Sunday, October 30, 2011

RACE REPORT: Spinx (Runtown USA) Half Marathon 2011

Lead-up week:
I mostly followed my usual race week training patern.
Sunday: Intervals, to try to sharpen and peak at the right time. 
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Strength - Monday would've been better, to give more recovery time
Wednesday: 5.0 in 38:50, 7:46 ave.  I haven't done a 5er training run that fast in a while, so I wonder if I over-spent myself.  It didn't feel difficult, so I thought it would be okay, but 3 days before a race, I maybe should've taken the pace a bit easier.
Thursday and Friday: Rest

I stretched almost every workday this week.  Towards the middle of the week, my body felt inflamed/used... like it was busy breaking down and rebuilding from the strength session.  It had been 2 weeks since my last srength session due to the Mexico trip, so maybe it had more adpting to do than normal.  And who knows how going back to normal altitude after 2 weeks at 1.65 mi does to you.  I would've thought that your body would be stronger than ever back down, with higher RBC counts, but I think that it's possible that your body freaks out a little at the changes. 

Sleep this week wasn't ideal, either.  4, 4, 7, 4, 6, 3+4.  The 3+4 is because I tried to sleep at 8pm the night before the race, but I woke up a little while later, cleaned my apartment a bit, ate a bit, then went back to sleep.

Friday fuel... maybe more fibery than it should've been.  Soymilk, bit of broccoli, butternut squash for breakfast, hoping that the broccoli would have plenty of time to digest.  Apple, sprouted grain tortilla with PB, tofu chocolate moussse for lunch.  Tofu chocolate mousse, more butternut squash for dinner.  Granola bar late night.  Other stuff, too, that I probably forgot.  Lots of decaf and tea.  Not bad... no real issues the next day, but next time, a bit less fiber, just so that I can feel completely all set to go the morning of the race.

Race Morning:
The usua hot shower to warm up, although my body was already warm since it had been active 4 hours before that.  Had a bit of oatmeal for breakfast - not really hungry, since I had eaten a fair amount late night.  I decided to wake up 1.5 hrs before the time I wanted to leave the apt, rather than the usual 1 hr, so I ended up watching local news for 0.5 hrs... eh... 1 hr is best.

It was cold, "feels like" 36 degrees at the start, so I brought plenty of warm clothes, which was a move I really appreciated, especially post-race when my body temps dropped.   I parked and got on the Trolley.  I LOVE the excitement of seeing everyone on race morning with all of their gear and the knowledge that we were all prepared to do something great that day... warriors ready for battle, ready for glory.

I walked around the pre-race area a bit, went to the bathroom.  I might've walked around  a little more than I should've.  It didn't hurt to stay warm, I guess, but I was wearing plenty at that time, so warmth wasn't an issue.  I got there at 7am, and I watched the marathoners set off at 7:30am.

After that, I had maybe 20 minutes to strip off my extra clothes, drink a cup of coffee (for warmth and for the caffeine boost... I only drink coffee before long races... never normally), go to the start.  I was originally going to wear a singlet, but the air temp would be 41+, which is plenty fine for a sports bra, which I prefer even in sub-freezing temps on training runs, when my body isn't producing as much heat as it does on race day.  So I re-pinned my number there... lots to do, and I felt rushed.  Took off all my warm-up gear, ran a few steps and did a bit of dynamic stretching, downed the coffee, checked in my bag, went to the start.  There was plenty of room at the front of the start, thankfully (wouldn't be able to tarry that much at a big race).  Saw an old summer camp friend from HS years AA at the start, which was really nice.  She's super speedy, and despite not really training for it, ended up winning 1st in our age group and ran a 1:29 or something.
And we were off...

The Race:
I was fine with gloves and a sports bra (and my calf sleeves) temp-wise, although it was right at about when we started to run that my legs got cold and lost a bit of feeling.  So I could move them, but I was more moving my feet from my hips.  It was similar at my first half in Philly in 2008, where it was sub-freezing during the race (water stations were treacherous) and it took me a couple miles before I could feel my feet.  Here, it just took me maybe 0.6 mi. My legs probably went too fast... mix the numbness with the race excitement with the downhill.  One of my legs threatened to cramp up a couple of times (from the numbness?), and I thought "oh no, you don't", and it was fine, but man... never had that happen before.

