Thursday, March 31, 2011

March Recap

March was a GREAT month!  I turned 25 and I ran my most miles ever!  I am sad to see it go but I am so ready for April and Spring!

Average Temp: 42F/5.5C

Miles run: 136.7 miles - My highest mileage month EVER!

Rest days taken: 10 days

Highest mileage week: 33.95 miles - My highest weekly mileage EVER!

Average pace: 8:21min/mile

Races: Johnny's Running of the Green 5 miler

Current Obsessions: My foam roller!  My legs have been needing some extra stretching and rolling in order to get them feeling good after all the hard workouts!

Current Blessings: New friends and an amazing husband-to-be!

Current Excitement: My 15k race this coming Sunday!!  I will be using it as a training run but I am still excited to run with some of my friends from running club!

Current Read: Still on The Postmistress by Sarah Blake - it has been a slow month for reading. 

Current Guilty Pleasure: Cupcakes!  After a long week I may need some more cupcakes after work!

Let's hope that April brings some warmer weather and no more snow!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A tasty treat!

A while back I bought a groupon for cupcakes!  I finally got to use it this past weekend as a reward for my double long runs!  Brian got one but I could not resist the urge to get TWO cupcakes!!

Brian's is the one with the chocolate chips on it! The other two are MINE!  I got my first one with red velvet cake, cream cheese frosting and gummi bars!!

Don't mind Brian's awesome (I mean super ugly!) plate sets from college! Those are so going once we get our new set from  our registry!

For my second one I got chocolate with raspberry filling and vanilla frosting and sprinkles on top! They were both so good but they were expensive.  Nothing beats homemade!

I just found out there is another great cupcake place in town!! Next week I will have to go and try their cupcakes!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Half Marathon - Week 7

Monday - Easy
3.25 miles/28:27/8:46 pace

Lunch Run and then Yoga after work.

Tuesday - Tempo
7.7 miles/1:03:21/8:14 pace

I went to running club after work like usual.  The workout was pretty intense:
4x 1mi at tempo (~7:30 pace)
5x 200m uphill w/200m downhill recovery

This is how it turned out: 7:30, 7:24, 7:23, 7:14
I was pretty happy with the paces and they felt really good.  Running with the girls always makes these workouts so much more enjoyable!

Wednesday - Off

After 4 days in a row of runs I needed a break.  I tried to get to the gym to cross train but I just wanted to get home and rest.

Thursday - Interval
5.5 miles/41:22/7:32 pace

Running club run!

Friday - Off

After work Brian and I headed to the Running club Spring dinner.  The club not only knows how to run but also how to drink and eat!  The buffet spread was amazing and I had trouble not getting second and third helpings!

Saturday - Long
10 miles/1:22:12/8:14 pace

The start of Monster Weekend of runs!

First long run of the weekend with 2x 25 mins at HMP with 3 min recovery.  The sun was out and although it was a bit cold it was so nice to be outside. 

Sunday - Long
7.5 miles/1:03:23/8:28 pace

Second long run of the weekend.  The sun was out again and I headed out for 7.5 miles with 2.5 miles at marathon pace.

Total week 7 mileage: 33.95 mi

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Monster Weekend

For the past 6 weeks my training plan has called for a long run on Saturday and then a rest day on Sunday.

This week, everything changed.  This weekend my training plan called for two long runs.  For me this was a big deal and also a first.  Definitely a monster weekend of runs.

2 miles at Easy
2x 25 mins at half marathon pace w/ 3 min recovery
~ 20 min at Easy

I slept in Saturday morning, woke up and had coffee and oatmeal before heading out after 9am.  It was cold and windy but sunny!  The first two miles were easy and enjoyable but soon it was time to get down to business.  The first set was on a mainly flat area and I settled into a good pace.  Some parts were super windy but I continued on.  I rested for the 3 minutes and then set into the second set.  This one was harder because it had more hills and the wind was annoyingly strong.  Often I yelled out loud when the wind got to be more than I could handle! I wanted to quit so many times during this second set but thankfully had the strength to push and finish.  The final cool down easy run home was so nice.

