MarathonMaiden's Blog

March 11, 2010

Tempooooooooooo Demons

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 19:02

I never thought I’d say this. And it might never happen again so bookmark this page. BUT I love the tempo.  Or at least today’s tempo.  In a quick recap of the past few weeks worth of tempos:

  • 4 weeks ago: Just barely stayed in my tempo range. I know that snow was a factor here but it was still a tempo
  • 3 weeks ago: Had to scrap calling the run a tempo and call in a steady state (in hindsight of course). Very disappointing
  • 2 weeks ago: TM’ing it up.  Banged out a tempo that was quick and on the fast end of my range
  • 1 week ago: Ditto to 2 weeks ago.

Kind of a hodge-podge of running for my Thursdays.  I’d really like some consistency with the pacing.  Sure I know that week to week my body is going to feel different and respond differently but I’d like to *feel* a bit more consistent.  I was very hesitant when it came to this morning’s tempo.

I knew that it wouldn’t be as fast as my TM tempos simply because it was outside.  And I didn’t want to feel another disappointment as the last time I had done a tempo out of doors had felt.  And I hate feeling like I failed.  It makes me feel sub-par and I don’t care how numbers UN-obsessed you are or how zen you are or how confident you are in yourself: it NEVER feels good to feel like you could have gone harder or given a little more.  And I worry about that.  I worry about resting on my laurels. Probably silly because there’s no basis for it but still. Those are my thoughts.

Which is what I did think I was doing when I finished my warm up and saw a 10 pace.  Gahhhh.  Was this a sign of things to come?! I mean, I knew that yesterday’s double (even with neither run terribly fast) was likely going to impact me as was the fact that I was up too late last night and the sleep debt I’m in is vastly growing (I calculated it out and to recover from this debt over break I need to sleep 20.4 hours a day, all 10 days). So a morning tempo might not have been the smartest choice though. But I wanted to take advantage of the “morning chill”; when the temps aren’t cold anymore but aren’t too warm yet (typically this is around 35* or so)

Luckily I was able to tell myself that “I CAN DO THIS” and plowed ahead essentially telling myself “to hell with this. This workout is going to rock”. And I guess the stats speak for themselves:

  • 3.2 mile warm up @ 10:00
  • 7.6 mile tempo @ 7:33
  • 4.3 mile warm down @ 8:48

So I did it.  I completed the workout and executed it beautifully.  I truly think my pacing was consistent, at least on the whole.  I definitely know there were regions where I let up a bit and regions where I probably was going faster. Definitely by the end I was just cruising so when I looked at my watch and saw that my average pace for the last lap of campus was a 7:10 I was stoked. So clearly I was running really well.

And it felt….good? I’m not quite sure how to describe it because I never really felt like I could say I was running fast. I knew I wasn’t running slow but I always had doubt in the back of my mind.  It was really hard to tell what sort of pace I was at.  To be honest, my tempo portion didn’t feel like there wasn’t too much of a difference between the warm up. Obviously not the case.

So it was a weird sort of run where clearly I was running well but I didn’t feel particularly speedy.  My HR when I was done with the tempo portion was only 150.  Now I’m not by any means an expert on HR but that number looks a bit low for what a tempo effort should be.  Still, I’m not knocking this run.  If I can pound out some tempo miles right smack dab in the middle of my ideal range on lack of sleep and an abundance of stress, then I think I’m good.

It’s also a good sign for the future because it tells me that I’m getting faster. At the beginning of the training cycle I could handle this pace for only 5 or so miles.  And, remembering correctly, that was hard and I was pushing. Today I was able to handle the pace for 7.6 miles and have it feel, not like nothing, but it definitely wasn’t as hard as it was 10 weeks ago.

So I have mixed emotions. On one hand I would have loved to actually feel fast during the workout. Or at least have some gut feelings that would have helped me intuitively know where I was.  But on the other hand it was a GREAT workout and maybe I did have some sore of gut reaction because, like I mentioned, I felt that my pacing was good today.

