Posts Tagged Morning

Dog-N-Jog and Brew to Brew Race Plans

This weekend, I have a 5K race on Saturday (Dog-N-Jog) and a relay race on Sunday, in which I’m running two legs for about 9 miles total. Both races are more “for fun” than major goals for me. I’m very tempted to go for a PR on my 5K at Dog-N-Jog, but knowing that the start will be insane with all the people and pooches, I think it is more important to just enjoy the event without setting any race specific goals. My major goal for the Brew to Brew relay race is that the day goes smoothly and everyone gets to the exchange points on time!


I’ve toyed with the idea of going to the gym in the morning to lift, but I think I am going to prioritize sleep over an extra workout this week. My plan is to do a light 3 mile run around the neighborhood right after class ends in the afternoon.  I want to leave plenty of time to get my studying done so I can get to bed at a reasonable hour.


Classes don’t start till 9am on Friday morning, so I should have time to fit in a short yoga routine to stretch and loosen up in advance of the race Saturday morning. Otherwise, my time will be spent in class in the morning and then an exam in the afternoon. Packet pickup should begin by the time I get out of my exam, so I’ll grab my bib/chip before I leave school. Then, Friday afternoon/evening, I’ll prep everything for the 5K and lay out my running clothes and Tara’s gear:

  • Timing Chip/Bib
  • Leash/Collar
  • Poop bags
  • Water bottle(s)/bowl
  • Heart rate monitor/Garmin
  • RoadID
  • Running shoes
  • Socks
  • T-shirt/Capris/Sports bra
  • +/- Race belt
  • Hat/Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen!
  • ID badge


The race doesn’t start till 9:00am, so I have plenty of time if I get up by 7am to eat breakfast and be out the door by 8:15am. That should put me at the race start early enough to do a quick warm-up and hit the bathroom before lining up.  Last year, I think the race started a little late, but they’ve enlisted the help of Manhattan Running Company to do the timing this year, so I’m hoping we start right on time. As I mentioned, I’m not setting a goal time, but I expect to be done in around 30 minutes give or take depending on how congested the start is. After the race, I need to remember to stretch well so I’m not stiff/sore for Sunday. I might take a short nap before getting packed and ready to head out to Lawrence, KS for the night.

Packing list:

  • Change of clothes and shoes for after the race on Sunday
  • Neon green tech shirt, sports bra, and long-sleeved shirt
  • Running capris and tights (just in case it’s colder than expected)
  • Rain jacket
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • RoadID
  • Garmin/Heart rate monitor
  • Race belt
  • Hydration belt
  • Water bottles
  • Snacks and Breakfast foods
  • Running shoes
  • Running socks
  • PJs for Saturday night
  • Toiletries
  • Small first aid kit for the car
  • Cooler
  • $$$

We’ll pick up a few of our teammates and head to Lawrence around 5pm to all have dinner around 7 or 7:30pm and a brief race meeting. Then it’s early to bed for a really early wake up call.

Our teams start at 6:00am Sunday morning, so we’ll need to meet at the race start to coordinate and get into the right vehicles by 5:30am. Once the first racers go off, we’ll start the crazy carpooling and driving around to exchange points to cheer in runners before moving to the next exchange point. I’m running legs 5 (4.8 miles) and 9 (4 miles) so I’ll have awhile in the car before my legs, and will need to eat around the time the race starts and probably snack after my first leg is finished. Hopefully the day will run smoothly and we should finish around lunch time. 🙂

This will be my first attempt at running two races in one weekend. The overall mileage is pretty reasonable, so I’m not too worried about the physical challenge. I do think this weekend is going to be just a little mentally exhausting, especially since I’m going to try and fit in studying anytime I have some downtime!

Have you ever done a relay race? 




Wednesday’s Training

4.6 mile trail run, easy


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Running in the Dark

One of my favorite times of the day to run is first thing in the morning – before the sun rises. It’s been awhile since I’ve been willing to brave the freezing temperatures and run before dawn, but this morning I dragged myself out of bed at 5:30am, put on our reflective gear and hit the road with the dog. It was a bit chilly and windy to start, but once I warmed up, I was comfortable.

The best thing about running first thing in the morning is that once it’s done, there’s no temptation to skip that day’s workout. I get to have my entire afternoon free for studying or whatever else and don’t need to worry about trying to fit in my run. Some days, I get to see the sun rise, and you can’t beat that! Though this morning was a little too early, and I was only out till dawn.