First set: 3.21 miles at 7:47 avg pace
Second set: 3.24 miles at 7:44 avg pace
Total miles = 10

After a nice shower to warm up and hot chocolate mixed with coffee, I pulled on my recovery socks and made myself a nice lunch - tomato soup and a tuna melt!  I tried to stay off my feet as much a possible in hopes that it would help me recover and be ready for the next day.

2.5 miles at Easy
2.5 miles at Marathon Pace (don't really have a MP though...)
2.5 miles at Easy

I woke up to sun again! Although it was a cold 22F, I headed out again after coffee and oatmeal!  I wasn't sure how my legs would hold up after the 10 miles from Saturday.  I set out nice and easy and my legs actually felt good.  I planned my route to run past my wedding reception place!  I often run past it and can't wait until the wedding.  Right now it looks pretty barren but soon the snow will melt and the grass will grow and become green.

2.5 miles at 7:50 avg pace
Total miles = 7.5

After this run, I once again pulled on my recovery sleeves.  I was so surprised that I didn't feel completely worn out from all the miles.  It was definitely a big confidence booster that I was able to run 17.5 miles in one weekend and hit all my planned paces.

Monster weekend completed!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Where is Spring?

Just when I thought that winter was over, we get MORE snow!  On Wednesday we got almost 5 inches of snow in 12 hours!  My legs were pretty tired from Tuesday's mile repeats workout with the running club and I decided to take  complete rest day.

My shoveled path to the garage
The sun just peaking up over the horizon
 Thursday I decided to go to running club again because I had finally convinced a friend to come out and run with the group.  It was great to have her and we had a pretty awesome workout!

warm up
1x800m @ 15k pace (3:46)
4x1200m @ 15k pace w/ surge of 400m in the middle w/ 3 min recovery (5:34, 5:30, 5:30, 5:22)
4x100m strides
cool down

Our goal 15k pace was about 7:45 min/mile or 5:49/1200m but we went a little fast because the pace felt good.  It was bitterly cold out and my hands were freezing by the end even though I wore gloves.  I am so ready for warmer temperatures...hopefully they will be here soon!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My First Lunch Run

I must admit there have been mornings when I have woken up to run and thought "I really wish I could run at lunch instead because I do not feel like getting up".  I always would just push my run off until the night time instead.

Yesterday morning I woke up with full intentions of running.  I even got all my gear on and almost headed out the door.  Until I realized it was pouring outside.  I turned around and got right back into bed, without taking off my clothes and fell back to sleep for 45 minutes.

I knew I needed to run but I had planned to go to yoga after work which left only a lunch run as a possibility.  I packed a bag with everything I thought I would need and headed to work. 

I was nervous all morning because...

1. What if people from work saw me running?
2. What if I sweat a TON and smelled for the rest of the day?
3. What if my hair got really messed up and there was no taming it?

Of course my eleven o'clock meeting ran long and I didn't get into the bathroom to change until quarter to twelve.  We don't have locker rooms here so I was in this tiny stall trying to put on my spandex without touching the dirty floor!

Finally I was ready to go and headed out.  It was a gorgeous day with temps hovering around 40F and I just settled into an easy pace.  It felt weird to be running because I knew I should have been at work.  After a simple out and back I made it back to work and changed into my clothes.

With the use of three simple tools and a wash cloth I almost looked like I hadn't been running.  I forgot to take an after picture because I was in such a rush to get back to work.  Just imagine me with out crazy fly aways and nice work clothes!  

It wasn't easy but it was better than not running at all!  Since it was an easy day, I actually didn't sweat that much which made the rest of the day a little bit more comfortable.  The afternoon was tough because I was a little bit more tired than usual.  It may have been from the run or it may have been because I was dehydrated.  I was able to make it to yoga after work which my legs really appreciated.