So I can’t really complain.  And I guess I’m not.  Not really at least. I think that even if my HR was lower than it should be (and again I’m not an expert with dealing with HR) then today was a good barometer of where I stand.  And it was confidence boosting as I was able to hit it after being guided by the TM the past two weeks.  So YES I can do this.  And the demons of the past few weeks with tempos have been beaten back. At least for another week 🙂

And just to respond to yesterday’s guys that were competing with me. I love that so many of you would have done the same thing I did. I’m still not sure if the guys were actually out running or not.  But they were exiting a pizza place, were in workout clothes and definitely started running when they saw me coming as well as tried to keep up with me and stick close and mimic my pace. So I don’t really know what the deal was.  It was definitely a roll-my-eyes type of moment!

Alrighty then (gosh I need to re-watch that movie)…time to finish up a few quick assignments.  The good thing about working my tail off and staying up really late earlier this week means that I’m almost there!! I don’t think I have to bring home any work over spring break as long as I can get a few things done tonight.  With luck I’ll be able to crawl into bed early and play catch-up with some television. Hollllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeer 🙂

Check out the giveaway from EatMoveLove. Or don’t. I want it.

P.S. I promise that I haven’t forgotten about putting together a “daily fueling” type post.  I’m thinking doing two: one from home (because I’ll have time when I’m home) and then hopefully one from school.  Since I want pictures the school one might have to wait until after break but trust me, I plan to do it because it seems like such a popular request!

November 18, 2009

Effortless and Cold

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 13:20

Oh man, I prolly should start checking the temperature before I leave my room in the mornings to run.  Apparently I cannot trust what the predicted overnight low is.  I woke up this morning thinking that I would be running in mid-30s, which is totally appropriate to wear shorts and a similar top to what I wore yesterday.  Yes, well, no.

When I got back to my room and after trying to warm up I hopped online and it was 28* out! This was about 1.5 hours or so after I left and after the sun had been up for a while!! I’m thinking that it was closer to 24-25* during my run.  No wonder I thought my fingers were frostbitten by the end and I actually couldn’t move any fingers/whole hand for 20 minutes.  Luckily my dorm is a swipe-ID-to-get-in otherwise it would not have been pretty.  I can remember being stuck outside last year because I needed a key. And to go in the completely opposite swinging direction I took the hottest effing shower of my life after.  My skin was a combination of pink/red and I’m surprised I didn’t burn myself haha.

But despite being severley underdressed for a severely cold day my run was pretty rockin’.  Hmmm I think I used that word to describe yesterday’s run too…a run in which I ran a lot.  Same trend different day.  I pounded out 9 WICKED AMAZING miles.  Maybe I was trying to speed up so I could get out of the cold faster? Maybe I was reminded by Lacey about the Pile on the Miles challenge (POTM) I’m doing? Maybe I just love to run and don’t want to cut back?

Likely it’s all three (and prolly many more too) but I got in 9 miles. Unlike the past few runs (and yesterday included) I felt like winter was approaching.  And despite how much I HATE (yes I am using a very strong word here haha) winter, I actually really like running in it (granted I like running in anything I suppose — just got to be in the right mood) so it got me excited.

My legs felt strong and powerful for almost the whole 9 miles.  Isn’t that just a great feeling?! On runs like that I feel like my legs are hollowed out steel and/or machinery: incredibly strong and unbreakable yet light as a feather.  Although now, I must confess, I am dealing with a slight pain in my butt.  It’s right around the hip area and feels pretty “deep” in there so I’m not sure what that’s about.  It’s more of an annoyance than anything and isn’t debilitating or sharp painful.  Likely the result of already having put in 27 miles this week over 2 days.  But it didn’t affect the run as it was pretty effortless too.

My HR also kind of indicated that my run was “effortless”.  Normally when I finish a run my HR is around 160, maybe 180+ if I’ve been doing a hard workout.  But this morning? 120!  Don’t know if that was a factor of the cold or my effort but I’m leaning towards the former as my pace was spot on again.  My breathing today also indicated an easy effort as I felt like I was breathing slow and steady and normal the whole time.

