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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August 29, 2011

Howdy Y’all

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 12:09

Hi all! I had planned to do some comprehensive posts of all my life changes, because I’m finally ready to unveil them but I’ve been busier than I though lately and that coupled with lack of good internet time just meant that I couldn’t do anything with the blog.  I definitely can’t promise that I’ll update regularly even now because I still haven’t subscribed to an internet service yet.

If I ever though that last year was the year of changes for me, 2011 went out and proved it all wrong. I’d have to say that, while 2010 brought really good accomplishment changes, 2011 has tested me.  Especially this past summer I don’t really like to post lots of personal stuff here so I’m not going to go into detail BUT the major life changes that hit me were

  • Ending of my job.  It was only a year long position so I knew that it would end. In the late spring/early summer I started looking for a job.  Except no one in RI is hiring. No bueno.
  • The death of my grandfather on July 3rd.  I wasn’t ever going to mention it on the blog but it was very unexpected in the way that he died (he went into surgery which he had a 10% chance of surviving, made it through(!!) and then crashed 6 days later when they went to lower his BP meds) and it hit me wayyyyy harder than I thought it would. I know that it took up a lot of my mental energy from May (when I found out he needed surgery) until now.
  • Boy drama.  Definitely not going to post that stuff here but it definitely affected my mood / brain energy.
  • Moving.  To Texas.  Remember when I came here last August? Yeah, I fell in love with the state.  I knew when I came back last year that I’d be there in 12 month.  On August 17th, 2011 I hopped on a plane.  Here I am. Everything about the move was stressful: From saying good bye to friends (although I did through myself a kick ass goodbye party)  to how to pack up my stuff, to what I definitely needed to bring, and what I needed to get when here as my original (and fully furnished) apartment fell through and I ended up crashing on a couch for the first 7 nights I was here.

It's true. Especially the bugs. They're waaaaaaaaaaay bigger than at home.

There were good stuff too to the summer.  I went to the beach twice, learned how to salsa dance, took a VACATION, connected with people, got really into karaoke etc.   But the bad weighed me down.  But I’m here.  I made it through the summer alive.  Even though the above stresses aren’t gone (still looking for a job, still get teary eyed occasionally thinking of Papa, adjusting to moving to a place on a gut feeling) and new stresses have cropped up (how do I figure out the DART system because I don’t have a car?) I feel good.  As Ian Malcolm said

All major changes are like death. You can’t see what is on the other side until you get there.

I had no idea what to expect when I got here. I couldn’t even speculate what to expect. I kept thinking I didn’t have any friends or family or anyone here.  And that I was moving to a new state 100% on my own. But I discovered that Texans won’t hear of that and I have friends here that I didn’t know I could count on the way I can and actually have been counting on. I’m so not alone.

Yay fountains!

Now that I’m here, I LOVE it and feel silly for feeling so scared before I left (I was debating not hopping on my plane). Except for the AC.  I’ve NEVER lived with it before.  And I’m chilly.  Like, way chilly. My sister looked at me crazy when I packed sweaters to move to Texas, in August, but I’m sitting here in the apartment complex office freezing. I’ll go out in a few hours and sit by the pool (after getting another round of job applications going) so I guess it’s all good.  I almost feel like a menopausal woman…almost.

I feel like everyone could end this heat wave by opening the windows/doors and cooling down the state with their A/C

As you probably figured I have been running. And have been the entire time I’ve been here.  Typically I’ve done a mix of some runs around sunrise, where temps are in the upper 80s, and some around 1800, where temps are in the 100+* range.

At first the running was nothing major mileage wise, I just didn’t have the routes / feel comfy enough to really explore (even with my Mace). So my weekly miles have been taking a hit, because my runs ranged from 5-8 the first week and a half.  The paces were slightly faster than back home, which was surprising.  Not by much but there wasn’t the “holy moly it’s hot let’s walk” thing that I’d have expected from the get-go.  Now that my legs are getting used to ~40 miles less per week (the last 4 weeks have been 101, 85, 65, 62) I’d expect to go faster.

