Thursday, September 30, 2010

Track workout - 9/30/10 6.93 miles 01:16

Woo!  What a workout.  I wasn't sure how it would go, I did a wee bit of strength training on Monday night and my legs were still sore, tired and heavy.  The weather was cool, though, and I'd just give it my best.  According to the coaches this is the time when a lot of us come down with various aches and pains and need to remember that getting the miles in without hurting yourself is the most important thing so if you can't quite handle the speedwork don't sweat it.  The workout we received was:
2 x 1600 [30-60 seconds faster than LSD pace] recovery lap between each 1600.
2 x 1600 [30-90 seconds faster than LSD pace]

With a warm-up and cool-down, or just all the laps at LSD pace.   Somehow we got ourselves all confused and ended up not doing any recovery laps, just breaking for water every mile.  I was running with Kathy and Eugene, they're usually a bit ahead of me but they were the only other members of the 12-12:30 group there so I'm glad they let me tag along.  They always look so much faster that I figured I'd never be able to keep up but I hung with them the entire time, by the end of each mile I definitely needed the break but without them I never would have pushed myself so hard.  I knew we were moving at a pretty good clip but I didn't expect to end up with an average pace of 11:00, including the warm-up and cool-down.  Because I am quite proud of this one I will even share the splits:
Summary 1:15:56 6.93
1 0:11:09 1
2 0:10:33 1
3 0:10:31 1
4 0:10:32 1
5 0:10:47 1
6 0:11:16 1
7 0:11:08 0.93


Monday, September 27, 2010

Trail Run - 9/26/10 - 10 miles 02:00

Best group run EVER.  Seriously, this was epic.  It was an all-morning event, starting with a group photo taken in front of the Department of the Interior at 19th and Constitution in DC.  From there we took off and ran I don't even know where, here's the map but I sure couldn't find the route again if I tried:

Much of this is part of the Marine Corps Marathon route so I'm really glad I got a chance to run it with the group.  I ran with Hengameh only, in between the 12:00 and 12:30 pace groups and we had a great run.  We felt good, we felt fast, we ran negative splits!  10 miles in exactly 2 hours for an average pace of exactly 12 minutes.  Nice!

Though we took off in our pace groups the plan was for everyone to meet around mile 7.5, we felt bad that folks from the 9 minute group had to hang around and wait for us but sure enough they were all there when we arrived, cheering us on as we ran to the meeting spot.  When everyone had gathered all of the coaches save for Andy and Lori took off ahead of us.  We stayed back and learned that we would be running, pretty much as one big group, the last .2 miles of the marathon course up to the Iwo Jima memorial (that's a tear-jerker in and of itself).  And we did.  As we ran up the little hill the coaches lined the path, cheered us on and gave us high-fives.  Remember this feeling, they said, because it'll be even more amazing on marathon day.

We then ran back to the Department of Interior where we enjoyed a brunch of veggies, bagels, cookies, peanut butter and orange juice (or mimosas for those boozehounds among us).  We munched while listening to Andy and Lori give us pre-, during- and post-race tips they've learned from years of racing.  I think they both got choked up at points, I know I did.  We're so close we're really starting to feel like we WILL do this.

Before we left we received our singlets.  Every year the group suggests different mottoes or phrases for the back and the coaches pick one:

I had the courage, now I just have to make sure I have the determination! 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Track Workout - 9/22/10 - 2.75 miles 30:00

Good thing this weekend was nice and cool because it certainly wasn't last night!  Temperature was back up to 90 and it was terribly humid.  Not a whole lot to report as we got rained out less than halfway through our workout.  We're pretty tough, we'll run in showers and downpours but we won't run in thunderstorms.

I forgot to start my watch for the warmup lap so I'm guessing at total time here, I think it's pretty accurate though.  We didn't get a whole lot of mileage in but what we did do was pretty fast so at least they were quality miles!  I'll have to make up the mileage and turn tomorrow's planned 5 miler into a 10 or so.  It's supposed to be even hotter tomorrow but hopefully it won't be too bad in the morning.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Philly ING Rock N Roll Half Marathon - 13.1 - 02:35:04

First official half, done! I'd run 13 miles, or more, several times before the race but this would be my husband's longest run (by about a mile) yet. Before I started training for the Marine Corps this was my goal race for the year but now I had to "run it, not race it." Not like I'm really competing anyway. We drove from Maryland to Philly (my hometown) on Saturday morning with our two Great Danes - for anyone else ever staying in Philly the Loews at 12th and Market is extremely pet friendly! All four of us crammed into a queen sized bed Saturday night so nobody got a whole lot of sleep. I was painfully nervous on Sunday morning, especially after a dog-walking outing on Saturday night left me with a really sore and stiff right ankle. But we suited up and walked the mile and a half (or more) to the starting line.

