Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nov 30

FIT:
Yea-ah.

I was tired and not at all in the mood to work out as the clock ticked towards 9pm.  But I wouldn't get a chance to work out tomorrow, and I did a strength session yesterday, so I had to go today to not have 3 days in a row of not running. 

I brought racing flats in case the treadmill was free for an interval session and 300+ mi shoes and a running magazine to read on the bike in case the treadamill was taken.  The bike was free, so intervals it was!  And it was good.

It tied my best treadmill interval workouts... a version I've done maybe just twice before, 3 max. 

1 mi warmup 7-7.5mph gradually, 3 x [0.75 @ 9mph (6:40 = 5K pace), 0.25 @ 7.5mph (8:00 pace)].

4.0 in 29:18, 7:20 ave.
Splits> 8:18, 3 x [5:00, 2:00].

Monday, November 28, 2011

Nov 28

FIT:
Some redemption today from the 12 turned 8.9 on Saturday.

I wanted to get in the important LR, so I dd 10.3 today.  It was on the treadmill, 1 degree.  I went very slowly at first, and that allowed me to go farther with ease.  It's incredible how big of a difference 0.1mph is.  I usually start my treadmill runs at a minimum of 7.0mph, so riding 2.5 miles a 6.8-6.9mph felt awesome, like I was barely breathing much more than if I was to walk. 

I would've maybe tried to do another mile or two, but I was hitting against the gym closing time, so I opted to do the last bit of the run a bit faster. 

Laptop battery is running low, so I'm going to speed this up...

10.3 in 1:26:34, 8:24 ave.  855 cal.  68 degrees.
Splits> 8:46, 8:42, 8:38, 8:34, 8:34, 8:30, 8:20, 8:18, 8:06, 7:49, 2:10 for 0.3. 

I think I'll go slow on my next LR, too.  It felt good.  I think if I did easy runs at that pace, I could up my training volume safely.  I don't know that I'd experiment too much with that during this marathon build-up, but maybe next year.

FUEL:
This was 1.5 hrs after a big dinner (chocolate pita chips, tortilla chips baked w/ 75% light cheese and hot sauce, mixed greens with tuna and soy ginger dressing, laughing cow light swiss cheese wedge with more tortilla chips, dark chocolate, earl grey tea) and lots of fluids, so no water was needed during the run.  Not even really thirsty.

Post-run, a bottle of water+lemonjuice+salt that I didn't need during the run, warm milk with a splash of vanilla extract, oatmeal with PB, carrot, and half a small grapefruit.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Nov 26

FIT:
Today's run didn't go as planned.
I was going to do my LR.  The schedule called for 12. 
I did 4.4 with my dad biking behind me.  Then, a bathroom and water stop when I saw my sister lacing her up shoes, too.  She and I ran at about the same pace for a while (she didn't want to run with me, but we were close to each other), but I was ahead after half a mile. 

I did 4.4 more after that, and even that was hard.  I haven't stretched in the past few days while I've been at home.  I felt like tendons/ligaments were pulling on muscles and bones and whatever in wrong ways.  It may be the stretching.  It could also be some muscular imbalance.  I haven't been able to do good one-legged squats in a while.  They've all been very shallow.  I decided to stop the run early.  I could've managed another difficult lap, but my body felt like it was working hard as it is, without the strains.  But with the strains, I just wanted to call it a day. 

I think it's an okay decision in this case.  I stretched afterwards, and I'll stretch more now.  I don't want to get injured at the start of the marathon buildup (I'm on week 2/16).  Didn't hit the target for this week, but I had extra mileage done last week, so it evens out.  The LR is the most important, but I had many 13-mi races recently, so I think it's okay to not do the full LR this time. 

8.9 in 1:14:13, 8:19 ave.  734 cal.
Splits> 18:29, 18:18, 37:25 for 2 (18:42 ave)

Nov 24 - Thanksgiving

FIT:
T-day at the track!


On Thanksgiving, my sister and I went to a nearby track.  She ran on the HS XC team but wasn't as into it as I was.  But she's recently started running fairly regularly again, and I'm so excited.  Her usual 5K pace is about at my LR/easy pace, which is great, and her form looks good. 

I have found a track back in GVL, but it's about 20 minutes away.  This one is only 5 minutes from my parents' house.  I was excited to get in some track work.  It seems way more epic than treadmill intervals.  Being on the track in general excites me.  I never did track in HS because I did socer instead.  In HS, we went to the track for XC practices maybe once every 3 weeks or something.  At first, I dreaded it because I usually didn't do as well compared to a couple of the other girls.  They could fly and looked awesome - I didn't know how they did it.  I would more often beat them on the last repeat... so maybe they had more speed, and I had more endurance. 

