MarathonMaiden's Blog

September 13, 2011

It’s Looking Like I’m Training.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 12:11

I think I really should invest in internet soon.  Having to use the wireless in the Leasing Office at my apartment complex means having to use it between 09-1700 M-F and that’s prime time for interviews (fingers crossed!) and feeling safest taking the bus to do errands. I have been doing job searching at the library (YAY for getting a library card in my new city) but I feel like since I’m at the libs I need to be *focused*.  Not a bad thing at all.

The plus to all that is that I have a few workouts under my belt to talk about and can make this post decent with running.

Okay so not everything's running. I can be random too 😉

First: I’m sure everyone’s thinking of Boston this time of year with registration opening up yesterday for BQ-20. Not I.

I have the time to register at the moment (my WR time from last December is still good) but I just don’t feel it.  Of course, seeing people’s FB statuses and talking with people who are nervous the spaces will fill later this week makes me want to. Despite needing revenge I think it might be best to tackle it later at some point.  That and I just made some huge life changes in the past month so I’m just trying to get through things day by day.  Thinking ahead to April is unfathomable. Lots of other factors went into the decision and it was hard to put my ego aside. We’ll see if I feel the same way in April. Or even later this week.

Best of luck to all who are trying to get in!

Since my last post, last Wednesday, I’ve done 3 quality workouts.  Training time? Okey Dokey. The first was a hill workout on Wednesday with the CoOp group.  Yes, as I found out, there are hills in Dallas.  You really have to search for them though.  They weren’t hill repeats though: it was a ~1.3 mile loop where you ran up a hill, across a straightaway, down the hill, across another straightaway but in the other direction, up a hill, across a straightaway then down the hill and headed back to the start.

It really wasn’t as complicated as I just wrote it. The workout is called “Crazy 8s” because the loop is done as a figure 8.

thanks google

The plan was to do 4 of ’em but due to major GI troubles (that had plagued me all day that day and I pigheadedly thought that I’d be able to work through it) I only did 3.  The first 2 were really strong and the third was when my intestines were like “ummmmmmmmmmm no”.  I ended up with slightly over 6 miles for the total and annoyed that I tried to push myself through that third one yet also annoyed that I didn’t get through the whole thing.  Silly me.  I mostly felt “bad” that I was “wasting” the cold front.  The temps were in the 80s and it felt awesome.

Which meant that this past weekend should have been a good LR with the group.  Well I evidently partied too hard on Friday night, although I was at the Rangers game so I didn’t think there’d be much room to party.  Obviously the party didn’t end with the game. And slept through the group LR on Saturday.

The alarm was set. I just slept through it.  And the two phone calls one of the group members made to me. Oops.

I woke up in a panic about a half hour into their run and was like “I SWORE I’d be able to make it”. Clearly I was wrong.  I stayed in bed all day that day and made up the run with a friend who wasn’t, for other reasons, able to make Saturday’s run on Sunday (and I hate running long on Sundays).  I think it ended up for the best: it was my fastest run, in general, since Boston at any distances, and it was 15 miles at 9:03 paceSo I’m not quite sure what that tells me.  I was never struggling during the run and was not 100% drained afterward.  Hopefully this run was the mental wake up I needed, I have a half to run this fall!

I also absolutely ADORE the girl (well woman I guess) that I was running with. She hasn’t been running long but she’s trying to learn all she can about running and we talked a lot about running (obviously) and she encouraged me to pick the brains of people that run in the CoOp. I always feel weird asking people for advice like that, mostly because I feel like I’m pumping them with information.  But I’ll try to make myself more annoying during group runs 😉

I’m sure the weather helped for that long run (it was still in the 60s when it started) and that was not the case today, as it was 80* at 0600. Greeeeeeeeeat. Today’s workout was a ladder workout and it was decent, aka better than last time, despite being alone for it.  It was supposed to be with the group but late last night kind of freaked out about having to get up to make a 430am rail. Which wouldn’t be so bad except I have to walk just over a mile to get there.  Even at a jog it wasn’t appealing.  Nor did it seem like a good idea to be in a confined car at 430am. In all honesty nothing probably would have happened but I don’t think I’ll get to do AM track sessions with the group ever. So I got an extra 2 hours of sleep instead. WIN.

So I headed to a local track and did the same ladder they did: 800-1200-1600-1200-800 with 400m recovery time (although I’m not sure if I cheated by doing an 800 recovery after the 1600.  I needed it so I think not).  Let’s just say that I wasn’t too thrilled with the added 1600 in there because last time we did a ladder, two weeks ago, it wasn’t.