Splits> 6:39, 7:22, 7:12, 7:03, 14:42 for 2 (7:21 ave), 7:25, 7:31, 7:46, 7:42, 7:35, 7:52 for 1.1. 

The race is downhill for the first half and hilly+uphill for the second half, so positive splits are somewhat expected if you're doing even effort.  But I probably still went too fast at the start.  It felt good the first mile.  I guess until I get the first split, it's hard for me to judge how hard I'm going at the start.  Eh well.

During mile 3, we could go on pavement or spongy rubber trail, and I normally prefer pavement during races to not lose energy return and to go faster, but I got boxed in a bit.  It was better for tangents, and perhaps saved my legs a bit, so I dunno.

During mile 4, I talked a bit to a guy who was aiming for around the same time, and I think he was looking to run together, but it didn't really work out, since I had gone out too fast, and my body needed to slow down. 

Mile 5 - some hills as part of the revised course that was supposed to remove another hill.  I don't know...

A colleage/ running friend from work who beats me at almost every race ended up being with me for the middle 10ish miles of the race, which was nice. 

There were water stops at the 3.1, 4.2, 6.2, 7.8, 9.5, 10.5, and 11.3.  I knew from last year that this would be plenty, especially since it was so cold outside.  One swallow per station was plenty, maybe even too much.  I took 1/2 a Powerbar Gel (double latte flavor) at the 6 and 10 or so.

Mile 7 is supposed to be the big hill.  It's part of my weekly long run course, so I know that part very well.  I didn't realize it was so uphill, and my up and downhill splits are always almost exactly even.  So I think it's really the part right at the end of and right after my turn-around point that it gets really tough.  On the course elevation map, it looked like that was the only real hill, and that once you got over that part, it was more or less even, but the remainder of the course has like 4 hills.

After 8, you're just ticking dow the miles.  I got passed by several for the rest of the course, and I caught a couple of people.  More passed than catching. 

In the last few miles in the race, you're just pushing yourself mentally.  It's a different feeling altogether.  You're going, you know you've got this.  Just keep pushing.  Last year, I hit a bit of a wall in the last 0.8 mi, and the last bit was tough.  This year, I was more or less doing ok right up to the end, not that it was easy, but I wasn't in great pain.

And the finish... there was a girl maybe 15 ahead of me, who had passed me at maybe mile 10 or 11.  Didn't have a reasonable shot at catching her at that point, but I did do as much of a sprint as I could at the end.

The chip time was not very accurate last year for some reason, and I think they had me at 1:35:15 when my watch time was 1:36-something.  I finished with a watch time of 1:36:30 this year, so who knows whether I set a course PR.  The official race results haven't come out yet.

// Results came out 10 minutes ago:
Chip time: 1:36:32
Gun time: 1:36:32... so it thinks I crossed the start line immediately, which I didn't.  I was close enough that it read my chip, but I think there was probably a 7s delay or so. 
Overall: 57/1266 (4.5%)
Women: 11/682 (1.5%)
20-24F: 3/63 (5%)
I love the post-race food provided at this event by the Spinx gas stations.  It's healthy!  Whole wheat turkey sandwhiches and many kinds of fruit were my favorites.  They also had yogurt parfaits.  I wasn't super hungry, but I craved the turkey most of all.

I knew that AA had beaten me.   I saw her go out fast at the start, and her red shorts soon disappeared from my sight, even within the first mile.  So I wasn't going to do better than 2nd in the AG.  I didn't know if I'd place.  I ended up with 3rd in the AG, and Jeff Galloway came to give out the awards, which was cool.

Watching the marathoners finish is always incredible.  It's insane that they just pushed themselves through 26.2 miles.  Those guys are superheroes. 

After the race, I had to resort to doing a post-marathon shuffle.  I don't know why my legs were so used up.  They're usually fine after HMs.  Oh well, it was a fun race with a good effort. 

I seem to have plateaued.

