Tag Archives: summer

Taper Tuesday – What I’m Doing While I Do Nothing

Edit: WordPress has gone crazy with the formatting on this post but won’t let me into edit the coding. Hopefully it will appear pretty again soon.

I’ve been having a difficult time figuring out what to post today. The trouble with having a training focused blog is that there’s nothing much to post about on days off.

Instead of being stressed out about the things I’m not doing this week – I though I’d post all of the things I’m enjoying today.

Iced Passion Tea

Gorgeous weather in DC today!

This 7 pound bundle of puppy love

Sushi dinner date with the boyfriend tonight.

 

Talking to this awesome girl when I was having a rough morning

What makes you happy today?

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The Most Valuable Lessons Learned While Training for My First Half Marathon

12 weeks of training for the Rock & Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon are done. Wow. Seriously? Time flies. I’d be lying if I said it went perfectly. I had a bad cold, a few days of shin trouble, an unplanned business trip, I slacked at cross training… but still, I’m pretty satisfied. I learned a lot training for my first half marathon.

The Most Valuable Lessons I Learned While Training:

  • A training plan is just a plan.  If the plan calls for an 18 mile week and you have a 17 mile week – that’s still a great week!  I’ve caught myself thinking of that week as a failure. It’s not.
  • It is ok to miss workouts when you’re sick, tired, or sore.  Skipping one track workout because your shins ache is much smarter than working yourself into a stress fracture because you don’t want a day off.  Remember, your ultimate goal is to run a race and you can’t do that if you get hurt because you’re being stubborn.
  • Replace your shoes regularly.  Keep track of the miles you put on your shoes (DailyMile is a useful tool for this) and replace them BEFORE they blow out.  Your feet will thank you.
  • Find friends to do your long runs with.  Long runs take a lot of time and they’re a lot more pleasant when you have company.
  • Remember, most of us run because we like it NOT because we’re training to win races.  Go easy on yourself  when you have a bad run.  Loosen up on your time goals.  Most of our running goals are self imposed. We can adjust as necessary!
Week 12 Training Recap:
Monday 8/22: I got my first ever sports massage to try to work out a series of annoying knots in my butt/hamstring.  My legs are still a little sore but they’re feeling a lot better than they were pre-massage.
Tuesday 8/23: I did a 2 mile easy run around my neighborhood. My legs felt great & I kept the run feeling easy – even taking several walk breaks on a really short run.
Wednesday 8/24: My legs were totally dead and I felt totally panicked.  I went to my track workout, which was cancelled because there was a school event on the track, and badgered my coach with questions about how I should alter my last week and a half of training. We had a short hill workout where I ran about 1.5 miles. She made me promise to stretch a lot, ice bathe, and take my runs extra easy until VA Beach.
Thursday 8/25: I totally rested and sat on a tennis ball to work on the butt knot.
Friday 8/26: I went to the gym and rode about 5 miles.  Legs were feeling pretty good and I decided to go out for my long run Saturday, ahead of Irene.  I had 10 miles on the schedule but planned to cut out early if I was having any kind of tired or sore legs.
Saturday 8/27: I met Suze and our friend Suzanne for our long run.  It was so humid but I felt surprisingly good.  After a few miles I decided I’d be in for the full 10 miler.  We had a few detours due to construction and high waters from Irene but we ended up with about 9.4 miles.  We took it really slowly – stopping to walk and stretch pretty much every mile. It was exactly what I needed the week before my first half marathon.

9.4 miles around the nation's capital on a Saturday morning. It never gets old.

Stretching out on the cars after this morning's 9 miler

Today is a stretch and rest day.  I’m planning to take little Fin out for a nice long walk – though for a 7 pound dog that equals about 2 miles.

I hope everyone on the east coast survived Hurricane Irene and is safe today.  Be safe if you’re going out for a bike ride or run this afternoon – it’s still really windy in DC!

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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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Ditching My Time Goal for My First Half Marathon

I’ve been putting off writing this post for awhile but I realized it would be the perfect topic for my 100th blog post.

Happy 100th Post to Me!

I am so excited to run my first half marathon on September 4th in Virginia Beach.  I’ve been obsessively following a training plan for the last few months in hopes I’d have a great race.  I have bee pretty diligent in following the plan – doing all of my speed work and long runs – but I have found myself totally worried my expected finish time over the last few weeks.

According to Runners World Smart Coach, I should be able to finish this race in just under 2:20. I actually tweaked my training plan quite a bit when I set it up to make sure the finish time would be under 2:20. I’m pretty sure I can finish in that time but I’m not sure if I want to finish in that time.

I’ve been running all of my long runs really slowly and comfortably, as prescribed by Smart Coach. And I’ve read a lot of blog posts and articles that say doing your long runs slowly to build endurance and speed work to build speed is the way to go.  But I’m really hesitant to go into the race and try to run 13.1 miles so much faster than I’ve run any of my training runs.

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

Maybe I’ll be able to, but I think I want my first half marathon to be about the excitement of a the race (that happens to have a view of the ocean for a good part of the race. Yay!) vs. pushing myself to my limit just to run a few minutes faster.

At first I was worried that if my time was really “slow” for this race, people wouldn’t understand why I spend so much time running (not that my “fast” time is particularly fast).  But you know what, forget what other people think.  I’m not running this race to win – Ryan Hall will be there and I’m pretty sure he has this race in the bag 😉  I’ve come across so many other awesome runners who run right at the same pace as me – including my awesome HLS roomie Allison who just wrote an amazing post about how she wards off injury by not focusing on times and running at a pace that she likes. Maybe I’m not as slow as I think.

So you know what… I’m ditching my time goal. I am going to have so much fun at this race with Suze and I’m going to enjoy my first half marathon.

How did you set time goals for your first race?

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A Run Without Unicorns and Sunshine

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a truly bad run – ever since I started running with Pacers it’s been all happy all the time, even on the tough runs.  But last night’s hill workout was just brutal.  No unicorns or sunshine to be found… actually, there was plenty of sunshine but absolutely no unicorns.

Notice: The Custis Trail happy unicorns have gone missing.

We ran from W&L over to the Custis trail mile 1 for warm up and then had 4×1 mile hill repeats scheduled. About half way through the first one my heart rate went crazy insanely high for the first time in a long time and I went completely mental about it.

  • WTF why did I skip my step back run last weekend? This is clearly punishment for  being lazy last week.
  • Signing up for the Baltimore Half was such a bad idea. I’m never going to be able to do Baltimore if I feel this crappy tonight.
  • Speaking of things I can’t do, I’m sure I won’t be able to run well at VA Beach either.
  • Omggggggg. I’m going to pass out if I try to do any more of these I need to stop.

Can you spot the only sane thought in that list? That would be the decision to stop this workout. So after mile one, when everyone else ran back I just jogged and walked.  And wah-wah-wahed the whole time about what a whiner I was being even though my heart was beating so fast I could feel it in my eyeballs.  When I got back to the mile 1 marker I told Zac that my heart was going to blow up and I needed to skip the next repeats. I think I scared the poor guy when I casually mentioned it was over 200.  Whoops.

Today, I feel much better and I’ve decided to just put last night behind me and have a good rest of the week.  My medicine was slightly changed last week – I get to take less because I’m looking nice and healthy – so I’m hoping last night was just a blip on the radar as I adjusted.  I still have almost a month until VA Beach and I know I will get 3 more quality long runs in and those will ease a lot of my worries.  As far as Baltimore goes… I think I need some more hill workouts added into my life but I have plenty of plans on how to incorporate them and plenty of time.

So bring it on Wednesday track work – you’re going to feel easy after last night.

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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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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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