Saturday, June 29, 2013

Vella Shpringa!

C- 10 miles

Post-running in downpour.  Despite the champion pose,
rain and thunderstorms did cause me to  cut back on my mileage this week
My workday runs this week were fine, albeit shorter than I had intended (see above).  My ten miler today was a bit miserable.  The weather was only in the high seventies, and I ran a lovely course that went around both the mall and tidal basin.  However, I was drenched in sweat about 6 miles, and I just wasn't finding any speed.  In retrospect, I think I should have eaten more before heading out, though today was probably just a random, "off" running day for me.  I felt fine when I stopped, and I hardly feel sore at all now.

I've been reading Scott Jurek's Eat & Run book about his ultrarunning racing career.  I'll start by saying that yes, he is an ultrarunner, so yes, the limits that he pushes himself to are completely crazy.  Having stated the obvious, I still think it's a fascinating book with some interesting ideas.

Jurek is a vegan.  Whether you agree with veganism or not, it is interesting how he explores the connection between his diet and running ability, and it's interesting to read how he's almost more focused on his diet than running.

The best part of the book is simply reading how someone can mentally push themselves to such limits.  I still can't imagine running the BadWater Ultramarathon, or even wanting to, but it is fun to learn what type of person would want to run it, and how they'd go about training for it (let alone winning it!).

I just so happened to look up the Western States 100 today because I was reading Jurek's book and today is raceday!  I've definitely had fun checking in on the Twitter feed covering the event, and I'd love to watch and/or volunteer at one of these events some day.

I've found another race for the future that I hope to talk D into running someday-The Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon.  The race is in September in PA, so I don't foresee us running it this year.  However, some day I think it'd be wonderful to run with the Amish and learn a little more about the running Amish "Vella Shpringa" attitude (roughly translated "let's run" attitude.)

Runner's World ran a short article about the race and running Amish here.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Finally a sub-23 minute 5k

C- 9 miles

Warning- running numbers and general running geekiness ahead...

The difference between my 5k pace and my half marathon pace has confused me for a while.  Since I ran 13.1 miles at 7:59/mile, shouldn't I be able to run 3.1 faster than 7:35/mile (my pace from our 5k in December)?  I know I don't have much sprinter-type speed in me, but an extra 10 miles only slows me down 24 seconds/mile?

Well, I finally found a little more 5k speed last Saturday. A 7:16/mile, 22:35 5k, thank you very much!
Recommended 5k - great cause, great locale, well run.

D and I don't train for 5ks, but I generally don't run the day before a 5k (and sometimes I cut down my running distance the day before that).  Since I'm apparently horrible at doing any type of speed work, I view the shorter distance races as a way of at least pushing my speed once in a while.  My lungs sound really ugly when I'm running at my version of top speed, so I have no interest in making short races my primary goal races.

Still, I'd love to get a little faster.  A 21:44 5k (7 minutes/mile) sounds like a painful, but a realistic reach goal for the future.  McMillan thinks this pace translates to a 1:40:42 half ((ouch)).  Plus, at that 5k speed, D should have to push his racing limits to beat me.

Watch out beautiful Vermont- I'm coming to try to take another one of your ribbons
(PS- doesn't my father look great post-race with his ribbon? wondering what it would take to get him to race again...) 

I haven't found any other 5ks that fit into my schedule-- a 5k scheduled for today was just too soon after last week's 5k to justify spending $40.  However, I have found a non-chip timed, short, tiny race in Vermont next month.  Biggest challenge will be not having D there to yell at me to slow down.
Bring it.

Running Hero du jour- this awesome 93 year old racing on Mt. Washington

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

PRs, PBs adictions and the chemicals we ingest - a multi part post

C and D - 5k on Saturday
               - 8(ish) miles on Sunday

One Way to Warm Up is to Walk There With a Nervous Racer:
At the Arboreum 
C and I got in a 5k (it's been a while) this weekend in the heart of DC. As we stepped out of her apartment, I turned on my Garmin, which I charged two nights before only to have it flash the "low battery warning". It must have turned on during the flight to DC! I quickly turned it off, and decided to focus on the mile and a
half walk to the race - a great semi warm-up at C's "must make it on time" walking pace. We got there with plenty of time to find plenty of porto-potties.

Finding the start line was not a problem - the vast majority of runners donned their Purple-Strides cotton race t-shirts, and a giant arch of balloons marking the start line. After the speeches, we were off. My Garmin had enough charge for about a quarter mile - which was just enough to yell at C for trying to push the pace to sub 7s. She didn't believe me, but slowed down none the less.


