Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A glimpse into the Progress

Yesterday I had a workout that really highlighted my progress over the past 6-9 months. It is really neat to perform a workout and look back the last time you did and see the improvement.

Yesterday I had a 4 X 1.5 mile @6:50-7:00 pace w/2 minutes rest. I was super nervous before the start of the run as in the past 4-5 weeks have not been my best but I knew I am ready to roll but phyiscally and mentally so even though I was nervous I was not going to go into the run with anything but lets just see what I have today.

I set out at a nice conservative pace 6:58 and held it for the first set. I didn't struggle so I started to gain some confidence but didn't want to empty the tank so I held the second set @ 6:58. Followed the last two @ 6:55 & 6:50.

Felt awesome, I never struggled and felt like I ran with a very relaxed stride. Phewy! I was super pleased with this effort and than I came home and looked up the last time I did workout in prep for Houston. I ran that in October 2011 - 9 months ago at @ 7:25-7:35 range. That is over a 30-35 second improvement.

Wow - I am so geeked! As it has been hard to see anything that looks like progress in the past month or two. My easy pace has been increasingly slow & slower while I struggled to hit efforts that I should not have struggled with. So finally I have some kind of effort to move me forward.

It is very exciting to see the workouts now more in the 6 minute range rather than the 7 minute range.

I have no idea at this point about where this fitness is going to take me this fall. As it will be a few more weeks before my coach is willing to define the goal for my December marathon. He wants to see how much fitness the heat & humidity is hiding and we'll go from there. Woo Hoo!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Week in Review

First week back to training was highlighted with some success and just plain fricking happiness to be back at it.

Funny how over the past week, I noticed that I have been struggling to breath even during easy runs and even walking around the house. Hah - My lovely season allergies that I get during the seasonal transitions have made their appearance. I think I was struggling with them last week but wasn't in tune to it and was just shrugging it off as sluggish due coming back from vacation but after several days of it, I now know they are here for me to fight through over the next 4-6 weeks until our first frost.

What tends to happen during time of the year, is I feel overly sluggish, headachy and breathing is a struggle. During running, the first 1-4 miles, I will feel like I have the flu - calmy, feverish, overly hot and faintish. The good news on that is I know it will pass so I just need to hang on for a couple miles. The bugger is the breathing. If the allergens or air quality are bad than breathing becomes difficult and holding pace for a hard effort becomes close to impossible as sometimes easy pace is a struggle.

Good news is I made it through last year and I will make through this fall and pray for an early frost.

I know with unwavering faith even though I may struggle this month, I am still making progress and October will be an amazing & where I get to see all my hard work come to fruition.

Until then I will work at what I love and be extremely happy with each run.

Monday 6 easy
Tuesday 7 easy with 4 X 15/20 Hill Sprints
Wednesday 2 W/U, Workout 8 miles, 2 C/D
Thursday 8 easy
Friday 10 easy
Saturday 1 w/U, 8 MP, 1 C/D
Sunday 16 with last 3 @ MP

Total - 69 miles

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Celebrate the Run

Had a amazing marathon pace run this morning. The last 6-8 weeks of enduring the heat, I was rewarded with a nice 65 degree morning which renewed my faith that I still have it and what is waiting to come out is even better than I thought.

I will admit I was nervous as it is the first MP run I have attempted outside in 6 weeks. I have done one other run of this quality a few weeks back before my cruise and it was on the treadmill. So uncetainty of how I would do was looming in the back of my head but I also was excited to run on this beautiful AM.

I really played it conservative in the first 5 miles as I didn't want to push beyond the comfortably hard place. I needed to just settle in and focus on the pace that didn't make me feeling like I was reaching but also a pace where I had to focus at the same time. One time I left my mind drift off and found myself 10 seconds off pace so it was a reminder while the pace should not feel like a tempo effort I still needed to keep my mind in it.

