them together. It's what Hal calls for when you have a longer run the next week....will I do a 10 mile run next week though? Maybes.

I think the one thing that's reassuring is that from the conversations I've had and overheard at the gym all of the "regulars" had an "off-week" when it came to training because of the bad weather in DC. I can't help but think Dane Cook would be proud of me.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Week #(Whatever) Recap

Let's see it's been a little while since I posted about my runs. This is a recap of the week from Wednesday, January 27 to Tuesday, February 2. As much as I love Hal Higdon, I haven't really followed his plan to a T since my first half marathon. I've been training since the last week in December and I've already gone on a nine mile run if that tells you anything. I pretty much just listen to my body and try to mirror the distances he calls for in a week based on the long run distance I choose.

One of the reasons I have this blog is so that someone who has never done a half marathon before can look at it and be like "Oh, so that's what training for one might be like." So here we go with the distances/times.

This past week I ran:
3 miles (28:23)
6 miles (59:09)
3.5 miles (I don't recall the time. I was at a 10:20/mi pace. Don't think I sprinted to the end that day. My only focus was covering the mileage.)
5 miles (49:something)
5 miles (51:30)

Whoops, the last two runs have round-about times. I'll try to do a better job of documenting the exact finishing time. While I didn't go on a super long run, I'm pretty happy with myself. My mileage for the week was 22.5 miles. I did 3 runs in sub 10min/mi pace. And I reached a goal of completing 6 miles in under an hour.

I need to go on a 10 or 11 mile run in the near future. Right now Virginia is being pounded with snow and the gym is closed. Whomp. Whomp.
As frustrated as I am that snow is dictating my weekend plans. I guess things could be worse. I could be this lady. FHL.

Hahaha. In all seriousness, I think sometimes it's good to have a less intense week after pushing yourself hard for a couple weeks. It's not like I don't have time for this. It's still over a month until the Shamrock Half Marathon.