First lunch run completed!  Have a great Tuesday!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Half Marathon - Week 6

Week 6 already!!??  Half way done!

Monday - Easy with Strides
3.5 miles/31:29/9:00 pace

This was the start of a very long and tiring week and having daylight savings time did not help one bit!  Every morning it was hard to get up and at night I could not seem to fall asleep no matter how tired I felt.  Cross training the day before helped to make this run feel really good!

Tuesday - Tempo
6.4 miles/52:00/8:07 pace

Running group night!  3x1600m at tempo!  My legs just wanted to go and so I let them  - not pushing too hard but gliding along for this workout!

Wednesday - Recovery Off

I woke up to rain so I decided to roll over and go back to sleep for another hour and it was well worth it!

Thursday - Tempo
8 miles/1:07:22/8:21

Early morning longish run!  I wanted to go to running group after work to do this workout but I had a work dinner/social function and so I had to do this workout at 5am.  The 8 miles turned out really well and I was happy I hit my half marathon paces!

Friday - Off

Instead of running, I dragged Brian to a jewelry store after work for a special wedding band event.  Not only was there lots and lots of jewelry but there was also food and drinks!  I got some great ideas for candy favors and a wedding cake but we haven't found the perfect wedding bands yet!

Saturday - Long Run!!
12.88 miles/1:46:35/8:16 pace

When my alarm went off at 5:30am, I didn't know why it was going off.  After a few moments I realized that I was getting up to run.  I ate my oatmeal and then headed out to meet the group at 6:30am.  It was a brisk 35F outside even though the day before had been 60F+.  We set off on a 12.9 mile loop and I was feeling good but worried that we were starting off too fast.  The course was pretty hilly for the first 5 miles but I felt good so I stuck with the leaders of my mini group.  I planned to try and pick up the pace for the last three miles and hit half marathon pace but was going to wait and see how I felt.  At around 7 miles I started bringing my pace down from 8:30min/mi and just kept going.  It was a great run overall and I was very happy I was able to run the second half faster than the first!

Sunday - Recovery/Easy
2.4 miles/21:40/9:02

The weather was so nice I could not resist getting out for a run although it took me until 2pm to finally change into my running clothes and get outside! My legs were slightly stiff from the run yesterday but this run definitely helped to shake everything out!

Total week 6 mileage: 33.3 mi

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Almost end of the week Long run

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!  I am not Irish but Brian and we both can't wait to have some corned beef and cabbage!

This morning I had a great run!  I was nervous about it though and didn't sleep the best.  My schedule called for 8 miles.  My longest morning run EVER!

1 mi at easy
2x 3mi at half marathon pace
1 mi at easy

I headed out just after 5am, into the darkness and brought my garmin along!  I was going to do a 4 mile out and 4 mile back route just to keep things simple.

The first mile was half downhill and I just kept things easy until it was time to start the tempo portion.  I wondered how my legs would handle the pace as I had only been up for about 20 minutes and I didn't eat anything before this run.

The first and second miles ticked by quickly with just my footfalls echoing in the dark.  An occasional car would pass me but otherwise I was alone.  The final mile was tough because I could see my end point but it was sooo far away!  I finally made it to the turnaround and took a 30 second break before starting out again.

I don't know if the "out" part was just harder than the "back" part but I ended up running  a little faster on the way back.  Maybe my legs had finally woken up.  The final mile was the hardest - my legs were hurting and I slowed down a bit, but I made it and did the final mile super easy back to my house.

Mile 1: 8:59
Miles 2-4: 24:00 (8:00 pace)
Miles 5-7: 23:51 (7:57 pace)
Mile 8 - 9:52

8 miles done on a Thursday morning.  I still can't believe I did it.  And I have the rest of the day to relax and recover from the run!  I thought about wearing my high heel boots today but never got around to changing into them because my flats were just so comfy.