When it is dark, it is very dark.

When it is dark, it is very dark.

Running in the dark does have a bit of a learning curve, and I know it’s not for everyone, but it works pretty well for me. The number one most important thing for me to run in the dark is safety. I do have to run on roads in several places around my neighborhood where there aren’t sidewalks and it’s really important that I’m visible to drivers. I wear bright colored running gear (I’m on a real neon kick right now!) and always wear reflective straps – at least around my waist and usually on my wrist or ankle as well. And just in case something were to happen, I always have my RoadID.

Also, I always take the dog with me when I’m running in the dark and she wears a light so I have a little visibility of the path, as well as a reflective vest, leash and collar so she is visible to drivers and other runners. We both stay alert to our surroundings; Tara is a German Shepherd Dog and is quite good about letting me know if there is something “off” by subtle cues in her behavior – pricked ears or sudden watchfulness.  Fortunately, the most dangerous thing we’ve run into is a skunk that thankfully didn’t spray us! Even though we get a lot of strange looks with all our gear, it’s worth it to know that the cars that speed through the neighborhood will be able to see us.  Many of the runners and early morning walkers that I see wear all black or dark colors and I can barely see them till I’m about 3 feet away, so I don’t know how groggy drivers could possibly see them.

I do usually stick to areas I know well and have smooth terrain or sidewalks as much as possible so I don’t trip and fall in the dark, but for the most part, as long as I keep my feet picked up it’s not too difficult to avoid falls. I haven’t done much trail running in the dark, but I imagine it would be quite a bit more technical. Sticking to well-kept trails and sidewalks, I haven’t used a headlamp yet, but on a trail run I know it would be necessary. Tara’s little light is not nearly strong enough to provide enough light to avoid the obstacles on the nearby trails. I think I’d like to try a night trail race sometime, they sound like a lot of fun.

I’d like to get back into the habit of running regularly in the mornings before school instead of leaving my runs till the afternoon. It’ll make it easier to fit my shorter weekday runs into my schedule. Also, with the hot temperatures fast approaching with this summer, I expect I’ll be doing a lot more running in the dark or at least early in the morning as I try to avoid the daytime heat and ramp up mileage for the marathon.

Have you ever run in the dark? What time of day do you prefer to run?


Today’s Training

4.39 mile tempo run

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The packing has begun. I got a lot done yesterday and even more done today. I’ve got one room mostly packed with just a few odds and ends left to take care of. I also started on a second room and have a huge pile of things to donate and three huge black trash bags full of garbage. Curtis also started packing the basement. We only have about 17 packing days left and I’ll be working 12 of those days. Crazy.

What with packing all day and a phone call that upset me a bit, I didn’t feel up to going to the gym. I am trying to have some genetic testing for a hereditary type of cancer that I am at risk for inheriting and the doctor’s office is not on top of things. I had to call the insurance company and speak someone who knew nothing about this specific test and I think he just told me what he thought I wanted to hear. Finally, I was able to find a number for someone at the insurance agency who deals with this test specifically, so I’m hoping that things will be ok. I’m waiting for some paperwork in the mail, but fingers-crossed things are taken care of now. I just want it to be over with and get the results!

Needless to say, I was a bit emotional yesterday and a workout probably would have made me feel better, but I opted to stay home and go to the gym this morning instead. Curtis and I both went to the gym and it was surprisingly busy for a Saturday morning, but fortunately, after our warm-ups both squat racks were available for use. I did NROLW Stage 5 Workout B:

A. Barbell Romanian deadlift/bent-over row – 4 sets of 4 reps with 120s rest @ 100 lbs

B1. Partial single-leg squat – 4 sets of 4 reps with 120s rest @ 1st @ 20 lbs, 2nd/3rd/4th @ 22.5 lbs

B2. Wide-grip lat pulldown – 4 sets of 4 reps with 120s rest @ 95 lbs

C1. Back extension – 4 sets of 4 reps with 120s rest @ 35 lbs

C2. YTWL – 4 sets of 4 reps with 120s rest @ 12.5 lbs

D1. Swiss-ball crunch – 4 sets of 4 reps with 120s rest @ 12.5 lbs overhead

D2. Hip flexion – 4 sets of 4 reps with 120s rest @ BW (Prone Jackknife)

