Monthly Archives: July 2011

Week 8 Training Recap – My Best Week Yet

Week 8 was a great training week for me.  I spent most of last week worried that I lost too much time being in Phoenix for work and having the worst cold for a week.  But this week, everything went so well that I’ve started to feel a lot more confident about Virginia Beach.

I needed to run 17 miles this week and I actually went over that (ok, it was only by half a mile) despite the crazy heat.  And despite the heat my pacing was faster than scheduled.  I’m feeling pretty baller just thinking about it!

On Monday, I did a “predict a pace” run around my neighborhood.  I ran 2 perfectly even miles but they were about :59/mile faster than I thought I was going.  It was nice to see that the speedwork I’ve been doing is paying off but I really do need to be more careful to run my recovery runs at a recovery pace.

Wednesday, Suze and I had a crazy good track workout. We ran 1200 repeats and they were mentally really tough but we still negative split the crap out of them.

Warmup 1 800 (.56) – 5:51 (10:25 pace)
Warmup 2 800 (.55) – 5:29 (10:03 pace)
1200 Repeat 1 (.81) – 8:11 (10:05 pace)  – 400 Walk
1200 Repeat 2 (.83) – 7:53 (9:32 pace) – 400 Walk
1200 Repeat 3 (.81) – 7:38 (9:25 pace) – 400 Walk
1200 Repeat 4 that I cut down to 800 because I totally ran out of gas (.53) – 4:40 (8:49 pace) – 400 Walk

I was completely thrilled with that workout, even thought I cut the last repeat short.  I put down more than 5 miles on the track and felt great the whole time.  Except for the parts when I wanted to puke because of the heat…You know, other than that!

Pre-track workout. The post workout picture was too scary to blog.

Friday, I had my longest long run to date and I rocked it.  I ran down the Mount Vernon trail from Crystal City to Old Town, Alexandria and then ran a few miles around there for a total of 8.11 miles.  Even though I left at 6:45 a.m. it was still brutally hot and humid out.  When I left it felt like 85 degrees and there was 90% humidity!  I took off pretty quickly and settled into a good pace by mile 3. The rolling hills in Crystal City felt much easier than I remembered.

Notice the serious lack of shade!

I stopped for my first snack at mile 3.5 – the heat & direct sunlight were draining my energy and I was really glad that I brought a big pack of Honey Stinger chews.  I had 4 chews and my energy was back half a mile later! I seriously love those things. I ate the rest of them at mile 6.  Delicious!

Best part of the run: Running through Oronoco Bay Park in Alexandria, which is where the finish line of the GW Parkway 10 Miler was.  I had such a hard race and it was nice to run through there feeling good and strong.

The brick and cobblestone sidewalks gave my ankles and calves a serious workout!

Worst parts of the run: Tie between the epic lack of shade and the brick and cobblestone sidewalks of Old Town.  It was so hot that I drank my entire CamelBak by mile 6.75! Thankfully, there was a nice little deli that I found in Old Town to stop and refill at mile 7.  They were really nice but had never seen a CamelBak before – the kid behind the counter actually shouted “Lady! You’re pouring all your water into your bag!!!!”  It was kind of hilarious.

Sweaty post 8 mile picture. Ignore the fact that my hand is still moving. I was excited!

I finished up strong, mile 8 one of my faster miles and headed to the King Street Metro to ride home.  I felt TERRIBLE getting on the Metro during rush hour in the stinky sweaty state that I was in.  I was completely drenched in sweat. My shorts were dripping a puddle on the ground.  Of course, I stopped a guy in a business suit and asked him to take my picture. He was nice and did and then went and stood on the opposite side of the platform haha. Thankfully, a lot of people must have taken Friday off because the Metro wasn’t too crowded and I had a seat to myself.

Tonight I’m doing a quick 2 miler once the sun goes down.  I can’t believe I just had my highest mileage week since April and felt so good the whole time.  Bring it on week 9!

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Birthday Weekend Break

I ran my weekend long run yesterday so I would be able to laze around and have fun with the BF this weekend for my birthday.

I’ll be back Sunday with my week 8 training update – which includes my first solo 8 mile run.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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Can You Predict Your Running Pace?

