Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Awesome Christmas Presents

When the Christmas shopping season was starting, I had been counting on qualifying for Boston. I was looking forward to winter training, but I was running 5-6 times a week and always doing laundry because of the countess shorts, tanks, socks, and bras I went through. I had one set of cold running gear, and I knew that would be a problem. So, I asked for cold running and trail gear for Christmas, and my family really delivered!

From my parents I got a lightweight reflective jacket--something to wear over my fleece in the winter, or during summer night runs, a matching headband, and Brooks pants.

I also got an under-armor shirt in a lovely bright green and black tights.

My grandmother did a great job and I got a black performance shirt, an adorable red vest, and a FILA sport jacket.

My Aunt got me a hydration pack. (and the newest Armani perfume and a great bottle of wine)

So, I'm all ready to go! Yes, I'll still need to do laundry every week, but at least its not every day!

Training log: Dec. 28

Hold on people, I think I actually enjoyed my first speed-workout!

I know that I usually talk about how much I hate speed-workouts, and if I had the chance to run 20 miles a day, I'd prefer that to never doing 800 repeats again. But yesterday, I did four speedy laps and four recovery laps around Lincoln Park, and just being able to open up and really run, felt amazing. Lincoln Park's outer path is .45mi around, or 725 meters (about). So, its not exactly 800s (and I definitely take that into account) but with my watch on autolap based on position, it works out perfect so I can grab my water bottle for my recovery lap.

My splits were 2:59, 3:09, 2:57, and 2:55. The 3:09 is because the auto-lap confused me, and it beeped before I set my water-bottle down, so I was stationary for a few seconds there. I basically was at a 6:30ish min/mi pace, which is definitely not fast enough for speed-workouts, but then it was my first one. Next week, I'm doing six laps, but I wanted to give myself a week to adjust to speed training.

I found a great link describing the Boston course, and it really does scare me. Maybe I'll shoot for that bigger PR at another race! I decided I needed to really focus on that hill training, so I'm going to be taking the metro up to MD and run down into DC. I need to get my quads ready for all those downhill miles.

Monday, December 28, 2009

On 'dem back country roads

This weekend's long run consisted of 14 miles in west Pennsylvania. I headed out for the run in weather conditions that went off and on between snow and rain, with nothing but shoes, clothes, and my iPod. I tend to forget that 14 miles is actually quite long and that I should bring water and some clif shots or sports beans.

I had also forgotten that this was Pennsylvania, and I would not only be doing 14 miles, but 14 hilly miles.

When I got to my turn-around point, I was amazed to see the hill I had just climbed, and took in the beautiful scenery. I didn't hit any traffic lights, and only had to stop running  for cars once! As I strolled along, I envied those that got running conditions like this everyday (yes, even in the rain/snow mix!)

... then I nearly stepped in a deer carcass.

... then a truck flew by me and covered me in water and rocks.

It was a really great run. I got a horrible blister. It took quite a bit out of me (I needed a nap an hour later). But, I'll be glad to return to the Mount Vernon Trail. The 14.17 miles took me 1:57:05. My average pace was 8:15min/mi, but those hills killed me! Two on my splits were close to 9:00min/mi pace, because the entire mile was uphill. But, I pushed through best I could! First long run = success!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Training Log: Dec. 21-24

Tuesday, I felt really sick at work. I still made it to the gym for my leg and hip workout, and I started the spinning class but felt really nauseous. Wednesday, I did a 3 mile run with some extra trips up and down Capitol Hill. Today, I was too hungover for the gym (The Sabres lost) and we will see if I get my 5 mile run in. Its not looking good people.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cancelled classes, a tweet-up, and one hell of a workout

After the snowpocolyspe, the Federal Government was closed yesterday and I got to stay home. A Twitter friend, Joeruns26, asked if I'd like to go running with him that morning. He's very fast, and he's run Boston before, so I thought it'd be a lot of fun. We met at 8:30 (Well, 8:40 for me, I'm always late) and headed out for a lap around the mall. Unfortunately, it was still covered in ice and packed snow. I did 7 miles in 1:06, but I didn't turn it off during my walking break when I left him off and such. We definitely had some higher pace running in there, but he had special screws on his shoes for the ice and I was just petrified of twisting my ankle. 

