MarathonMaiden's Blog

November 11, 2010

Well I Think I’ve Found A Workout I Hate More Than Tempos

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 13:28

Sorry Jess but the 2 X 3 miler is just plain awful.  That said, because I hate it so much, it must be doing something good for me.

I think I don’t like it because there’s the recovery time in the middle.  By the time I’m done with mile 3 of the first repeat I’m getting into a groove.  Then BAM the recovery distance (and I took a 1 mile one but the same holds true for ANY recovery distance) hits my legs like a ton of bricks and my legs — or maybe it’s my brain — just don’t want to rev it up.  It’s probably moreso my mind as you’ll see in the numbers that I really didn’t crash and burn. Sometimes during the workout I felt like this:

Thanks google images

But the wheels never truly came off.

The workout ended up being 2 X 3.15 miles.  If you remember from the last time I did this workout (over Halloween weekend I think) I had miscalculated the distance and it was short by .05 miles.  I wasn’t going to let that happen again so I mapped out a route that would get me .05 miles over 😉

I really didn’ t have any goal time in mind for these.  I ran them too fast two weeks ago so I figured that around 7:00 would be good? So after a quick (eeeeeeeeer not in time but distance) warm up I jumped right into it (time of lap is first and pace in red)

  1. 8:02 ( 7:39 ) Okay so this one is deceiving because, not only did I not realize that there was a 7%, .2 mile HILL in about 3/4 through the lap that, um, almost stopped me in my tracks, I overshot the side street I was going to take.  So I’m pretty sure that I ran more that 1.05 miles by a tenth or so.
  2. 7:33 ( 7:11 ) Better even though that hill was killer
  3. 7:27 ( 7:05 ) Didn’t feel terribly fast and my legs weren’t obscenely tired.  I even charged up the hill. Well as best I could.

1 mile recovery: 8:44.  This time went by WAY too fast despite it feeling slow.  I avoided the hill for obvious reasons.

  1. 7:35 ( 7:13 ) Not too shabby considering it felt like it took me forever to get going again
  2. 7:40 ( 7:18) I definitely got cocky on this one and totally didn’t push myself.  I know it. Still sub-7 though.
  3. 7:26 ( 7:04 ) Final push? Interesting how the last lap of each repeat is the fastest. I suppose that says a lot about my endurance and capacity for long distances.

I took a very long warm down after that.  I’ve been taking shorter warmups and longer downs lately and I’m enjoying it.  I’m always chomping at the bit to just GO into the workout and I like having time to reflect on the warmdown.

Anyway…the long and short of this workout is that I can’t really be too disappointed.  Yes, NONE of the repeats were in the tempo interval zone (according to McMillian: 6:53-7:01) BUT that hill really just was like running into a brick wall.  My form suffered and I’m fairly certain that my pace suffered too.  That’s not to say that if I was on a flatter loop that I’d have made this workout hare like but given the terrain (and the wind along the canal) I’m going to have to force myself to be happy with it.

After the workout I talked to one of the peeps who originally suggested this workout and he said (after my complaining)

I wish that I could say that I feel sorry about that workout sucking, but I don’t, LOL! I wouldn’t be recommending or suggesting it if I questioned your ability to handle it. That workout is supposed to suck, just like [a mutual friend] has told me that he hates 800 meter repeats. And there’s no reason for you to try to run them faster, you should be aiming for HMP. 6-7 miles @ HMP is going to be tough, there’s no denying or avoiding it. NACN

Also: as much as that killer hill surprised me I’m actually really glad that it was there. I had been debating between hill repeats and intervals for today’s run and this was a good way, even if unplanned, to get both in.  I have no idea what the course is going to be like at WR so it’s a good thing I have at least 6 hard and fast hills under my belt.

So all in all, while the times in and of themselves do not indicate where I want my fitness level to be (at least to me at the moment) it was good and given the challenging nature of the route/loop it is EXACTLY where I think my fitness level should be, no?

I also did Week 1 Day 2 (W1D2) of both the pushup and situp challenges before heading out:

Pushups: 10, 12, 8, 8, max (14)

Situps: 15, 18, 15, 15, max (20)

Finally, but probably the most important part of this post: for those who have served, are serving or will serve:

February 23, 2010

Intervals and Hills. Because It’s Tuesday.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:29

Another sleepless night for me.  Well that’s not true I ended up with about 6 hours.  But 6 =/= 9 which is what my body wants/needs.  Which maybe a bit ridiculous to ask of a college student but hey, the body wants what it wants you know? I mean, I did get A LOT done last night which was great but I actually woke up to my alarm which NEVER happens.  And I was in the middle of a very weird dream where I was at an indoor pool party with Lacey and her entire family.  Kind of like her family reunion and I was a party crasher. Hahah.