Then the Garmin shut off.

I've had my Garmin since January, and I have no idea how I became so addicted in 5 months. But, as the watch vibrated and turned off a quarter mile in, I could only laugh. It was strangely like having the lights suddenly shut off as your walking around a room you know really well. You know where the furniture is, but you're still lost for a second.

I settled in to a comfortable pace behind a woman who looked like she was in her forties, and hoped I was still pacing C in for a sub 23 PR. My stomach was complaining about the airport Chinese from the night before, so I didn't push the pace and just held on.

At about half way, the women I had been running behind (for the most part) made a move, loosing me, but a couple moved up to run with me. The girl was really suffering, but her boyfriend was being supportive, and getting her to push for her PR. I had a slight tinge of guilt as I realized I had lost my girlfriend a quarter mile into the race.

As I crossed the finish line, a second in front of the couple, I thanked them for pacing me in. It turns out the girl was going for a sub 24 minute race... we had just finished in 22:12 (A PR... well sort of.. for me). As I turned around, just 25 second behind me was C! She had not only gotten her sub 23, but took over a minute off of her PR!

The best part about the race, was that the results were up before I even showered. That was when I found out that 40 something in front of me (who dug in at the end) was actually 65...

What is a PB?

Normally I talk about PRs, cause I'm American, but for the rest of the world it's PB (personal best). And that was a big topic on last week's Marathon talk (see the show notes.)_

After finishing the race (like most races) I put up a picture of C and my bibs (or, if possible of us) on facebook. It really is the best way to show everyone exactly why you're better than them as they wake up and read your post... JK... sort of...

I made a comment about us both PRing. The second comment in response was from my high school cross
country co-captain, stating "I doubt that". My guess is, he's referring to whatever my PR was in high school (I have no idea, aside from a mediocre showing at  tough course Manchester XC Invitational - 19:34). That brings up the question, and problem, of claiming a PR/PB.

A reminder that we still have plenty of trails to explore
Marathon talk broke down the PB into an infinite number of ways. PB of the week was probably my favorite. Breaking it up based on Post Injury PB, or Post Extended Break (over 6 years in my case) probably makes a bit more sense. I think there is some importance to recognizing your accomplishments, and not getting down on yourself for being slower than your 18 year old self, or what you could do before a major surgery.

So, to stay motivated (and because I just don't have my high school times) I will refer to PRs by Boston Age/Gender groups. As I get older (or if I switch genders...) I'll be sure reset my PRs. Sure, its arbitrary, but it cleanly cuts off my highschool (pre-18) times from my current times, and gives me four more years to improve my current times.

And, it goes without saying, I'll quietly delete this post if I find I'm clearly breaking my high-school records, switch camps, and say there's no other PR but a real PR.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Must. find. 5k.

C- 10 miles, slow

There was good running weather this morning.   It was in the low 70s, overcast, and not muggy.  My only excuse for my slow pace was my general lack on energy.  Considering that I'm supposed to be working on my speed this summer, I'm not particularly proud of the run.

D and I are running a 5k next weekend, so hopefully I'll get my fast twitch muscles moving some by then.  I haven't been able to find any other summer 5ks that fit into my schedule because I'll be traveling a fair amount.  However, not finding more races is making me antsy.  I'm all for the fun runs that I keep finding (color runs, tough mudder, spartan, etc), but I want a race where I can test my speed.  Going through obstacles is not going to help me work on my time.

Seems pretty pricey to get covered in dye- has anyone done this??

On the plus side, it was nice to see lots of ppl walking about with race numbers on today.  I'm pretty sure I passed runners from the "Lawyers have Heart" races in the Washington Harbor area (not sure how I missed this- maybe next year D?), and then runners covered in color by the U street area for the "Run or Dye" race.  Seeing all those race medals made me jealous!

Love it. Next year, perhaps?

So all of this leads to my question.  Is it worth registering for the 5k below??? It's a week after my 5k with D.  It's not cheap.  I don't even watch the show.  However, I'd really like to get in another race before August, and this one is metro accessible.  I'm getting desperate for another good race.
Biggest Loser RunWalk Race Series Logo

Finally, I am not posting this last picture so that you can admire my lovely bridesmaid dress that just came in the mail, although you are welcome to.   I'm posting it because I had to laugh when I saw the picture.  I swear, all of the mess in the background is already gone, but the mess was very telling.  Running shoes galore, water bottles from my running belt, pilates bag from last night, and a water bottle... clearly running is taking over my apartment!