Here is my history of HMs:
Nov 2008 - Philadelphia Half Marathon, 2:00:19, with almost no running in the 6 weeks before due to a sprained ankle.  No sleep and a good bit of walking the night before.  Longest run in my life up to that point - 11 miles.
Apr 2010 - Country Music Half Marathon, 1:46:09, finally with about 16 weeks of decent running after a 6-mo layoff from a hip injury.  Very happy with a PR.
Oct 2010 - Spinx Half Marathon, 1:36:01, we'll say.  I had no idea where 1:36 came from and was sooooo excited.  I had gone out too fast and kind of held it somehow.  In the early weeks of marathon training.
Apr 2011 - Greer Earth Run, 1:36:00.  Curious to see how much completing my first marathon had helped me improve.  Good to see that Spinx wasn't a fluke.
Oct 2011 - iRecycle Half Marathon, 1:38:53.  Not able to really do long runs all year since the marathon.  Finally able to do a couple, planned to do another this weekend, so signed up for this race for fun but couldn't help trying to be competetive.  A hilly course, and I hadn't trained much, so the time was good.
Oct 2011 - This one, 1:36:30. 

So I had bit PRs at the start, but now I've had 4 races within a year at what I'd say are exactly the same speed. 

How I can improve:
- More mileage overall
- More quality/variations of workouts? 
I do 1 intervals session every 1.5ish weeks.  I do 1 LR a week.  I do progressiony runs the rest of the time.  Not bad variation.  I don't do tempo, really, because I feel like it's about the same as race-effort, and I don't want to race my training runs and waste it there, or get injured.  I could do more hills.  I could try other types of training that are similar to the ones I'm doing now, like farleks instead of normal speed, part tempo/part LR, etc.
- Better sleep

I do pretty well on:
- Strength
- Nutrition
- Stretching

So... I can try more mileage and other workouts.  It's tough b/c you have to be careful not to overdo it, or to ramp up too quickly.  So we'll see.  But I want to do better.

Any other suggestions?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Oct 23

Back home. 

Did intervals today to get some speed back after not being able to do anything faster than 8:39 (ave) for the past 2 weeks.  It was physically impossible at 1.65 miles of altitude.

But doing it today is good timing.  It takes about a day to recover from each mile of a hard effort, so I should recover from today's 4 in before the HM.  Still not in peak speed shape, judging from what I could manage today.  Not bad, though.  Better to be a little undertrained than a little over-trained, though. 

Workout: 1 mi warm-up (was ready after 0.5, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to ride it out for another 0.5, get in a bit more mileage, etc) @ 7.5mph.  4 x [0.5 @ 9mph, 0.25 @ 7.5mph). 

I had to mentally (mostly) push myself to go through the last one, but my body was mostly okay with it.  My tummy was a little uncomfy b/c I had too many chips for dinner.  Ok, though.

The workout was good stress relief.  Much to do before tomorrow morning.  I may wake up at 3am to start working.  I need to clean my apartment, too.  Eh...  I guess it will be good to be back in my bed again.

Oh yeah... update on the stress fractury thing.  It was better today, after a night's sleep.  My legs were sore today, not from the 5er yesterday, but due to the eccentric muscle contractions descending the steep pyramid stairs.  I was normal again by nighttime, though, so the run was fine.

4.0 in 29:20, 7:20 ave.  Nice.  A good workout.

Oct 22, Teotihuacan Pyramids

A pretty sweet day to top off a draining week.

I was planning to maybe run around the Teotihuacan Pyramids outside of Mexico City, but the driver ended up being a personal tour guide, which was great.  He was able to tell me about the history and the culture, and it was just fun to be with him.  He has 3 daughters about my age, so he knew just how to make the day special.

Those pyramids are no joke climbing up.  I did go off on my own for a while when he was getting lunch.  I ran a bit to make most of the time, and I climbed up a lot of the structures.  Like 95% of it is still the original stuff.  It's crazy how long it's lasted.  The Pyramid of the Sun (there's also a smaller Pyramid of the Moon) was built in 150BC.

For lunch, I went to the Restaurante la Gruta (Grotto)... which is in a cave.  Pretty special. 

My left upper shin felt stress fractury today... like maybe the beginnings of it.  It would hit when I heel-struck (vs. landing on my toes), or sometimes if I'm just extending my lower leg.  I ran later, though, and I didn't feel it during the run.  I'd expect that if it was a SF, it would've been felt most of all during the run.  Let's hope!  I wonder if it was the Insanity workout I did yesterday that pushed whatever over the edge.

Got in a real run at the hotel gym.  1.4 mi of altitude, vs. 1.65.  Feels like it makes a big difference.  It could be adaptation, maybe.  As a result, an altitude distance PR - 5 mi.  I would've gone for 6.2, but my right hip was a little off - nothing chronic - probably a result of going up and down steep steps today. 