I’m still not sure which paces I’m supposed to be hitting here according to the pace chart for the group (which can be seen in the link above from last time and does vary with the distance of the intervals), so I kind of put a range between the “goal marathon time” I ended up running paces for last time (the 4:00 marathon) and the one faster (3:50).  I was in there, on the slower side, but in there.  What was frustrating was, despite feeling like I worked hard, the marathon times I selected are still slower than marathons I’ve run.

  • 800: 3:49 (7:38)
  • 1200: 5:53 (7:50)
  • 1600: 8:02 (8:02)
  • 1200: 5:57 (7:56)
  • 800: 3:52 (7:44)

Looking back at my training log, I was pretty much at, or slightly faster, than my times the last time I did a ladder.  I’m happy with that, especially being able to be slightly faster than the last time (aka I didn’t flounder the way I did last time) on the “down” portion of the ladder after the 1600. Obviously not where I was last fall/winter but about where I was training for Boston this past winter.

All told my legs had that good burn at the end of it.  I feel like I couldv’e gone faster though? I mean, my legs hurt and my mind wanted to quite but I wasn’t satisfied with it.  I’m glad I did it today though as I was debating putting it off another day.

I’m at an impasse though because my long run was so stellar on Sunday and my intervals were meh today.  Intervals suck. I appreciate everyone who’s chimed in about me taking care of myself and I continue to do so.  Although I’m sure that some of you are shaking your heads at my running load. Other than my paces being slower than in the past, I feel fine physically.  Since I’m training now, I’m going to keep a closer eye on things but I don’t have access to affordable health care at the moment so I’ll just continue to do what’s worked for me when I’ve been I’ve feltlike this before.

Since adding in quality workouts, however, my weekly miles have dropped slightly, I’ve gotten back an appetite (aka can fuel better) and my weekly average pace has dropped slightly as well (at least the past two weeks since I’ve considered myself training for something). 

Anyway that’s what I’ve got. Hopefully I won’t go another week or so without posting/commenting/keeping in touch.  Although I am keeping my fingers crossed that I get a call back from a job and having to work makes it difficult to post 😉

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September 1, 2011

Of Ladders and Recovery and Racing

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

First off I need to give a HUGE shoutout to my girl Lesley for hanging out/driving me to Super Target for groceries. She’s the BEST! I actually ran into her during our long runs this past Saturday (we ran by each other) and hopefully I can get together and run with her someday (and go to the zoo. Remember now, you promised 😉 )

Thanks google

I swear I’m not 5 years old and/or her 4th kid.

Back to running because I guess moving and unemployment have been the best things to happen to it.  And to my blog posting abilities.

The group I’ve linked up with WRRC decided to make their speed session workout Tuesday morning. At 5am. Now in any “normal circumstance” (because trust me I realize that getting up at 4am to haul ass around a track is not in any way shape or form normal) I’d be all for it.  But with no car, I have to take the rail.  And catching a 0432 rail after walking a mile in the dark to the station is not ideal.  I don’t live in the worst neighborhood per se, but it made me uneasy.  So I figured I’d do it on my own.

Unfortunately some upsetting dreams (and I’ve been having VIVID dreams lately) had me oversleeping and I knew that trying to do speedwork once the sun comes up is not prudent.  As it stands in my log book I ended up getting a mid-distance run in, which might not have been prudent either given the lack of water stops on the “trail” I was on.  I did 11 but based on the time and my effort I feel like it should have been more.

I suppose it serves me right for starting a run at 8am although in my defense that’s the weather I’ve been running in all summer back home (86* and home has higher humidity which makes it feel worse) so I figured I’d be okay.  My stomach by the end was all upset in its “dehydration ouchie” state.  I think on the way home I stopped a couple times to stretch it out. Lesson learned: this is Texas. Bring water. (and drink more H2O in general. Adding lemonade powder to my water has been a lifesaver lately though because I can only take so much water!)

The only saving grace to the run was that it drizzled for the whole first half.  Actually I’m not sure if this made it better or not as I felt a little more humidity about.  At least there wasn’t any true lightning like there was on Monday morning when it poured (now that felt good).

The rest of the day (and really any day) was spent recovering (aka feet up and applying to jobs) for:

WEDNESDAY’S BIG DAY OF RUNNING

The track workout that I didn’t do Tuesday was on tap.  I had set my alarm for 0530 so I could easily be out the door before 0600. I ended up getting up at 0600.  Still well before the sunrise, so it’s okay.  The temp was 88*.  Ouch.

On tap was

  • Warmup
  • 800-1200-1200-800 (with 400m recovery between)
  • Warmdown

This was created, I think, by one of the guys in the Running Coop and he’s posted on the FB group page a “Ladder Pace Chart” for what you should try and hit depending on your marathon goal.  For me, I’m not signed up for a marathon so I really had no clue what I should do.  A few weeks back I did some 800s at 7:20-30 pace which according to the pace chart below was what the group aiming for a 3:40-3:50 marathon would target.