But I grew to like the track more during college.  The track at Pton was gorgeous, and I watched some inspiring races there.  It realized how fast it could make you.  When we had timed miles for Club Ultimate, I could basically guarantee that after every BM-pyramid workout I did, I could knock down 10-15s off of my miles time, at least up to a point.  It's a place to test yourself.

I attempted a BM workout.  The last time I did it (or tried it at all) was in May.  I only ended up doing 3/4 of it, maybe more from wimping out from the lactic buildup than anything else.  But it was still a good workout.



The Beth Massey Pyramid workout (with my actual paces where available):
It was from my friend's HS or MS coach, but I named the workout after her.

800 warmup - 2:04, 2:01
4 x 100 sprint, 100 jog
3 x 200 sprint, 200 jog
2 x 400 sprint, 400 jog - ?:??, 1:37
1 x 800 sprint, 400 jog - 1:41, 1:42
2 x 400 sprint, 400 jog - 1:34, 1:36
*** I stopped here ***
3 x 200 sprint, 200 jog

4 x 100 sprint, 100 jog

Similar to the 800 warmup's 400s, my jog 400s were pretty consitently 2:03.

I've never done Yasso 800s (10x800 with 400 jogs), but it would be very interesting to try some time.  5 miles of sprinting seems like a lot.  I listened to a podcast today on MarathonTalk.com (a couple days after this workout) that interviewed Bart.  He said that Yasso works for many people of all weekly mileage levels, although it does work better for those with higher mileage.  Makes sense.  So it may not work as well for me at my 25ish mpw. 

It was a little warmer here than it has been recently, and I don't run in full sun very often.  On weekdays, I hit the treadmill normally, or squeeze something in at the park near sunset at best.  On weekends, I'll also tend to go near sunset, but even if I do something in the middle of the day, there's usually a decent amount of shade. 

It was a good workout.

Afterwards, I played around a bit with my sister, showing her stretches and exercises, letting her try some of my shoes (she needs a new pair), etc.

It's my dream to have a running store some day.  It was fun to pretend today.



And finally, T-day dinner:
(Tofurkey with stuffing and gravy, butternut & spahgetti squash, green beans, cabbage casserole, fish, bamboo, potatoes.)

A walk with my parents at Riverfront Park - Mount Pleasant the next day:



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nov 23

FIT:
Home!  (parents' home)

It was getting dark, so I just squeezed in two 2.2-mi laps around the neighborhood.  It was sort of like a recovery run.  I had the past two days off running-wise to recover from the 3.7-mi race on Saturday and the 11.5-mi run on Sunday.  (I did my weekly strength session on Monday.)  My legs were feeling heavy, so a tough or fast workout wasn't in the books.

It was a good run, though.  Like drinking a refreshing cup of water.  Quick.  I went iPod-less for most of it, just to take in the experience of being back on my home loop.  When things got harder and after I had experienced the loop once, I turned on a podcast from MarathonTalk.com

4.4 in 35:23, 7:56 ave.  360 cal.
Splits> 18:21, 17:01.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nov 20

Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuf morning.
Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuf morning.

Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuf morning.

Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuf morning.


Took a nap after church, then went for my LR.
FIT:
Last night, I peeked at the version of the Smartcoach RW schedule where I would be willing to do 26-30 mi/week.  It adds an extra weekly run (a 4th) of decent distance, and I thought that it also added to the LR distance... I was looking at another week, though, so it didn't really.

The original schedule called for 10, but I thought that the souped up schedule called for 12, so I aimed for something on the higher end of the spectrum.  Just found out that even the souped up schedule called for 10.  Oh well.  I think next week may be tough after my big jump in mileage this week.

I was only partially in the mood to run and couldn't decide where to go, but I went with Falls Park, where I haven't been in a few weeks due to all of the racing.

I had found an open pack of Gu Chomps in my fridge te day before, so I took one before the run.  I started slowly, just interested in getting in the mileage and staying safe the day after a race.  I took in half a bottle of watere + lemon juice + salt after the 2nd of 3 laps.  With 1.5 mi left (after 10 mi), I started having GI issues.  It was unconfortable.  I thought about stopping and just walking the 1.5 back to my car, but after a brief stop with another swig of water, I saw that I could still run okay and made it back.  It was tough.  I slowed down.  That last hill is always tough anyway.