I had a few goals for the race, in order:
Don't die - Check.
Don't walk - Check.
Come in under 2:45 - Check.
Average somewhere between 11:30-12:00 miles - Check.
Don't hurt myself and compromise the rest of my training - Check.
More details and photos after the break!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Track Workout - 9/15/10 - 5.29 miles 01:09:51

I had a good feeling about the workout when I got up in the morning, I had a new pair of CW-X Performx tights to test out and the weather seemed pretty cool which usually bodes well for a good run.  I hit the bathroom at work to squeeze into my tights around 5:15, leaving plenty of room because it seriously takes forever to get those things on.  They made all kinds of squeaky noises as I wriggled and pulled and pushed and shoved but they fit well and are quite comfortable.  Perhaps a little overkill for someone as slow as I am but I'll take all the help I can get.

It was warmer than I expected at 6:30 but not humid, I don't think I sweated on my new tights at all (which get a big thumbs up, love 'em).  Because our group is so large and school is back in session they led the group on a warm up lap around the neighborhood instead of through the campus but I chose to just hang out on the track instead with a recovering runner and my dear friend Hengameh.  We've all got some kind of minor injury so we walked one lap then ran four for the warm-up at a reasonable warm-up pace (not the speedy mile we usually end up doing with the group, I much preferred this).  The on to the workout of 4x1200 40-60 seconds faster than LSD pace with a recovery lap in between each set.  We walked the recovery laps as I tend to do and we ran at a good clip for the 1200s.

The inside of my right ankle hurts like hell, worse when I stopped moving to take a drink of water so I suppose the solution is to never stop moving.  It's moderately sore and swollen now, a bit stiff, but not really painful when sitting or walking.  It didn't slow me down or affect my gait so I'm trying to just baby it and not worry about it too much until after Sunday's half marathon.  Just 44 days until Marine Corps, no way I'm stopping now!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Trail Run - 9/11/10 - 11.95 miles 02:26

The group ran the Parks Half Marathon on Sunday 9/12 but since Bo and I are running the Philly half next week I decided to volunteer for that event instead and we ran our last long run on Saturday.  It was supposed to be about 10 miles so we found the perfect loop, Rockville's Millennium "Trail."  There is no actual trail involved, it's a 10.6 mile loop around the city on asphalt and concrete sidewalks.  It's marked, though, at half-mile increments with plaques embedded into the sidewalk so it's pretty easy to follow.  If you can find the starting point...

We figured the best place to start, and easiest to park at, would be Mile 0.  Got there, parked... got confused.  It was before 6AM so completely dark and we weren't entirely sure where the trail started.  We headed out one way, then wound through the neighborhood trying to stay on track.  About a mile and a half later we found Mile 0, so immediately out 10.6 mile run would turn out to be closer to 12.

The reviews said there were no hills of note, nothing too challenging.  I would like to take this time to publicly disagree with both of these statements as there were some climbs that left us huffing and puffing.  I guess it is mostly flat but there were enough hills for me, thanks.  On a downhill around mile 5 something horrible happened to my right knee that made steep declines absolute torture, we were so far in that turning around or continuing were about the same distance so we just kept going.  Running up, on flat road or on moderate downhill slopes was fine but I had to walk all of the stepper downhills and I'm pretty sure I cried at one point.  It's been fine since, stiff when I get up after sitting or wake up in the morning  but fine going up and down stairs and such.  I have a new pair of CW-X long tights coming today and am picking up some more KT Tape which I've been using for my ankle - hopefully either or both of those will help. 

Even with the walks downhill, which were the only walks we took, we averaged a 12:13 pace which isn't too shabby.  By the end I was just kind of miserable, something about heading out planning for 10.6 and reaching that mark and knowing you still had over a mile to go kind of messed and looking back I should have taken in more fuel.  I had one gel and not nearly as much Gatorade as I thought I drank.  We started fast, too fast, so out last miles were a bit slower but all things considered we had a really good run.  We're both in the 2:30 finishing wave for the Philly half, given Saturday's run I think I might actually be able to hit that (especially since there are no steep hills).  I'm sure Bo will crush it, he wants to leave it all out on the race course whereas I need to save some energy for the last six weeks of marathon training.  I still can't believe our first half is less than a week away, I'm so glad Bo will be doing it with me!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Trail Run - 9/5/10 - 18.64 miles 04:00:15

After we moved four years ago, and before I changed jobs, I had a pretty miserable commute from Gaithersburg to Bethesda.  It was only about 20 miles but I had to leave around 6:30 if I had any hopes of making it in under 45 minutes and getting to work by 7:30.  And I had it pretty lucky, since it's a commute toward DC people come from much farther out than I did and spent much longer in their cars.  I used to complain about the hour-long commute when it only takes like 15 minutes on a weekend, this Sunday I ran that commute and it took me four hours.  Which was actually less painful than driving it.

