Archive for October, 2010

Off to a (semi) Good Start

In the past, if I haven’t had time to do an entire planned workout, I’ve just let it go.  In my brain I know that every little bit counts and getting out and moving is the more important than exactly following my schedule.  But when it came down to it, I chose to stay in bed or watch another 15 minutes of TV or or read blogs for another 30 minutes than getting out and running for that 15 or 30 minutes.  No more.  Despite waking up much later than planned yesterday morning, I dragged myself out of bed and determined that I still had time for about 10 minutes of yoga.  I’m not sure how good it did physically, but I think it went a long way to getting me into a better place mentally.

This morning, I managed to jump out of bed a bit earlier and go out for a run with Tara.  We were out for 33 minutes – 2 minutes walking warm-up and then jog for 28 minutes and walk for another 3 to cool down.  It should have been a 3 mile run, but it came in at just about 2.8 miles including the walking portions.  I’m really happy I got out there and ran even though it was still pitch black outside when we left.  Tara lit my path with her little headlamp that she wears.  I’m a little disappointed in the “reflective” leash and collar I bought for her.  They don’t seem to be very reflective at all.  They’re nice for a regular leash and collar, but I’m going to have to try something else.  I’m thinking of getting her a running vest for more visibility.  I wore a white shirt this morning with good reflective strips on the back, but I still need to make it to the running store or sporting goods store to get something more for me to wear.

I did not get to the gym yesterday to lift and I’ve realized that it is completely unrealistic to try on Mondays.  I think I mentioned that I have dog agility classes on Mondays and while yesterday I probably could have made it to the gym, I decided that it would make more sense to move my lifting day to Tuesdays since it is a light running day.  That way I can easily do my run in the morning and lift in the evening, or vice versa.  Also, starting next week my classes start at 6:35 PM (instead of 8:50 PM as they do now), so my Mondays are going to be quite busy.  I think I’ll be doing a lot of crock pot dinners over the next 6 week session!

I’m not sure what to do about lifting on Thursdays yet.  Class on Thursdays doesn’t start until 7:45 PM and I get home from work at about 4:30 PM.  Inspiration just struck-  I can do a morning lifting session on Thursdays and run in the afternoon with Tara before class.  That will work perfectly! I’ll update my training plan matrix later today with my updates.

Things are falling into place!

 

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No Rest for the Weary

I want to be a faster runner.  I’ve never really thought that I could run fast, it just never crossed my mind.  My 8K results lit a fire in me, so to speak, and now I want to be faster, and more importantly, I am convinced that I can be.  I have no idea what my goal pace should be for any given distance.  I don’t know how much it is reasonable to expect to improve over X number of days, weeks, months or years.  And I don’t care.  I’m arbitrarily choosing the Charlottesville half-marathon as my first checkpoint.  I want to finish it in under two hours. Is that realistic considering my time last year was 2:25:28?  Maybe not.  I’m going to try anyways.  According to the Race Time Predictor, I should be able to run a 5K in 26:07, which is an 8:24 pace, and run a 10K in 54:21, which is an 8:45 pace.  My only 5K race (not attached to a triathlon) was 29:54, so I just need to shave 4 minutes….I know I can do it.  Not entirely sure when I’ll do it, but I know I can.

Training starts tomorrow.  I’ve posted my training plan on the “Training Plan -2011” page.  I’m going to focus on running again through this winter, just like last year.  This time, though, I am going to place my focus on running fast, rather than running far.  I’m starting with one day of speed work each week and add a second day of speed work in the last 12 weeks or so of training.  I’m going to try to do some interim races to track my progress, or at least do “home” races every few weeks.  I’m also adding two days of weight training back to my training.  Adding muscle can’t hurt and I know that I’ve lost a lot of strength since I stopped lifting in favor of HIM training.  Something new I’m going to try is doing yoga once a week too.  I’m hoping that placing an emphasis on stretching at least once a week will prevent any encounters with IT band issues or any other injuries that can crop up.  As you’ll see in my schedule, I’ll be running significantly more (miles and days) every week than I have in the past, so I want to make sure to stay healthy!  I’m hoping yoga helps in that.  I’m not planning on taking any yoga classes right now, just doing videos or on-demand at home.  I think it would be a bit ambitious for me to actually go somewhere to do yoga right now.  It will be much easier to fit into my schedule if I can do it right here.  My alarm is set to start tomorrow at 6AM, and I’ve already chosen a program from the on-demand menu.  I need to pick up some yoga DVDs to try.  I have one, but it has gone missing, and I’m afraid I may have let someone borrow it and will never see it again.

My planned training for this week is:

Monday – Yoga AM, NROLW Stage 1 A1 PM

Tuesday  – Run 3 miles

Wednesday – Run 5 x 400 m @ 5K pace

Thursday – Run 3 miles AM, NROLW Stage 1 A2 PM

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Run 3 miles

Sunday – Run 5 miles

Monday and Thursday may be tough to get everything done because I have dog agility training classes both evenings, but I’m going to do my best to do the lifting.  If I have to miss one of the days, I will do the second day on Saturday.

