MarathonMaiden's Blog

January 20, 2010

Recovery Run Love?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:03

Ummm so I love the fact that after I posted saying how much I love the support I get from you guys that LOTS of you told me that you love me.  Well maybe not quite like that but I was feeling the love! So thanks again and you guys ROCK 🙂

It’s Wednesday (?!) so that means recovery run day! I think I’m slowing beginning to enjoy the recovery run as the training programs moves along.  Partly because I’ve been shown great results when it comes to the quality workouts I’m doing and partly because it’s nice to just let go of pace.  It’s mentally taxing to constantly be worried about hitting a pace.  And the longer I’ve been doing these types of runs the less judgmental I am.

Like today.  I set out on a nice 6 mile loop and just went.  Yes my legs were a little cranky from yesterday’s killer workout but I didn’t feel the need to pressure them into doing something faster than they wanted.  And I didn’t feel like I was running all that slow or anything either. Granted when I finished up that loop and saw just in fact how slow I was running, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit appalled. But I pushed it from my mind and my next 4 mile loop, while faster sure, didn’t feel any faster.

This tells me that I’m letting my body respond to my workouts and tell me what it needs.  This is fabulous.  Since my plan has me doing 3 quality workouts a week I’ll stop my schpiel there and refer you to an interesting article I found the other day on recovery runs.

As I’m sure you noticed my mileage was yet again double digits (double digit streak = 38 days. running streak = 59 days).  While I have no problem with this as long as my body holds up my muscles are starting to tighten and rebel.  I’ve responded by stretching more (!).  Now it’s not much, only about 20 minutes a night the past few night, but it’s a start.  I’ve lost so much flexibility that it’s a bit discouraging to do but I know that tight muscles =/= injuries. So I’m working to increase my flexibility to keep my muscles loose and avoid nagging aches and pains.

Lately my left foot has been acting up and last week my right achilles was.  Preventative stretching and strengthening have made that go away so I’m hoping to do the same with the foot.  At first I was thinking plantar fasciitis but my pain isn’t in the heel at all.  It’s in the middle third of my foot and the tightness radiates up through the big toe.  In fact I can feel the “pain” (which it’s not pain per se but more acheyness) best when I try to flex my big toe and when I do a standing calf stretch.  It’s gotten better as I’ve stretched out more so I’m hopeful that it’s not a big deal.

I also did another full body lifting session today.  I think I might hit 3 sessions this week again! Luckily there were no sports teams there today which was great.  It definitely made it a lot less crowded.  I’m extremely happy with my level of strength, like I say a lot haha, but I’ve noticed that by lifting the way I have my arms are able to carry be through the hard workouts like yesterday.  During the intervals I was incredibly thankful that my arms are as strong as they are.  As well as my legs, abs etc. It also feels good to have the prissy girls on the elliptical (and I can’t wait to create a gym crazies post at some point) kind of stare at me all bug eyed and the guys stare with a sort of respect.  I tend to then adapt a “hell yeah I’m a BAMF” attitude that just fuels me through the rest of the workout.

The rest of my day is going to be pretty lazy. So I’m going to go start that now 🙂

Also be sure to check out Tricia’s giveaway. And Meg’s.

Have a great Wednesday everyone!

January 19, 2010

Tuesday Intervals: Week 13. GET PUMPED

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:18

First off: I’m so paranoid that my computer will get another virus like now that I keep running virus scans every hour. Am I officially crazy? Maybe but last hour it picked something up but I think I took care of it.  Eeeek!

Second of all: I LOVE you guys.  I don’t think I say this enough (or at all) but I get so motivated by your comments and your blogs.  I think I’ve mentioned that I do my running 100% alone in “real life”, aka my friends and family don’t really support me at all, so every time I hear from one of you it just feels soooo good to know that other can relate and know what I’m going through and understand.  Soooooooo I’m going to stop right there before this gets too corny.  But thanks 🙂

Gosh I get scared every Monday night when I’m planning out my Tuesday workouts.  And by plan I mean copy the workout to an index card and write down pertinent information. I don’t think it’s the actual speed work that I dread but Interval Day = Hill Day as well and I am terrified of hills.  This is week 4 of doing hills and I will admit they are getting easier to mentally wrap my head around but I do still get the heeby-jeebies thinking about them.

This is what my plan told me to do:

  • 5-7 X [1000m] @ 10k pace with 2 minutes recovery

And here’s what I did.  (So I guess I retract the “I only copy down my workout Monday night” statement haha)

  • 1 mile warm up
  • 8 X [1200m (3/4 mile)] @ 713 pace (just about 10k pace) with 400m (1/4 mile) recovery
  • 1 mile warm down
  • 5 minute bathroom / water break
  • 5 minute re-warm up
  • 6 X [ 90 seconds hills in ladder form (6%, 7, 8, 8, 7, 6)] with 60 seconds recovery (pace was 8:34 whole time)
  • Loooooong ass warm down

Total time = 2 hours
Total distance = 15 miles

What a great workout! I wasn’t planning on going for so long but by the time the warm down came up I was ready for a really long and relaxing one so the mileage did get inflated a bit.  Funny that I was probably the first person in the gym when it opened up at noon and the very last person to leave when it closed at 1400.  I’m sure the person working the desk and other gym-goers thought I was crazy. They’re probably right. 🙂

The interval section wasn’t that bad, like usual.  I changed the plan and added 200m to each repeat because it’s easier to keep track of on the treadmill .75 miles than .621.  Plus the recovery of 2 minutes roughly equaled .25 miles so it was very easy not only to keep track of when to change pace but it was also really easy to keep track of the number of repeats I did.