11.5 in 1:39:39, 8:40/mi.  927 cal.
Splits> 8:02 b, 6:02 p short, 7:21 c, 7:14 p, 7:08 b long, 5:56 p s, 7:17 c, 7:11 p, 7:13 b l, 5:59 p s, 7:13 c, 7:11 p, 7:20 c, 8:26 car. 
 
For the next 3 hrs, my tummy hurt a lot.  Very much.  But I took OTCs, and now I'm ok.  I had eaten a super-delicious Detour low-sugar protein bar after the run to aid recovery, but it probably didn't stick around.  3 hrs later, I felt okay enough to eat.  I was hungry.  I had 2 persimmons and tofu plus some tortilla and pita chips.  But it definitely wasn't within the recommended 30min post-run window.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

RACE REPORT: GE 6K 2011

My fourth race in 6 weeks!
I signed up for this one because it was inexpensive relative to many other races of comparable distance. Some of the 5Ks can be so expensive these days! It was also going to be nice to see where my fitness was after racing 3 HMs within a month.

Morning:
Even though I got less-than-ideal sleep this week, my body only wanted 6.5 hrs last night, maybe because I had okay sleep on the important night-before-the-night before. I woke up at 4-something, so I had 2 lox tortillas (delicious) because that's what I was craving. Took a warm-up shower without washing my hair, since it was too cold to want that.

The race started at 8:30am and was held at a new course at the not-yet-opened Lake Conestee Nature Park.  It was chilly, at about 40 degrees.
The Race:
The first 3/4 mi was on pavement, looping around the baseball fields.  I went out at a good pace, and according to the split (6:44), it was fairly fast.  It felt comfortable and sustainable, though.

Next, we entered single track that had room for maybe 1.5 people across.  Passing wasn't much of an option most of the time, but there were a couple of chances here and there.  I was glad that I did my first trial race the previous weekend, because I felt confident on the trail.  It was very smooth, with roots here and there.  There were minor, short hills.  Every now and then, there were boardwalks. 
I was glad that I had gotten the start that I did, because it was so hard to pass.  I was placed well, and there was minimal passing/being passed.  The miles ticked by quickly.  I guess I was so busy concentrating on footing and the windy turns.  Maybe some of it is also the face that the past 3 races were HMs. 

There were a few spots with two-way traffic on the narrow path, but it was okay, and everyone was courteous.  There was also a water stop, but it's not necessary when the course is short and the temps are cold.

We kept chugging, then we were back on the pavement for the final stretch.  I put in a good effort and probably couldn't have given much more - that's always a good feeling.  I also edged out a guy at the very end by half a step at the finish line.  Also nice. 

Results:
3.7 in 27:51, 7:28 ave.  2nd overall female. 

Not a fast pace, compared to my 5K PR (6:44ish), so I guess it was the dirt and the hills.  I was fairly happy with the pacing.  It looks like I might've gone out too fast, by looking at the splits, but the first mile was on pavement, so one would expect the second two miles to be slow.  I did probably fade some, but I at least kept up with the people on the singletrack in front of me, and it was a comfortable pace for me.

Splits> 6:44, 8:09, 7:58, 4:58 for 0.7.

I won a doorprize... a pumpkin.  And for finishing 2nd... 3 lightbulbs.  The race was hosted by GE.  I called my sister and told her that I won a pumpkin and 3 lightbulbs.  You couldn't make up something more random!

It'll be nice park to come back to once it opens.  It's not too far, and not too hilly, and smooth - maybe I'll mix it in to my course repetoire once a month or something.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Nov 17 - p

FIT:
I did get the outside run in today.  It was after a nap that I had to drag myself out of, but the sun was going to start setting soon. 

With all of the leaves on the ground, I had to be careful about my steps in the first couple of laps, since roots and holes were hard to see, but I seemed to get used to it.  I guess maybe proprioception and the neuromuscular systems/connections take a little time to warm up.

It was nippy at first but fine within a few hundred feet. 

This week is officially the start of the Runner's World Smart Coach 16-week marathon plan, targeting the March 3rd Snickers Albany Marathon).  It calls for 6 easy, 5 tempo (3 fast), and a 10 for the LR.  I did 5 progression yesterday, and today's 6 was also progression.  I never treated the called-for tempos as tempos last time I did this plan.  I'm doing a 6K race on Saturday, so maybe I will fill in the 7 the next day.  I may be a little beat up immediately after the race. 

Looking back at last year's actuals, I did occassionally shuffle miles around from one run to another, but I hit the weekly targets.  And I did just do a HM, so it should be fine.

