Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Rice Owls 5K Tomorrow

What do I want from this 5K?

I actually considered not doing it. Pretty seriously considered not doing it. For a few reasons: this nagging splinty pain in my left shin, the fact that it is going to be a pretty close squeeze getting there after work, and just general ambivalence.

I told Preston, and the only solution was to sign up or shut up, so I signed up last night. He is going to be the bestest husband ever and pick up the packet today on his way home from work, so I don't have to worry about getting over there quite as fast.

So, what do I want from this 5K?

This is a C race for me. I want to run well. I don't *need* a PR, nor do I feel strongly that I have one in my legs right now. I really really don't want to piss off my shins any more. So, I want a nice quick injury-free enjoyable time. With injury-free being the most important adjective, and quick being the least.

I've PRed every race I've entered since I started running again. It had to end sometime, and I want it to end with me being smart. So let's do it!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tight Hamstrings

I usually only feel this level of tightness after a good day of groveling in the garden. I keep running over my run yesterday morning to see if I can figure out what I did to tick my hamstrings off, but there is nothing - there was nothing new except 5 additional minutes of time.

Thank goodness for no morning runs until Sunday this week, and no runs at all until Thursday night!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Saturday Brick and Monday Long Run

On Saturday I got a wild hair and decided to do a brick workout in mid-afternoon. Preston said he was actually really surprised because I never mentioned it until I told him I was going to do it, and when I told him, I didn't ask or waffle around about it.

I decided to go 30 minutes on the bike followed by a 30 minute run. I wanted to stay pretty conservative, since this would be my first real brick in the proper sense of bike followed by run, and I wasn't sure how my legs would care for it.

The bike was easy on the stationary, and I had taken up my sunglasses and ipod so I could make a quick transition to the run. Came out my front door running, planning for a quick 2 big loops and back to home for about 2.75 miles, which I figured would take 30ish minutes. Nothing special to report, other than the incredible tightness in my quads which I'd guess is normal in a brick. The weather was beautiful - mid-60's and sunny.

More shockingly, I wasn't sore the next day!!

This morning I needed to put in a long run, since I'd like to run the 5K over at Rice on Thursday evening, and then I'm for sure going to run the 4 miler in Sugarland on Sunday morning. I want to give my legs plenty of rest before both of these races, since I tend to go out hard in races and come up sore the next day, so that left only today for my long run.

55 minutes on schedule. Cold again this morning. A little tweaking in my left shin. Otherwise nothing special, except that I was rather slower than normal - ranging 12-13 minutes on my normally 11-12 minute loop. 4.9 miles in 55 minutes for 5.25 miles in 65 minutes with the walking. That was Week 9 Day 3 of OHR, I'm almost done!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Longer in Winter!

My schedule dictated my long run for this morning. Normally I would ignore my schedule, especially since I was up late last night moving a 75 gallon aquarium from one side of a very large room to the other. However, running has been going well with the lovely cooler temps, so as much as I wanted to turn over and sleep in, I couldn't quite make myself.

So One Hour Runner called for 49 minutes today, and yes, this is still long for me. I headed out with the intention of running 4 of my big loops, plus the hill back towards my house. If I was having a really fast day, then I'd have to tack more distance on, but that wasn't likely, and didn't turn out to be a problem.

I did have one problem. My first ever cramp on the run. I was only about half a mile in when my left shin suddenly started feeling very splinty. Then the calf cramped up and I started shuffle-hopping down the street. Very quickly the tension loosened for me to keep running, and within another half mile all of the pain and splinty feelings had completely abated. Not sure what to think of all that!

The most remarkable thing about this morning's run was my consistency in pacing. Every one of the 4 1.1 mile loops I ran was right at 12 minutes within a few seconds (erring on the plus side). 4 mile split was right at 44 minutes. Tacked on the hill for the last 2 minutes for 4.5 miles in 50 minutes with walking warm-up/cooldown making 5 miles in 60 minutes.

The colder weather definitely makes going longer easier for me. I feel like I could just keep running once I get started, though getting started is harder!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Winter Wonderrun

Well, folks, I had my first winter run here in H-town. For clarification, winter is anything below 55 degrees. Fall/spring is 55-70 degrees, and Summer is 70+. I've been doing a little fall running with my summer running in the past 3 weeks or so, but now it is time to mix in some winter running! (Even though I know very well that I'll probably be back to summer running by next week.)