The run was nice and felt a lot easier than the other ones.  10pm, wearing the Nike Equalon.  After training in such heavy shoes, I'll fly in the Kinvaras.

5.0 in 43:14, 8:39 ave.  A decent time, too! 
Splits> 8:54, 8:51, 8:40, 8:30, 8:19.  Good to see.

Oh yeah, yesterday morning, I did the Insanity Fit Test 2 (2 weeks late, since I'm 2 weeks behind on the DVDs).  Improved in some areas, did less in others, but overall, I think there's been a gain.  Part of the improvement comes from understanding the exercises mentally, part of it comes from unconscious muscle memory... neurological I suppose, and part of it is just the physiological changes.

Results (previous result in parentheses):
Switch kicks - 78 (75) - :)
Power jacks - 65 (55) - :) :)
Power knees - 106 (97) - :)
Power jump - 79 (56) - :) :) :)
Globe jumps - 13 (14) - :(
Suicide jacks - 27 (25) - :(
Push-up jacks - 33 (33)
Low plank obliques - 40 (56) - :( :( :(

It's interesting that the second half is whe I started doing worse.  I wonder if I over-extended myself on the power jumps, or if the altitude caught up with me.

Flying home tonight.  Then, work at night to do stuff I need to do for next week.  aaaaah..

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Oct 17-18

Since there's no way I could do a LR here at altitude, I targeted a long bike session... maybe 1:30ish, about the same as a HM.  I started off, trying to give a steadily pressing effort.  The bike was set at level 11, with pretty fast turnover.  It was hard enough that I considered stopping after 30 minutes.  By the time I got to 45 minutes, though, I was so close to an hour that I could stick through it to that mark, but not farther.  This bike seemed to be tilted to the right, which may have exacerbated my usual right butt/leg issues that I get when I use the recumbent bike back at my apartment complex's fitness room.  It only started at the usual 45 min mark, though, so it could be tolerated for a little while.  I drank a bottle of cold water before the session, so I only needed 3 swigs during the bike, mostly for energy or a pick-me-up. 

When I woke up that morning at 5:30am after 5 hours of sleep, I briefly considered going back to sleep because I'd need all the mental energy I could muster to take on the workday, but I knew that since it would be a stressful day, it was more important than ever for me to work out. 

It did end up being a busy day.  Like I Love Lucy trying to tackle all of the chocolates coming down the line.  But I made it through, by God's grace, like always.  My tummy did have issues during the afernoon and evening, but I think it may be better now as I write this?  At least I can drink water without having to rush the the bathroom immediately afterwards, unlike after my first trip to Mexico....  Man... the doc's bill after insurance last time was about $350, and all I really got was 2L of IV fluid... 2L of water... for $350.  The most expensive water I've ever had, haha.  But I did get some blood tests and other tests done, and peace of mind that there was nothing wrong with me other than the syptoms.

I slept 3.5 hours last night because I had to wake up to work some more.  So much work.  While I was working, I kept considering putting on running clothes and just checking the gym to see if it happened to be open despite the posted hours.  But I didn't, and I tried to use the treat of getting to run at 6am as an incentive to put my nose to the grindstone until then.  Anyway, I did a good bit and had time for a 20 minute nap before the fitness room would open.  Oh man, when my alarm started blaring, I was so groggy and ready to go back to sleep.  But I knew there would be no time to run later today, so I decided to just force myself and to go. 

My plan was to do a hill workout, since that worked out really well on the last trip.  It provided some variety, and it didn't feel that much harder than the 1 degree run.  I set it to level 10, which gave up to 7.8% iclines at its peak. 

5k was enough for me.  It did provide nice variety.  During inclines, you're getting used to the shock of the effort, and during lower inclines, you're savoring the relative ease.  The treadmill stayed for 30s at each incline, which was low enough to keep the hard parts doable.

3.1 in 27:31, 8:53/mi. 
Splits don't mean much because of the varying incline, but here they are...
K Splits> 5:36, 5:30, 10:57 for 2 (5:28 ave), 5:27.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Oct 14-16


Traveled to Mexico on 10/12. On the plane, I was looking forward to getting some good training at high-altitude. I didn’t have much of a breakfast or lunch, so I had a big dinner of chicken and tortilla chips. The big dinner, plus the altitude, left me in not much of a mood to work out the rest of the day.

