Tag Archives: races

August Training Recap and Looking Ahead to September

It’s September and my first half marathon is really soon..this weekend soon. I’m kind of freaking out.  I felt like I hardly trained at all in August but I actually ran 2 miles less than my highest mileage month, so I guess my concept of what’s considered a lot of running has changed a little. Looking past my nerves, it seems like August was a pretty good month for me.

I registered for a lot of races.  I kick off with Virginia Beach on Sunday and have a handful of races, including the Baltimore Half Marathon, before I wrap up with the Hot Chocolate 15K.

Even though I’m happy with my training, I decided to ditch my time goal for Virginia Beach and I’ve been much happier since I took that pressure off of myself.  A wise person once told me that if I am happy with my training then what does 2 minutes or 5 minutes or even 10 minutes matter on race day if I’m having a good time.  Ok, maybe that was my boyfriend.  He occasionally drops a bit of serious smartness and this was one of those times.

I was lucky enough to go to Philly for the Healthy Living Summit and I had such a blast meeting new friends.

Love. Love. Love.

The day after I got back, I got my very first sports massage.  It hurt but not nearly as much as I expected. Foam rolling is good for your muscles AND it raises your acceptable pain threshold like whoa. The woman massaging me was kind of freaked out that I didn’t even flinch as she elbow dropped my IT bands.

I’ve been foam rolling resting like crazy this week and have been losing my mind a little (see this crazy dream about Lil Wayne and this post about my thoughts on pants). I’m pretty sure I now understand the phrase taper madness.

I definitely learned a lot this month.  I’m excited for September – for my races, for fitness, for my blog (which is about to make the jump to self hosting!), and of course the next DC blogger meet up! Nothing but good things in September!

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All About Sports Massages

I had an appointment for my first sports massage earlier this week.  I’m about a week away from my first half marathon and my hamstrings and glutes have been feeling a little bit dead.  I decided to let an expert step in too reduce the risk of injury before I get to Virginia Beach and I think it turned out to be a great idea.

Massage can prevent injuries and loss of mobility and flexibility.

Sports massages are great if you have an area you know you want to work on because the therapist can focus on that area instead of providing a full body massage (1).  One session can help restore mobility and motion to the area (2).

Physiological Effects of Massage (via SportsInjuryClinic.net):

  • Pain reduction – Tension and waste products in muscles can often cause pain. Massage helps reduce this in many ways including releasing the bodies endorphins.
  • Relaxation – Muscles relax through heat generated, circulation and stretching. Mechanoreceptors which sense touch, pressure, tissue length and warmth are stimulated causing a reflex relaxation.

Physical Effects of Massage (via SportsInjuryClinic.net):

  • Pumping – The stroking movements in massage suck fluid through blood vessels and lymph vessels. By increasing the pressure in front of the stroke, a vacuum is created behind. This is especially important in tight or damaged muscle tissue as a tight muscle will squeeze blood out like a sponge, depriving the tissues of vital nutrients and energy to repair.
  • Increased tissue permeability – Deep massage causes the pores in tissue membranes to open, enabling fluids and nutrients to pass through. This helps remove waste products such as lactic acid and encourage the muscles to take up oxygen and nutrients which help them recover quicker.
  • Stretching – Massage can stretch tissues that could not be stretched in the usual methods. Bundles of muscle fibres are stretched lengthwise as well as sideways. Massage can also stretch the sheath or fascia that surrounds the muscle, so releasing any tension or pressure build up.
  • Break down scar tissue – Scar tissue is the result of previous injuries or trauma and can effect muscle, tendons and ligaments. This can lead to inflexible tissues that are prone to injury and pain.
  • Improve tissue elasticity – Hard training can make tissues hard and inelastic. This is one reason why hard training may not result in improvements. Massage helps reverse this by stretching the tissues.
  • Opens micro-circulation – Massage does increase blood flow to tissues, but so does exercise. What massage also does is open or dilate the blood vessels and by stretching them this enables nutrients to pass through more easily.
When To Skip a Massage (source):
  • If you have inflammation: Massage can further irritate an area of inflammation, so you should not administer it. Inflamed conditions include anything that ends in –itis, such as phlebitis (inflammation of a vein), dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), arthritis (inflammation of the joints), and so on. In the case of localized problems, you can still massage around them, however, avoiding the inflammation itself.
  • If you have a fever:  When you have a fever, your body is trying to isolate and expel an invader of some kind. Massage increases overall circulation and could therefore work against your body’s natural defenses.
If you’re not sure if a massage would be helpful you can call a sports masseuse.  If they’re a good business they’ll be happy to answer your questions prior to an appointment.
Have you ever had a sports massage?  What did you think of it?