I keep meaning to mention this but I was awarded the Sunshine Award by EE and Laura (and maybe someone else but I have a terrible memory and can’t seem to find it looking at old posts in google reader)

And I tag all of you because EVERYONE could use more sunshine in their lives 🙂

Additionally I wanted to cheer more people up too.  Anyone ever heard of Operation Beautiful? If not you can go to their site because I’m sure they have a better description than the one that I’m going to give: people put up post-its telling others how beautiful and awesome they are.  So I did that today at the gym and here’s what I put up and hopefully it’ll brighten lots of people’s days at the gym (and I just realized I spelled independent wrong! Oops, I feel embarrassed)

And on to today for me.  I have a love/hate relationship with Tuesdays.  Obviously I love that I only have one 50 minute class.  But I hate that it’s at 0830 (when I’d rather be running).  I love running fast and getting that BAMF feeling after an interval workout.  But I hate that I’m scared of them.

Rather than type out my workout for you I figured I’d take advantage of my new camera and snap a pic of the workout.  I take sheets of yellow memo paper and write out my workout the night before.  I don’t know how well you can see but the stuff in black is the prescribed workout, or at least the template.  The pencil marking are calculations (like distance, pace, time etc) and the Red is what actually goes down:

So before I jump into how I felt over this workout I want to do a shin update (which the discomfort is right where the shin meets the ankle for those of you who have asked) because last night I was really worried about it.  Not anything specific per se like “OMFG I’m in pain” but rather “How is this going to affect my intervals? My hills? My tempo? The next 8 weeks?”

You see, I’m never quite sure when it’s appropriate to back off of running and when it’s okay to push through with regards to pain.  I have a VERY high tolerance to pain: I never even took OTC painkillers after getting my wisdom teeth extracted.  In fact I was eating solid food within hours and out doing intervals the very next day.  So I guess the questions on my mind were more of the natural of if I *should* run rather than if I was *capable* of running.

I was pleasantly surprised when I woke up pain free this morning.  And I do want to clarify that I was never in pain well maybe I was with my high tolerance but it was never real pain for me. Now that’s not to say the discomfort wasn’t there after walking around a bit but I think the “alphabet” exercises and the stretching of my calf made a world of difference.  Funny how I never would have thought to stretch my calf but thanks BostonRunner for the tip!

Even so I was mildly worried that my shin was going to snap in two trying to do the workout above.  Not because of anything real but just because my imagination loves to run wild on me like that.  I did tell myself that if after the warmup I was feeling uncomfortable I could bag it.  Clearly, because you have seen the picture, I didn’t and my shin discomfort was very minor the whole time, mostly though between the intervals and re-starting with the hills.

I think that because I went into this workout with a “let’s see what happens” attitude that it went better than it otherwise would have because there was no real pressure.  Last week’s session I felt like I was at the end of the TM belt the whole time struggling to run in a straight line and this week I felt good with the paces maybe a bit too easy for the 800m and 600m, although the 200m pace was a bit tough by the end.  I might have to re-evaluate what 10k pace means.  I’m 99.99% sure I’m doing a St. Patty’s Day 10k so that would be a good test. I thought about going for 4 sets but by the end of the 3rd my legs were happy enough so I made a bathroom break and then reloaded for the hills.

Okay so as much as I’d love to say that the hills were great this week…well they were after the fact but man, they were TOUGH.  I upped the pace I typically do them at to my current MP (~820) and that combined with an annoyed shin made for a long session.  I’m sure here was the point where I should have said “I’m done” but I had come so far into the workout that I felt compelled to finish.  Again, I wasn’t in pain but my shin/ankle did let it be known that it didn’t like the hills too much. When I was done with the hills though it was such a euphoric experience.  I felt like I had just beasted it.  Not only did I do some challenging hill work but I did it at a BQ pace.  Very positive.  I’d like to work that down to GMP but I’m right where I need to be at the moment.  A very validating feeling.

So with that said I felt like such a champ when I was through.  Today was a TOUGH workout.  And as much as I complained about my shin I do want to re-iterate that it’s NOT an injury (at least at this point) but just a nagging ache that I need to watch. The ache comes and goes and right now I’m in no discomfort but that might change though when I try to get up as I’ve been sitting for awhile now.

I’ll leave you with another picture, this one of me when I was done the workout.  Please excuse the crazy eyes but I did just finish a stellar workout.  And the monster hands.  Are my hands really that big? I think it’s just the way the camera was angled. Sadly I don’t think you can see it very well in the picture but my entire tank top is drenched in sweat.  But that’s what you get I guess. Oops, I don’t think I wrote down the final stats of the run so here they are as well:

  • 16.5 miles
  • 134 minutes
  • 8:07 average pace

Hope everyone is having a great Tuesday.  I’m trying to work like a mad-woman because tonight is LOST and I soooo badly want to watch it live!!

Oh and also as I got some comments about the weather yesterday: 45* in February is AMAZING weather.  We’ve definitely gotten down to the single digits before and probably an overnight low in the negatives.  It always amazes me how relative weather is because I know some of you have MUCH worse winters and others think that 45* is worth bundling up for.  And still no sign of the rain/snow that was predicted.  Hopefully it stays that way! Unlikely but I can hope 🙂

February 16, 2010

Working Hard

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 18:44

So I woke up this morning to snow.  Not the biggest deal ever for two reasons: Numero uno, nothing was sticking so there was going to be no accumulation (yup I am that New Englander who hates the snow. At least when I’m on campus and have to travel through it).  Numero dos: I didn’t have to worry about crappy ass drivers hitting me on my run because it’s Interval/Hill Tuesday, aka all the miles on the TM.