And let me tell you, my hot Texan blood was freaking freezing during my walking warm-up. I couldn't wait to start running! Then, unfortunately, I was running into the wind to start, and my teeth were actually chattering. I'm such a reptile. Once I finally turned the corner, however, and got that wind out of my face, I started to heat up, and after that the run was actually really pleasant.

I wore some capri running pants that I got on sale at the Nike outlet in Conroe for $9. They are not flattering, but for $9 at 4am, no problem! I also wore the Nike slacker jacket I got at the same time for about half price, which I loooooove. I might need to get another one of these - one for running and one for not running. I just saw on their website that they have one in green... Anyways, definitely need to invest in additional cool weather gear, because with my sweat rate I'm going to be doing laundry every other day otherwise.

That's all I've got for now. 3.5 miles in 37 minutes. With walking for 4 miles in 45 minutes total.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mutt Strut & Runway Race (5K) Report

This event is held on the runway at Houston's Intercontinental Airport. Actually on the runway. As a result, I'd recommend it very highly to anyone looking for a very flat course and a possible PR. Other pros included the wonderful post-race food (breakfast burritos), and if you have a dog, this is one of the few local races where it will be welcome. I must also say that they did a wonderful job in getting plenty of portacans. There were absolutely no lines, even 5 minutes before race start.

Cons are that it is a small race - not chip timed, long lines for packet pick-up on race day, poor instructions on access to the race and retrieval of times and photos after the race.

Now for my race. I went looking for a PR. It was a lovely morning - in the high 50's until the sun came out. I was a little uncomfortable with the initial line-up. The incredibly small size of the race plus the decree that people running with dogs had to line up at the back meant that I was waaaaaay farther in the front of the pack at the beginning than I am totally comfortable with. There also wasn't a large pack of runners at my pace like there usually is, so I went out a little fast (4:30 for the first half mile). Dialed it back for about 9:30 on the first mile.

The setting was very cool. They hadn't closed the adjacent runway, so you could see planes landing throughout the race. In the second mile, one came in right over my head. Very cool. Total time 19:45 after the second mile - where did my speed go??

At that point, I was a little concerned about breaking 30 minutes. I still felt like I could pull a PR, but I really wanted to break 30, so I put on the afterburners and started trying to reel people in. Crossed the line in 29:20. Broke 30 minutes and a PR!!

Still a shame that the thing wasn't chip-timed.

I'd also like to comment on running turns. I passed people on every single turn on the course because they'd slow way down and try to run it like a u-turn. Think of yourself as a race car. Don't slow down. Come into the turn with a tight line and then swing wide.

I also think that the flatness of the race played to my advantage in that I could see the finish line from 1.5 miles out. Somehow nothing seems all that far when you can see the end, you know?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Declaration of Intent

It has recently been announced that San Antonio will have the newest Rock n' Roll Marathon and Half.

I'm going to sign up for the half.

I declare.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Just Your Standard Negative Splits

Ha!! Nothing standard about negative-splitting, as much as I wish it were so.

But when I went out for my run this morning, that's just what I did. I was scheduled for 34-36 minutes (I'm not following OHR perfectly...), so I decided to do 3 big loops of 1.1 miles each. On a good day I can go sub-11 on this loop. On a bad day, greater-than-12. It was about 75 degrees out, and from the outset, I knew I wasn't going to be breaking any speed records today. First loop: 12
Second loop: 11:30
Third loop: 11


(3.3 miles in 34:30 for a total of 4 miles in 45 minutes.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Unintended Short Morning

Apparently, I slept through my *two* alarms for my 4:25am wake-up. My husband, who has been unfortunately been re-trained to accept such things during the Bell's Palsy and has not been un-re-trained yet that me sleeping in isn't acceptable, just thought, "Oh, she's snuggling me. That must mean that she heard the alarm that I just turned off, and is choosing to ignore it." Not so much.

Anyways, that led to a frantic shortie Tae Bo (Cardio Circuit 1 - one of my all-time favs, but still). I told Preston he's lucky he didn't help me miss a run!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Friendly Suburbian Advice from an Early Morning Runner

I'd just like to mention a lesson that I've learned from my time pounding the pavement before dawn's rosy fingers stroke the sky...

A lot of people have sprinkler systems in suburbia, where I live. Sprinkler systems are awesome. If I didn't have one, not a single living thing that required more water than what fell from the sky would be alive on my property. I heart my automagic sprinkler system.

But within the blissful forgetfullness of automation lies a danger: how do we know if our sprinkler system is actually working, and properly?