I will say that it tough to keep your mind focused on pace for that long and it is one of the things that is going to be developed over the next 16-18 weeks. Ability to keep the mind on task as the mind will give up before the body ever does.

By mile 5, I felt comfortable enough to let the pace go and pushed on the last mile but nothing that felt like a huge effort so it was nice to see the final mile being 6:59.

1 Mile W/U
7:34, 7:35, 7:31, 7:30, 7:31, 7:20, 7:19, 6:59 - 7:25 average
1 mile C/D

I excited to have finally hit a pace run again and know that best is yet to come. I am going to enjoy the jounrey over the next 16-18 weeks knowing that staying in faith and planting good seeds over the past 3-5 months are going to reap a great harvest this fall.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Summer Schlump

Umschlumping yourself is not easily done!

Yesterday I attempted to unschlump myself and get back to killing work outs. I had a big workout scheduled and was excited to get after it.

Although the Southeast weather pattern keep the humidity high like 100% at 7AM. I started out around 8AM trying not let the humidity play in my head. Did my warm-up and started into my workout. I was suppose to lay down 2 miles @ MP - 7:35. I was doing it fine but the effort seemed harder than MP pace felt 2 months ago and I transitioned into 6:45 pace for a mile. WOW - by the end of that 6:45 I felt my chest seizing up and heat making me a dizzy. Frick!!! I managed the workout but had to take 3 minute Rest between each segment. Yes not how the workout was written but in heat & humidity -sometimes salvaging what you can out of a workout is better than folding and going home with no work done.

Here is how it worked out -

2 mile @ 7:35 & 1 @ 6:45 REST
2 miles @ 7:35 & 800 @ 3:20 REST
2 miles @ 7:35 & 400 @ 1:35

Workout was written like this
2 mile @ 7:35 & 1 @ 6:45 2 miles @ 7:35 & 800 @ 3:20 2 miles @ 7:35 & 400 @ 1:35 - No REST

One lesson I have learned over the past year is one workout does not make you - it the whole of the training over weeks & months. You make the best of the what you have on anyday, you work hard day and day out, you do the little things, you stay happy and in love with the process and that is where the joy happens. Yes there is awesome joy to be had when you kill a workout but not all workouts are going happen like that.

I am thankful to be running healthy! My body and mind feel great, recharged and strong and ready to tackle the next 16-18 weeks of training. I am very excited to go into this next training block. I got my schedule for the next 5 weeks. The paces are aggressive and the miles are high. Exciting stuff! I love the work I get to do!

Monday, August 20, 2012

And so it ends and something new begins....

Just 2 days until my kids go back to school! Honestly I never thought this summer would come to a close. It was an up and down summer. Harder than years past with the extreme heat that most of the Central & Southest states hs to endure this summer. Kids were good but struggled a bit with keeping them off the TV & Xbox too much.

I am happy to leave this summer behind me and look forward to this fall. So many things to love about Fall. I actually love the routine of life during the school year. The break in weather, runs in cooler temps, my sons baseball games, really everything about Fall is delightful. It is my favorite season.

We have already seen some dips in temps but humidity is still holding steady but I won't complain as my easy 6 this AM felt more pleasant than runs just 2 weeks ago where 6 miles felt like 12 miles.

Anyway I am just happy with the change occuring this week and proud of myself for keeping it together for the most part this summer. Just maybe in the next 2 months all my hard week over the past 10-12 weeks will come through. I will be a better position in the fall this year given the hard work I did this summer.

There are brighter days ahead!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Flattered & Excited

I am really excited about some new developments in my running life. I recently received an email from a local runner that I have seen at races and who has always been in the top 5 runners at big races in Charlotte. She is a mom and FAST!!! We have met informally but never really chatted and I wasn't even aware that she knew of me beyond our informal & quick meeting at an age group award ceremony. I am in the 35-39 category and she is in the 30-34 category. We had both taken 1st in AG but considering her age group is way more competitive and was probably like 4th or 5th overall female and I was probably like 15th. You get were I am coming from with this..I think she is a 19 minute 5Ker or in that realm or better.

