MarathonMaiden's Blog

August 31, 2011

To Race or Not To Race

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 12:43

It’s probably a silly question.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love racing: going fast is awesome.  But on the other hand, I’ve let myself get way out of racing shape.  Mostly by running long and slow but also not taking care of myself terribly well this past summer. In retrospect maybe I could have done things differently but whatever, I did what I needed to do.

That said, once I moved here I jumped on the chance to run/train/race.  I met one of my friends in the Dallas area last December (actually I met in real life a lot of people that December) at White Rock.  We keep in touch via RW and now FB as well as, duh, real life.  She’s part of a running group (The White Rock Running Coop) that meets twice a week, very informally, to do a LR on Saturday and then a speed workout in the middle of the week.  This past week they actually met three times because the afternoon heat has made speedwork hard, so that was changed to an early am session and the night run is a recovery one.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that ever since I’ve known I was going to move here (as in once I had actual plans to do so) she invited me to the FB group for the group and I’ve been excited ever since.  Training with a group is awesome. Don’t get me wrong I love my solo runs. But I ran a long run with them last Saturday and their training mindset was infectious.  After Boston I had vowed to take off racing for the year; I was definitely overtrained, injured and just tired of push push pushing.  These guys are all training for fall races, ranging from Chicago to White Rock, and it got a little bit of the “hey I want to do that. Hey I want to follow a training schedule and have workouts with NAMES again.”

thanks google images

Now I haven’t gone off the deep end and registered for any races yet (I have registered to become a member of the Dallas Running Club and with that you get 8 free races.  I’m not counting those, especially since this one on Saturday is going to be after a 9-10 mile run as part of the long run) but I have some on my little “I want to do them” list.  A couple have price increases as of September 1st and I hate having pressure on me, especially since I still don’t know what I’ll do.

So the title of this post may be a tease because I clearly have no information as to my fall race schedule to give myself, much less you.  I am, however, training as though I’ve committed.

The first week that I was here (and for those of you who missed my last post I am not longer in Providence RI but now in Dallas, TX) I just ran easy.  No shock because that’s what I’ve been doing all summer. It was all about A) getting acclimated to the weather (it’s been 100+ every day with the lows being PVD’s highs!) B) exploring the area — both via bus/rail and running by getting out on the “trails” :

DallasCounty.org

While the trails can be pretty, there are the quote marks because it’s concrete. My legs are taking a beating due to it!

After being here in TX a week, I decided last Thursday (the 25th) to do a speed session. After actually making the move to Texas I felt that my life was less chaotic and during the exploratory run the previous night I felt the itch to do something structural with my running week. So on Thursday I set out.  In 85* @ 7am weather. Excellent.

I’d actually only been in Dallas for a day at that point due to the apartment fail but I had found a nice field on my previous run and thought it’d be good to use for speed work.  I was secretly hoping for a track there but it wasn’t too be.  I used a soccer field instead and did the following workout:

  • 4 X 3 laps of the field (~1000m) with 1.5 laps of recovery (~500m)

After some “extensive” google searching I took the average of all the measurements out there to be that 3 laps of a soccer pitch is ~1000m, and for my pace calculation I took it to be .6 miles. Good enough for me. How’d it go?

  1. 4:32 (7:33)
  2. 4:31 (7:32)
  3. 4:37 (7:43)
  4. 4:39 (7:45)

I guess I’ll take it? It’s slightly slower pace wise then when I did my 4 X 800m three week prior but slightly faster than when I did my 4X1 mile two weeks ago.  Since I really have no idea how long the entire field was, my paces ranged from 15 seconds faster (if you assume I ran further than the distance I used) to 30 seconds slower (if you assume I ran shorter). With all that guesswork involved I’ll just say that I’m happy with it because it felt hard and very taxing.

Just an interesting note that I saw lightning off in the distance during these early bird hours of running. Weird to me to have those t-storms so early; in MA/RI those storms crop up in the late afternoon. And there was a creepy kid doing soccer drills in the field.

No apologies for this one. Once I wrote lightning I had to watch it. And then share

This past Saturday was my first group LR.  I think I’ve run by myself for long runs with the exception of maybe 5 total.  This was the day that I started really feeling the itch of having a marathon on tap this fall.  The plan was to go for 15 miles, but a few wrong turns from the group leader got us to 15.6. NBD in my book.

We started at 0600 to try and get the bulk of the miles before the sun came out (sun rises around 7 in these parts) and the run was okay.  With my summer going how it went and the Texas heat I started out with the group that was running 9:45 pace and stuck with them.  At first I felt like I could have gone faster but I’m glad one of the guys told me not too.  I felt great until mile 11.  Miles 11-13 were eh.  After that I just wanted to be done.  I did finish: 15.6 miles @ 9:45 pace. As one of the guys told me at the end:

“Welcome to Texas”

Also just a note, because this is getting sooooooooooooooo freaking long!, I started a bare bones strengthening workout this week that I plan on doing 2-3 times a week (found it in a recent RW I think).  Nothing major but it makes me feel like I’m doing something.  At some point I’ll add to it or actually hit a gym but it’s good for a nice quick 10-minutes-and-I-feel-better-about-myself lift.