I'd like to recommend monthly checks of your sprinkler systems. Turn the thing on, and stand there for a minute bearing this in mind: the pavement doesn't need water. Also, when the water runs out of your yard and onto the pavement, your yard is temporarily saturated. You are watering for too long, thus watering the pavement, which as I said, doesn't need water.

Also I'd like to mention trash days. The bliss of forgetting that you have a sprinkler system unfortunately extends to trash days. Either program your sprinkler to never water on your trash pick-up days, or develop the habit of putting your trash in a non-sprinkler-targeted area. For instance, on your driveway, on your neighbor's lawn, or in your dog's stomach. If I was a trash pick-up person, I'm pretty sure I'd hate everyone. (Oh wait....) How much would it suck to drive up to a soggy, overturned trash can and have to touch it? Not to mention the waste of water as your sprinkler waters the underside of your now very clean trash can.

Just some friendly advice....

Ran on Saturday around 8:30 am with 65 degree temps for 45 minutes and about 4.25 miles (walked another 15 minutes for an even 5 miles). Ran this morning at 5 am with 75 degree temps and high humidity for 30 minutes and about 2.75 miles (3.25 with the walking). Go me!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Why missing a run needs to be a good thing

This morning I had a 45 minute run on schedule. Perfectly scheduled for the coolest, least humid morning in the forecast this week.

I skipped it.

You know, sometimes, trying to listen to your body just has to become more important. I'm having a flare up with the palsy these past few days, and right now, healing and becoming pain-free just needs to be my top priority. And that meant sleeping the additional 45 minutes today.

Now if only I could convince my guilt of that...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Oh, I have abs???

Yes, I do. And they are making themselves felt. I mean felt.

Last Sunday I felt the urge to do some crunches. No big thing. Just kinda felt like it. I did about 50 (could have gone longer, but got distracted) and a few push-ups, and wandered off to other things.

Then on Monday I thought, "Those crunches felt good. Let's do some more while we watch tv - maybe we can make a regular thing of this again." And I plopped down on the floor and crunched 100 times, with 25 push-ups.

Ummm, yeah. I didn't crunch last night because every tiny little ab muscle was screaming at me yesterday.

The sad part is that I used to be able to do literally hundreds of crunches. Seriously. No exaggerating. I was in high school/college at the time and really thin and I'd joke that my abs were the only muscles I had.

I think I may try for a few more crunches tonight during the tv watching. Or tomorrow. Or both. I'd like to be an ab beast again.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Another Slogfest

Arg, I'm ready for a good run!!

When I left this morning it was 74 degrees with 91% humidity. 91 freaking percent. Would you like fries with your liquid air??

The schedule called for 34 minutes. I ran 35. Like an idiot. I felt a big twinge in my shins in that last minute. Because I'm an idiot.

Anyways, 3.1 miles in 35 minutes for a total of 3.75 miles in 45 minutes (5 minute warmup & cooldown walking).

Monday, October 8, 2007

What to say??

So... I'm having a mild freak out this morning.

But I wanted to document another crappy run yesterday. Correction. It felt seriously crappy. But it was pretty fast. Make of that what you will: 30 minutes running with a 2 minute walk break after 25 minutes, because I felt just that crappy. But I ran 3 miles (and that is after subtracting the walk break) for 10 minute miles. On a training run. After it was light outside.

Actually, I ran my 1.1 mile loop in 10:55. Then I tried to slow it down.

Guess that didn't work. Go figure.

Tae bo this morning and again on Weds. Hope to run Tuesday, Thursday, and one weekend day. Goal is to bike in the evenings on Tuesday and Thursday as well. No missing workouts this week!!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

What a Difference a Few Days Make!

Last night I told my husband that when the alarm went off at 4:25, I needed to get up. If I didn't get up, he was to proceed with annoying me all the way out of bed, if necessary. Shockingly, it wasn't necessary. The alarm went off and I didn't even think of turning over for more sleep.

I rushed through my morning routine, because I had calculated that if I got out of the house before 4:45, then if I was feeling good at my planned 33 minutes, then I would have time to go for the long run of 41 minutes for the week. I looooove getting the long run in early in the week because it takes all the pressure off of the weekend run.

Yesterday when I stepped outside, I regretted not running because the weather was so nice - probably in the 60's. I only hope that this morning would be as nice, and it was! I was actually chilly during my warm-up walk.

I decided to do 3 large loops for 33-35 minutes, and then I could run up the hill and tack on an out and back spur for the remaining minutes. Of course, if I felt like going past the 33 minutes.