Last year's actuals:

I'm doing the same plan this time (again, not worrying about the required paces).  I think it was fine and prepared me well enough.  I just didn't execute perfectly.  I do think I was tired by the end, so maybe I peaked too early.  We'll see how it goes.

Plan, with RW's suggested paces, with actuals so far:


6.0 in 48:20, 8:07 ave.  475 cal.
Splits> 6:27, 6:18, 6:11, 6:06, 6:00, 5:58, 5:41, 5:34

I was tired, and I think it might've affected the run. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nov 16

FIT:
It's Wednesday, and it's my first run since Saturday.  My legs were really craving a run yesterday, but the treadmill was going to be occupied up through the fitness room's closing time, and I had work to do anyway. 

Post-race body report:
My arches and ankles were kind of useless for a day or two after the trail HM, but they're okay now, at least they were before today's run. 

I wanted to go outside for the run and get in some miles on the wet park course, since it's epic-y, but I didn't get home from work until it was dark, and that'll unfortunately be the case until some time in the Spring, I guess.  Although tomorrow may be an excepion... we shall se.

My arms go a really good working during the race.  Even within the first couple of miles, they were feeling... not exactly sore, but something similar to sore. 

Today's run:
Treadmill.  For the second time in a row, I forgot to set the incline to 1.  It's because whoever uses it before me sets the incline to something really big, and by the time I set it back down to 0, I forget to reset it to 1.  So I did 4.0 at 0 degrees, followed by 1.0 at 3 degrees.  I intended to do 2.0 at 3 degrees to maybe make up for the 0 degrees, but I sort of had enough after 1 mile and stopped.  I could've done it if I pushed and regretted it a little afterwards, but it's ok.  No need to push too close to the edge at this point.

5.0 in 41:24, 8:17 ave, although the effective pace is something lower due to the 2-ish miles at net 0 degrees, if pacing equivalents are linear like that.  I don't feel like checking.  Close enough.

Splits> 8:22, 8:19, 8:15, 8:16, 8:09.  Good to run again.  My heart wants some more working.  Can't wait to work out again. 

Back to not sleeping much... it was a good two weeks, but it's back to... I don't even know what to call it...  burning off glycogen stores day after day and replenishing over the weekends.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

RACE REPORT: Camp Croft Half Marathon (Trail)

Lead-up:
Training - See previous post for last week's training.
Sleep - Best ever.  6-8 hours per night.  After months and months of lots of work, I can now ease off the gas pedal a bit for a few months now.
Attitude - Maybe a little burnt out from 2 HMs in a single month (with 2 weeks of a business trip in between).  Hard to tell if it was being burnt out from running mentally or physically, or just being burnt out in general.  I was really looking forward to trying my first trail race, though.  It's a nice way to end this season (before my marathon build-up, which officially starts tomorrow, according to the schedule), because you don't expect to PR at a trail race.  It would be fun, I could try something new, and I could enjoy running out in nature like we were meant to enjoy it.  No pressure, since I already did my hard road races and this was the last long race for a while.  I've heard of many people "discovering" trail running after gong on the roads for a while.  I've always loved running on grass as much as possible on all of my training runs, to protect my knees, and running outside is always mentally refreshing, so I could see myself liking it a lot.
There are different skills you need to do well in a trail race, so I tried to glean as much as I could from last year's inaugural run's race report.  Lindsay from chasingthekenyans.com offered some good advice and encouragement (and also told me about the race to begin with).  I was also impressed by how quickly the race director Seth Novak responded with my quesitons about the course, within minutes of emailing him!  Checking the race's facebook page for updates periodically was also a nice way to stay pumped up.  I like how many races are doing that nowadays.  It keeps you motivated to hear everyone getting excited, and to hear about swag and predicted course conditions and stuff.

Race Morning:
I had a granola bar.  That's what I was in the mood for, and it was good and light.  I also had my usual cocoa+ decaf coffee.  My bathroom run went very well in the morning, so I was ready to race.  I did my warm-up shower, but without washing my hair, since it was cold, and I did't want to have to worry about drying it completely by race time and staying warm enough. 

I got there early, went through a nice packet pickup in a cabin close to the field where we parked.  We got mini clif bars and powerbar gels to fuel us, and the RoadID sponsored race bibs also looked cool.  For swag, we got a nice drawstring bag with the camp croft star logo on one side and the race course map on the other - it was nice.  There was also a short sleeve tech shirt.  I may cut the sleeves off, and it'll be a nice shirt to bike or lounge in.  It's orange, my favorite.  Oh yeah, since we were in a state park, there were real restrooms in another building close to the cabin - sweet.  I went 3x.