It was also good for me to keep the pace at 10k pace rather than trying to go faster and harder.  As Lacey has noted in the past, the whole point of repeats is to make it to the last one rather than push it in the first one and die for the rest.  It’s a lesson I’m trying to avoid learning the hard way.  By interval 6 I was still feeling good so I decided to tack on an extra repeat rather than increase the pace.  I think it was a smart choice as by the end of repeat 8 I was feeling that build up of fatigue in my legs.

I guess today was 2 separate workouts done back to back because I took a 5 minute break between the intervals and hills and each got its own warm up/down. This also allowed me to watch an obscene amount of the History Channel.  I got to watch a show on the Pacific Coast Highway (which I now want to drive the whole damn thing) AND a show on the Saraha desert and how it was once a fertile rainforest.

The hills weren’t as bad as I’ve done in the past.  Yes they were really hard but I think that it was more manageable because I chose to go with more intensity (higher grade (6-8% vs 5%)) but for a short duration (90 seconds vs ~4 minutes).  Because of the shorter time interval I was able to mentally stay with it and not want to quit.  In fact despite having 6-8 repeats written down on my card I was willing to let 4 happen and then call it a day (because hills scare me *that* much).  I’m thrilled obviously that I was able to get in 2 more repeats.

My legs felt soooo tired at the end, like they were out of gas, but I knew that I needed to warm down.  I know that if you just STOP after such intensity then blood pools in your legs.  Not good.  I probably didn’t need to go for as long as I did but when I hit the amount of time I planned for the warm down I noticed that for an extra 6 minutes I would hit 2 hours AND 15 miles.  And numbers like that don’t happen every day you know.  So I was tempted and couldn’t resist.  I even thought to myself that I was crazy and I didn’t need those minutes/distance but hey my number crunching ways couldn’t say no. Heh.

The only downside to the workout was that it was right during lunchtime and I was starving when I finished.  I didn’t eat much after breakfast because I wasn’t hungry yet but I let too much time pass between eating and basically just inhaled a ton of food.  Like literally it probably was a ton! I guess that’s why they say don’t let yourself get too hungry ever? Haha 😛

In other notes: I was right about yesterday at the gym being crowded.  Both the T&F and bball teams were there and my school has a tiny gym in general and the weight section is small too.  Not good for trying to get weights / space.  Plus so many people talking and being chaotic makes me unable to think.  Boo. One day I’m going to write a post on the gym-goers I see as Special K suggested.  I’m trying to draft something now but I can’t seem to erase the bitterness in it.  Oops, something to work on I guess haha,

BUT I’m pretty sure my 3:30 goal for Boston is official-official.  One of the T&F coaches was there (the one who has been trying to recruit me to pole vault / high jump for the past 4 years) and he was asking how much I was running and why etc. because he sees me running all the time and in places that are pretty far from the school (well duh because I’m running big miles haha).  So I mentioned that I was training for Boston, wanted to better my debut marathon time etc.  And when he asked me A) what my debut time was and B) what my goal time was, he was VERY impressed with my goal of 3:30.  But he also told me that 7-8 minutes (PR = 3:37:58) is totally doable because the race is so long.

So now I’m even more pumped than ever! Wooooooooooot!

January 18, 2010

Neither Sleet nor Snow nor Rain etc

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 10:57

So pretty much as soon as I hit publish on Saturday my computer decided to tell me that it really *did* have a virus and that I needed serious help.  I took it back to the Geek Squad (who are the nicest people EVER! I know you guys joked about flirting but NEVER underestimate the power of a big smile )where they ran more extensive tests and low and behold I did have some intense viruses.  Maybe I’m such am intense person that my viruses decided to follow suit? Ha.  But I didn’t end up getting my computer back until late Sunday.

I will say that it wasn’t as bad as I thought to go without a computer / internet for a day.  I did watch some NCIS on dvd and got to do some a lot of reading in between errands.  Usually I feel the tug of the computer and don’t try to fight the impulse to just surf the net so reading falls to the wayside.  That’s not to say I’m not happy to get my computer back but it was nice to be untethered.

Not that there was much to tell about Sunday.  Just the typical day-after-long-run recovery run.  I did it first thing because I knew I was going to be running around on crazy errands all day.  This meant that it wouldn’t be 24 hours between a hard workout and the next one.  Not that I’m a huge stickler for have a certain time interval pass between hard and recovery runs but it’s just a little weird to be finishing the recovery run before the time of day I started the long run.  I know that probably doesn’t sound totally right written out but it makes sense in my head, okay? It’s like in a 24 hour period I ran more than a marathon heh. But because of that time interval I was slogging through the run.  I think part of it is that even though I try really hard to not push pace on these types of runs I still want to.  So I had to remind myself that I needed to slow the eff down.  Audibly too, so I’m sure passing cars thought I was the coolest kid ever.

Now onto today.  I knew that there was a high likelihood of waking up to rain. Unfortunately it was actually sleet and very windy.  Oh man the sounds it was making on my window! Kind of scary.  But I think that snow/sleet > rain and I’ve been lucky so far this winter with avoiding bad weather so I was getting out there.  Plus the gym is at such odd hours that if I wanted to get a good lifting session in the run had to happen first thing.