I did learn that frozen fruit smoothies after a winter run=a really bad idea. After running again, the most sore body part is actually my abs/core. I wonder if its because I'm keeping it very tense while running on the ice.

After, I went to the gym and found that all the classes were canceled. I did a really strong upper body and core workout. I did planks until I was nauseous and my upper body workout was so tough (man, I'm feeling it today) that I couldn't lace up my boots without my arms and shoulders shaking. After the workout, I went to Harris Teeter for some groccery shopping, and got 35 pounds worth of grocceries (I weighed it when I got home).

My refrigerator had been empty, so I really needed most of these items. Walking 1.2 miles home, with my gym bag and 35 lbs. of food, through slush, ice and snow was probably the most tiring part of my day. Especially, after all that upper body work!

I was only supposed to do 3 miles yesterday, and I really want to be running consistently so that my body get used to it, but if I keep my 3 and 5 mile runs this week and my long run this weekend, that's 35 miles. Which is way, way too high my first week back. BUT, I think that the 5 and 3 mile runs are so short that I'm ok, and I know I can run 13 miles, and so I'd really like to. I thought about maybe keeping my weekly miles at 35 for the next 4 weeks, and that can get my body used to it before I start cranking it back up. After two 7 mile runs, I'm not really sore. So, that's a good sign. Is this a bad plan? Thoughts?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Training Log: Dec. 19

December 19th! Its officially 4 months to the Boston Marathon and today marks the first day of training. My Friday and Saturday workout plans were a bust because of a party I forgot I needed to go to and the snow closing down the pool I planned on using. Today I did about 7-8 miles (my garmin ran out of batteries a few miles in) through ice, packed snow, some one-foot deep not-so-packed snow, and *shudder* puddles. It was a lot of fun, although my pace was pretty slow.

The next few weeks are going to focus on gradually starting to consistently run again, cross training, and weight lifting. I have a 20k planned for Jan. 16th, and I want to do it at goal pace for Boston, around 7 min/mi pace. So, most of my running is going to be speed training (once the snow melts), tempo runs, and not so slow long runs. That race is going to sneak up on me, and I want to get some 14 mile runs in before it at a decent pace.

My toe still isn't feel 100%, but I've put in the rest, and its just not getting better. So, I give up. I can't afford/stand anymore down time. I took 3 weeks off after the half, another week off from that short 5-mile run, another week off after my 10k, and now, I'm done. It doesn't actually hurt, it just twinges, and I can live with it.

Monday: Run a light 3 miles. Spinning class. Yoga. Core and upper body workout.
Tuesday: Spinning class. Leg and light core workout.
Wednesday: 5 mile tempo run
Thursday: 4 miles of speed-work. Leg, core, and upper body workout.
Friday: Christmas. I get off today :)
Saturday: 13 miles at 7:30 min/mi pace

Friday, December 18, 2009

Workout update: Dec. 17

As work was coming to a close yesterday, my eyes were drooping and I was just worn out. I went to the gym anyways, motivated by all the cookies that were brought in. When I got there, I realized I was missing two necessities: a sports bra and socks. I was about to pack up and go home, but instead I kept on my everyday bra (its not like I was running) and went sockless (gross). 

It was a good spinning class. She went a little too easy on us for my liking, but my knees started bothering me.  I'm careful to set my bike up right, so I think I just am spinning too much. I did some ab and core workout for a good 20 minutes after the class. Today, I'm going to go a leg and core workout after work and tomorrow I'm going to hit up the pool for the first time. I'm reading up on pool workouts today.

Just in: one of the attorneys is picking up doughnuts for the office.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Workout update: Dec. 16

Had an amazing spinning class yesterday. I was really glad I took the day before off to rest, because I was able to go all out. It was only 45 minutes, but really intense with awesome hills, speed-work, and hills+speed-work! It was a great class, paired with lots of squats and a hip workout after class.