Not normal? My sleeping — although I guess my habit of 4 hours a night is getting to be my new normal.  The funny (well not funny haha but interesting) thing is that I can get 3-4 hours and feel 100% awake because of when I wake up in my sleep cycle but I can also get 3-4 (or even more) but feel completely drained because of the same reason. I think I’m going to try my doctor’s suggestion for reseting my cycle by staying up all night this weekend and see what happens. I’ve tried melatonin before a la EarlyRunner’s suggestion but it doesn’t work.  The only thing that has worked in the past is Ambien but I really try to avoid the heavy hitters if I can help it.  That may be the case if by next week I’m still not sleeping.

Also not normal? My French class getting canceled today.  But I’m totally okay with it.  I mean I was a little pissed because I wanted to get my paper out of my hands but I slid it under her door so I feel like it’s done.  That might be the only thing that is done and complete in my life so I’m going to go check off some things on both my school work and life to-do lists.

Happy Wednesday! And doubly so for me because I’ve stopped thinking of Friday as a real school day 😉

November 16, 2009

Case of the Mondays?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:41

Ugh to Monday mornings.  I don’t actually *not* like Mondays (they’re really not so bad) but my Monday runs? Well let’s just say that I’ve come to accept that they will be slow, heavy and difficult.  But, like most things in life, if you try to embrace annoying stuff your attitude will shift.  I’m hoping this will be the case with Monday running although it’s hard to embrace getting up at 0600 (compared to “sleeping in” the days before) to run early (rather than mid-morning which is ideal for me) on little sleep (Sunday nights are sooooo hard to get to bed at a decent hour!)

Last night I tossed and turned forever, not taking my first shut-eye until 0000 (midnight) and then promptly waking up at 0243, 0307, 0457, 0534 and finally my alarm at 0600 (well technically 0559 haha).  I have no idea why last night was so restless.  I think the temperature of my room was a bit warm but I wasn’t fully awake enough to get up and open my window so I didn’t.

Needless to say my eyes were, and still are, stinging a bit from not sleeping.  I felt more awake after doing some corework to kill time before the sun came up (ugh winter is a-comin’) but I knew that, like other Mondays, a speedy run was not in the cards.  I tried to let go of the desire to push-push-push but it’s hard to do so!

My quads felt a bit shot and heavy and I prolly should have called it quits after the first 5 miles of a loop that I had planned.  But I am nothing if not stubborn so I stuck out the 3 mile loop that I wanted to do for a total of 8 miles.  I’m kind of glad that I did the second loop simply because my quads loosened up and I was feeling stronger.  I stood up straighter and my stride felt smoother.  Granted my legs still felt drained at the end but those 3 miles did boost my mood that I *am* capable of running.  The first 5 miles definitely tested why I wanted to be out there.

The weather was pretty darn perfect too.  Mid-40s and cloudy, although there was so much fog! It practically hurt to breathe.  I don’t mind the fact that fog running is creepy but all that moisture in the air? Trust me, our lungs do not want to breathe water.  We live in land, not good ole H2O for a reason haha.

Given all the “bad” conditions (fog and my lungs, heavy legs) the run is a success in my book because it made me feel good when I was done.  My heart rate was a bit higher than I would have liked for an easy run though and for that reason I’ve begun debating whether to start using my HR in my training thoughts.  I already take my HR immediately after a run and then 2 minutes after but I’ve started wondering whether it would be useful to monitor this during runs, when I wake up etc.  It might be a good way to feel better about pacing or decreasing/increasing mileage if I have actual hard data rather than “my legs feel heavy”.  Hmmm something to ponder this week.