As much as I dread intervals and hill work I get a sick perverse pleasure writing out my workout Monday night.  Like it’s probably unhealthy how much I like it.  Oh well.  Guess I could be shooting up drugs in the bathroom to get that kind of rush so in the grand scheme of things my pleasures are tame.

Anyway before I get into the meaty-ness of my workout I want to say that I think I’ve been working wayyyy too hard on physics lately.  Now I am being productive and there hasn’t been any sort of frustration / meltdown but last night I had a dream that involved bras and kets (yes those are the real physics terms) and I was solving problems involving them in my sleep.  Too bad none of the answers to my problem sets were in there.

So clearly my workouts are a nice mental break from all that (as is speaking languages which today I stopped by the French TAs office hours to chat and it was soooo amazing!).  My plan only called for 4 X 1600 with 3 minutes recovery but, as usual, me being me had to go and change it all up.  So here’s what went down:

  • 2 mile warm up
  • 5 X 1600 @ 10k pace (7:08) with 3 minutes .4 mile recovery jog
  • 1 mile warm down

5 minute bathroom / water break

  • .5 mile re-warm up
  • 3 X [.5 mile hills @ 5%] with .25 mile recovery (at .5%)
  • 2 X [ 90 seconds @ 8%] with 90 seconds recovery (at .5%)
  • 1 X [.5 mile hills @ 5%] with .25 mile recovery (at .5%)
  • 2 mile warm down

Total time: 133 minutes
Total distance: 16.3 miles
Average pace: 8:10 (Interval portion: 7:53, Hills portion: 8:35)

First thought when I was done? Man am I glad that’s done.  When I walked into the gym I didn’t know if I really wanted to complete the workout.  It just seemed very scary today.  It’s not that much different than weeks past but very intimidating nonetheless.  Maybe it was the hill portion, like usual.

The mile repeats were tough.  Funny because when I was doing my 2000m repeats (which is like 1.25 miles) I felt great and I remember writing something about how longer intervals are nicer because I could get into my rhythm and showed what a distance person I am.  Not so much the case here.  Normally I think the TM keeps me really honest about the pace (because once I plug it in I feel like a pansy for lowering it during a repeat) but I was all over the belt today.  Side to side, front to back.  Craziness I tell you.  Luckily a really interesting documentary on the Blizzard of ’77/’78 was on the History Channel and I was able to get into it.

But I gutted it out and felt really good after the last one.  Well maybe not really good in the sense of banging out a few more (definitely would NOT have been able to) but it was a good solid workout nonetheless.  I hopped off the TM for a short water break (I was sweating soooooooooooo much!!) and then went for round 2.

Since the last time I did hills I did a bit of research into what type of hills I’m going to see at Boston.  I’ve been really worried that it’s all going to be STEEP and LONG.  Well I’ve been right about the long part (it seems that roughly the hills are .4-.6 miles long — at least the uphill parts) but I haven’t been too impressed with the grade.  The chart I was looking at didn’t indicate that there was anything much steeper than 4.5-5%.

Which is why I included more of the half-miles at 5% rather than my favs the 90 seconds at high grade this week (they just seem soooo much easier!) And maybe I had just been mentally psyching myself out over them but they didn’t seem too bad.  Of course I did only 3 before switching to 2 shorter once and then coming back for the last one.  Even though I like my even numbers (with 4 being the lucky one) 3 just seemed to be more manageable mentally for me.  Next week I’ll probably put the 4 together like I did for the first few weeks of training but I definitely remember those hills to be hard. Today after 2 I knew that my body only had to go through one more before switching it up but those other weeks after 2 it was like “only halfway there?! $%#%#$%”

I obviously ended up sweating up a freaking storm with this workout.  I never drink water during workouts (probably so bad but whatever) and I totally needed to today.  I think I was getting a bit dehydrated because during that water break I felt a bit lightheaded.  Nothing serious but I needed to take a moment and hit up the water fountain and re-group.  But when I was done I was feeling on top of the world!(And note: even though today’s run was 16.3 miles — clearly a lot — it was the exact same distance as last Tuesday so I’m still under what I was at this point last week)

Not to be confused with a run where everything just clicks.  I think I tend to talk about my runs very analytically, which is totally my sciencey brain coming through, and it probably leads many of you to think that I end most of my workouts feeling bamf like it was a stellar run (I will admit that I do feel bamf regardless of my feelings during the run).

Not so as today’s run was HARD.  I think I already mentioned it but when I started I was definitely overwhelmed by what I wanted to accomplish. Granted, the hardest part of any workout is the start, but I wasn’t really looking forward to the run and during it I was a bit bored.  Or at least not as attentive to being “on” is a better way of putting.  I guess it’s hard to describe the difference in words but I think that my weaving on the TM belt was one way that showed my mind wasn’t really engrossed.