Slept 5 hours, with a couple of hours of work in between. In previous trips, I’d eat a whole bunch at each meal because I’d have to wait 6+ hours between meals. This time, for some reason, I’ve been fine with much more reasonable quantities. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I know what everything tastes like, now, and how much I need to be satisfied. I would’ve worked out this second day, but the group dinner lasted 4 hours, and the gym closed at 11.

The next morning, I was going to work out, after 2 days of rest. The mornings are better, because you get it done early, without risking other events or tiredness popping up at night. You don’t need to worry about letting food digest after dinner, or about being able to find a second dinner after a night-time workout. Plus, if you need to shower in the morning anyways, better to do it right after your workout and save yourself a set of clean clothes, which are a precious commodity when you’re living out of a suitcase.

I did 4.3 in 38:50, 8:56 ave. 7K is a distance-at-altitude record for me, I think. In August, it was a big accomplishment for me to do 3.7 mi, then 4.0 later. It’s warm in that gym, so I had 3 swigs of cool water to keep me peppy.

K Splits> 5:35, 5:37, 5:35, 5:37, 5:30, 5:28, 5:25.

That night, I had 4 hours of sleep because we had to start work at 6:30, so I had to wake up at 4am to get in a workout. The gym (and breakfast) didn’t open until 6am, so I decided to do the Insanity DVDs that I had brought. I did them in undies, to save a pair of clothes, haha.

It was harder, probably due to the altitude. But I did a double, with the second of the two being a workout plus. First, Cardio Power and Resistance, followed by Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs. The Cardio Abs was a 15 min session… interesting spins on ab workouts, although I think my standard strength session is pretty effective. Removing the stretching and water break times, I’d say it was about 70 minutes worth in all.

Once I got to work that day, I started feeling pretty blah. Muscle ache and what to me felt like a high-temp forehead. Don’t know what it was. I made it through the 11.5 hr day somehow. Once I got back, I skipped dinner (wasn’t very hungry all day anyway) and slept for 11 hours. What I did eat that day was stuff meant to get me better – papaya, cactus fruit, soup.

I woke up feeling good. Yay sleep. I got in a morning run of 5K in 28:06 (9:04 ave). It was hard. Maybe due to the lack of fuel yesterday, maybe from the previous days’ workouts, maybe from the blah that hit me yesterday. Hard, but manageable at a slow pace. I had about 100Cal of cookies before the run, to give me the energy I needed. After the run, I recovered quickly and felt like a wimp for not going farther than 5K, but whatever. I know it was hard at the time. I had a runner’s high afterwards, after going up the stairs and being light-headed.

Splits> 5:39, 5:41, 11:13 (6:37 ave) for 2, 5:32.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Oct 9

A recovery run to get blood flow to speed up recovery.

I had to start at 6.8mph, but it shot up to 7.8mph comfortably within 3/4 a mile.  Normally, it wouldn't go up so fast, but I guess my legs were still tuned to yesterday's pace.  I was going to just do an easy-med effort run to loosen up, but my legs wanted to go faster.

1 mi warmup (could've gone with less... last time, I still didn't feel warmed up after 2 mi) in 8:13, 5 x [1/4 @ 9mph, 1/4 @ 7.5mph].  I considered this a baby speed session.  Kept the speedy parts short to not risk anything.  It's not wise to do back-to-back hard workouts, and a HM race is hard. 

3.5 in 26:33, 7:35 ave.... hey, almost the same as yesterday.  Pas mal.  It would've been mentally nice to run outside and enjoy nature and shady, relatively cool weather, but I did some serious napping today (3 hrs) and did heavy refueling and didn't feel like running until nighttime. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

RACE REPORT: iRecycle Half Marathon 2011

It was a spur-of-the-moment decision to sign up for the race.  When I found out that I wouldn't have company over for the weekend, I looked for a race to do.  I was going to need to do a LR this weekend, probably the last one I'd get to do before Spinx, and the last decent/normal training run before I'd head off to high-altitude Mexico City, where sprinting or long runs would be out of the question and where there would be limited time to train.