D3. Lateral flexion – 4 sets of 4 reps with 120s rest @ BW

Then I did intervals:

1 min @ walk 3.5 mph

2 min @ run 12:00 min/mile

1 min @ run 6:40 min/mile

2 min @ run 12:00 min/mile

1 min @ run 6:40 min/mile

2 min @ run 12:00 min/mile

1 min @ run 6:40 min/mile

2 min @ walk 3.5 mph

1 min @ run 6:40 min/mile

2 min @ walk 3.5 mph

1 min @ run 6:40 min/mile

1 min @ run 12:00 min/mile

5 min cool down

I wanted to add another interval to the normal HIIT prescribed by NROLW. I needed more recovery than usual today and had to walk after the 3rd and 4th intervals. I think I may have been a bit dehydrated and that probably played a role. My heart rate got up to at least 200 bpm during the 3rd interval, so I made sure to recover to the 150s range before beginning the 4th and 5th.

I might break the rules and do another workout tomorrow evening. It will be more than 24 hours rest so I think it’ll be okay just this once. I’ll play it by ear tomorrow if I’m overly sore, but I expect I’ll be able to do the last workout A of the phase.

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Strength Loss

Woohoo!  Another day of goals being met.  I really think that writing them down and keeping them in my planner, which I obsessively examine every day, has helped tremendously in keeping them on the brain.  I took the time to make myself some perfect scrambled eggs this morning and ate them with a piece of my mom’s zucchini bread.  She makes the best zucchini bread ever, and we had just a little end leftover from the holidays for me to enjoy.  I’m always tempted to make her recipe, but I’m afraid I won’t do it justice, so I’ve never gone through with it.  She does not skimp on the spices, which I love, and it’s very moist and just melts in your mouth.  Yummy!

This morning, I also managed to pack my bag to go to the gym today directly after work. There were no stops on the way today! I went straight to the gym and did my NROLW Stage 1 workout B routine.

A. Deadlift – 2 sets of 15 @ 75 pounds barbell with 60s RI

B1. Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 2 sets of 15 @ 15 pounds dumbbells with 60s RI

B2. Wide grip lat pulldown – 2 sets of 15 @ 55 pounds (?) with 60s RI

C1. Lunge – 2 sets of 15 @ 20 pounds dumbbells with 60s RI

C2. Swiss Ball Crunch – 2 sets of 8 @ BW with 60s RI

The question mark on the wide grip lat pulldown is because the plates were marked 27.5, but it’s a new cable machine with double cables and I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t only 27.5 pounds total.  Since last time I did this workout last week, I lifted 55 pounds, I’m pretty sure that’s what it was this time.  The double cables must double the plate value?  I’ll have to ask one of the trainers next time I see one wandering around.  Today they were all busy with clients, and I didn’t want to interrupt.

For the Swiss Ball Crunch, I really should add a plate of weight.  I did them with a very slow lowering phase today in order to make them a bit more difficult, and I actually ended up doing extras by accident.  Next time I need to remember to add a weight plate to make them a bit tougher.

You can see how much strength I’ve lost on the deadlifts – I was deadlifting 100+ pounds when I stopped lifting early last year.  I’m pretty confident I will gain the strength back fairly quickly, but it’s kind of disheartening to see.  It definitely made me realize that I need to always keep some sort of maintenance lifting program as part of my training even if I feel like I don’t have time.

I’m going to try and do an easy run tomorrow.  I don’t think I’ll be able to fit in another lifting day this week since I’ll be traveling Saturday – Monday.  I expect to be able to blog throughout the weekend, so I should be able to check in and update on the outcome of my interview (Sunday).  But on the off-chance that I’m too busy over the next few days (unlikely), I’ll definitely update on Monday with a goals check-in from this week and updated goals for next week.  This week’s focus was clearly getting my butt back to the gym and begin getting back in the habit of workout out regularly.  Next week’s focus is going to be getting my diet back on track.  I’ve done a little of that this week, but afternoon snacking has been a little out of control.  I need to make a plan to handle that.

Have a great Friday!