Again, it’s not as though I hated it (I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t love it) but because I have a specific race already signed up for and a specific goal already planned for it I feel like running is on the “to-do” list.  It’s such a hard thing to describe though and I could probably write pages on it trying to find the right words. I think a lot of you get it though: running being both a want-to and a have-to.  So I’ll leave it at that. But I just wanted to clarify that I’m not some superhero chica who flies through workouts unfazed (as much as I would love to be!). Today was a day that seemed to faze me.

Okey-dokey atrichokey: after I hit publish (and WOOT to post #300!!) I’m off to go finish lots of homework.  And then watch LOST.  Because a girl needs her hot boy toys. And clearly with guns  🙂

February 9, 2010

UUUGGGHHHH & more hardcore intervals

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 16:46

That just about sums up my night.  I was feeling all great post-workout yesterday and my physics lab just tanked it.  I was in the lab from 2100-0100.  Yes 4 hours. I was cranky and tired and frustrated.  Basically the night didn’t end so well.  I was also sooo keyed up from the failure that was the lab experience that I couldn’t sleep at all.  I was wayyy too overtired. Pretty much a mini-meltdown ensued as this was the straw that broke my back.  I guess the plus of not wanting to sleep was that I got to catch up on my pleasure book?

Anyway I just got out of a meeting with my advisor who helped me a bit with the lab and I just came from finishing up the experiment with my partner and we got it to work.  It was a stupid trick that we didn’t know about.  Last night we were doing everything right but we needed the laser about 3 meters farther back.  But whatever, I feel silly for getting all worked up.  But everything’s okay and now it’s just re-writing the lab report. That and about the 30,000 other things I need to do.

BUT enough complaining.  There’s absolutely nothing I can do to change my stress and get rid of the stuff on my plate.  I can, however, change the way I respond to it so that’s what I’m trying to do.  I’m attempting to let the little things (like catching up on 24 from last night or watching LOST live tonight) go and concentrate on the big things (Spanish paper and physics lab).  Prioritize because as much as it pains me to say this school > LOST.  I know: admitting that hurts me too.

Obviously I need a good hard sweat session today because I was a bit keyed up when I got up this morning.  Lucky for me it’s Tuesday which means: intervals! And I threw in hills too because I skipped them last week. Here’s the deal-io:

  • 2 mile  warm up
  • 2 X  [4 X 800m (.5 mile) ] @ 10k pace (7:08) with 90 seconds recovery between intervals and 5 minutes between sets
  • 1 mile warm down
  • 5 minute bathroom break
  • 1/2 mile re-warm up
  • 2 X .5 mile hill @ 5% with .25mi recovery (.5%)
  • 4 X 90 seconds (7-8-8-7%) with 60 seconds recovery (.5%)
  • 2 miles GMP (8:00)
  • 1 mile warm down

GREAT WORKOUT.  I kind of need to pat myself on the back here for a moment (because after the hell of last night I need a victory haha). It felt hard but not exhaustive.  Painful but not extreme. Yay.

It’s gotten to the point in the training plan where intervals days are starting to repeat so I’d already done the core of this workout (the 800s) in the first week of training and I think I’ve had to have improved since then because of the previous reasons.

I actually slowed down the interval part by 5 seconds (from 7:03 in week 16 to 7:08 today. Still faster than my 10k PR pace though which was the prescribed pace) which may have helped make it seem easier but I definitely felt like I had more in me, not another set or anything but maybe 1-2 more. That kind of reminds me of Yassos, except without the 5 minutes between sets. Given my pace that I did today, as well as the pace I did 6 weeks ago, the correlation to a marathon pace would be around 3:31-3:34.I’m not too sure how I feel about Yassos as predictors but since I’m shooting for a <3:30 (I’m serious though: a 3:29:59 is the goal) I’m somewhat near that if you believe in that stuff.  Not too sure if I do or not.

In any case I finished the interval portion feeling not drained.  Sure the workout was tough but I wasn’t feeling worn or anything.  Not just in the physical sense but in the mental sense too. Which is good because I still had my hill portion to do.  Hills, like I always have said, are SO MENTAL for me.  I absolutely dread them. I don’t think I will ever fully embrace them in the sense of enjoyment.  Yes I know they’re good and have accepted that but love? Whole new ball game.

I hadn’t done long hills in 3 weeks so I knew I wanted to incorporate them.  At the same time I knew doing 4-6 of them would be pure torture from a mental standpoint.  So I ended up with 2 of long, not steep hills and 4 short & steep ones.  I think this worked out to my mental benefit because 2 is a great number.  After the first one I was already half way there! And the shorter ones are never really bad because you’re only doing it for 90 seconds. Definitely seems like a blink of an eye.  So I found myself enjoying hills more than normal (still not saying much though) because I was constantly switching it up and I couldn’t get into a negative rhythm.

Throwing in GMP (8:00) was not in the original plan.  I’m not sure how I feel about them.  They aren’t fast enough to work on my body the way speed work does but they’re not slow enough to be easy.  I guess it’s more for my mind to wrap my head around the fact that this is the pace I want to average for Boston. Which, after such a hard/intense workout, felt easy-peasy.

I left the gym feeling rejuvenated and all my anxiety from last night was melted away.  Funny how I said that yesterday and the rest of the day went to hell.  Hopefully today is NOT a repeat of yesterday haha.