Are you able to accurately predict your pace?  It turns out, I’m not.  Monday night’s Pacer’s workout was a predict a pace session.  Basically, we’d warm up and then predict our pace for a  2 mile run around the track.  We’d run watchless and see how close we came to our predictions.

Monday’s weather was crappy during the day and I was really not sold on the idea of driving to the track for a 2 mile workout that I could easily do from home. I figured I’d go home and just get my 2 mile run in before the 7pm track session even started.

My legs were really tired from Sunday’s 6 miles.  I thought I’d run the two miles at my easy run pace (about 12 min/miles).  I never really run by feel but I figured that was what would be natural. So  I set out and tried my hardest to ignore my watch. I was surprisingly successful at that part of the activity! I knew the route and I knew pretty much exactly where the first “mile marker” would be so I avoided looking down until I crossed it. I actually didn’t look at my watch until 1.2 miles in and the humidity must have been affecting my math skills because I didn’t realize how much I was off my goal pace.  I didn’t hit any stoplights at all – and those of you in the Pentagon/Crystal City area know there are a ton of stoplights in my neighborhood so this was crazy – so I finished up my run without much excuse to look at my watch.

I was definitely surprised to look down and see 22:06.  Whoops.  I was more surprised to look at my mile splits and see that they were both exactly 11:03.  At least when I run by feel I’m consistent?

I’m not really sure what to make of this info. I’m going to definitely make sure I do my long run this weekend at the pace Runners World Smart Coach recommends – about 12 min/mile because I don’t want to get hurt.  Maybe I can tweak some of my recovery run paces, but we’ll see.

Are you able to predict your pace without a watch? Have you ever tried a predict a pace run?

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Training Week 7 Recap

I feel like I’m perpetually late on my blog posting.  Last Wednesday, I finally shook the cold of death enough to go back to the track and get back to my half marathon training.

Good by sick week!

I probably shouldn’t have just jumped right back into my training plan, exactly as written, but I did. I’m a little more sore than normal but nothing feels more than achy.  You know you haven’t run in awhile when a 3 mile track workout leaves your legs feeling like dead weights for a few days.

Friday I did a quick 2 miler before work, and before the serious heat started. I’m glad I woke up at 6 because by 3pm it was 102 degrees, felt like 121 degrees with 46% humidity. I’ve found a “new” route around my neighborhood that’s different from the one that I used to run all the time and I’m really digging it. It’s short but can easily be switched up for longer distances.  Plus it starts with a little up hill and, weirdly, that’s kind of a nice way to get my legs moving right away.

This is how I had to hydrate for 2 miles in the heatwave. A little ridiculous.

I stretched out with some yoga on Saturday to get my legs ready for my first long run in two weeks.  Sadly, my usually awesome yoga instructor was kind of out of her mind and class was tedious and not fun… but I guess it did the job because my legs felt pretty good after.

Sunday’s long run was moved to the ungodly time of 6:30 a.m. to try to beat out the worst of the day’s heat.  The start time was definitely a little more tolerable because Victoria joined us! The miles definitely went by quickly as we chatted.  By about 7:15 we were really happy that we started at 6:30 because it was already starting to get HOT.  I know, I know… all the heat wave talk is getting old but it’s so hard for me to understand how it can be so hot while it’s so early! I went out thinking I had 7 miles on the schedule and decided to cut it to just over 6 because my legs were tired but it turned out that only 6 was scheduled so it was perfect! Coach Bridget brought watermelon for the finish area and it was such a nice end to a really hot, humid run. I think watermelon is going to have a permanent post long run fixture for me.

Now I’m starting week 8 of my training. I can’t believe it. Virginia Beach is getting so close! I am actually really excited for my upcoming 8 miler and I guess that’s a good sign.  It will be my longest run without a walk break (so long as it goes well) by about 2 miles and I’m happy I’m at a point where that’s more exciting than scary.

How are you handling your training in the summer months?

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My 7 Links

I’m way behind on the whole 7 links phenomenon that’s swept the blog world, even though I was nominated by two awesome ladies – Jenny and Theresa!

Most Beautiful Post

I don’t know if I really have a beautiful post… so I’m going to take the easy out and leave you with my Warrior Dash Maryland Mud Pictures. Because they’re beautiful in a different way! 🙂

In all of my muddy glory! So awesome!