I saw the iRecyce HM in Spartanburg.  I could do it as a training run, perhaps.  I finally managed to do more than 12 mi for a training run for the first time since January 2nd just last weekend.  So my legs still aren't used to endurance yet, and they're probably still recovering from and adapting last weekend.  So I signed up on Thursday night, the last night for online registration.  I was leaning more towards racing, it, though.  This was the 3rd annual event, and looking at previous results, I had a good chance at an age group award.  Also, it's hard not to give it a good effort when you've signed up for a race.  We would see.

Training leading up to the race:
Sunday - 13.9 mi
Monday - Insanity dvd and a recovery dvd
Wednesday - 5.0 @ 7:58 pace, where my heart felt like it was having to work harder than normal
I took Thursday and Friday off to taper.

Fueling and sleep the day before:
- Week leading up, more of a normal person's sleep schedule, b/c my body needed it after a couple of months of little sleep
- Breakfast - onions and tomatoes, refried beans, milk, dark chocolate and peanuts
- Lunch and Dinner - cumulative Foot-long WW Turkey sub from Firehouse Subs, 24oz each of decaf coffee and green tea
- Napped for 2 hrs
- 2nd Dinner - Multigrain Flatout wrap with tomatoes, onions, and smoked salmon
- Tried to fall asleep again, but couldn't
- Midnight snack - Granola bar, skim milk
- Trouble sleeping, maybe got 3 hours
- Breakfast - oatmeal with a bit of PB, decaf coffee
- Pre-race snack - mini Clif bar

8am: 51, 9am: 56, 10am: 61.... decent
The course was half sunny, half shady

I wanted to go early to pick up my packet.  I considered picking it up the day before because I was so excited about the race, and to ensure that I could get a shirt in my size, but the amount of gas and time didn't justify it.  I went early and had to drive around a bit to find the YMCA, but I eventually did.  I went to the bathroom twice.  I wasn't positive what shoes I'd use, since I've been training in heavily built-up shoes recently to try to mitigate the plantar fasciitis, so I wasn't sure how my feet would feel in the light and cushiony Kinvaras, but they felt pretty good.  I didn't really warm up... maybe 100m only, then dynamic stretching. 

I started pretty much at the front line, since nobody else seemed to want to step up to it.  I stayed off to the side, since I knew I probably wouldn't go out too fast, if I was smart.  Even pacing was the goal.  The race would probably have maybe 200 people total, so it wouldn't have taken too long to get to the start line in any case.

(the yellow guy on the left won the mens' race in 1:11:41, and the tank topped #25 won the womens' race in 1:30:07)

We were off.  Cool temps make you just go.  The course had rolling hills throughout, which is something I'm not used to, but it gives the course character.  One thing that really helped me this time, a mental trick, which I haven't tried before, was to think during the uphills "one step now counts as two during the downhills".  That made the slow pace and hard effort feel less discouraging.  It worked very well, and I'll keep in in mind for next time. 

The course was nice.  It's 2 loops.  Maybe 35% is on the right lane of a main road, 15% is on a paved bike path, and 50% is on shady or lakeside residential areas.  The lake part was very pretty.  There were many (10!) water/powerade stops, which was FANTASTIC.  They also had Carbo Boom gels at mi 3 and 10.  I'd suggest that they have a water stop not long after he gels, since you really need to wash it down.  The volunteers and cops giving out water and marshalling the course were also FANTASTIC.  They were very helpful and enthusiastic, and their cheering gave me a boost.  Getting to say thanks to them as I passed gave an extra boost on top of that. 

Soo... starting off the race, a lead pack went ahead of me.  I counted 2 women ahead.  There was also a 5K, which intersected with the HM course for 2 segments, which put some fun into it.  The leaders came by as we entered the residenal area, but they split off later.  We continued through the shady, windy (as in turny) residential areas, and entered a really pretty lake area.  I caught one girl at mile 4 and didn't see any other behind me, so I was feeling pretty good about having a good chance of holding it.  I'd probably fade a bit, since I was perhaps going faster than my fitness could handle, but most people fade because they go out too fast.  It would be cool to get a top overall award in a race as long as a HM.  I was pleasantly suprised, since the previous years' top overall times were faster than I can go.  Around the middle of the race, my left ovary? kidney? something? was hurting, but it only lasted maybe 2 miles.  My legs started feeling tired/a little spent at about halfway.  I was working hard and maybe grimacing a little bit as we passed through the halfway point and completed the first loop.  It was exciting to run through the start/finish area, as there were many 5Kers around to watch. 