And yes these miles were all on the treadmill.  I don’t think I’d be able to run lots of run on the thing but, like I’ve always maintained, the treadmill is great for speed work where exact pace is critical (and without a team to compare myself to I doubt I’d be able to maintain exact paces on my own). Plus I got to watch a really cool program on the History channel on our galaxy and universe in the context of gravity which was cool and very informative (yup the physics nerd in me was nurtured there) and then when that was over I caught some of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. Guilty pleasure for sure.  🙂

Before I go slave away at my work, check off some of the top priorities of my work and feel accomplished by doing so, I want to say thanks for all the amazing comments you guys give me!  I feel like y’all are looking out for me and I love it.  Not many people in my “real life” know what it’s like to train or run or anything like you guys do so it’s always awesome to read your perspectives and advice.  Okay end Hallmark moment heh.

But to give back to you, I want you to check out this picture that was awaiting me this morning on my computer. I can’t get it to be put in-text so you guys will just have to click here.  Trust me, it’s worth it.

February 2, 2010

Another Interval Tuesday: Week 11 style

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

Thanks for all the positive reactions to my January recap. I’ll admit that I had to check and re-check the numbers before posting because I couldn’t believe how much I ran during those first 31 days of this year. Wowza indeed! I didn’t see that one coming at all. And don’t worry: I’m totally being careful with taking it easy in other aspects of my life so that I’m not wearing myself ragged (ie lots of sleep, less challenging courses (well at least I’m not in the classroom as much as previous semesters, I’d argue that Quantum Physics is pretty challenging haha) and eating lots and right) 🙂

I’m also glad that you guys like it when I post my average paces and that kind of stuff.  I’m always hesitant to do so because I know how competitive I am and when I see other people’s paces it can be weird.  But I’ve found that the longer I’m in the blogging world the more comfortable I am with seeing other people’s paces as just that: other people. So I definitely don’t mind sharing mine with you in the future.

Moving along, today is Tuesday which means INTERVALS.  I’ll admit that I always get a little nervous Monday night knowing that the next day is going to be intense.  But I’m also way excited because, let’s face it, running fast is wayyyyy fun!

Here’s what my plan called for:

  • 3 X (800-600-600) @ 5k effort with 90 seconds recovery between each interval, 5 minutes between each set

And when have I ever done the workout exactly as indicated?

  • 2 mile warm up
  • 4 X (800 (.5 miles) – 600 (.38) – 600 (.38) @ 6:45 pace with 90 seconds between intervals, 5 minutes between each set
  • 1.5 miles @ MP
  • 1 mile warm down

So a couple of things to note or at least things that I noted heh:

  1. No hills.  I just needed a mental break from the past 5 weeks of including hills.  At first I felt bad about skipping them but no other plan I’m aware of has hills every single week.  Just because mine doesn’t have any and I’m improvising doesn’t mean that I need to go overboard.
  2. Extra interval set.  Because I wasn’t doing hills I still felt like I had a little kick left in my legs so I made an impromptu decision to add an extra one.  My legs were feeling it by the end, and strangely so was my lower back, but I was happy with how they felt.  Not dead but fatigued. That was probably because:
  3. 6:45 = faster than my 5k PR pace.  I’ve only run one 5k and the pace was 6:56.  I definitely think I am faster than that and the reason I was “slow” (read: slower than I think I’m capable of) that day was inexperience with short racing strategy.
  4. Including MP miles at the end.  By the time I got to these miles (which were another impromptu decision) my legs were tired but MP felt really nice.  Like really easy nice.  Sure my goal MP is 8:00 (for a 3:30 marathon) and that isn’t terribly fast but still will be hard to maintain or average for 26.2 miles. I definitely thought that it was nice my legs could handle it 100% and I had already put in 11-12 miles of hardcore intervals at that point.
  5. I saw the head track coach and he’s still sooo nice to me.  I think that he knows what a hard worker I am (even though he doesn’t know I’m training for Boston — that was a different coach — and he actually ran Boston in 2009) and I also know that he’s disappointed that I’m not running and jumping for him but I love that he asks me how I am in a way that’s not purely conversational.  Like he actually wants to know.  So I’m thinking: would it be weird to ask him if I can use the ice whirlpool in the trainers room that’s for school athletes? I really want to experience an ice bath but I feel awkward just showing up to the trainers because I’m not known there. Hmmm just a musing I suppose.

Overall I’m incredibly happy with this workout.  If you recall, last week I complained about feeling like my workout was phoned in (sorry I keeping beating the phrase into the ground but it’s the only way I know how to describe it) and it definitely didn’t feel that way this week.  I think that it had to do with a touch of overdoing it (ie the streak) as well as the combo of interval length and speed.  I genuinely think that longer intervals are wicked easy for me so the shorter ones today helped kick my butt.  Plus with no hills I didn’t have to dread the second half of a workout haha 😉

Also I’ve been battling a sinus infection the past few weeks which probably took a toll on my outlook.  3 weeks ago I went on a Z-pack to clear up the infection but after a few days of relief it came back with a vengeance.  It’s not sooo bad, mostly when I go to lay down in bed.  And even though my nose is stuffed up, nothing comes out when I blow.  And now there’s pressure in my ear.  Boo!