Anyway I am excited because she sent me a message asking me to do long runs with her as she is training for her first marathon. And I was just telling Nick how I really wanted to be & needed to be challenged to run at the higher level that coach Jeff seems to think I am at and I have not had the mindset to go that level. I knew it was going to take a really fast training partner to help get me to that next level and sure enough of enough I get this message.

I have to admit I quite imidimated to be considered as a running partner. I spoke with Jeff to see if he thinks this will be a good fit for me considering that she is running her long run 30 seconds faster than I had been and she is at least 1-2 minutes 5K faster than me. He basically said that I am fitter than last year & I need to run with her because I am that fast and hanging on with her will prove it to myself that I am that fast. He thinks it is what I need mentally to get to the next level.

After this exchange with Jeff, I was thinking about how what you believe to be true becomes true. I think Jeff has known for a long time that I can run a pretty decent and awesome race but I have not allowed myself to believe I am that "fast". He has hinted at me faster several times in different ways but I really think he is waiting for me to figure it out on my own in my own time, Not sure why I can perform works out at this level but do not in a race setting but I am going to be pondering and trying to figure it out. Shit I did a 200 workout at the level of some of his 18 minute 5Kers. And last week I easily ran a workout with 5K volume @ 6;40 pace. All my workouts & high mileage point to faster race times, I just have to find a way to believe!!

From 0 to 55

Well not quite 0 but the least I have run since my recovery cycle last Janruary. And this was self-imposed break and coach supported.

After weeks and weeks of trying to kept my wits about me in tough weather conditions, I finally came to a screeing halt about 12 days ago. Just 2 days before I was to leave for my family vacation, I hit the mental & phyiscal wall and I had enough like the Pink song Blow Me - I want to yell & scream - I think I had enough - just when it couldn't get worse I had shit day(run). I was suppose to do 14 miles on a Thursday AM. I woke super early to hit the trails with a running partner. When I arrived she was not there so I waited with some dynamic stretches and warm-up. Mine you it is already near 80 and dewpoint well over the 70 mark. I finally started out along thinking & hoping when I double backed on the trail, I would catch her. First few miles were tough but I was hanging on and I turned back and came across her. She was struggling herself and soon as we hit the half way point 3 miles for her and 5 for me. She said sorry there is no way she could run more in these conditions. I left her and attempted to contiune on myself which by mile 6 I was dying and my hamstring & glute were killing me. Frick, Frick, Frick!!! I finished up 8.5 miles - my thoughts were no need to kill myself trying to run in these conditions and end of with an injury from my form falling apart to due dehydration and fatigue. Not worth it!!!

Shortly after my run, I had my ART Therapist work out the kinks. He told me that he would like me to take 1-3 days off. That was the final straw! I was like I am just fricking go to take my vacation off of NO running!! I needed a break mentalyl & phyiscally! Spoke to my coach and he was onboard and super supportive. Thought it made a lot of sense and no better time to take some downtime after completely a tough training block and going into marathon training. Goal was to get refreshed, renewed and recharged!!

Felt super wierd and off the first couple of days, so I gave in enjoyed an awesome hour run on the deck of the cruise ship. I just want for an hour at an easy pace - no idea of distance or pace. And than I did a mini-workout on the treadmill on day but in the 7 days I rested 5 days and came back itching to resume hard training. Mission accomplished - eagerness attained! I realized that if you train hard, you have to rest hard sometimes too. Sometimes less is more and this was exactly I needed. I am so happy that I honored that inner voice that keep saying rest, rest, rest!

I shall spend the rest of the week ramping back up and getting back to my normal mileage level in prep for my marathon training. This week is 55 and next week 70!!

And I so excited to have come back to better weather!!! I ran this AM and it was only 66 degrees. OMFG!!! Fall is right around the corner.