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Three Things Thursday – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Edition

1) Virginia Beach Half Marathon:

The Good:  I got my bib number.  I’m #12332! Everything seems so real now! I don’t know if there’s online tracking available but if there is I’ll be sure to make good use of it.

The Bad: I’ve had a knot in my left IT band since Tuesday.  This barely qualifies as “bad” because I’ve been rolling the heck out of it (to the point of bruising my leg) and it’s already so much better.  To be extra safe, I skipped my track workout last night and booked a massage for Monday. I’m really thankful this happened 2.5 weeks prior to the race instead of the week before. Nothing is pulling and I know that an extra rest day or two won’t derail my training so I’m trying not to let this cause any stress.

The Ugly: This is my first half marathon and even though I’m not trying to be, I’m nervous!  I keep having dreams that I’ve been running for a long time and feel so good, but then I look at my watch and realize that either I’ve been running for 7 hours and the end is nowhere in sight  or I’ve went to the finish party before actually finishing the race.

2) Healthy Living Summit:

FINALLY!

The Good:There’s so much good, I don’t even know what to write here! I’m beyond excited to meet up with some of my favorite blog and twitter friends for a weekend of fun in, what is now being dubbed, the City of Bloggerly Love.

The Bad: My packing skills are seriously lacking.

How do I have so much stuff to pack for a 2 day trip?!

The Ugly:

Rain, rain go away

I think the great company will more than make up for the bad weather – and really, I know I’m going to have a great weekend if the weather is the only thing that I’m less than excited about!

3) Shopping

The Good:The Mizuno Wave Alchemy 11’s are out!  I blow through running shoes at an alarming rate and I’m looking forward to adding these into my rotation.

I shall call them fluffy and they will be mine.

The Bad: I have been shopping WAY too much lately. I’ve mentioned that I prefer to wear workout clothes to “regular” clothes but I didn’t realize how much I’m lacking in the regular clothes department until I started packing for HLS.  I’ve been buying a lot of clothes – like cocktail dresses (plural).

The Ugly: Of course I got more workout clothes too… I found a really cute jacket for winter that was on mega sale and I had to snag it.  But it’s totally unnecessary for right now when it’s so hot and humid.

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So I’m Registered For A Lot Of Races…

So I just put together my race schedule for the rest of the year and…. wow.

9/4/11: Virginia Beach Half Marathon

This is my A race. I’ve been training my butt off for this race and I can’t believe it’s here in just over a month.  I’ve felt so good about my training that I’ve stopped obsessing over a time goal, which is pretty huge for me.  I know I’m going to do the best I’m able to do – and if that day it happens that my best is a few minutes slower (or faster) that what I’ve been expecting… well I just don’t care.  Plus, I finally found the elevation for this race and man I’m excited for a nice flat run!

Flat as a pancake

9/24/11: Clarendon Day 5K

Clarendon Day was the first 5K I did last year after finishing Couch to 5K.  This year my goal is to try to break 30 minutes.  I think it might be humanly possibly as long as I stick to the shortest course distance and take that down hill as fast as I can without regard for my quads.  Last year I made it down the hill in under 9 minutes and I know I can do it faster this year.  As long as I have a good first mile I should be left with just enough time to pull it off.

10/15/11: Baltimore Half Marathon

I signed up for Baltimore on a whim after I waited to long to sign up for Hershey and it sold out.  I knew it was a hilly course, Hershey is also fully of hills, but looking at the elevation chart is pretty intimidating.  I see lots of runs up the Rosslyn Hills between now and mid-October. Even though this race will be tougher than VA Beach, I’m hoping it will still be a good time.  It’s close to home and I’ve heard good things from people who have run it before (aside from the hills).

Um... wow.

10/30/11: MCM 10K

I am pretty much running this to kill time while Suze and Laura run the full MCM.  I haven’t run a 10K this year and I’d like to beat my 10K PR from last year.  I’m not sure if I’ll be able to after running Baltimore 2 weeks earlier but either way I plan to have a good time.  I’ll probably run all of 3 times between Baltimore and this race but I love running in DC. I love the beautiful sights.

12/3/11: Hot Chocolate 15K

I saw a lot of bloggers/tweeters talking about this race and I hope everyone decides to sign up because it looks like a lot of fun.  Plus, the registration fee includes a windbreaker and chocolate. Seems like a win to me.

 

Sometimes I look at this and think it seems like a lot of races and sometimes I’m like “Oh, this is going to be so fun.” Usually the latter wins out in my mind.  🙂

What are you training for this fall and winter?

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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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Happy 1 Year Running Anniversary to Me!

Happy 1 year running anniversary to me!

There's no point in celebrating an anniversary if there's not cake involved.