I absolutely hate going on antibiotics so I always wait until I feel like I’m going to die before going to the doctor.  Plus most sinus infection / ear infections go away on their own, so I always wait (maybe not the smartest choice as one year I did this and developed the beginnings of pneumonia.  Not smart!) AND I chronically get strep/sinus /ear infections during the winter months without fail and don’t want to be on meds 24/7.  But this go-round I was in so much pain one night that I wanted my ear drum to pop just to relieve the pressure (which has happened to me before and is INCREDIBLY painful in and of itself.)  And off to the doctor I went and am now on a heavy-duty antibiotic and hopefully this will do the trick and not mess up the good bacteria in my system too much.

Wow didn’t mean to write so much about my ailment! Hahah. But on a more positive / less complaining note: LOST is on tonight!! And it’s a 2 hours premiere. Woot.  And there’s a recap episode before hand so that makes… THREE HOURS OF LOST AMAZINGNESS.  Seeing as how I’m pretty bamf myself ( 😉 ) I think I can handle it but I just get so giddy thinking about the gloriousness that will be tonight.

P.S. Check out the giveaway that Marcia is having. Awesomeness continued.

January 26, 2010

Last Day of Freedom!

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

I absolutely LOVED reading your thoughts on high mileage running and running in general.  You people are so smart and awesome.  I think the most important take-away message I got was that high mileage is all relative so don’t get trapped by a label or put in a box. Soooo true!

The problems I was experiencing yesterday commenting on some of your BlogSpot blogs has been fixed. Yay. It was frustrating being able to read and then not tell you how great/awesome you are or your food looked or whatnot. Which might be the case in the next few days.  Why? No I’m not expecting any computer problems (knock on wood!) but classes start tomorrow and while my schedule looks tame compared to semesters of the past, I have the feeling it’s deceptive (hence the title of the post).  But we’ll see.  Blogging and reading blogs has become such a part of my life and where I draw motivation from that I’m sure I’ll find time for it but the next week might be rough while I test out a new schedule and fall into a routine.

Running is obviously going to be a constant in my life this semester and while today is the last I-can-run-whenever-I-truly-want, the truth is that most days will still be pretty open to run whenever.  In a way it’s better than the past 3 weeks have been on campus because I won’t have to schedule my lifts, XT, or even TM sessions around when the gym is open because regular hours start tomorrow too.

I had to wait until noon to get into the gym to do my interval session today.  Annoying because with an influx of people on campus moving in the past few days, it means that more people would be hitting up the gym during the 12-2 and 4-6 times it’s open today.  And as many of you guys are aware: I’m going to be running a whole lot longer than the courtesy 30 minutes.  Oops.  Luckily it’s never been a problem and no one has been waiting for a tm, more a factor of how little other people stay on the machine.

Anyway, enough blabber.  Here’s what my plan called for today:

  • 3 X 2000m @ 10k pace with 3 minute recovery

Here’s the actual workout I did

  • 2 mile warmup
  • 4 X 1.25 miles @ 713 pace with .35mi recovery
  • 1.6 mile “warmdown”
  • 5 minutes re-warmup
  • 6 X [90 seconds hills] ladder style: 6-7-8-8-7-6% with 60 sec recovery (.5%)
  • 21 minute warm down

Total time: 120 minutes
Total distance: 14.75 miles

There was a 5 minute bathroom/water break like last week between the intervals and the hills.  An opportunity where someone could have taken my TM but since no one did I considered it to be my right to continue on with the workout 🙂

Since I was on the TM I changed meters into miles and the rough conversion was 2000m = 1.23 mi which made 1.25 mi easier to keep track of.  For me 3 minutes recovery is .36 miles so I cut it to .35 so that 1 complete interval was 1.6 miles and life was easy.  Easy being the operative word.  While last week I felt really tired at the end of the interval session the opposite was true for this session which was at the same pace but just a longer distance.  Weird indeed so I tacked on an extra interval to see if I could handle it and I could.  Just more evidence that I am able to handle longer distances and I settle into a routine and plug away as opposed to shorter distances where I keep changing the pace frequently.  My body just must not be able to find it’s rhythm with short intervals.  Good news as last I heard a marathon was a pretty long distance 😉

The hills also went MUCH better than expected.  The 6 and 7% hills really didn’t feel that bad.  Yippee!! The 8%? Yeah let’s just say that I’m going to NOT hit 9% any time soon because the 8% is still pretty darn hard and I’m gasping for breathe.  Hehe. I think the “easiness” of it is a factor of this being the 5th week of incorporating hills after my interval sessions.  Plus I had those hills on that killer 17 miler with Lacey over the weekend.  I think I may have broken through the mental barrier of hills after today.  No way of really knowing until next week’s session comes around but today was a lot easier to handle mentally AND physically.  Always a good thing.