Yesterday, I was ravenous all day, and so I made a point to eat a bigger breakfast today to curb hunger and cravings later on. I'm going to resist the temptation to go buy really cute workout clothes, because I swear half the men at my gym belong on the cover of fitness magazines...seriously. But, I will NOT be one of those girls! Of course, the day after I make that promise, I forgot a hair tie, and so I was working out with my hair held back in a pretty clip. Hopefully I got sweaty enough to make up for it!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Workout update: Dec. 14

Yesterday, I slacked off during my spinning class since my legs were shot from Sunday's 9.57 miles, a jump from my non-running state for the past month. My quads were a bit achy, so I focused on my glutes for most of the class. I didn't really dig the Monday night instructor. Peri is tonight, and she's my favorite, but I'm still sore. I decided I'll wait until Wednesday to take a rest day, since I know I don't like that instructor either.

I did however, get in a great upper body and core workout in. Which, made the spinning class a little uncomfortable, but I'm only slightly feeling it today. I was at the gym for about an hour and 45 minutes, and got home in time for some hockey, and a quick dinner.

I went to the doctor's office this morning, and I was scolded when she asked if I wanted to lose weight and I said yes. I've a 20 BMI, at 5'2" and 112. My blood pressure was low but good enough and everything else good to go. I really love my doctor, she's so cheery and enthusiastic. She said 7-8 servings of fruit and veggies a day, instead of 4-5. I'm a-okay with that! She said to keep doing what I'm doing, so marathons are awesome.

Also, she said my 2-3 cups of coffee a day are alright. The loop had a great blog post about running and coffee, and I don't like running without coffee in the morning so I had to read it. There are a ton of great benefits to drinking coffee, especially before running. Definitely give this one a read!

Boston training to commence Dec. 19th. I'll be going to the gym everyday this week. Must get into better shape!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Jingle All The Way 10k

I did everything wrong to prepare for this race, mostly because I didn't plan on "racing" it. My friend Natalie was running it for her first road race ever (and she did awesome! Way under her goal time), and so I was going to run it with her. I planned on 6 miles today at 9:30-10:00 min/mi pace. I stayed up late, I didn't get anything ready, I ate cookies for dinner last night, I had run once this week, for the first time in over a month, and I was definitely not in shape to race this morning.

I woke up at 6a.m. and I had nothing ready. I had decided to run to the start, since it was the best/cheapest/fastest way to get there (oh, public transportation). It was 35 degrees and raining, but while running, I didn't feel cold. I had a "fanny pack" water bottle holder with my phone, necessities, and a trash bag in place of the water bottle. As I ran to the start at a 8:20ish pace, I laughed thinking that I was running to the race faster than I planned on running it!

Problem: I couldn't find Natalie. She had checked her bag before I got there. So, as I looked for her, I was thinking "Damn it, now I actually have to run this thing." See, I tend to get competitive. That, and this was my first 10k. Clearly I wasn't going to run it very fast, but I still don't like people beating me. I walked around for the 10 minutes between my arrival and the start, and then literally stood at the start line waiting for Natalie. My first step was over the starting line and then I spent the better part of the first two miles passing people.

I'm really surprised that after all the rest, I was able to push out a 47:06 10k. I paced pretty well, my splits were:

1- 7:31
2- 7:28
3- 7:39
4- 7:38
5- 7:32
6- 7:17

I mean, I was coughing and spitting up mucous on the side, my toe was throbbing, and it was cold and rainy. So, I give myself an A for effort. However, I clearly get an F for recovery. Why does my toe still hurt?! I was freaking out the whole time, because I clearly need another week or so off, and I was supposed to start training next week. I'm going to be living at the gym, apparently, which I'm not happy about at all.

After the race, I was so cold that onlookers were very concerned. A guy on the metro even offered me his coat (I was huddled in the fetal position shivering, I don't do well in the cold). My shower was heavenly, and then I met a bunch of runners for brunch. What a fantastic morning! All in all, I ran 9 miles today, and I feel like a runner again!