I think I headed out there at the tail end of the storm because it was precipitating for only a few miles.  But the wind.  Now I realize that I’m a lightweight but I like to think that I have some muscle.  I mean I do lift a couple time a week and am pretty strong.  But I thought I was going to be knocked over! Kind of dangerous when I was on a busier road and I had to stop once or twice because I was running straight into that and actually was not moving.  It was like running in a wind tunnel. Which made the snow/sleet mix feel like pellets of stone hitting me.  I’m 99.99% sure that I have cuts on my legs and face because of it.  Sheesh.

Overall I’m pretty happy with the run.  The temperature and precipitation were much nicer to me than I thought.  Granted the wind made me a little pissy about my pace for the first 5 or so miles and I’m going to blame the slow pace on the wind rather than needing lots of time to warm up, a slamming 18.7 miler this weekend (which I could tell that you guys were just as psyched about it as I was.  Made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside 🙂 ) , 0800 run with no breakfast beforehand etc.  But after about 4 or 5 miles my attitude improved (as did the weather) and I was puddle jumping and having fun. Totally finished the 10.8 mile run strong too which is something I strive for on any run regardless of if it’s an easy run, recovery run, tempo run or long run.

Now I’m off to the gym to get a solid lifting session in.  I’m hoping that there aren’t too many people there but given the limited hours of the gym over break I’m not going to count on it.  As much as I’d love to just skip it I really think that the sessions are making me a stronger and faster runner.  And then I get to play catchup with all the TV I’m behind on.  Can’t wait to watch 24 today.  Eeek! Jack Bauer ❤

BAMF

Check out this giveaway that ForTheLoveoftheRun is having. And here’s a Simpsons giveaway too.

Just as a final note: I don’t know how many of you read Jess’s blog but you should.  She’s so amazing and just ran the Houston marathon in a blistering 3:08:30! Now that’s fast. Congrats girl! 🙂

January 16, 2010

Woot To The Long Run

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 18:36

Oh man. It’s been feeling like one crazy day but I haven’t *really* done a lot.  I guess that’s what happens on long run days.  Not only are you running for lots of minutes but it makes time seem so relative and before you know it the day is over!

I’ve been having some computer problems lately and finally got them squared away today.  So I started off my day by visiting the Geek Squad and dropping off my computer before heading off on my long run.  After the run (which I will get to because I ❤ the long run and love to talk about it heh) I went back and picked up my computer.  The guy that helped me was sooooo nice because there really wasn’t anything wrong with my machine.  But he stayed with me for an hour and a half (!) and “fixed” it.  Then didn’t charge me.  I actually walked away with tears in my eyes because I was (and still am) so grateful.

So now that my computer is back I can tell you all about my long run (and I need to catch up on google reader. Man you guys were busy for the 8 hours I didn’t have access to the internet!).  The schedule said 17-19 miles for today.  Which first off is ridiculous.  But in a total loving good way.  It’s only week 3 of my plan which is why it’s crazy that I mapped out a 18.2 mile route.  To put it in perspective: last training cycle I didn’t do my first 18 run until week 6!!

I was a little amped up over the computer situation so I think I went out a little fast on the first portion of my run.  I had a 14.4 mile loop and then was going to follow it with a 3.8 loop.  Nothing too exciting about the first loop.  I mean I did a lot of thinking but mainly I knew that the 14.4 route was just a warm up to the last bit.  Not to belittle that first part but pushing through the last part of any run is where I anticipate a little more effort needed.  I mean they don’t say the marathon is a 20 mile warm up for a 10k race for nothing.

I will say that miles 11 to 14 ended up being the rough ones.  I was going to try to hit goal marathon pace (GMP) during these miles but I just didn’t have the drive to.  Which is okay because I don’t have to hit GMP during a long run for another couple of weeks or so.  I think I didn’t want to because at that point I’d already gone a considerable distance but there was still so much more to go to hit the 18.2 that I wanted.  Despite this I was actually thinking of ditching my 3.8 route in favor of a 4.6 route that would give me 19 even miles.  But I didn’t because my previous distance PR post-marathon was the 16.2 I did last week.  And I thought that almost 3 miles more would be quite a leap.

And I kind of regret it.  Almost.

See as much as I really get pumped off of speed stuff I really live for the long run.  It just comes very naturally to me (part of why I think an ultra is in my future). I take a really long time apparently to find my groove.  Like 14 miles maybe? Because once I hit that second loop I was off to the races I guess.  Which is funny because with most people I’d attribute it to taking a gel or granola bar (as I usually do).  But for whatever reason today I decided to go with nothing.  Yes the entire long run was done on my breakfast.

I have no real explanation for why the first 14 miles were right on par with what I shoot for on a long run (9:00 pace) but the last 3.8 were at 8:25?! WTF?! I thought that these 3.8 were going to be the bane of my existence: my bladder was full, I was worried about my computer, I didn’t have any food on me.  But I felt so damn good that I tacked on an additional half mile for a grand total of 18.7 miles.