From the halfway point, it was about counting down the miles... only 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 left.  Miles 8-11 ticked by more or less on their own.  Last night, I had listened to a podcast where the speaker emphasized how relaxing your body is important to being efficient and fast.  Then mile 11.  It was maybe 0.5 mi of uphill, and it REALLY tested you.  I hadn't noticed that segment during the first lap, haha.  But it was there.  Got over it, and then it was a little more than a mile left.  It was a long last mile.  I thought I'd try to just get through to half a mile left-ish safely, and then pick it up then.  I didn't want to risk burning out too early or doing something that would suddenly make something start hurting.  I don't think I ever really picked it up until the last 0.1, though.  I was just so tired at this point.  I saw a girl in front of me at mile 12.9ish, and she looked like she might be fading.  I didn't expect to catch anyone with less than 0.1 left, but that provided extra fear/incentive to push through the finish. It turns out that there had been another woman who finished maybe 9 minutes ahead of me, so I was 2nd overall, but phew!  It was a great race that went better than I could've expected. 

Splits> 14:31 for 2 (7:16 ave), 36:37 at the 5 mi (7:19 ave for 5), 14:48 for 2 at the 7 mi (7:24 ave for 2), 7:39 at the 8 - total time now 59:05 (slowing down), 7:43 at the 9, 7:34 at the 10, 7:49 at the 11, 8:20 at the 12 (with the long hill), 7:36 a the 13 (was able to pick it up), 0:43 for 0.1... about the same as the kind of kick I can put in at 5Ks.

Total: 13.1 in 1:38:53, 7:32 ave.  (vs. 7:22 at Spinx 11 months ago, and about 7:20 at Greer Earth Day in March)

The race was $50, but I ended up winning $75 and a trophy, which was pretty awesome.  Maybe I can quit my day job, haha.  It's the first time I've really won money from a race.  I think I was supposed to have been mailed a $25 check for the Reedy River 5K, but I never got it.  So this is the first real time. 

After HM races, my body always crave pickles and sleep.  I drank about half a cup of pickle juice straight, since I had run out of pickles but still kept the juice.  My body was also like... sapped.  So since the race, I've eaten a lot (especally protein, which my body craved) and then slept immediately afterwards.

Also, stretching to work out the tightness.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Oct 5

Getting in my weekly miles.
5.0 in 39:54, 7:58 ave.
Splits> 8:30, 8:13, 7:58, 7:49, 7:22.
Thought I might do some Insanity afterwards, but naaaah.  Wanna take it easy tonight.  Maybe read a bit of More Fire, which is about Kenyan Running... the history, their lifestyle, their training... very interesting.

Albany Snickers Marathon : I signed up a couple of weeks ago. 

150 days away.

Meet my pacer: ... 3:35 (8:01 pace)... the magic BQ number.  I think I could potentially do 3:22ish (7:43 pace), so going 3:35 for 13-16 and then picking it up from there... maybe saving 20s/mi for 10 mi... maybe 3 minutes shaved off if all goes well. 

Some race reports:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Oct 2

I was feeling a bit sick-ish today.  Not sick.  And not necessarily that my immune system is down.  I don't know if it's just the change in temps that shakes things up in your body until it adjusts.  I love jacket weather, warm-up-with-hot-tea weather. 

So I woke up from my too-short 1 hr nap, and it was time to get out the door if I was going to get in my run.  Feeling sick-ish.  Nap was too short.  Seriously considered just doing a short treadmill run later at night or something.  But I started getting my stuff ready.  As icky as I felt and as much as my body wasn't in the mood to run, I knew that running nearly always makes you feel better afterwards.  And I had a race to train for.  Checked the mail, got the new Runner's World.  Just flipping through, the pics got me excited to run. 

14.0 in 1:58:58, 8:32/mi.  1063 cal.  Wooh, a long run.  It's the longest training run I've done since the first week of January.  It's a big confidence booster, though.  I've been struggling with LRs since the marathon, but now I know that I can do them again. 

My legs were a bit "eh" starting from during the night's sleep. Immedately after the intervals session last night, I felt great.  My heart finally got a good working and it wanted even more.  I felt like I could've run again, and my heart wanted it (physical heart).  But I woke up at some point at night feeling kinks in some parts of my legs.  I don't know whether that woke me up or if it was because I felt to hot or had to go to the bathroom or something.  But yeah... I was still feeling iffy today.