Most Popular Post

Heart Rate Update and Why It’s Important to Listen to Your Body – where I finally get an answer for the problems I was having with my heart rate.

Most Controversial Post

When Can You Call Yourself A Runner where I addressed a controversy at another blog, FrayedLaces, about whether charity runners (or bucket list runners or runners who don’t vomit from their training) should call themselves runners.

Most Helpful Post:

The Benefits of Running Hills – where I talk about how hill workouts make you super strong!


Post Whose Success Surprised You:

April Wrap Up It’s a little embarrassing that there’s a large group of people who find my blog by searching “What do May Flowers look like”. Um… it’s a lot of people.

 

A Post That Didn’t Get the Attention It Deserved:

An Awkward and Hilarious Encounter with Dean Karnazes – where I reveal I’m a total and absolute nerd.

This is how I geek out.

The Post You Are Most Proud Of:

GW Parkway 10 Miler Recap – where  I talk about the GW Parkway 10 Miler and how it was a really mentally tough race for me.

Done done done!!!

I know I’m supposed to nominate people, but I think I’m too late and everyone has already done this.  If you haven’t done it yet, please do and comment here with a link! If you’ve already done yours and I haven’t commented, please leave a link in the comments too.  I love reading these posts!!

 

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Reunited and It Feels So Good!

I finally bit the bullet and went back to the track last night! I am so relieved.  Despite the excessive heat warnings (there were two) and air quality alert, I decided I couldn’t wait one more day to run.  Turns out that wasn’t the worst choice since it’s actually hotter today.

Yes I know it's summer but a 112 degree heat index is a little excessive

I’m weird and I love the track. I know there’s no shade but I just love track workouts.  Last night was kind of a weird one though.  We did 500 repeats – yep, you read that right 500s.

Suze and I were braced for the heat and started with a mile warm up. I kept it feeling easy but ended up running at a 10:40 pace.  Go us.  Coach Bridget said we should do 4-6 500 repeats but I got a pass to take it easy since I was still taking DayQuil & cold medicine really messes with your ability to hydrate.

Suze and I did our first repeat at a 10:15 pace and I felt totally queasy after. I skipped repeat #2 and then joined her for repeat 3 (10:41 pace) and 5 (10:41 pace).  Hooray for consistency.  I know this is substantially slower than previous track outings but the heat was ridiculous and I felt good after.

Next up for me is a quick 2 miler on Friday morning and then 6 miles on Sunday. I’m hoping the longer run goes well since it’s been so long since I’ve run but if it’s not the best run…. then it’s not the best run.  This heat wave has to break eventually. I’m really looking forward to a return to regular old summer heat!

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Trip to Phoenix and the Aftermath

I’ve been back for Phoenix for a few days but I’ve had the most horrible cold ever and haven’t had much to blog about.  Before I whine about that, let me talk about how awesome my trip was.  I’m sorry for the super picture heavy post:

Our special entrance

The World's Biggest Baseball. This was the day I was setting up - I didn't wear running shorts to a conference.

The Nationals mascot came out to say hi

Lots of work but so much fun!

Yea, that's me talking to Josh Hamilton!

And Detroit's Miguel Cabrera

Robinson Cano - winning the HR Derby

I scored cheap tickets to the All Star Game (waaaay below face value!)

At the end of the All Star Game

I wish I could break down how much fun the trip was – even working 12 hours a day wasn’t so bad when it’s surrounded by baseball heaven.  It was brutally hot though.  No dry heat – it was humid and about 106 degrees every day.  I was completely delusional thinking I’d a) have time to workout and b)be able to handle the heat.

I’m a little bit freaked that I haven’t run in about 2 weeks.  I was on my feet constantly in Phoenix and walked about 3 miles a day but I haven’t been able to run since I’ve returned because I caught a horrible cold on the way back (from my seatmate who looked like Ryan Reynolds but 15 years older).  I know I have plenty of time before Virginia Beach (which is on 9/4) but I can’t help freaking out a little.  I’ve had horrible experiences running with colds before and I know it’s smart to wait it out a few more days to avoid making myself feel worse… but I miss running so much.

Have you ever had to take an unplanned break from training? How did you handle it?

 

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