I wish I had the foresight to know how good I was going to feel so I could have hit the upper range of 19 in my plan.  But 18.7 is just as good which is why I don’t regret not doing 19. I even thought about eeking out another 1.3 to make it 20 (because I ended the run on such a high and my legs felt ready to GO) but didn’t only because I don’t need to.  I’m trying this thing called “Trust The Plan” 🙂

I’m sure the lifting played a part in why I felt so good.  That and the hills I’ve been doing.  And the slow as hell recovery runs. Sure it’s been torture but like I said yesterday, it surely is a prescription for greatness. So thanks to everyone whole told me that yesterday.  It means a lot and helps me stick to “Trusting the Plan”.   Rebecca also mentioned this when she said “I’ve found that the slower I do my recovery runs, the more I can put towards tempo/LT workouts.” I definitely feel the same way and think that it also holds true to these long runs. Plus I felt like I could charge up the hills on my route (there aren’t many and I guess technically they’re more like inclines in the road haha) without altering my pace.  If I keep getting this kind of feedback from my body I think I’ll be okay come April.

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect either: 45* and partly cloudy.  I got to wear shorts and a tee-shirt! And of course my gloves, but they weren’t the “lobster mittens” (as I so lovingly refer to them as) but just the regular old gloves.  Perfect conditions for a damn near perfect run.

I could go on and on about how awesome this run felt.  But I won’t because I don’t want to beat a dead horse. Plus 18.7 miles makes a girl very hungry.  Must. Go. Find. Food!

P.S.  I won Nikki’s LED hat giveaway! Thanks girl! I can’t wait to try it out and report back 🙂

January 15, 2010

Musings on a Friday

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:54

I know it’s only the beginning of the training cycle but man I look forward to each of my workouts and I’m eager to take my medicine.  I see them as a prescription to greatness.  I know that there will be factors out of my control come race day (or during the training cycle even) but I get giddy just thinking about not only my next hard workout (tomorrow’s long run) but even the recovery runs and strength training stuff which I did today.

I felt like I slept pretty soundly last night.  I did get up once to use the bathroom but was able to fall back asleep pretty quickly.  I hate the nights where my bladder wakes me up and then I can’t fall back asleep.  Annoying.  I also work up before my alarm which to me usually means that I’ve slept well.  It’s probably related to the intense tempo I did yesterday.  Hard speed work never fails to let me sleep like a baby.  And where did that expression come from anyway? At least I was a baby that never slept.  But I was very colicky.  But that’s a tangent. (And might be how this post goes as it’s Friday haha)

My point of bringing up sleep (aside from the fact that it’s something I’ve been thinking about lately) is that I felt rested enough to tackle the recovery run first thing.  It was a very gentle run.  Pace was definitely not pushed and, like I’ve said about past recovery runs, I was non-judgmental during the run.  My pacing lately has been feeling like just what I need.  I’m trying to work on being non-judgmental at the end of the run when I look at my watch.  It doesn’t last long but there’s that twinge of disappointment that I didn’t hit a faster pace.  Maybe I should leave my watch in my room.  Although that would screw up my data / number crunching ways haha.

I quickly refueled as I knew I was doing a lifting session today as well.  Nothing unusual about the lifting except that both men’s track and field and men’s swimming were in the weight room.  Ugh.  I go to a small school so the gym and weight section isn’t all that big.  Plus the athletes here take over and take up all the space.  So I had to fight for a bench and a small area to do my routine.

Despite the annoyances of lifting today I’m really glad I did.  It let me hit strength training THREE times this week.  I’m not sure my future schedule will allow me to keep that up but I see it as laying the bricks of my fitness foundation and that I’ll reap the rewards in April for the marathon.  I’ve also noticed the exercises getting easier so I either need to find a new/different routine OR up the weights.  I might just up the weights now as they aren’t wicked heavy but I don’t want to go to far and have too much muscle.  As a distance runner I just don’t need that kind of power the way a sprinter does.

After lifting, instead of warming down on the tm like I usually do, I went outside for my warm down.  Why? Because it was 40*!! It actually didn’t feel as warm as I thought it would but I think that’s because it was really cloudy.  I was still in shorts and a t-shirt though (and my gloves. Thank you Raynauds).  I typically shy away from doing my warm up/down outside (I get too tempted to turn it into a run) but I couldn’t pass up a temperature like that.  And I was bummed about not being able to do an actual run.  But I don’ t think I could have: at that point I had run my recovery run AND done a full body lifting session.  My body was beat!

Now it’s time to beat the mind.  I have some work that I’ve been putting off since coming back.  Oops! I doubt it’ll be too strenuous but it still needs to get done.  And on a Friday night too.  So glamorous 😛

[Edit: Yes the book I was referring to yesterday was Riki Tiki Tembo. Glad I’m not the only one who has heard of it haha]

January 14, 2010

Riki Tiki Tempo

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 18:09

OMG. I. AM. SORE.

So I stretched last night for a good 20 minutes while watching NCIS kick some booty.  And I don’t think I should EVER go on such a long stretching hiatus. It’s been 5 weeks since Jazz classes ended and thus 5 weeks without me stretching.  Combine that with huge mileage and the recent start of actual training (read: lifting and speedwork are regular occurrences)  and my muscles are clearly tight.  And I will say that the stretching felt good last night.  But man, I am sore from it.  I have no idea why but I did know that this would happen last night.  Maybe I overdid what my muscles could handle? Oh well.  Hopefully this soreness doesn’t deter me from stretching more often because I have lost A LOT of flexibility.