Even though it was in the upper thirties, it was comfortable enough in my car (without having to run it), where I studied the course map some more and got my number and shoes ready.  I had drawn a mini map on a post-it note the previous day to tape to my race number.  But the act of drawing it burned it into my memory well enough, so I didn't need to reference it.  I also wrote down the times and paces of the previous year's overall women and 20-29 women winners, to keep the goals in mind.  On the map, I marked landmarks, aid stations, and course descriptions (hills, difficulty level).


With 15 min left, I did a super-quick warmup... maybe 100m of runnng, then dynamic strething.  I went to the bathroom one more time, and then I did some quick range of motion moves and went to the start.  Oh yeah, with 1 hr to go, I had a mini-clif bar, and with 20 min to go, I had 2 choco covered expresso beans.

The race was capped at 150.  The numbers are typically like that for trail races, since singletracks can't handle that many people, and we we want to keep the trail itself healthy.  I noticed that everyone at the race looked really, really fit.  I guess it happens when you have a trail race described as a challenging course. 

(photo credit - Seth Novak's album)


(photo credit - Seth Novak's album)

The Race:
The race started off on a dirt road.  Next, it turned onto a double-track road.  It was still pretty packed, and I was just getting into it.  It was new to me to have to pay extra attention to footing and to try to find the most efficient way of cruising over uneven ground while being prepared to leap extra distance or shorten a step as needed to avoid obstacles.  It was a good mental/neuromuscular warm-up for what was to come.

The first few miles were supposed to be the toughest.  They were tough, alright.  On the map,it was windy, which suggested elevation changes that required switchbacks.  The far end of this section of the course was a radio tower, too, which suggests a net uphill.  The course soon changed into single-track.  I didn't know the convention for passing, so what I went with was waiting for a wider section and annoucing "passing", and that seemed to work well.  I passed maybe two clusters of people during this section, so it wasn't too bad. But after you pass, you feel obligated to make sure that you really are ready for a faster pace, since you don't want to be the one slowing down the line, so I put in some extra distance.  While I was doing so, one of the people I passed asked if I had gotten a late start and said I was like a squirrel because I was leaping over ditches and roots, haha.  I was just wanting to put in a decent lead and to burn off some pent-up energy.  That was the second pass, and after that, my placement was comfortable.  Over the rest of the course, there would be occassional passing and occassional getting passed, but the path would be generally wider later on. 

So... the difficult first few miles.  Up and down.  Looking back, the last section of the course was hard, too.  Maybe less up and down later on, but it definitely felt hard at the end as well, maybe because your legs were so tired by then.  So I'd say that yes, the first part of the course is hard... probably harder than the last section, but the last section is no joke, either.  You still had energy at the beginning.  The climbs were all tame enough for me to still run up them, although I was grunting with the effort even in the first few miles.  What I was most concerned about was not turning my ankle, and that was fine.  That course tested me mentally, though.  In a road race, you manage your pace.  If it's a flat course, you know what to expect and can manage your effort.  You know when it's going to get hard, which normally doesn't come until the end of the race.  With hills, even if they are steep, you just take small steps with the same, even effort.  ith the hills here, they come frequently, and you never know how long it'll last.  You also have to contantly pay attention to getting the safest and most efficient footing.  It takes as much mental effort as it does physical effort.  By the time we got to the first aid station at mile 4.75, I was zonked.  Not totally spent, but those first few miles were tough and had beaten me down. 

I stopped for 15s at the aid station to drink delicious Gatorade.  There were only 3 aid stations during the entire course, but I go without water for 7+ miles all the time, and it's even easier in the winter.  Of course, ideally, more would be better, but what they had was just fine.  I didn't want to carry any water because when you're climbing, it's importnt to be light. 

The next couple of miles were bliss.  It was beautiful, flat, super-wide road.  There were many leaves on the ground and trees on either side.  It was so flat.  And wide.  And pretty.  For the first time, you could see people ahead of you, since there weren't any turns in the road.  I really picked it up here and started cruising.  It was awesome.  Ironically, it's during the pancake section that I rolled my ankle twice - they were ok because I've rolled them so many times by now.  But it's ironic that it's the only time during the whole race that I rolled it, and that I managed all of the much more technicall, windy uphill and downhill sections safely.  God's grace - I was praying most of all that I'd stay safe during the race and not roll my ankle or fall.  Then, a really small climb, where there were people cheering... and probably someone taking a picture... at least I think it's here. 