And who knows.  I certainly plan on ramping up my miles and racing, which means I do expect to get faster/back into racing shape.  I’ve signed up to join the Dallas Running Club, which as part of it you get to do 8 of their races (first one for me is Saturday!) and discounts on 3 others.  I think I’ll be in training sooner rather than later. Especially since I’ve joined an informal running group to train with that one of my friends from RW hooked me up with (they are / were part of the DRC training group but wanted something more relaxed for group runs) and did a LR with them this past weekend and plan on joining them to run twice this upcoming week.

And since this post is getting long and I have more to say, I’m going to break it off here. The next post will have the specific workouts I’ve done since getting here and why I think I’ll be training for something in the near-ish future despite my proclamations of not racing the rest of 2011 because 2011 can suck it (see above for why it hasn’t been good).

Again: LOVE IT.  Everything just feels right despite the heat  wearing me down at the end of the day; I’m typically asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. And the sun rises so late here! I guess I’m not in Kansas (or RI) anymore…

August 12, 2011

Another Week Goes By….

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 18:22

…and no post.  I meant to post during the week but (and this is one of my transitions, I’ll try to give them all a separate post — unfortunately it might be late next week– because I want to talk about my workout today) this week was my last week at the clinic.  I can’t believe that my year with VISTA is over! And since last post I don’t have anything exciting on the workout front.

So needless to say, I’ve been swamped.  Not with work per se.  More so with the “let’s spend 8 hours applying to jobs” and “let’s go drinking with friends at night” swamped. Tough life, no?

Well yes.  Because tough = mile repeats = pain.

Granted I was out way to late last night and woke up still drunk this morning.  But, that said, I’ve had spectacular sessions before after such nights.  This was not the case and I think my liver is finally realizing that it’s not 21 anymore. I’m still in the process of convincing it otherwise.

Thanks google images.

Anyway I headed out to the track this afternoon to “bang out some mile repeats”. Step one of running fast is the outfit and I rocked my booty spandex and sports bra and sunglasses. (Step two is not chickening out — see below and my pre-1 repeat)

Last week I was excited about them (and by them I mean the 800s).  This week I knew I had to run twice the distance and about the same pace.  Last fall I was able to do 6 X 1 mile @ ~6:30.  Based on last week’s workout I wanted to do 4 X 1 mile @ 7:30.

Now, as I’m just getting back into speed work I have ZERO idea what I should be running these things in.  But 7:30 is what I’d ideally call a tempo pace, and did last fall  (and I just cheated and looked at McMillian based on my PW marathon time and mile repeats should be at 7:21-7:43 with tempo runs being 7:53-8:13 and tempo intervals being 7:46-8:03 for whatever that info is worth)

I’m very glad I didn’t know that information until just now though.  Just because.  I think that with the hiatus I’ve taken I should just go.

And go I did.

Workout: 4 X 1 mile with 800m recovery jog

  1. 4:10 + 4:01 = 8:11. F@#$. <– Thought in my head.  I debated nixing the whole workout but figured that anything faster than the 9:40 easy paces I’ve been doing should be beneficial.  Fact: I stopped this first repeat at the 200m line. Gave myself a HTFU pep talk, walked back to the start and then ran in
  2. 4:06 + 4:04 = 8:10 Seriously?!?
  3. 4:05 + 4:00 = 8:05 Better I guess.
  4. 4:05 + 4:00 = 8:05 Dayyyyyyyyyum

So clearly I’ve fallen from last fall.  Like last week, I never felt like I was going fast.  And yet I know I could not have gone faster.  It was upsetting to a degree. Funny how last week I wrote about being okay because I was getting back into it and, while I’d never have admitted it beforehand, I was hoping to really bounce back fast. I shouldn’t (and am not) be surprised just because after last Friday’s session my legs were wiped for days after.  I’m not sure if it’s even possible BUT I don’t think my legs were recovered today!

I was just complaining to a friend about how “out of shape I clearly am” and he disagreed.  Mostly because he know I run a lot and that equals being in shape.  At the time I didn’t have a retort.