Strangely I don’t feel as hyped up as I normally do after an interval session of this magnitude.  It almost feels like I phoned in the workout.  Maybe since it’s “Week 12” (or week 5 depending on if you’re counting down/up) I need to reevaluate things like pace and % grade. I could genuwinly be making gains (well I’d hope so over 4 weeks of training haha!) Or maybe this week’s intervals were designed to not be as intense as last week’s were.  I mean there are going to be workouts that are easier than others and it’s silly to think that every week has to have more miles / more speed / more hills than the last.

Or maybe it was because I got to watch a History Channel special on the the Dead Sea Scroll and the prophecies it…prophesies.  And then I switched to MTV and watched the Jersey Shore reunion special.  Clearly I am a chica with a variety of tastes, although I’ve never seen the Jersey Shore before but based on this special it looks like a train wreck: you hate that you’re staring but can’t pull yourself away.

And I did realize today that I am “that girl” at the gym.  Yes sure ” that girl” can imply the crazy-bad-ass chick but I’m using it to refer to the fact that I sweat like no other.  Seriously.  I think I lost 10 pounds in water weight today.  I went through TWO towels and my white shirt proudly was see-though at the end (although I did wear a bright green sports bra because I knew this would happen HA) .  So I’m not quite sure if people were staring at me because I was working so hard (running fast and forever on the tm) or if they thought I was going to pass out because of fluid loss and my tomato red face.

I was debating heading back to the gym to do an elliptical session and then a looooooooong stretch (confession: I  haven’t stretched since FRIDAY!!) buuuuuuuuut no.  I would say that I’ve got things to do but I really don’t.  I just want to lay in my comfy chair and read.  So that’s what I’m going to do.  Although now that I’ve started typing I realize how much I want to say!! It’s funny how many topics I want to discuss pop into my head.  But that’s for another day I suppose (I actually have a list about 10 items long called “future posts I want to write” haha).  I think I’m going to go enjoy my last day of break.

Happy Wednes ummmmmmm Tuesday? Gosh I 100% have been thinking it’s Wednesday — to the point of waking up this morning and thinking I was late for class! Well have a great day regardless of what it’s called 🙂

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 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 5, 2010

Training Time

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:17

I’m glad you guys liked my Twenty Twelve Questions yesterday. Looks like lots of you are peanut butter fans AND diet coke addicts (well except AMarathoner. Boo! haha)  I really had fun answering them and I got some more questions as a result! Yay! So if you have ’em send ’em my way and sometime in the near future I’ll do a Part 2 or something 🙂

On a running note: I guess I’m just going to accept that I’m officially in Boston Training.  I was going to wait another 3 weeks, and do a 12 week plan, but the pull of training is too great and when I tried to “loosely” follow last week’s schedule it ended up being the schedule.  Oops! Oh well, I don’t think it’ll be a big deal and I love having actual workouts to do rather than “Hmmmm what should I do today?!”

So Tuesday is now interval day and since last week was 800 repeats that made today longer intervals. I decided to hit up the gym first thing when I got up so that I could have my whole day free (as *fingerscrossed* I’m heading back to school at some point today).  And I decided to hit up the gym rather than head outside because the track is covered in snow and I don’t have short distances mapped out.  I figure if I’m doing my LR, easy and tempo runs outside I’ll be okay and the treadmill won’t kill me for the speed stuff. Well it may kill me but it won’t harm my marathon heh.

Here’s the workout I did:

  • Warm up
  • 1mile – 2miles – 1mile @ 10k pace with 4 mins, 7 mins, 4 mins recovery respectively
  • 5 minutes easy
  • 4 X 800m hills @ 5%, MP with .2 miles recovery
  • Warm down

Whew! It was one of the most challenging workouts I have done EVER! (hence the “it might kill me” from above) I think it was the hills section though. The intervals were great actually. The workout plan said “slightly slower” than 10k pace but I did it at 10k pace as I think I’m faster than my PR suggests.  Hopefully this is okay.  I actually felt that I could have gone faster.  And not just for the first repeat but through the whole thing.  This tells me that either I’m not performing up to snuff in my races or that I’m in much better shape than I was when I ran my 10k PR.  Hopefully it’s the latter but even if I’ve been under performing that just means that I’ll smash some PRs this year 🙂

The only downside to the current plan I’m following (found here) is that doesn’t have any hills incorporated so, like last week, I added on 4 hills after the interval portion. And I increased both the speed AND the incline on it so maybe that’s why it was so hard? Go figure heh.  I had just felt that last week was a bit easy so I really ramped it up.  I was huffing and puffing.  But I totally finished and in one piece. And like a bamf.

I don’t think it was necessarily the increase in pace that got me (as it was only 10-15 seconds faster per mile.  Nothing huge in my opinion) but rather the 4% to 5% increase.  I’m still such a noob when it comes to hills workouts.  My first marathon was really flat (which is funny because it was in Providence which is known for being a bit hilly) so I never had to incorporate hills into my plan.  Obviously now I do which is why I tacked on those hills at the end of last week and today.  We’ll see if it pays off. But, in case you didn’t realize it already (because I knew this and somehow still thought that it didn’t apply to me or something), running VERTICAL is totally a different beast than HORIZONTAL.