(photo credit - Seth Novak's album)

Yup... it's me, in a shirt.  It was comfy at the start.  I figured that since it was going to be in the upper thirties to lower forties and most likely shady, that a shirt may be ok.  It did get hot in the second half, and I wished that I could've been cooler then, but it's alright.  This wasn't a PR attempt.

Right after was the radio tower at about mile 6.  Then, some downhill to the lake at mile 7.  It was pretty.  I liked that this course had lots of diverse features... radio tower, single track, double track, windy hills, pancake-flat straights, a fallen tree to climb over, and later, a stream crossing, which I'll get to later.  A fun course and a nice intro to trail running, really.

At about this time, the occassional uphills and downhills started again.  I started power-walking up the uphills.  I don't know whether these were truly steeper than the ones from the first few miles, or if I was just tired by now, but I had to walk up them.  I learned that it was easier to go up via small steps, not long, lunging steps.  I'll need to remember that next time.

We hit the second aid station at mile 8.1.  Then, a water crossing at around mile 9.5, which was different.  There was a rock you could use to get over without stepping in the water, which was nice. 

I passed my first girl in the entire race a little after that (so did the two boys behind me).  Then, there was a place where the course wasn't very clear.  There were many foot marks up this steep, muddy wall (I'd call it a slope, but it was so steep that it was more like a wall), but once I climbed up, there was no clear trail.  Another guy came, but he couldn't see the trail, either.  We went back down to look around some more.  A third guy came, and he thought it should be up the wall, too.  So we went up again, but we still didn't see a trail.  Then, the girl came and pointed out a course on the bottom that went left.  And that was it.  I was naturally a bit frustrated that I had wasted about 2 minutes being off-track, so I was ready to get rolling again.  Thank goodness that girl came by to get us back on track, otherwise, the three of us would've still been lost.  There was more climbing, and we were all still kind of neck and neck for a while.  Losing time being off-track sucks, but I guess it's part of trail running.  It's not just physically being able to run, but it's also being mentally able to focus for long periods of times and to have good visual perception to see trails and mental quickness to find the trails quickly.  Oh man, it's tough.  You make a turn, and the trail seems to disappear, and you have to quickly find it again as your feet are still moving under you. 

At the next aid station at 11.5, there was another aid station... the signal that it was time to start pushing.  I was still right on the tail of the girl in front of me, so neither of us stopped for water - just grab and go.  Chasing a position.  At some point, the girl might've gotten too tired of having to look for the trail (it's so much easier to follow) or maybe was just being nice and let me pass, so I went and tried to build and keep a lead.  Since we had already passed the aid station, it would only be another 1.5 mi at most.  Oh man, that was the longest 1.5 miles ever.  I kept wondering if the next turn would be the last.  But there was another, and another, and another.  And I kept hoping to see pink ribbons to know that I was still on the right course.  I was paranoid after the lost incident from before. 

At last, a guy was there to cheer us on (must be close!) but moreso to make sure we took the sharp left fork.  It was uphill.  I asked him how much farther, but he wouldn't say... just said that it was one last hill. So I kept going as best as I could.  I was so tired by now.  A guy passed me.  We got to the top of the hill, and it was flat after that, but it kept going.  How much farther!?!  Finally, we could see buildings and cars through the trees, and the finish line was close.  Final push, and at last, the race/ordeal was over.

Oh man, that was tough.  After crossing the line, I let myself crumble to the ground a bit just to catch my breath and rest.  I really wanted water.  I guess I finished more dehydrated than usual... fine, but thirsty.  Delicious oranges at the finish.  I was tired.  I put on more clothes and watched the other intense runners finish.  I kind of wanted someone to just hug me, since I was so drained.  Haha... I bet boys don't feel like that after races.  I don't know why.  Must've been tough.  Maybe it's some evolutionary thing... like after a girl gives birth, she wants to be hugged.  I don't know, since I haven't given birth before.  But I've heard that child-bearing is far harder than a marathon, according to even the elites.




Post-race:Afterwards, there were raffles and age group awards.  There was a really fun group of ladies that had travelled from Chapel Hill, and they were really enthusiastic anytime any one of them won something.  There was also some nice music.  I finished 5th overall and 1st in the 20-29 AG.  I might've been able to shave off 3 min if I knew the course better and didn't get lost.  Oh yeah, it was muddy in some parts with deep footprints, but I survived that okay. 