Now I do: I am out of racing shape.  I can bang out 100+ mile weeks with the best of them but that doesn’t mean I’m going fast.  I really don’t think I could have run faster if Jack the Ripper was behind me today.

thanks google images

And since I love racing (I know I don’t race often but I do love it) that’s frustrating. I guess this means that if I want to start seriously contemplating a fall race (not a marathon but maybe a half or 10k or anything!) I need to cut back on the miles and let myself ride out this period of awkward “hey-what-the-hell-am-I-doing?!?” phase of getting into Fasty McFast shape.

Note: I’m not upset over this in an “I’m-going-to-agonize-over-it” way.  I’m just annoyed that I’m not in my Fall 2010 Racing Shape. The workout wasn’t a complete disaster because I fell in the “tempo interval” range as noted above. I’m sure I’ll reap some benefit from this, no? And, as I mentioned last week, there’s room for improvement. I need to focus on that excitement.

I also hope this post is coherent.  I’m running on little sleep.  Time for a quick nap and then time to go out and celebrate with my friends (they’re 2nd year med students and this week is the 1st year’s orientation.  I’m an honorary med student this week hahah!)

August 5, 2011

Well It’s a Start. The Story of Me (kind of) Finding Speed.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 20:06

I’ve been M.I.A. lately. Duh.  So much so that I’d forgotten my password to log into my blog. Suffice it to say that I’m in the midst of some HUGE changes in my life (exciting, scary, sad, partying, frustrating) and posting…well it just was something I didn’t have time for.

But I’m back.  For the day. Maybe longer.  But those changes are still on- going until September so bear with me.  And no, that’s not me apologizing.  If you don’t want to bear with me then don’t.  But I’d like it if you did 🙂

Also back into life is speed-work.  This entire summer I’ve only done LSD.  Seriously.  My weekly miles are huge and slow (I know I didn’t do a monthly recap for June or July but the miles were 451.9 and 433.7 respectively with the average paces being 9:45 for each month or thereabouts). I’m okay with that, running has been one aspect of my dealing with life (dancing and karaoke with friends is the other) and it feels good to just kind of plod along and let my thoughts wash over me.

That said, for whatever reason during my run this morning (which was supposed to be a long run) the idea popped into my head to run track work today.  Since I was already 7 miles into my run I stopped that run, headed back to my apartment, and rested up for the afternoon (I figured doing speed-work immediately after 7 miles was silly).  Because I decided that I had to do it THAT SAME DAY or else I was liable to chicken out. Who knew when my next urge to run at the track would be?

Because my last speed work session was March 5th.  Like 5 months ago.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH (thanks google images)

I chose to run 800s; mostly because they are my favorite track session.  I decided to do 4 of them because 4 is my lucky number.  And I decided to shoot for 3:30 for each one because it was…well there was no rhyme or reason but I wanted to go at 7 pace. That whole 5 months thing be damned.

How’d I do? Well, considering during my warm up mile around the track was painfully slow and I wanted to bail on the whole stupid thing, fine.  Not quite on pace but there’s that five month thing.

  1. 1:54 + 1:52 = 3:46 (daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn I am slow. My first ones are usually the fastest! Wonder how the next three will go)
  2. 1:54 + 1:52 = 3:46 (Seriously?! The same f$#%ing time?)
  3. 1:53 + 1:51 = 3:44 (Better.  Kind of sort of)
  4. 1:52 + 1:49 = 3:41 (Okay.  That hurt.)

Overall I can’t say I’m too upset.  Of course I want to be faster.  And I think I held some stuff back because I wanted to hit all 4 of them around the same pace.  Which I was successful of. Just wish I had been consistent in a faster manner. I never felt as though I was…well I hate to use the word sprinting because that’s not the point of track work…but I never felt as though I was going fast.

But 7:22-7:32 pace as the range for all 4 of them isn’t too bad. That’s my typical threshold run, or at least it used to be. So I do have a long way to go before I can say I’m my typical speedy self but I’m not beating myself up over it. If I don’t improve from here then, sure, let the beating up commence.  But for now I’ll just sit back, let my legs feel the good ole feeling of tiredness from a job well done.

As well get ready to go drink beer and go dancing tonight.

Also: I picked the perfect day to do this.  The temp when I went out at 1600 was 75* and cloudy.  When the sun broke through it literally looked like this.  I guess that’s a sign I should make a date with the track every week?

thanks google images.

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