  • 20 walking lunges
  • 50 crunches
  • 10 pushups
  • 20 squats
  • 30-45 seconds of plank

I’m going to call this past week (August 22-28) my first week of training.  For what? Who knows. But after those two workouts above, re-starting a strength plan (hadn’t done anything like that for arms/core since May and legs was probably December) I’m beat and wearing compression socks to bed.  I’m sure adjusting to the heat has something to do with it too. No injuries although, as I mentioned above, my legs are feeling achy from the concrete. Regardless I finished up with 62.7 miles. Lower than I’d like but a solid place to start.

Wow I didn’t realize how much I had to say about my running lately. Sure makes up for my lack of exciting running this summer! I’ll post my track workout that I did this morning (it was the group workout that I had missed Tuesday morning because I wasn’t going to walk in the dark to get there!) tomorrow or Friday because it was a doozy and put some things in perspective in terms of races and this fall, as well as the group recovery run I’m going to tonight.

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11 Comments »

  1. Great workout! I’m in the same boat with group runs. I love my solo runs, but once in awhile you need to get out there and run with the pack. :)

    Comment by Jamie — August 31, 2011 @ 13:09

  2. Great workout – I’m sure adjusting to the TX heat, humidity and wind will take some time, but it sounds like you already have a great group of people around for trainnig buddies. Do any of the “trails” nearby have a dirt side path? A lot of our biking/walking paths around here have a dirt “path” next to them that’s 1-2 people wide – or maybe run on the grass? Clearly we should be city planners and have nice, soft paths with gently rolling hills in every neighborhood, hehe!!

    Comment by Sarah — August 31, 2011 @ 13:52

  3. I think you have to let your gut/heart lead you. You’ve certainly had a long time off racing, even if it’s not the full year you intended. Do what feels right. I know that speed is still there in those legs!

    Comment by misszippy1 — August 31, 2011 @ 14:10

  4. Congrats on the move! What an exciting step. Sorry to hear about your grandfather and all of the family as well… it sounds like a rough summer, but a fresh start will definitely help.

    I am NOT, however, jealous of the Texas weather. We’ve had a couple days where it’s been 80 degrees and dewpoint in the mid-60s and I just sweat buckets. If I went down where you are I’d drink enough to cause another drought. I also hit the gym for the first time since March last night. Oof. My core is useless. I think I might try that mini-routine.

    Comment by kristinschleicher — August 31, 2011 @ 14:23

  5. I love hearing about your new Texas adventures, even if they’re in that stupid city up north where they pour concrete onto running “trails.” ;) I also love how you gave yourself a whole week to “get acclimated” before doing speedwork. Haha! You’ll start feeling normal again in like…two years.

    Comment by Jess — August 31, 2011 @ 14:46

  6. Awesome that you found a group to run with. I wish someone around here did long runs on Saturdays or workouts in the morning…

    Comment by Chelsea — August 31, 2011 @ 15:58

  7. Howdy girl! Congrats on your move! I’m laughing b/c I’m in the exact same boat as you (although mine is more imminent…like this weekend). I just moved cross country and the heat and humidity of the South has kicked my trash. Like woah. It’s bad. I’m sucking. And I have a half this weekend. Highs of 87. Bleh. To race or just run?

    Anyways, about your question….RACE! The temps will cool off. And if you feel like you WANT to enter a race, then you’re probably over the overtraining hump, if that makes sense. So you didnt take a full year off. Maybe you don’t need a full year. I say, do whatever you WANT to do. Maybe enter a race that you want to run…just to run it. Chicago is supposed to be great! You just run it for enjoyment and not a PR. What marathon do you want to run?

    Hope the heat breaks soon!

    Comment by Ashley @ This Is The Place — August 31, 2011 @ 18:19

  8. Glad to see you found a group and that you’re getting excited about the future. Be well, be sensible and happy running!

    Comment by Flo — August 31, 2011 @ 19:38

  9. I always like to be training for something! Maybe a half instead of a full so you don’t increase your milage too fast and if I’ve missed something and it’s only the pace that’s bothering you well race anyway and just enjoy it for the experience, you’d still be faster than slowcoaches like me! It’s good to see you back blogging btw!

    Comment by Laura @ box run eat — September 1, 2011 @ 02:42

  10. Do you feel healthy? Do you feel like you have your energy back? If you do, then training to race wouldn’t be bad thing. What also might be good is to put yourself in the “maybe” boat. Start the training and keep the marathon in mind. This time around, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If things start feels great, and you are acclimated to the heat, then go for it. If you feel like you are still struggling on runs and need more frequent rests, fuel, whatever, then nix the marathon plan and take it EASY! The running group will always be there to train with and you don’t have to decide today.

    Comment by Rebecca — September 1, 2011 @ 05:08

  11. So…you are kind of a nutcase. You moved to Texas in the dead of summer. That just blows my mind. And then you’re like, yeah! Laps around a soccer field! Oh Karyn, you make me smile. And I would highly suggest throwing in your name to some 5Ks. They are so low pressure, let you get to know the city, and don’t require a big commitment. And you will be faster than most people.

    Comment by sarah — September 1, 2011 @ 08:33


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