(photo credit - Seth Novak's album)

// 11.15.2011 update - FYI, the AG award was a visor with the Camp Croft logo.  That's nice b/c I was looking into getting another visor anyway, and now I have one.  The one I've had since HS, I still really love, but it's just been through a lot (including getting run over by my car).  The one I'm wearing is my racing one.  I could use another to wear to non-sweaty events. 

Results:
25/109 Overall
5/48 F
1/9 20-29F

1:55:54, 8:51 ave.
Splits> 38:16 @ 4.75 (8:03... oh man, maybe I went out too fast), 1:05:23 @ 8.1 (8:05 pace for this leg), 11:55:54 @ 13.1 (10:07 for this leg, where I got lost)... so maybe I didn't go out too fast.  Maybe I lost more time than I thought... 2 min/mi, with 5 mi... I didn't lose 10 min there.  So maybe I must've faded as well, especially as I had to powerwalk up the hills at the end.  But I'll know better next year, and maybe they'll do a little more with the course markings next year.

Even though it was hard, I had a lot of fun.  Last night, as I was falling asleep, my legs felt like I was still running uphill.  I really have an urge to run and climb on uneven terrain and leap over roots right now.  It was envigorating.  It was a great race.  Even though it's only the 2nd annual, the people who put it on were very organized and put on a fantastic event.  It's a fun and varied course.  If there's anyone out there who's run road HMs before, I'd encourage you to give trail running a try, too.  I look forward to doing this again next year!

Nov 5, 6, 8, 9

FIT:
I guess I've lost my old eagerness to post immediately after each running workout.  It probably wasn't very interesting, anyway... how little sleep I got, how I did either a progression run on the treadmill, a park run (progression), or a long run... or what part of my leg was nagging a bit.  Before, each run seemed special and worthy of a post.  Oh well.  I'm sure the excitement will come back at some point.  I had just finished my second half marathon within a month, and maybe I'm just a little tired.  Maybe not only of running.  But I'm sure it'll pass. 

Nov 5:
Recumbent Bike session.  I had run the day before, and I thought it would be good training to have a two-in-a-row, to get a different kind of stress.  Normally, I need at least 1 day of not running after a day of running to recover and feel like I'm not risking injury.  But I do think I could handle occassional back-to-back days.  I wanted to today, but my upper left shin was feeling a bit stressy again, so I biked instead, to play it safe.  I did 45 minutes and covered 11.7 mi.  I did't sweat as much as I normally do.  I had 3/4 of a bottle of water plus lemon and salt and read a magazine.   Oh yeah, I've been reading this year's special Trail edition of Runner's World to learn more about rail running from a technical perspective to pick up some tips, as well as to learn how to fully appreciate this special kind of run.  So I pushed it during the bike session and got my heart working hard, but it was also pleasureable and relaxing to read while biking.  I always enjoy my running mag reading times on the bike.  During the last 15 minutes, my right butt was going numb.  Normally, it starts kicking in after the 45 min mark, not the 30 min mark like this time.  Ideally, I'd like to do LR-length sessions on the bike, but not on this particular recumbent bike.  I don't know it's an imbalance in my body or on the bike. 

Nov 6:
Park Run.  If I couldn't do back-to-back runs, I'd at least do a Run-Bike-Run.  Went to the park, to get some outside running in on the weekend, since weekdays would always be too dark when I wasn't at work.  5.3 in 42:41, 8:03 ave.  Splits> 6:37, 6:22, 6:03, 5:55, 5:52, 5:37.  When I first started, my left upper outer shin felt like something was loose in there, but it was fine within the first quarter mile.  My legs were still snapping and popping for the second day in a row after Nov 4th's outside park run (the first in 2 months).  One nice thing was that the slight uphill pavement part of the loo felt easier than it's ever felt. I wonder if it was due to the hill workout a week ago.

Nov 8:
Strength session.  550 crunches/side, 2:30 plantk, 115/115 abdcutor/adductor leg lifts, 50 dumbellrows, 2x90 shallow single-leg quad dips, 120 half-hearted lower leg extensions, elastic band 4-way leg exercises, resistance band arm exercises, 25 single-leg pelvic thrusts, 45 pushups, 55 superman arm sweeps.  I noticed that my left foot had to lean on its outside for balance during the single-leg quad dips.  It's probaly related to my weakened arches due to the plantar fasciitis.  The PF has been better.  I still feel it in the mornings, but it's not bad, and it goes away.  It has migrated to sometimes hit on the ball of my foot rather than the heel.  Anyway, back to the quad dips, I was able to mentally force myself to balance on my entire foot, rather than just the outside, so it could be just a subconscious thing trying to protect my arch by not using it.