Because I’m delusional I decided I wanted to go faster and hit paces targeting a 3:20-40 marathon (and corresponding to a 1:34-44 half, see below). Don’t forget that out of all my marathons, I’ve run 75% of them slower than 3:30 and my half PR is 1:33:something.

Delusional.

Because here’s the pace chart (I figured it’d be easier for y’all to see it with your own eyes rather than me confuse you by trying to explain it)

Yes I am aware it’s an oddly shaped image with a lot of space at the bottom. Deal (although the whole point was so that you guys could read it. Hopefully you can get it to enlarge, maybe by clicking on the image to open it in a new tab/window?)

In order to do this workout I needed to find a track.  This shouldn’t have been a problem.  And wouldn’t have been if I had a car at the moment.  But I don’t.  So I needed something within an appropriate warm up distance.  I found it but the one I found definitely had a sign that said “stadium for school district use only”.  Oops. I had to even walk through the school to get to the track.  Luckily I was able to get in because it was unlocked for the football team.

Side note: I grew up in MA, my high school’s football team (and football in general in the league) was, and likely still is, a joke. In college I didn’t have a team. So this was fascinating in it’s own right.

I guess I can share my speeds/what I actually hit.  As I said above I was targeting the 320-3:40 pace on the chart, but in reality I ended up hitting more of a 3:50-4:00 goal. (rest was one lap, and typically took me ~3 minutes. The recovery according to the pace chart is above but is supposed to be marathon goal in minutes:seconds).  So here are the splits, for 800s it’s broken 400+400 time, for the 1200s it’s broken 800+400 times

  • 800:   1:55 + 1:50 = 3:45 (7:30 pace)
  • 1200: 3:55 + 1:57 = 5:52 (7:52)
  • 1200: 4:00 + 2:00 = 6:00 (8:00)
  • 800:    1:58 + 1:58 = 3:56 ( 7:52)

The workout itself ( again, done mostly in the dark. Ugh late sunrises but yay to seeing the sunrise) went meeeeeeeeeeeeeeh. I mean, I hauled assMajor ass. But it just wasn’t pace wise where I thought I should be.  I was wayyyy off of the goal for me, with the second half of the ladder being much slower than the first and despite me feeling like I was pushing HARD.  Next week I’m going to haul butt to do the speed session with the group because I know that during the intervals it wasn’t a constant “on”, it was a slow down/speed up routine that made me feel like crap.

Shouldn’t have been too surprising though given how slow I’ve been running all summer but I wanted something faster to make my decision whether to run a fall / winter marathon (or even half) clearer. Only good thing about the run (well I guess just getting out there and running fast is a good thing) was that the football coach  asked me “Marathoner?” and I said yes, and told him a potential goal race to which he said “you have an excellent footfall. Wish I could teach my kids that”. That made me smile and probably put a little pep in my step for that last 800.

But I guess it’s a good/decent barometer as to where I am at the moment.

Later that night I went for a group run with the Coop.  I met up with my friend beforehand for a little over 2 miles and the loop with the group was a little over 6 so I got ~8.4 on the night.  The pace felt easy (except for some rolling hills at the end and humidity when we hit White Rock lake) and it was faster than my usual runs.  Not sure what that means.  What I do know is that it left me with 16 for the day.

I didn’t get back to my apt until close to 2200, had to eat dinner and shower AND *register for the DRC half in November before the price increased today*. After the group run, sitting around at Fuzzys Tacos, I wasn’t really talked into it per se but it just made sense.  Something to train for.  Something relatively soon. Something not a marathon. I still have marathon *ideas* but that’s all there is to them.  We’ll see how the half goes first (and if I get a job to pay for it!)

I didn’t get into bed until late and, normally not a big deal but with the Texas heat I really can’t run mid-morning anymore.  So I’m skipped  my scheduled 7 for this morning.  Maybe I’ll get it in tonight (very likely) but we’ll see. I’m babying my Achilles at the moment because, as I mentioned yesterday, Dallas “trails” are really just concrete bike paths that they call multi-use paths. Guess this is a city built on concrete.  I’m not quite sure why but I suspect asphalt would melt in the summer but that’s my theory.

Anyway, it’s September 1st, meaning I should do a “Previously on MM” post for August. I’m going to wait a bit. Lots of stuff went down in August, but I feel like in my last two or three posts you’ve gotten it all.  I’ll have to put my creative juices to work and come up with something wicked pissah to put into words my monthly total.  Hmmmmmmmmmm.  As if applying to jobs wasn’t zapping all my mental capacity!

And since you’ve read this thus far (seriously, I mean what I wrote about unemployment being good for the blog above!):

thansk google

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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