By the way, if you reading from an RSS reader, I did some work updating the look of my blog today.  I’m not 100% it is going to stay like this.  I’m not in love with the new layout/theme yet.  I did change the main title of my blog- “Triathlon Training Blog” was just too boring.  This is my journey of becoming stronger and faster and going longer.  It’s only taken me a year and a half to be a little more interesting, but better late than never!  Let me know what you think of the new look!

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Please Excuse the Mess

My blog was boring me…I am revamping the look and feel. Until I make up my mind on what I want, you will definitely see some interim themes while I try things on for size. Please excuse my mess!

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8K Race Report

After a very laid back training period, this morning was the 8K race in Arlington.  Curtis and I woke up at 5:15 AM to get ready.  I let the dog out, had an English muffin with peanut butter for breakfast, fed both the cat and dog, and got dressed to leave at 6:15 AM.  We arrived nice and early, found a parking spot on the street and went to pick up our race numbers, chips and t-shirts.  I must admit, I didn’t really prepare for this race mentally.  After doing mostly tris, it’s been hard for me to get into a race mindset before a running race.  I think the hustle and bustle of setting up transition, pumping bicycle tires and quietly rehearsing the day in my brain is much more preparative than just showing up on race morning, shoes and number on and ready to go.  I can’t quite explain exactly what it is, but there’s just something about the morning of a tri that fills me with anticipation and readiness that I don’t get out of running race morning.

The start was scheduled for 8:00 AM, and we had quite a bit of time to kill before then, so we headed back to the car to sit in the heat since it was a bit chilly in the low 50s this morning.  Around 7:30, we headed back to the race start to use the porta-potty, meet up with our friends who were doing the race, C, J and D, and do a quick warm-up.  I also had to finagle a method of attaching the timing chip to my shoe.  Please understand, the timing chip was shaped like a small card with four holes punched out.  It was perfect for attaching to shoelaces, if you were actually wearing shoelaces.  I was not.  I had my elastic speed laces in my shoes that had taken many runs to get adjusted exactly right.  I don’t even know how many times it took me to try and find a way to attach that stupid timing chip without driving me crazy from it bouncing against my ankle or messing up my perfectly adjusted laces.  I couldn’t even use safety pins because the holes were to far into the center of the chip for them to fit through!  Finally, though I did get it attached and adjusted so that it didn’t drive me crazy.

At 8:00AM, we all lined up together, despite the fact that I knew that was a mistake for me!  I do not like being lined up quite so close to the front of the pack and everyone else was aiming for faster paces than me (D’s goal was 7min/miles, Curtis was aiming for 8 something, J for 8:30, C for under 9 and me for 9:30).  I just hate that initial rush when everyone surges past me at the beginning of a race.  I’ve made that mistake before and gone out way too fast only to regret the move later.  I’m also not used to all the chatting going on before running races.  I much prefer the quiet or silent reflection of tris for mental prep before the race.  Plus, I couldn’t hear any of the pre-race announcements, so I had no idea what was going on.  Then, all of a sudden, everyone started moving forward (I think I might have heard someone yell, Go!), so I started my watch and took off.

As all my friends pulled ahead of me, I didn’t try to keep up as I knew they were all shooting for faster times than I was.  When I reached the first mile marker, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked at my watch and saw 8:35.  What?!  I was either going out way too fast or the course was marked poorly.  When I reached the second mile marker in 17 something, I realized that it must have been the former.  By this time it was too late to make any changes and I had to just keep pushing.  My heart rate was consistently in the 180s, but I was ok with that for such a short race (relatively).  Soon after the 2 mile marker, I started seeing our friends run by on the way back to the finish- first D, then Curtis, J and I wasn’t too far behind C.  Unfortunately, the turnaround also marked a change from a gently sloping downhill to a gently sloping uphill.  While it wasn’t too bad and no worse than anything I train on, I had gone out much harder than normal and those hills really felt like work.  Mile three came and went and I knew I had slowed down significantly.  I tried to pick it up when I hit the 4 mile marker, but I just didn’t have a whole lot left to give.  When I finally rounded the last corner to the straightaway to the finish, Curtis and D were there to cheer me in and I managed to “sprint” to the finish line, passing a few people in the process.  My chip time was 46:49.9, which is about a 9:25 min/mile pace.

I should be ecstatic about my results.  Though I’ve never raced this distance before, it’s definitely a PR for pace at any distance (including 5K!) and ahead of my goal pace at 9:30.  Unfortunately, I’ve just had a bad attitude about this race and kind of disappointed that I haven’t managed to increase my speed more over the last year.  I hated being the slowest of our group today and felt really terrible afterward.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a race before when I haven’t felt good about finishing, today was the first and it was and is a horrible feeling.  I wish I could just be happy about it.

Sorry for the downer post, just trying to be honest here.

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I Feel Fantastic!