Nov 9:
Treadmill run.  I forgot to turn it to incline 1 at the beginning (for the first time ever), so I went at 0 degrees for 1.5 mi before switching to incline 2 for 1.5 to make up the difference.  I finished with 0.1 mi at 1 degree.  Splits> 8:17, 7:47, 7:42, 0:43 for 1.  3.1 in 24:31, 7:55.  My left achilles was bugging me a bit, so I had to be careful to try to keep it relaxed as much as possible to not rupture it or something. 

A good week of training.  Using the treadmill on Wednesday was good because I wanted my legs to stay sharp for the race on Saturday...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Oct 31, Nov 4

FIT:
On Oct 30th, the day after the Spinx HM, my legs were feeling sore, especially my quads.  I had been doing a post-marathon shuffle after a HM, and I'm normally just fine afterwards... tired, but able to walk fairly normally.  I decided to do a strength session, to work out stiffness.  In hindsight, maybe a day of rest would've been better, but it wasn't bad.  550 crunches/side, 2:45 plank, 90/95 adductor/abdctor leg lifs, 25 tricep dips, 100 lower leg extensions, resistance band for arms, resitance band for legs, 1:00 sie planks, 50 arm sweeps in superman position, 150 weighted dead bug crunches

The next day, I was excited to prep for the Camp Croft HM, which would take place in another two weeks.  I decided to do some hills, which had the added benefit of being low impact compared to the usual 1 degree treadmill run.  It would also help me be a better overall runner.  I was originally going to just go to bed early and have a rest day, but I ended up being too alert to sleep (at 8pm), so I decided to do that workout instead. 

The workout: 0.25 mi @ 7mph, 0.75 mi @ 8mph to warm up quickly (my mom was taking video, so I wanted to get sweaty and into workout mode quickly... I normally wouldn't hit 8 until the very end of my run), 2 x [0.5 @ 5 degree, 0.5 @ 1 degree] at 7.5mph, 1 mile progression run to finish off and give my legs a break from the hills.  It's a baby hill workout, but I gotta start somewhere.  I guess it all depends on how fast you're going...

Let's break out http://www.hillrunner.com/training/tmillchart.php
at 1 degree, 7.5mph = 8:00/mi, and at 5 degrees, 7.5mph = 6:54/mi, so it was a decent workout after all. 

The next day, Nov 1, my legs felt a bit banged up, maybe with the HM, Strength the day after, and Hills the day after that. 

The next two days, I wanted to work out, but I was too sleepy.  On the bright side, sleepiness = forced rest, which will help prevent overtraining, which is good because I'm very eager to get better.  Also, it's been a fantastic week for me sleep-wise, with about 7 hr per night!!!  Hopefully, I've been able to absorb the training from the HM and hills.

I really wanted to run, though.  Earlier yesterday evening, I was itching for a long run, but by the time I had my usual big dinner, I got sleepy sleepy.  I dreamed about being able to run, though.  You know you want to run when you dream about it.

Today, finally got in the run after 3 days of rest.  I really wanted to go to the park.  I haven't been there in 7 weeks!  It's normally my staple outside place to run on weekdays.  It's dark by the time I get off work and finish dinner, though, so I don't think I'll be able to go out there again on weekdays for a while.  Treadmill saves gas, but I will miss the variation in surface and the use of my stabilizer muscles.  I'll really crave my weekend runs outside, though, so maybe that'll help me want to go extra long on long runs. 

So today's workout...
I just wanted to get in some miles, knowing that I'd go again this weekend, maybe tomorrow, maybe Sunday.  I always tackle the park runs in the same way - progression. Nothing fancy.  Start, and I'll naturally go faster as I go along. 

~0.75 mi Lap Splits> 6:31, 6:25, 6:16, 6:11, 6:06, 6:07, 5:58, 5:54, 5:39.

6.7 in 55:13, 8:15 ave, 546 cal.  Nice pace given the terrain.  The cool temps certainly helped.

Looking forward to HP7_II coming out on 11.11.11!!!  If Walmart opens before I leave for work, I may have to get it then, even if I can't watch it yet.  It'll be a nice way to chill before the Camp Croft HM (thanks for the race suggestion, Lindsay from chasingthekenyans.com!)  By the way - how should I pace the run?  They don't provide an elevation map, so I don't know when the slower miles are supposed to be and when I can feel okay about pushing it a bit without burning out too early.  Judging from your time last year, since I'm a bit slower, I can expect an overall pace of ~10:00/mi, but I don't know when I should be going faster vs. slower.  Thanks in advance for the advice!