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Being Flexible

This morning I slept until 7:30, which is much later than intended.  Despite that, I did do about 15 minutes of yoga before work.  I’ll do another 15 minutes later this week- probably Wednesday morning.  My physical flexibility is nearly nonexistent at the moment.  My hamstrings are especially tight, so yoga seems to be just what the doctor ordered.  I really need some new yoga dvds.  I used to have one that I really liked, and I still have the case, but I cannot find the disc anywhere.  I have been using the free videos on demand on exercise tv, but I haven’t found any programs that I really love yet.  Does anyone have any recommendations for DVDs?

When I got home from work this afternoon, I had every intention of going for my run with Tara.  What I didn’t plan on, was the fact that ALL of my workout clothes were in the laundry.  I decided that I would do laundry instead, go grocery shopping for the rest of the week and have a relaxing evening instead.  I played with Tara and did some training with her too (she’s learning to roll over!).

I met my goal of making dinner tonight!  I baked salmon wrapped in foil with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, white wine, salt, pepper, chili powder, lemon juice and fresh basil.  It was delicious!  We had cous cous on the side, and I’m going to use the leftovers to make cous cous salad.  Curtis and I went grocery shopping together today, so we’ve got good stuff for the rest of the week.  We are going to a friend’s house for dinner on Wednesday, so I’m only going to be able to cook at home Monday, Tuesday and Thursday this week, but that’s no biggie.  We actually have a dinner group with some of his coworkers and get together once or twice a month, each time at a different person’s house.  We hosted it first, way back over the summer, and it will be looping back to us in either February or March.  We always have a great time and get to try some new delicious food.  Many of us use it as an opportunity to try a new recipe on a bunch of willing guinea pigs. 🙂

Tomorrow is a lifting day, so I’ll be packing a bag to go to the gym directly after work.  Perhaps I will run on the track while I’m there too.



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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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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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Oy Vey…

After my one very successful morning run, I have not yet managed to drag myself out of bed to repeat the experience.  I swore this morning would be THE morning, but alas, when my alarm went off at 5:30AM and it was still pitch black out I rationalized that I shouldn’t run in the dark until I get some reflective gear. (Note to self: add buying reflective gear to already overly long list of things to do).  I’ve decided that Mondays just aren’t good for morning workouts, all Mondays should be rest days!  But that means that other days should actually include some sort of physical activity.  If I make a list here, will you hold me accountable?  Please, oh please leave me a very stern comment or shoot me an email telling me to get my butt back out there.

Workouts for this week:

Tuesday: Weight Lifting (NROLW) after work

Wednesday: Run 30 minutes Hill repeats or Intervals (morning)

Thursday: Run? after work

Friday: Weight Lifting (NROLW) after lab or between labs if I can get my student ID this week

Saturday: Run 4 mile loop

Sunday: Weight Lifting (NROLW) or Swim

You probably won’t see me doing too much bike riding in the near future.  I’m more burnt out on that one that swimming or running.  For some reason the thought of even getting in the saddle completely demotivates me right now.

Have a great week!

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Good Morning, Run!

Woohoo! I finally got my butt out of bed for a workout this morning!  My alarm went off at 6AM and I dragged myself out of bed at 6:05, got dressed, wasted some time fixing my Yanx laces, leashed the dog and headed out for a run.  We only did a short 35 minutes including a warm-up and cool down, but for the first time since Timberman, I felt fantastic.  The temperature was perfect- a bit chilly but I warmed up quickly once I started moving. My pace was probably pretty slow, and my heart rate was still spiking a bit more than normal.  My perceived exertion, however, was much closer to normal than it had been lately.

I had forgotten how awesome it is to do my workout in the morning and just have it done!  Not only that, but it is a great way to wake-up and get to a good start.  I know a lot of people think that’s weird, but really, I have enjoyed working out in the morning since I was on my high school swim team and we practiced in the mornings.  My run this morning reminded me how much nicer it is to exercise in the morning.

Ok. I’ll stop gushing.

I admit, I am a bit more tired tonight than I would be if I had slept till my normal time of 7 or 7:30, but I think that my body clock will reset to this earlier wakeup call if I continue to get moving in the mornings.  Tomorrow I’m aiming to get to the gym first thing to do a short lifting workout.  I’m going to try and get up a bit earlier at 5:30AM to account for travel to the gym.  I’ve already got all my stuff packed up and ready to go for the  morning.  Now I just need to get to bed.

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