Bo and I met the group at Shady Grove metro, Bo was going to run somewhere around 9 miles with us before he peeled off to hit another metro station while we would run another 9 down to Bethesda.  The route started at the station and wound through a neighborhood, down to Lake Needwood, south to Ken-Gar and at some point after the Mormon Temple we turned toward Bethesda.  Until that point I knew exactly where we were going but I couldn't find my way to Bethesda again if my life depended on it so I'm glad I had a group to stick with.

I was kind of surprised at how many people were out for a holiday weekend, we had a little 12:30 pace group of 6 (including Bo) and we stuck together pretty much until the very last mile when some of us got tired and others got a second wind.  I was in the exhausted category, around mile 15 my legs started to get really heavy but I did pass two members of the 12 minute group in the final half-mile.  The route was one we'd pretty much done before, relatively smooth except for the road into Needwood, The Silencer (which Bo owned, we've never seen anyone run up it faster than on flat road), and then three hills into Bethesda.  We ran the first of those and it just wore me out so we walked the other two.  With the exception of those hills we didn't stop other than for water and bathroom breaks (and popsicles at Ken-Gar!) when available so we had lots of good long stretches of several miles with no breaks. 

After Bo left I ran mostly with another girl whose name I never got, I've never really talked to her before because she usually ends up ahead of me but I was really glad for the company and she's really awesome.  She took off like a bat out of hell the last mile but I did catch up to her for the metro ride home.

About two miles from the end I really, really wanted to start taking walk breaks.  But I didn't.  I slowed down, probably by quite a bit, but I refused to let myself walk.  The last thing you do is run through a tunnel and as soon as I saw the light at the end I knew I was home free, I knew I was so close to finishing that I just "believed" myself forward. 

So it was a good run, a steady, decent pace on a lovely day.  Though I wouldn't want to commute to Bethesda on foot every day.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ya gotta believe

Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do, and sometimes what you gotta do is believe.

Coach Andy is a Mets fan, through and through, and before one of his NYC marathons he spotted a Tug McGraw booth at the expo.  They were selling random little odds and ends benefiting his brain cancer foundation and Andy picked up a "Ya gotta believe" bracelet.  Apparently this was the rallying cry of the Mets back in the early 70s when they weren't doing so well, McGraw took up the slogan and ran with it, he believed and I guess everyone else started to believe as well and they made it to the World Series (where they lost in game seven to the As).  I would like to note, as a proud Philadelphian, that in the photo on the package Tug is wearing his Phillies uniform and that he was on the team that won the series for Philly in 1980. 

During that marathon Andy would glance down at the bracelet and believe, he believed himself into a Boston-qualifying finish.  Over the years he's given the bracelets to friends in need of a little push and program members who appeared to be struggling.  Every one of those people met their goals, whether it was to qualify for Boston or just finish their first marathon.

I have one of these bracelets now and have adopted this silly little slogan.  I'd had three rough long runs in a row (though Andy said that they really WERE three rough runs so that made me feel better) and was starting to have a lot of doubts.  More often than not lately I'd head out the door already feeling defeated.  I know that, toward, the end of a run, the biggest hurdle is usually mental and here I was starting out already having to overcome that roadblock.  The training is hard enough, no need to be harder on myself than necessary.

So no more whining (okay, maybe a little).  No matter how tired I am at 5AM on a Sunday or 6PM on a Wednesday I will head out the door with my head high and my legs strong and my thoughts positive.  I will believe that I can finish the scheduled run, I will believe that I can finish the marathon, I will believe that I will meet my fundraising goal for AICR.  I have no choice, I gotta believe.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Track Workout - 9/1/10 - 5ish miles, maybe?

Like Andy said last night, it shouldn't be 93 degrees at 6:30PM in September.  And yet it was.  But the air quality had gone down from a code red to a code orange so the track workout went ahead as planned. 

The workout was to be "the ladder," which I don't think I'd ever done successfully:
Warm-up around campus
1x400 (recovery lap)
1x800 (recovery lap)
1x1600 (recovery lap)
1x800 (recovery lap)
1x400 (recovery lap)
Cool down around campus (yeah, I skip this on hot days)
All but the recovery laps to be done 40-60 seconds faster than LSD pace.

It wasn't humid but it was pretty hot so we planned to take it relatively easy to begin with.  Ameenah and I ran our first two sets together, walking the recovery laps, before her asthma kicked in.  She could have gone home, but she didn't.  She hung around and walked laps because she's THAT bad ass.  I ran the rest with a new buddy, Emily.  All three of us had forgotten our Garmins and didn't even have watches so we didn't know how fast we were going but we knew it was uncomfortable and not something we could sustain for more than a mile so we figured that was pretty good!  I really felt like we were pushing it, and things always feel a little harder when it's hot out but I just know, physically and mentally, we kicked ass.  

I went in doing my best to feel positive about it, knowing that I'd do my best with the weather and no matter what happened I wouldn't feel upset or discouraged.  And I did SO MUCH better than expected, it wasn't exactly a repeat of last week's track run but it was as close as it was going to get given the circumstances.  Glad to be able to put another solid run on the books.