And thanks for the “pep” talks re: my friends and my birthday.  I’m not feeling as upset as I was over the weekend.  Running will do that for you. Plus I’ve been having really vivid dreams.  Sure, when I remember my dreams it means that they were scary / disturbing but there were definitely moments where my mind was at ease and I woke up smiling. Wonderful dreams make up for bad days. Always 🙂

Since today feels like spring I’m going to go now and enjoy the rest of my day.  GO DO THE SAME! haha

Weekly Recap: November 9 – 15 2009

Filed under: Weekly Recap — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 13:21

Miles: 55.3

Time: 8 hours 32 minutes 38 seconds

Lifting: Zero

Core: 5x

XT/Rest: Once rest day

Another high week although down slightly from last week.  A bit on the slow side too.  By the end of Sunday’s run I was totally feeling all the miles that I had just put in so it may be time to cut back this week slightly and give my muscles a chance to recuperate.  The weekend pushed ’em over the edge with the birthday stuff. I know that the following week (Thanksgiving break) I’ll be running with a friend and we like to “go big or go home” haha so I need to, like, taper for it this week. 🙂

November 11, 2009

Oh Wednesday. Plugging Away

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 18:32

First off I want to say a HUGE Happy Veterans Day to all those who have served our country and those who are doing so now.  You are heros. Every single one of you!

For me, today has been an “off” day.  Nothing bad has happened per se but I’ve just been out of it.  I have no idea what day it is or what I need to be doing. Luckily no matter what day it is I can get up and run. So life is good in that respect.

I’ve decided that until Boston training starts up I’m not going to force myself to do speedwork.  Yes it’s really important to incorporate it into a running routine but I’m not going to hold myself to doing it once a week.  I’ll just do it every 10-14 days or so.  Since the last time I did fast stuff was 2 weeks ago exactly I should be telling you that I did it this morning.  But that would be lying haha.

I did an easy 6 miles instead. I wasn’t feeling speedwork so I didn’t do it.  Maybe tmrw, maybe I’ll push it off another week.  With such high mileage lately I’d rather not stress my body with two variables.  And I’ve been liking running looooong lately so there you go.  The weather was absolutely perfect for this kind of running too.  Mid 40s* with some clouds in the sky.  Just the kind of morning you want to soak up rather than have it be a blur by concentrating on splits or keeping your  mind focused on what your body is doing.

I was aware, though, the my legs were fatigued.  Which then made my pace at the end very surprising as it was right where I would have wanted it to be.  So you wouldn’t have known based on my time that my legs were feeling the miles they’ve been doing lately.  When I saw my time, however, I wanted to say “screw you legs I’m running more” because I hate not taking advantage of a quick pace.  But then I had to remind myself that I’ve been running like this for 2-ish weeks so it’s not likely a fluke-y pace but rather that this pace is truly what my body thinks is easy.  One way I could tell was my HR, it’s been staying pretty low lately when my runs are finished. Very cool.

Especially when I’m getting so little sleep.  Again I was tossing and turning.  I remember having three distinct dreams too, which is annoying because that means I kept waking up during the crucial part of the sleep cycle. The wicked weird thing is that I’ve stopped being tired from it.  My body is just on go-go-go.  My doctor seems to think that my body is really sensitive to my emotions — which is why my running has been so good since I’m happy. The flip side of that is that all the “happy hormones” are being pumped out in full swing too so that’s likely why I’ve been restless at night.  Oh to think that being happy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be 🙂

And I guess I should stop complaining about my birthday.  A lot of you are telling me that 23 isn’t old.  😛

I know that but like I said yesterday I feel so much older than the ppl around me sometimes.  Maybe it’s not an age thing, I guess I’m really ready to leave school and feel so much more mature than some of my peers, but being a full year older doesn’t help matters. And to answer EarlyRunner‘s question about my gap year: I worked at an elementary school in my hometown as well as a nursery (garden center) to earn some cash before coming to my excessively expensive school.

Although the whole age thing bugs me a bit, I’m getting excited about celebrating.  Starting tmrw.  Haha, three days of (hopefully) amazingness. I have my plans mapped out for Thursday and Friday but Saturday — my actual birthday — nothing.  Haha. And to answer Lacey’s questions: no idea for dinner and ideally I’d want an ice cream cake.  But since I have yet to decide what I want to do I have no idea what’s going down. I do want to find a way to ask Hot-Spanish-TA to celebrate but I feel like, since I’m so awkward, the whole situation would be awkward. Any tips to de-awkwardize it?

Happy Hump Day! The week is almost over!!

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