Friday, December 11, 2009

First run

Yesterday, I had my first run in the cold. I've been out for over a month now, with one, awkward test run over a week ago. This time, I was recovering from not only a broken toe, but the flu. My plan for winter training was to run after work, so that I was warmed up from the walk back from the metro. The metro is a good 13 blocks from my apartment, it can be a brisk 20 minute walk, or a nice 25 minute walk... yesterday I may have made it in a record 18 minutes. I was in a skirt and little ballet flats and I was freezing. When I finally got into my apartment, I loathed the thought of going back out, except at least I got to put pants on!

I may have overdressed a little, but I headed out with my Garmin for a 5 mile run in my Under Armor tights, turtleneck, my north face, gloves and earmuffs on. Unlike my last awkward run, I felt smooth. I focused on my form, how my foot hit the ground, and looked at the pretty lights as I headed out to the National Mall. I checked my Garmin, and my pace was 10:00 min/mi, but I was blocks into it and just warming up.

As I neared the Mall, I looked again, and I had jumped to 9:30 pace. Still not exactly fast, but I was starting to warm up. I love the stretch of the National Mall, and seeing the monuments lit up. It was empty and I took off, focusing on keeping my stride short, but my legs moving fast. 9:00.... 8:45.... the Mall was empty and I was so excited to be running again that I threw my arms out and mentally yelled, WOO HOOO!!

As I looped the Washington Monument, my pace was hitting 8:15/8:00 and I felt great. My biggest motivation at spinning classes was that when I started running again, I didn't want it to be too hard. I didn't want to hate it. I didn't want to get discouraged. I soared down the National Mall and got to pass this on my way home:

(picture courtesy of google)

This morning, I woke up early from a weird dream, and went out for a couple mile run. Man I missed morning workouts!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Yesterday I sang Taylor Swift during sprints

Mid-monster month for MCM, a lot of my friends (mostly casual friends) thought I was running my first marathon. I guess this was because of how seriously I was taking my training this time around, my lack of going out, and facebook/twitter updates galore about running. Truth is, it was my third, I just never trained hard. My first two marathons, I didn't do speed training, I didn't research running, I didn't even know what a split was. I had multiple 4.5, 6, and 8-mile routes what I did during the week, and a long run on the weekend that went from 8 miles at first to18 miles for my first marathon and 20 miles for my second. I didn't know what my VO2 max was, and I just went out and logged miles.

Now, looking back I shake my head and wonder how I made that 14 minute PR when I didn't change anything, and also how I even managed to finish my first one without any walking breaks (except at water stations, I still don't understand how people can run and drink at the same time). I just really loved running, and the workouts didn't matter has much as lacing up my shoes and logging the miles. Just by making a structured training plan, and incorporating a few speed workouts here and there, some hilly runs, and getting a garmin, I took 55 minutes off my PR.

So, the whole point of that bit, is that I've always been a runner, and this post is actually about something I've been relying on with my injury: spinning classes.

A few summers ago, I ditched running for spinning classes 4x a week, and now I'm reminded why. For a while there, I wondered how I did it, but I've discovered that I really love them! They're so fun, and with such high energy! I feel like every class is focused on intensity, while running always seemed very relaxing to me. For some reason, I find it easier to push myself on the bike, when I can either take off the resistance and sprint, or add it on and go nice and slow. There are so many ways to mix it up, all within an hour!

Over the thanksgiving weekend, I did one 90 minute spinning class that was just fantastic. I've also started loving the instructor at Gold's Gym Midtown location on Tuesday nights. Her name is Peri, and she has such great energy, great music, and switches it up every class. Last week, we did a class of all jumps. Yesterday I came up with the term "ache-ful pleasure" for my level 7 resistance. I'm proud of my new term (wow, I'm such a masochist)... really though, when you get to those high levels and you can really feel it all through your glutes, I really enjoy it.

Last week, I did a full leg and hip and core workout for the 45 minutes before the spinning class, and man was I feeling it the next day. I've never really done hip strength training, and hopefully this will improve my running. I'm focusing on quad workouts so that I can rock that 13 mile downhill at the start of Boston. Overall, this gym membership is getting me pumped up. My toe is starting to feel a lot better, so I can't wait to lace up again and hit the pavement!