And in honor of St. Patrick's Day I picked up these cute green Zensah compression sleeves to help my legs recover!  I am not totally sure how I feel about them - I think I may like my compression socks better!

Happy Thursday!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lovin' and hatin' the high heel

Running and high heels definitely do not go together but I still have an obsession with shoes!  My new favorites just happen to be the shoes that I will be wearing for the wedding! 

My wedding shoes!
I cannot wait to slip those on under my dress and take some really cute pictures!  These shoes match my bridesmaids dresses and I am just in love with them!

My attempt at being a photographer - I am sure my wedding photog will do a much better job!

My other high heels usually only make an appearance once a week because the heels are hard on my feet after a morning run.  When I absolutely need to wear heels, I bring them into work and change when needed. 

Today I am definitely in flats after last nights running club run -

3x 1600m at tempo pace
2 x surges (30s @ Interval, 30s @ easy, 60s @ Interval, 60s @ easy, 90s @ interval, 90s @ easy)

After the 5 mile race this past weekend, I looked up my new paces on the VDOT chart.  It says my tempo pace should be 7:30min/mi.  The temps were in the mid 40s last night and my legs just wanted to run!  We ran around the loop at the local park where we practice every week - since the loop is not exactly a mile we ended up starting each repeat at a different location.

This is the loop we run on for workouts - notice the up and downhill portions! Loop = 0.75mi (1200m)

7:15 - Did I really just race on Saturday?  And I ran this pace?  This doesn't feel that bad.
7:23 - Ok those two hills were not fun, but now only one more to go!
7:19 - I love running!  This is so much fun!

I felt really good after this workout and all this running on hills has been paying off!  Today I again choose to take a rest day instead of a recovery run because tomorrow I have another "mid week" long run planned.

Has running made you give up your heels??  I refuse to give up yet!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Half Marathon - Week 5

Monday - Easy with strides
3.1 miles/28:52/9:19 pace

This was a very, very easy run - my legs were still recovering from the long run Saturday.  After some nicer temperatures, the weather turned cold again and I had to bundle up to stay warm on this morning run.

Tuesday - Interval
6 miles/46:30/7:45 pace

I went to the running club practice after work and brought along my garmin!  The workout was:
4x1000m at 5 mile race pace
1x800m at tempo
4x100m strides

I am still learning how to use the garmin and especially with intervals it was a little tough.  Thankfully I was running with some other girls who gave me the splits because I couldn't get my watch to work correctly.  It was either auto paused or stopped when I wanted it to be working!

Wednesday - Recovery
3 miles/26:38/8:53 pace

Great morning for a recovery run.  Nothing special just enjoyed being outside.

Thursday - Tempo
5.5 miles/45:20/8:15 pace

Dragged myself out of bed and to the gym at 5am for this workout -
2x1 mi at 5 mile race pace
4x200m at a little faster than race pace

The pace felt good, but at the same time I wondered if I could hold it for 5 whole miles during the race. 

Friday - Off

Saturday - 5 Mile Race!
7.25miles/57:26/7:55 pace

The official start of racing season in my city and it was a good judge of my current fitness level!  Feeling pretty good about where I am at but still have 7 more weeks until the half marathon! 

Sunday - XT
Bike/40 minutes

I have been slacking on the cross training and even though I wanted to slack again today I made myself get on the bike.  Reading the new runners' world and my book definitely helped the time go by faster!

Total week 5 mileage: 24.8 mi

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Running of the Green

Today I ran my first race in 2011, my first race since September 2010 and my first race in the 25-29 age group.  I haven't run a 5 mile race since the summer of 2007 so I was hoping for a PR and also to find out what kind of shape I was in. (Previous 5 miler time - 38:08)

The race didn't start until 10:30am which was nice because then I got to sleep in and leisurely eat my breakfast and coffee before picking up Brian and heading to the race.  I planned to meet up with two other girls from my running group who I usually workout with.  We warmed up together and then waited for the race to start.