I did feel pretty good during the warm down and was ecstatic that I finished the workout.  After hill number dos I seriously considered letting up a bit either in the incline or the distance.  It would have been totally acceptable but, like I’ve mentioned before, once I get an idea into my head of what I’m going to do then that’s what will be done.  I’m totally stubborn that way.

Unfortunately my face was beet red (totally attractive!) and I was sooo overheating after all that despite the crazy happiness I was feeling at completing such a tough workout.  I had to skip a walking portion of the warm down just so I could head outside to let the 20* weather cool me down.  And I was so thirsty afterward! I quickly drank down 32 oz of water.  Sweaty girl = thirsty girl.

Okay time to finalize packing and head back to school after dinner. Hopefully.  Classes don’t start for another 3 weeks so I don’t have to head back tonight but I have a bit of work to do that I know I won’t get done here and I need to get out of this zoo hah! So the fact that I don’t have to get back is making me lazy even though I probably should go.  Just an hour long drive so definitely not too bad or anything.   So I’m going to get one last good dinner in my belly then I’m getting the hell out of dodge 🙂

December 9, 2009

Still Feelin’ Good

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — marathonmaiden @ 15:19

First off check out my guest blog with Christina.  *shamelessplug*

Jess asked yesterday if I was feeling any ill effects of such high mileage.  The answer is no, I haven’t and her observation that I’ve been running really well lately was spot on.  Hence my 11.2 mile run yesterday feeling great after a 9ish miler Monday.  So clearly I might have a flair for the dramatic :-P.   I’ve just always been told that high miles = injury.  And I really don’t want that so I tend to obsess over the potential rather than relax and go with how my body feels and is responding to the workouts.

Rebecca also noticed that everything seems to be “falling into place” for me.  So I guess I’m going something right.  I just tend to be a worrier and glass-half-empty chick.  I need to just enjoy the up swinging trend as Liz said (I’m just linking to everyone today haha) and STFU — obv my words as she (and the rest of you) is too polite to say it.  Easier said than done for me.

But today was yet another great run! I awoke 5 minutes before my alarm went off this morning.  Kind of nice because I got 5 extra minutes of stumbling around and getting my act together but I went to bed wayyy too late last night.  So that kind of sucked.  I already knew that the weather was supposed to be snowy and it was.  Glancing out my window told me that the roads were not plowed yet and darkness + snowy/slick roads + runner =/= favorable.  And as much as I complain about life I quite like it.  So I hit the gym, a la Evan, for a ladder interval.

I’ve actually done this run before, sometime back in September I think, so I had a pretty good idea of how it was going to be.  Sometimes doing a new workout for the first time is a bit scary because you have no idea if you can handle it.  But since I’ve done this before I knew that I’d survive even when it felt hard.

  • Warmup
  • 2 X 3 mins
  • 1 X 4
  • 1 X 5
  • 1 X 6
  • 1 X 5
  • 1 X 4
  • 2 X 3
  • Warmdown

[Edit to add/clarify]: The above is my time in minutes that I’m doing the interval.  For example, I did 3 minutes at my pace, jogged for 2 minutes, then ran 3 minutes at my pace, jogged 2 minutes, ran 4 minutes at pace, jogged 2 minutes etc.   My pace was 5 or so seconds faster than what my mile repeat pace is.  Not sure if that was fast/hard enough but that’s just what I did.  Hope that clarifies some things! 🙂 [End edit]

Total distance was slightly over 10 miles.  Something like 10.2 or 10.3.  And my fitness has dramatically improved because I was able to get in about .6 or .7 miles MORE than the last time that I did this guy (and since this is by time and not distance that’s quite an accomplishment for me).  Felt amazing and hard at the same time.  My quads and hammys are feeling it a bit now so I’ll have to keep up my stretching routine that I’ve been doing lately.

The first 2 or so intervals (as well as the warm up) felt like death.  But I think that’s just because my body was going from sleep –> running and my muscles were fighting me.  Once I got to the 6 minute interval I felt great didn’t want to start going back down the ladder! Heh.

There’s nothing more satisfying than finishing a hard workout in general and sure, the treadmill doesn’t give me the same great feeling during a hard workout that being outside does, but I still felt on top of the world.  I finished up with some corework.

I’m in constant debate as to whether do core before or after when I’m at the gym.  When I run outside I do the core stuff first because it “eats up” darkness time but inside I typically do my core after because I just want to get started with the running.  However I get soooo sweaty at the gym.  Like obscenely sweaty.  It’s gross.  But I wear cute sports bras to make it not so bad to look at a sweat-soaked white tee heh.

Alex commented yesterday about not showering before class.  Luckily during the winter I sweat minimally because it’s so cold, so I could get away with not showering before hitting up classes.  If I had tried that today it would not have gone over so well haha!

Okay off to go give my presentation for my independent study: Adhesive Capsulitis and Diabetes.  *Gulp* I shouldn’t be too worried about it but speaking in front of ppl, with all eyes on me, makes me nervous! Especially since this is a mid-year check-in so I still have unanswered questions.  Hopefully my advisor and the other prof there don’t hammer me with those questions.  It’ll be good for brainstorming next semester but still….I like to have all the answers 🙂

Have a great humpday all!

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