The first loop (approx. 1.1 mile) went really well. I was concentrating on trying to engage my core and run with better posture. The second loop, as always, was the most difficult to get through. I tried to focus on strengthening my mental resolve, because it isn't physical issues that make that second mile so hard. Then the third loop was gravy, because I knew I was on the home stretch. I decided to go for the long run. The run up the hill was tough, then the out of the spur was easy (slightly downhill), and on the back I tried to run hard for the last 2.5 minutes. Here I focused on engaging my core, lengthening through my torso, shoulders back, and increasing my turnover, which gets progressively slower throughout my runs.

Preston drove by during my cooldown walk, so I was able to kiss him goodbye and wish him a good day. Then I tried getting my heart rate. I need to work on this! I took off my watch so I could push the button to light it up with my left hand, and found my pulse with my right hand. Apparently the light only stays on for 2ish seconds, and when my focus would switch to lighting it back up, I'd lose count of my pulse! Anyways, after a few tries, I got something around 200-210. Not bad for a max HR, but I should try measuring it a few more workouts to get a better reading.

The parentals are coming in tonight to stay until Saturday. I tend to be good about running when they're around. *fingers crossed*

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Rest or Bum?

My uncharacteristic weekday quietness is due to a lack of exercise.

That's right. Yesterday morning when the alarm went off, I got out of bed, did by bathroom business, weighed myself, and decided that another hour of sleep was totally worth not running.

This morning when the alarm went off, I didn't even pretend to be interested in getting up to see how tired I was. I just rolled over and went back to sleep.

I don't want this to be a trend. I'm actually frightened by how easy it was this morning. I think it is due to the meds that I'm still on for Bell's Palsy, but I am just soooooooo exhausted. It doesn't seem to matter how much sleep I get, I could always do with more right now. It actually feels a bit like when I had mono in college.

So I'm trying not to freak out. Maybe it is the meds. Maybe it is the palsy. One way or the other, if my body wants more sleep, I'm going to try to oblige. At least occcasionally.

But damnit if that run isn't re-scheduled for tomorrow morning, and damnit if I'm going to sleep in 3 days in a row. I *will* run tomorrow morning. Maybe I'll just skip OHRW6D1 and move to W6D2 as if nothing ever got skipped. Then I'd even be on track....

I will run tomorrow morning. I will run tomorrow morning. I will run tomorrow morning.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Preston Definition

Preston. v. To Preston, To be Prestoned, Prestoning: the act of circumventing a person or situation somewhat underhandedly.

Example: There is a stop sign in your neighborhood on a 4 lane divided road. There is almost always a car parked just past the stop sign in the right lane, therefore most people pull up to the stop sign in the left lane, leading to long lines to get through the stop sign. You are Prestoning if you pass the big line of people in the left lane and pull up into the right lane and gun it off the line to get in front of the person who was at the stop sign in the left lane. It isn't that it is technically wrong, but many people would feel that it is morally ambiguous - almost cutting in line.

Heard in the car the other day at said hypothetical stop sign where both Preston and I usually Preston people. "Hey, that car just prestoned me!!!"


Hellish Long Run Done Yesterday!!

Funny to put exclamation points after something I'm calling "hellish", but there it is.

I did my long run yesterday. 38 minutes, as per the OHRW5D3 redo plan. And it SUCKED. I mean really sucked. I went at 4:30 in the afternoon. It was about 88 degrees with a heat index in the low nineties. Humidity approximately 70%. Shade zero. Nasty nasty nasty hot for a run. Especially when I've been running in the mornings about 20ish degrees cooler than that of late. And let me tell you, I felt every extra degree for every minute I was out there.

I knew it was going to be a long haul when I looked at my watch for the first time after 5 minutes. At 10 minutes I had to convince myself to go til 15. At 15 til 20. At 20 til 25. At 25 til 30. At 30 til 32. At 32 til 33. At 33 til 38. That's how hard this run sucked.

I ran 3.3 miles in 38 minutes. That's the same distance I ran in 33 minutes just 3 days ago. That's how hard this run sucked.

So what's the cause of the exclamation points? I ran. Damnit, I got out there and did it. And I wanted to quit very badly, but I didn't. I gutted it out. I finally had a 3 run week again. I'm finally on track again. And no matter how hard the experience itself sucked, I did it and that can't be taken away from me.

Here's to hoping that tomorrow morning doesn't suck!!