This week has been so busy at work. I’m really sorry to have just completely vanished from the blogging and twitter world.  I was so busy that I completely missed my 1 year running anniversary!  Thanks to technology, I can share the embarrassing details:

I may be slow now, but I was really slow then!

Yep. That was Week 1, Day 1 of Couch to 5K.  I decided I wanted to run but knew I couldn’t do it on my own and that program was a life saver.  I made a lot of mistakes, like running ever single run on a treadmill, but the guide times were crucial because I never really played sports or ran before.

I remember thinking I’d run my goal race (Clarendon Day 5K on 9/25) and maybe a few more but I’d never aspire to run more than 3 miles. Only crazy people would want to run for longer than that! I did the 9/11 5K as practice – I had a horrible cold and was totally miserable – and was TERRIFIED to run Clarendon Day.  I ended up having a really good time though. I was thrilled with my time of 33:54. I figured I’d run a 10K sometime in the spring… maybe another 5K.

But then Suze talked me into the Rockville 10K in November and I had fun doing that, even though I’m pretty sure I got through the race on adrenaline alone.  Prior to the race I’d only run more than 3 miles twice – once I ran 4 and once I ran just over 5.  We did the 10K with a 4:1 run/walk ratio and came in at around 1:09.  I’ve only run 2 10K’s and this is actually my PR.

After this I was hooked on running but had no idea what I was doing training wise.  I ran the Jingle All the Way 10K – it was crowded, freezing and pouring – in December.  I started training for the GW Parkway 10 Miler in January. I tried to do every run as fast as I could and not surprisingly I ended up with some IT band problems in February.

Coming back from the IT band problems led me to discover some heart/thyroid issues I didn’t know about.  I didn’t get an awful lot of quality training in before the 10 Miler but I finished it and I’m proud of it.

I ran a series of 5K’s in my neighborhood in April and knocked my 5K PR down by nearly 90 seconds.  My goal of taking it to sub-30 in 2011 is still possible – hopefully at this year’s Clarendon Day (yes, I’m going to use that super big downhill to accomplish my goal – I’m crafty like that!).

You know you've run a PR when your finish pics all show you staring down your Garmin!

Also accomplished in my first year of running: running as part of a relay team for the National Half Marathon, completing the Warrior Dash, running my first trail race as part of a marathon team at the North Face Endurance Challenge and starting to run with a group/coach so I can get to my half marathon goal without getting hurt.

I can’t believe that I’m a month into training for my first half marathon.  I can’t believe I got the guts to train with a group and I REALLY can’t believe the workouts I’ve pulled off in the short period of time I’ve been working with them.  It’s been an amazing confidence builder and I’ve met some awesome people.

So here’s to my first year running. I can’t wait to see what year two brings!!

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Training Plan for Rock & Roll Virginia Beach

So I put my official VA Beach training plain together and it’s making me super excited to go out and and run around.

I’m one of those crazy people who loves to plan for things.  I signed up for Virginia Beach in DECEMBER. I’m nuts.  So today I made an Excel spreadsheet with the training plan that I put together on Runner’s World Smart Coach.

The pretty colors make it look so manageable!

(Link to the actual plan)

I definitely believe that organization and presentation are key to a good plan.  I know a few people may disagree that making a training plan look nice is actually critical but for me it’s kind of necessary there’s just so much information to absorb.  I want to make sure that I’m not missing anything and the easiest way for me to do that is to organize the crap out of it.

So about the plan. I was kind of hesitant to post a link to the actual plan because sometimes I get self conscious about how slowly I run my easy/long runs.  In the end transparency won out. One of the reasons I have this blog is to have another way to track my training.  If I’m not being completely forthcoming in my speed then there’s not much point writing about it.

Speaking of running long runs slowly, Dorothy from Mile Posts (one of my absolute favorite running blogs) wrote a great post last month about long slow distance runs and how they really helped her shave some serious time from her marathon times – we’re talking 23 minutes.  Granted Dorothy is an insanely talented runner but to see that this works for her is enough for me to take it seriously.  I plugged my 5K times from the Crystal City 5K Fridays into the McMillan Running Calculator and SmartCoach and the times are consistent – to get the maximum benefit out of my long runs, I should be running 12 minute miles. Considering the fact that it was literally 102 degrees out yesterday (pre-heat index) it’s probably not a bad idea to keep things a little slower so I don’t pass out in the middle of Crystal Drive one morning.

This weekend will be my first official “long run”.  Long as in 4 miles and I ran 6 last week.  But the first weekend where the distance counts toward my VA Beach goal.  I’m actually excited.  That will last until Saturday night when my 10:00 pm bedtime rolls around because I need to be up at 6:00 to run with the Pacers group on Sunday morning.

What are your weekend exercise goals? Are you training for any races?

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