First, my confession- I didn’t run yesterday.  I ended up grabbing dinner with a friend and watching our dogs zoom around in the yard.  Maybe I should feel guilty, but I really don’t.  🙂

Now, I had a fantastic run today.  There was nothing really special about it, I just felt fast and fit.  And as I farther into the run, the faster I felt.  By the end of my 3 miles, I knew I could keep going at that pace for at least another couple of miles.  I don’t know what gave me such a good run today, but I really hope I have the same confidence during my race on Sunday.

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Pondering Goals

For the past couple of years, I have had very specific goals for my race season.  Last year it was to finish my first Olympic distance race, which I did at Nation’s Triathlon.  This year it was to finish my first half-Ironman distance race, which I did at Timberman 70.3.  I have no idea what my goal for next season should be.

I’ve tossed around the idea of doing a marathon, but I’m not sure that’s really what I want to do.  I feel that it is the next logical step in my fitness journey, but do I really want to commit to the training for it?  By the end of this training season, I was so burnt out from the volume of training for Timberman that I couldn’t even think about doing another HIM any time soon.  I think the time commitment to marathon training would be comparable and I’m not sure I can commit to that.

My other thought is to continue racing tris at the Sprint and Olympic distance next year, aiming for PRs at all the races I’ve done in the past and add a couple of new races.  This is the “easier” route.  Training for these requires no more than 1-2 hours per day and I know I would aim for that with any workouts anyhow.

The one thing that I know I will not be doing is a full Ironman.  I am definitely not ready to devote my time to training for an event of that distance.  I will complete a full Ironman at some point in my life, but it is not going to be next year.  The funny thing is, I no longer question whether I can do an Ironman distance event.  I KNOW that I can with the proper training.  I think it was during the Timberman run that my perspective of what I can do completely changed and I realized that my body was capable of anything I could throw at it as long as I put in the time and effort to train for it.  My self-motivation is my only limiter.

I will be thinking about my goals for next year a lot over the next few weeks/months.  I’m going to try and come up with a plan that is still challenging, despite not increasing my distances across the board.  Maybe I’ll do a bunch of Sprint/Oly tris AND a marathon.  Maybe I’ll do just tris.  Maybe I’ll do nothing and go a different route entirely.  Sorry for the ramblings…just trying to sort through my thoughts.  What are your plans for next year?

In other news, I was terrible about running last week.  In fact, the only time I ran was when I last posted, for shame!  I had big plans to do a local 5K on Saturday, but after a busy week including tons of studying for two midterms, I just didn’t have it in me.  And when we found out that the entry fee was $40, Curtis and I decided we’d rather take that $80 and do something else another time.  I did manage to convince myself to run yesterday, and took the dog for about 6 miles.  Considering the overall lack of running lately, I felt pretty good for the whole run.  Neither my lungs nor my legs were a limiter even if I was going very slowly.  I did have a bit of a fight with myself about whether to keep going at several points along the route.  Somehow I managed to convince myself to just keep moving my legs, one step at a time.  This week I am supposed to taper for the 8K on Sunday.  I’m not sure how much of a taper it will be if I actually put in more days than I have been.  Here’s the schedule:

Monday – Off

Tuesday – 3 mile run

Wednesday – 3 mile run

Thursday – 4x400m with 400m walk/jog recovery

Friday – Rest

Saturday – 1-3 mile run easy

Sunday – Race Day!

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Finally, a Break!

My applications are submitted. Two out of my four midterms are done. And two projects at work are wrapped up.  I finally have time to get back to my blog!

I’ve been trying to keep up with 8K training, but as you can tell, I’ve been just a little busy lately.  Last week I got out for a couple runs, including 4x800m intervals at a bit faster than 5K pace.  The only track we have to use is at our gym and is a very awkward 1/12 mile distance, so I decided I would map out a relatively flat route without too many road crossings outside.  As it turns out, what I thought was flat was really a gradual hill; the first and third intervals were downhill and the second and fourth back up the hill.  I finished the 800m intervals in 4:25, 4:27, 4:21, and 4:40ish and my biggest limiter was my lungs.  My legs actually felt pretty good, but with the colder air these days, my lungs have struggled a bit during runs.  I’m sure it’ll get better as I get used to the cooler weather though.

On Saturday, we went on a 10 mile hike in the George Washington National Forest with some of Curtis’s coworkers.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day and I felt fantastic.  There were some pretty good climbs, but nothing too bad.  It was a really nice “crosstraining” option for the weekend.  I was supposed to run 4 miles on Sunday, but ended up spending about 4 hours at the National Zoo for a school assignment and decided I had been on my feet long enough.  Plus, I had an exam on Monday morning, so I needed to study.  Monday was my off day, as usual.

Today, I was back out with a 3 mile run.  I still need to get some good reflective gear and lights for at night.  I’m thinking of getting a headlamp to attach to Tara’s collar and a reflective leash and collar for her.  For me, I’ll probably just get one of those reflective straps to wear over my clothes.

On tap for tomorrow is a 6 mile run, if I can find the time for it!

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