So it was a good run.  Went form potentially doing 0 to doing 14.  Very happy.

Splits> 8:17 b, 14:13 c, 7:45 p, 7:38 b long, 6:16 p short, 7:47 c, 7:29 p, 7:19 b long (sped up!), 6:11 p short, 7:26 c, 7:30 p, 7:28 b long, 6:17 p short, 7:53 b long, 9:24 car.

The last mile was a challenge, but doable.  Building up endurance, baby.  Drank 1 bottle of water + lemon juice + salt.  Had some every lap (did 3.5 laps).  Didn't need it as often as last time (2x/lap) because it was cooler... in the low 60s.  Comfortble... still somewhat hotter than ideal, but comfy if there's no sun.  Also had 2 Clif Roks.  Those are so good.  I wish they were less expensive.  They'd be nice candy.  I want to know if there's a recipe I could use to replicate them.  I would never eat Gus or Chomps as candy, but Roks are milky and not excessively sweet.  Great texture.  So good.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Oct 1

Workout-wise, an "eh"... week.  The lack of sleep for the past couple of months was catching up to me.  I did have a 4 hr nap today, and I'm hoping to sleep a lot tomorrow, too, so that I can get back on track.

Yesterday, I doubled up on Insanity because 1) I was physically able, and 2) I needed to catch up.  I'm 4 behind right now, but I have 1 rest day where I could catch up, and I can double up at least on one of the days with the recovery DVD.

The first time I did the Pure Cardio DVD, I thought it was really tough because it was non-stop other than the warmup and cooldown, but it was easier this time.  The warmup is like half of the DVD (20ish minutes), and the cooldown is another 5 minutes, leaving 15 minutes of workout time.  I think knowing what to expect and getting used to the exercises makes it go by more quickly.

The past couple of days, I've been eating too much and too junky.  Makes me feel blah physically.  I don't know how much of doing it is influenced by lack of sleep or the need for stress relief.

I did have a very enjoyable lunch today, though.  I went shopping in the morning.  Then, I had
- Reduced Fat Gouda from Trader Joe's
- Mixed Greens with Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Green Fin Red Wine from Trader Joe's
- Flatout Multigrain Wrap with Hummus

I took at nap at 2pm, planning to go running before sundown because I didn't feel up to doing it this morning.  I woke up at 6:30, though.  I thought that sunset was still at 8pm, which would leave me maybe an hour of running, which wouldn't be enough for my planned long run, but then I found out that sunset was at 7:15, and it was 6:45 by then, so that wasn't going to happen.  So I was going to end up doing a treadmill run. 

I decided on an Interval workout because I hadn't done one in a month (exactly a month), and if I wanted any speed by the Spinx Half Marathon, I'd have to start building up my interval fitness now.  It turns out that I've lost fitness.  Oh well, it comes back relatively quickly. 

2 mi warmup (normally, it takes 0.5-1 mi, but even after 2 mi, I still wasn't feeling particularly up to it) @ 7.0mph.  3 x [0.5 @ 9mph, 0.25 @ 7.5mph], 0.25 mi cooldown.  Normally, I can do more and/or longer sets of 9mph sessions.  Oh well, I'll get it back.  Even by next week, there should be a noticeable improvement. 

4.5 in 35:01, 7:47 ave.

RECIPE: Veggie Fiesta

An original concoction, super easy, and perfect for fall.  It's healthy, makes you feel good inside, and warms you up with the bit of fiery kick I added.

- 1 12oz bag Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Grillers Recipe Crumbles (vegetarian other than egg whites)
- 1.5 large onions
- 1 28oz can of diced tomatoes
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp EVOO
- Tobasco sauce
- Cumin
- Chili Powder

With seasonings, I always just put in whatever amount feels right, so I can't really say how much I put in.  It's hard to put in too much, in my opinion.

1. Slice the onions and sautee in EVOO with the crushed garlic until the onions are translucent. 
2. Add the Crumbles and cook until they're no longer frozen and add the cumin and chili.
3. Add the tomatoes.
4. Prior to serving, add 3 swigs of Tobasco per cup of food.

Cooking feels satisfying sometimes.  Many times, I'm hungry and I just want food as quickly as possible.  Trying new recipes and having it turn out good is satisfying, though.