On the other hand I woke up with no Achilles pain.  I must have done *something* right. And Matt just sent me some stretching and strengthening stuff that helped him deal with this issue. Going to keep stretching lots as it did tighten up a bit after my run today. But sore legs are no excuse for slacking in the training plan.

Ergo I still had to do my tempo run today.  And before I get into how AWESOME it was (because it’s the truth) I want to say that I’m still loving the twice a week speed work that I’m doing.  I guess I love going fast. Don’t get me wrong: I love my distance and would feel incomplete without my long runs but (and shhhhhh it’s a little secret) I’m a bit scared of speed work.  Yes, my running start was as a sprinter so I shouldn’t really be but speed work is *HARD* and you have to put so much effort and energy into it.  So I always shy away.  This plan has me confronting my fear head on and I say BRING IT beyotch.

Here are the stats for the run:

  • 2.7 mile warm up
  • 5.9 to 6 mile tempo (mapmyrun says 6 but I’m thinking it’s a little overzealous?)@ 7:17-721 pace!
  • 4.1 mile warm down

Right off the bat I’m going to complain about mapping online and yes I know I should get a garmin but I am po’.  I had mentally calculated the tempo portion to be 5.9 miles but when I actually mapped it for accuracy online I got a 6 miler.  Obviously not the biggest deal in the world but I’m obsessive and need to know exact.  Anyone use mapmyrun and want to chime in as to how accurate they’ve felt it is? I did both “follow roads” and manual and they both spit out really similar results (like one hundredth on a difference)

Regardless of that .1 I am so pumped with the pacing.  If you recall last week I was slightly disappointed with my pacing job as I was on the low end of the range I wanted (target pace = 7:30 +/- 15 seconds). I had that in the back of my mind as a “carrot” to get me to dig deep within myself and obviously something clicked.  The pace itself, even though I had no idea what it was at the time, felt really hard.  But a comfortable hard. I think tempo runs are the hardest runs to do because it’s not sprinting, so you’re not going all out, but it’s not just something you can go by how your body feels.  It’s supposed to be hard.  You’re supposed to be breathing heavy and feel your legs getting tired and want to slow down. Eventually, however, my body just accepts that I’m not slowing down.

Well sort of.  It’s been a problem for me to keep a steady tempo pace.  I can feel a change in my form when I go from pushing-tempo-pace to relaxing a bit.  Even though my actual speed doesn’t change too much (at least I don’t think so) I notice a small shift.  Tempo pace has me running forward – almost falling into my step.  But when I relax I feel like I’m on my heels more and my hips shift forwards, almost as though I’m contracting my torso.  I like how aware of my body I’ve gotten lately.  No idea where it’s developing from per se but it’s good to be aware of any pacing and form connection.  Again, this doesn’t dramatically affect anything but it’s interesting how this happens.

And I think it’s linked to mental focus, which is always a point of contention for me. I’m still not able to focus as well as I’d like to.  I am aware that I can’t be 100% focused on maintaining a fast pace 100% of the time but I’d like to cut down on the accelerating/decelerating (or maintaining speed work form vs relaxed form) that I’m doing.  Any tips?

I do know that this is the reason I’m going to keep my tempo runs outside.  It’s getting me used to running fast on my own which is obviously something I’d be doing in a race.  And the runner’s high off of an outdoor tempo when you know that it’s 100000% YOU keeping up the bamfness is just not going to be found on any tm (even though I do find the tm useful). Plus as much as it would totally suck to bomb a tempo paced run it is a good learning experience (as I have learned in the past).

Although just as a note: I think my tempo was progressive today as I timed my last half mile (since I knew the distance) and I was running at – ready for this? – 640 pace!! Wayyy too fast for a tempo but still exciting to see for sure.

Today I also XT’d a bit.  As I was about to hit the showers my friend texted me to see if I wanted to hit up the gym when it reopened at 1600.  I figured I could use that time to play catch up, circulate my blood and get a good stretch.  I won’t get into too much detail here (or any really) because that’s basically what happened.  My HR stayed really low  so I knew I wasn’t taxing my cardiovascular system too much, funny because that ‘s what most people want to do! And stretching afterward felt sooooooooooo good. Like unbelievably good.

Before I click “publish post” check out these giveaways from Nikki (Slow is the New Fast) and Brandi (Bran Appetit)

Also: lots of new readers have been commenting! YAY. This makes me happy because I love getting feedback and hearing from y’all. But unfortunately I haven’t updated my blogroll in a *very* long time. So if you want to be on it let me know — and that goes for people who have also been commenting frequently too! I’m just lazy when it comes to update the blogroll

P.S. Anyone remember the book that I got my title of the post from?! Or am I just showing how weird I am 😛

January 13, 2010

Crunchy Crunchy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:17

Since yesterday was a really hard interval workout then today must be recovery day!  I definitely do not look forward to these days, doubly so if my legs aren’t feeling the effects of the workout yet (as was the case last night) but these days are important and cannot be ignored.

Or at least my legs won’t let me ignore them.  The first few miles were excruciatingly slow.  But I’ve made a pact with myself to be non-judgmental about recovery pace. Sure I’d love to be knocking out faster miles and feel more bamf but I’ve got to let body just circulate blood in an easy manner.