Surrounded by all things running...

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Finding that Running Mojo

Monday- Pilates
Tuesday- 6 miles 
Wednesday- 6 miles

Since all the blogs are doing it- HAPPY NATIONAL RUNNING DAY!  Hope you got in some good miles.

To celebrate the day and to take advantage of a good discount, my awesome, new-to-distance-running friend, D, and I all registered for this--->

The race isn't until February, but I'm already super psyched!  D and I previously avoided for-proft races, however I've talked to one running friend who loved this race.  Plus, it's an excellent excuse to go to NOLA and hear some music as we run.  So for this race, I'll make an for-profit exception.  Bring it!

In other news, it has cooled off somewhat this week, so I'm back at running with a vengeance.  Or trying to find my running mojo anyway.  I even got an inexpensive running visor to wear when it's hot and sunny out, since my regular hat seems to trap too much heat on 90plus degree days.  My attempts at photographing said visor were not particularly impressive..


Getting frustrated

and fail...

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Another early AM run to beat the heat

C- 3 miles 

Today I went on another early-morning-slow-run in an attempt to avoid over heating.  If there is one thing to be said for getting up early to run on the weekend, it's getting to run on empty streets and roads.

Next time I'm going to work on my cartwheels...

Today was supposed to be a recovery day from yesterday's "long run," so I don't feel that bad about my rambling pace.  Still, as much as I can't stand running hard in the heat, I need to start doing some speed work.  Not sure how that'll happen yet.  2 AM running?

After the run, I spent some time exploring DC, and I took some photos of Meridian Park.  I'll post more about my thoughts on running Meridian later, but for now, I leave you with my version of a relaxing summer-

Yes, the chai is supposed to be there...



After a heck of a season of running (set my PR, finally broke 1:45... twice), I'm into that between training schedule funk, where it's really hard to get motivated.

As C mentioned- the cure for this was not to go to Massanutten resort, for what I thought would be a week of running and biking. After tackling a few of the hills (our goal of a 12 mile run the first morning turned into 7 of the toughest miles I've ever run), I cut my few other runs that week down to 3 miles. Instead I spent the week playing golf, hiking, horse-back riding, and zip-lining, so it wasn't a complete waste.

Today's run (which started way too late) got cut to 6.5 miles because of the heat - but it felt good to get some speed in (yay lack of hills now that I'm back in somerville). 

So in place of inspirational running photos, enjoy a beautiful golf vista and C at the overlook where you can see the hills we were dealing with.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Running on the National Mall in the Hot Hot Summer

C- 10ish (9.8?) miles, very slow, early in the AM

Found this on Fast Cory - very entertained :)

Running since the race has been a bit of a journey.  A few days post-race, I tripped on a free weight, and the top of my middle toe has been swelling up and down since.  I didn't run for the first 2-3 days after, when it was surprisingly painful.  Then the swelling went away, and I stopped thinking about it.  Apparently that was a mistake.

Swelling on the top part of your middle toe doesn't sound like a big deal...

This past weekend, D and I did some HILLY, sweaty miles.  They were great workout miles- challenging and much more vertical than my normal running routine.  Then we did some light stretching, and I managed to hurt my toe again... clearly I need to avoid anything that isn't running.

Since our last race, I've also managed to get violently sick, and I've been struggling with the 90 degree DC weather.
Net result = not running my normal weekly mileage.

I was determined to get back to normal miles this morning by waking up early and running something further than 3 miles.  The high for today is 90something, so I set my alarm for 5:30am, with a goal of being out the door by 6am and beating the heat.

bright and hot, hot, hotttttt 

At 6:30am (oops) I was out the door, and started running down to the National Mall.  In the summer the National Mall is usually baking and jammed full of tourists.  However, if you can get your run done before about 8:30am, it's still shady and somewhat-cool.  Most importantly, you won't be stopping for, and weaving around, giant packs for tourists.

Photo Credit- D

Reasons why everyone should get up early at least once to run the mall in the summer:

-it's beautiful when all the trees and plants are in full foliage (in the winter it's a different kind of beautiful)
-it's not yet obnoxiously hot
-there is still some shade and the sun isn't directly above you
-the flatness makes it easier to get in the miles (cause it's still going to be hotter than it should be)
-you can actually check out the monuments without swarms of people around them
-you don't have to stop for traffic frequently
-the sidewalks are not crowded with hordes of tourists
-you can loop around the mall once or a zillion times and not get bored
-it's the National Mall (enough said)

Cheers to running in the summer, and hopefully starting to build up some mileage again!