I guess it would be easier to do if it hadn’t been 14* because despite what I felt at first 14* is 14* and running slow =/= warmth. I kind of freaked myself out when I read “14* but feels like -1” but it actually didn’t feel bad at all.  I even thought that to myself when I stepped out the door. I totally have been spoiling myself with running in the late morning because I’ve desensitized my mind to “cold” temps.  That’s what I get though when I get up to run as the sun is rising and hasn’t yet warmed the Earth.

By the end of the run I was cruising at a faster speed and, to me, that’s when I know a recovery run is good to be over: when the crappy feelings in your legs subsides and you start to feel good.  Granted that’s the last possible moment that you really want to stop but hey: you do what you gotta do [recovery runs] so you can do what you wanna do [kick major ass at Boston].

Then when the gym opened up at noon (stupid break schedule) I hit up the weights and did my full body lifting.  I added in the legs section some deadlifts because I believe, and correct me if I’m wrong you super smarty-artys, these target the hamstrings and I don’t have a hamstring-focused lift for my legs currently.  I don’t like I have correct form on it as my lower back is a bit sore but that could just mean that I’m using back muscles that I haven’t used before.  It’s not pain at all which is why I don’t think it’s going to cause an injury.

Speaking of injury (and NO I’m not injured) my right achilles tendon is feeling “crunchy”. Like there’s gunk or something in there. Not sore but more like stiff and cranky.  I first noticed it on Monday night and it doesn’t bother me at all when I’m running.  Mostly when I’m sitting around and flexing my ankle or walking up/down stairs (mostly down though).  Definitely going to have to keep an eye on it.  I’m not sure what the dealy is with it but obviously I don’t want a little nagging thing to turn into something serious.

AND I got a beautiful blogger award from both Erika and Mary.  It’s actually the second time I’ve done this but the last time was awhile ago so I’ll play again.  Plus I like to talk about myself.  Just a little bit 😛

So the deal is that I tell you 7 things about me that you don’t already know about me (hopefully).  The I tag 7 of you to do the same.  Ready? BREAK!

  1. I’m the oldest of 6 kids.  All from the same marriage (so no step or half sibs).  All our names begin with the letter K
  2. While I am addicted to many shows LOST is the only one where I am left with my mouth open going “WTF?!” I actually watched the first 5 seasons last spring on DVD so this season is going to be rough having to wait a week between episodes.
  3. I ran the Providence Marathon in May 2009 as my debut marathon and BQ’d.  And while you may have known that you probably didn’t know was that I did it 100% alone.  No family or friends chose to support me. But I still had lots of fun. Even if this picture makes me look like I’m dying.

    I can see why the volunteer asked me if I needed medical attention!

  4. I only get sick once a year but when I do it knocks me out for a week.
  5. I have a candelabra in my window and I call it my menorah.  No I am not Jewish and no it does not have 7 lights. Only 5, all of which have different colored light bulbs.

    Bad picture I know! But I think you get the point

  6. When I get obsessed with a song I will hunt for it on radio stations until I hear it.  And then I’ll go hunting again.
  7. The Biggest Loser is the only reality show I watch.  And I need to go watch last night’s episode pronto! I ❤ Trainer Bob

    Who wouldn't want him training you?!

And while I’m supposed to tag YOU I suspect that many of you have already been tagged (and actually I know that for a fact heh).  But I still want to spread the love so if you haven’t yet GO!! I say you are a beautiful blogger 🙂

Also check out Evan’s giveaway and Marcia’s (Running off at the Mouth) giveaway! Cool stuff for sure.

January 12, 2010

Interval Tuesday: Week 14

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 17:00

Whew! I’m just going to jump right into my workout First I want to say that I’m glad you guys liked my Fueling: Post Run post yesterday. Hopefully I can write more stuff about that but it took me for-freaking-ever to organize my thoughts on that one it might be a while heh. It was nice for me to flush out my ideas and my thoughts on the whole running and nutrition relationship as I think running isn’t solely about running.  Again any type of post like that will take me awhile to compose so expect to see that in the future.  Hopefully not 5 months though 😛

But before I get off on a tangent: today I want to talk about my workout because man it was INTENSE! But then again: when is interval Tuesday NOT intense?!

So here’s what week 14 of my plan told me to do for my interval workout:

  • 3 X (800-600-400-200) @ 5k-10k pace with 1 min recovery and 3-5 minutes between sets

And here’s what I ended up doing:

  • 1 mile warm up
  • 3 X (800 (7:13 pace) -600 (7:00) -400 (6:45) -200 (6:30)) with 1 min recovery and 4 minutes between sets
  • 4 X 1/2 mi hills, MP, 5% with .25 mile recovery (recovery with grade only: .5%)
  • 2 mile warm down

Let me just start off by saying that I hate hills with a passion.  Like last week the hill portion damn near killed me.  And today I honestly thought that I wouldn’t make it through the last one.  But I’m a pretty stubborn person and can mental just put the hammer down when I need too, which is what I did.  I was able to power through because I hated the fact that I was scared of the hills portion of the run.  But I think my problem is mostly mental as when I was actually running the hills I was able to talk myself out of quitting.  That said, I do think I may be going for too long as a half of a mile is a pretty long time to be going.  Next time I think I’ll do shorter hills – maybe 90 seconds – at a higher grade – maybe 8%?

The intervals themselves were pretty good.  I actually felt like they were a bit on the slow side and I’d have liked to push the pace a little bit.  But my plan cautions me from doing intervals too fast, after all I’m a marathoner not Usain Bolt, and I’m trying to “trust the plan”.  That’s not to say that the workout was a walk in the park on the interval portion and maybe I have a skewed look because I did the hard hills after which made the intervals seem so much easier. It was nice to have the different distances be different speeds too.  Doing the 800m after having done the 200m made it feel so much slower. I felt like I was walking! Well not really but you get the point 🙂

But I think that speed sessions like this are “easy” for me (or don’t feel as hard) because of my background as a high school 100 and 200 meter runner.  Running a 200m @ 6:30 pace today is NOTHING compared to how fast I had to do them back in the day. I guess it’s because I feel like I’m “cruising”, as opposed to sprinting, which is the way it should be in marathon training but definitely a change from what used to be the norm.

In any case I feel like I should feel more spent than I am: yes my body is tired and my muscles are fatigued.  But the adrenaline after that workout was ah-mah-zing! I am pumped and it’s funny that I get this way after the really intense hard sessions, the ones where I might semi-dread doing them and want to back out and do something easier like a steady easy mid-distance run.  But once I’m done, man there is no high like it!

January 11, 2010

Fueling Part 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — marathonmaiden @ 15:53

Yeah, so it’s definitely been beyond over five months since I put together my last post in the series.  You can catch Part 1 and Part 2 if you want. And just a disclaimer: I am not a doctor (yet) nor a nutritionist nor anyone with credentials.  So take my words however you will but know that I am by no means an expert.

So in part 3 I wanted to discuss a bit about post-run fueling. I think it’s very important to try and eat within 30 minutes of finishing the workout being done; apparently studies have shown that’s when you’re muscles are more receptive to repairing and receiving nutrients etc.  I really do try to stick with this 30 minutes and, in all honesty, I try to have something made within 15 so that I’m actually in the process of eating once the 30 minutes rolls by. I truly believe that how you run tomorrow depends on how you fuel after today so I make it a point to have *something* after a run.

Another principle I try to live by is incorporating all three “macro-nutrients” (is that even the word I want to use??) into my post-run food.  I think I’ve read somewhere that the “ideal” thing to eat is 4 parts carb to 1 part protein.  I guess that’s similar to what I do too but I definitely do not obsess over it nor do I try to calculate it.  And I include fats in there as well.

And thirdly: drinking water post-run is important but I have no brilliant guidelines to give you because I’ve been trying to think of how to describe how I drink water and, truth be told, I am a terrible hydrate-er.  I do try to have about half a water bottle (what’s that ~8 oz?) immediately after a hard session where  I’ve been sweating a lot. I guess a good rule of thumb is to drink when you’re thirsty. Maybe I’ll come up with a part 4 and deal with hydration (hopefully it’s not another huge delay though ha)

Generally speaking I try and time my runs so that they coincide with a meal or a snack, ie) 0600 runs are right before breakfast, noon runs are before lunch and on the rare occasion I do a pm run my 1500 snack is usually right after.  Granted sometimes life does get in the way (and I’ll discuss what I do then in a bit) but that’s what I strive for.

Since I’m really awkward at writing about food — I am by no means a foodie! — maybe I’ll just show an example of two of what I eat after my runs? Sounds good to me.

Post-breakfast run:

  • Cheerios with 1% milk (what I was raised on) and banana with a peanut butter & banana sandwich on an english muffin.  Hands down favorite meal.  Very carb heavy but with protein in the form of milk and pb.
  • Oatmeal (I go for instant apples & cinnamon) with the pb and banana sandwich washed down with a glass of milk.  This is more common in winter when I want the oatmeal to warm me up.
  • Typically though, most morning I’m rushed and don’t have much time to clean up after myself (re: rinse out one bowl haha) so I’ll have a big bagel and make the sandwich on this.  Easy clean up because I use a paper towel as a plate.

As these three sample breakfasts indicate I put an emphasis on carbs with a side of protein in some form.  The same holds true if I’m running pre-lunch, which is the case on the weekends or during breaks when I don’t have anywhere to be.  I’m a pretty boring lunch person, truth be told, as I ❤ sandwiches.

Post-lunch runs:

  • Turkey sandwich with cucumbers, tomatoes (in it) and some cauliflower, yogurt, and fruit.
  • Peanut butter & honey / peanut butter & jelly with a banana, sometimes in the sandwich and sometimes not.  Can’t forget the big ole glass of milk to wash it down either.

Yet again an emphasis on carbs and protein.  I bet you can guess what I eat if I’m running in the pm (which I rarely do) right? Yup lots of carbs with some protein. And I think that is the take home message for this is carbs + protein = great recovery fuel.

And I don’t do a lot of pre-dinner runs but I’d imagine that I’d make up some lean meat (I absolutely love chicken and fresh caught fish from my brother) and pair it with some vegetables and bread.  I hate pasta (gasp) and rice (double gasp) so I rely on hearty breads to fufil the carb portion of my meal.  I particularly love “multi grain” breads that have nuts and seeds in them for a little added crunch.

But what about when you need to dash off and an actual meal isn’t possible? I know that many of you guys have incredibly busy lives and, while I’m really busy too, I have the luxury of being a college student and my schedule can be flexible if it needs to be so I can rely on the “eat a meal right after” thing.  Sometimes I cannot though as I have labs or meetings etc that I need to dash off to.  My big thing is to think ahead so that I can still eat something within that 30 minute time frame and not have to rely on grabbing the first thing I see which is usually a vending machine of sorts.

In a hurry post-run fuel: that can fit easily into a gym bag, backpack etc.

  • Granola bars.  I’m not talking about protein bars, fitness bars etc that are really popular.  Nothing wrong with them at all.  I just don’t like to do ’em.  I happen to love Nature Valley granola bars (there really isn’t a flavor I don’t like in fact) and they are easy to pack in my bag and it doesn’t matter a whole lot if they get smushed.
  • Fruits that come in their own wrappers (I am a HUGE germ freak haha) like bananas and clementines (so easy to peel).  It’s also easy to stick a zip-lock bag around other easy to tote fruits, such as apples or pears that are also pretty resistant to being in a bag
  • Nuts (cashews are great and my personal fav) and if you can plan ahead you can make your own trail mix with some dried fruit, pretzels etc.  Perfect combo of — ready for this? — carbs and proteins.

Also just to note: how much I eat post-run doesn’t really depend on how long the run is.  Since I try to time my runs to end at a meal I’m hungry anyway (unless it’s the summer where heat = appetite killer).  That said, however, a short recovery run doesn’t make me rush to refuel the way a long run or speed workout does because it’s not as taxing on the body.

Also to keep in mind: this isn’t a meal plan for me that I follow religiously.  I definitely do not eat everything I just wrote on a daily basis. It’s just guidelines I try and keep in mind once I hit “stop” on my watch as I end my run. 🙂

Whew…another long winded post.  Hopefully something was useful here.  I doubt what I wrote was ground-breaking or anything like that but I had received some comments asking me for how I eat/fuel, that kind of thing.  Plus Part 3 was loooong overdue. I included lots of examples of what I eat to refuel but that is by no means an exhaustive list and I hope I didn’t bore anyone by including it, it was just the best way for me to illustrate what I do.

Also checkout this Cookbook Giveaway. Perfect giveaway for a food post, no?

January 10, 2010

T-99 and Recovery Runs

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:45

I meant to mention yesterday that it was 100 days until Boston. CRAZY!! So now it’s 99 days and having it be double, rather than triple, digits makes it seem that more real.  It makes it feel like there really isn’t that much time left which is crazy too because training only *just* started.

Despite running the most since my marathon last May yesterday I didn’t feel it when I got up this morning.  My hipflexors were a little tighter than normal but no weird pains or aches indicating that I overdid it.  Definitely a good thing.  As much as I hate on the cold I think that it has a protection factor and has been playing a role in keeping me healthy as my miles climb up there.  Just a hypothesis though as I have NO evidence to back it up other than my gut.

I had a recovery run on tap today and, duh, I did it.  But rather than tell you the mundane details of the run itself and try to make a post out of that I want to talk/write about recovery runs and what they mean to me.  (But in case you’re wondering: 10.2 miles (day 30 of double digit streak), 9:18 pace).

And like always I will get to my point but let me start of by saying that back in the day I never distinguished between different kinds of runs.  I just went out same pace (same route even!) day after day.  Sure, I didn’t consider myself a runner back then but that was the deal.  I guess I kind of got my speed work by running pyramid sprints on the basketball court but when I went out to just run I was pretty boring.

Once high school / team sports ended I really didn’t change that philosophy either.  The only change I made was to change up where I was running and thus run different distances each day.  (I will say that I was on the track team freshman and junior year but I did it just to stay in shape and don’t consider that training part of *my* training because I disregarded a lot of what the coaches told me.  Oh me and my authority problem haha).

I changed up my running schtick because of my high school running friend who eventually told me to run a half-marathon, where I incorporated attractive, hot and exotic runs like tempos, intervals and long runs as well as recovery runs.  Which I hated. But over the years of racing (and it’s only been about 2.5 years) I’ve come to…accept the recovery run.  No real love but definitely acceptance.

For me, I have two ideas of what recovery runs are and how they are defined to me:

Post-speed work: On these recovery runs I really do try to forget pace.  I try not to pay attention to pace on these recovery days but it’s hard.  Ideally the body just does what it needs with no input from the mind. Speed sessions, be it intervals or tempos, are so pace driven that it’s important for my body not to worry about it the next day.  Speed work is very intense and tests more power and strength (as opposed to endurance) and the next day my muscles need is a day to circulate all the by-products of the hard effort and get them out of my muscles and out of my system.

Post-long run: As long runs test endurance lots of people take recovery days as XT and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that BUT that’s just not me. What sets this run apart in my mind is the distance: I try to keep it at 50-66% of the long run distance.  Pace-wise I’m not as good about forgetting pace. I try to keep my pace around whatever the long run pace was the previous day, or at least attempt to get there by the end of the run.  This type of run is for circulating my blood in an easy manner and, compared to the speed work recovery, this circulation lets blood warm up and get into tight muscles. It’s also helping my legs learn to run slightly tired.

And there you have it: my views on recovery runs. In general though recovery runs are just that: recovery.  Different from easy runs because the day before you had pushed your body hard and very likely the legs need a day to let the themselves just move.  For me my legs have the tendency to become tight (especially with my lack of stretching) so it’s great to get them loosened up. Although I tend to think of post-speed and post-long as two different types of runs they both serve the same purpose of recovery from the last workout and prepping the body for the next one.

[Edit: Check out this sweet fitdeck giveaway]

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