The course was great - a mostly flat out and back.  The plan was to run the 5 miles as evenly as possible.  I still have not totally figured out how to use my garmin, so I don't really know my exact splits but we were able to keep a pretty consistent pace for the whole race which was great.  I felt strong for most of the run except for the last mile when I just wanted to be done running.

And to my surprise I finished a whole minute faster than I planned.  It felt good to race again and run with my teammates.

The good news is that I now have a new 5 miler PR!  YAY!  But the bad news is that now I am in the age group with all the FAST girls!!  The second, third, and fourth place finishers were all between 25 and 29! 

Finish time: 36:26
Pace: 7:17/mi
Overall: 221/1655
Females: 33/???
Age Group: 8/132

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hip and leg stretches

I have a long history of hip problems.  Not only have I suffered from weak hips but also tight hamstrings and weak glutes.  I have had knee pain that was the result of weak hips and glutes.  I wanted to share some of the stretches that I was given to do.

You can see an older post here with all my PT exercises I used to rehab back from a weak hip and knee pain in 2009.

I try to do these stretches every night while watching tv.

1. Side stretch

The key to this stretch is to stretch towards the side that hurts.  For me, my right hip was lower than my left due to a compressed muscle on the left side.  So I do this stretch towards my right side to help release that muscle and keep my hips even. 

2. Adductor stretch

Apparently I have tight hamstrings and even tigher inner hamstrings and thighs.  This stretch hurts but it really helps my legs to feel better.

3. Lying Quad stretch

Often the quads are over looked or they are stretched but it doesn't really release the muscle.  This stretch works to relax and release the quads better than any other stretch.  I often put a towel between my hamstring and calf just for added comfort.

4. Hamstring stretch

Since I don't have a partner for this stretch, I place a stretchy band around my foot to hold my leg and stretch.  Then I pull my leg up to the point that is tight, hold for 2 seconds and then release a bit.  This really helps to stretch out my hamstrings better than any other stretches I have done.

All photos and links were taken from this site.  It has a lot of great information and other stretches!

Do you stretch?  Do you think it is worth it?

Monday, March 7, 2011

A new Gadget!

Thank you all for the Birthday wishes! I had a great day and ate lots of cake!

Brian waited until Friday night to give me my gift! I tried to wait patiently all day but it was hard because I had an idea of what he was going to get me....


I immediately plugged it in to charge!  About 2 hours later, it was finally charged and ready for me to play with! The touch bezel was kind of hard to get used to in the beginning but I soon got the hang of it and set it up to go for my long run the next morning.

Saturday morning I was up at 5:30am and met up with the running group at 7am for the yearly "Around the Bay" Run where we literally ran around the bay - go figure!  I strapped on my old timex watch on my left wrist and my new garmin on my right wrist and I was off and running.

I tried not to glance at the screen every .2 seconds to see my pace but it was hard to resist!  Soon I got into the groove and was feeling pretty good.  I looked down and saw a strange number where the miles were supposed to be.  I soon realized that while I was playing with the watch the night before, I must have changed the miles to kilometers! Opps!  There was no way I was going to be able to do math while running so it was a good thing we were running a loop!

The planned route was 13 miles, which was 4 miles farther than I had run in a long time! The last time I ran 13 miles was the half marathon in September so I was a bit nervous.  I was running with my coach from running club and another teammate so we just talked as we ran along and before I knew it we were more than half way done and I was still feeling amazing.

I picked up the pace a bit the last few miles and just had the best run.  I hope I can feel this good on all my long runs because it was amazing! I was on a runners' high for the rest of the day!  Plus I got to analyze all the data from my garmin too!

Talk about some hills - that big one was mile 6 and into mile 7.  The best part was that awesome downhill at the end!  Now I know what I have been missing without having a garmin!  I don't really plan to use it on every run because for my easy/recovery runs I just need to know the time and I already have my standard routes set up but having the garmin for long runs and for interval workouts - like the Tuesday night one with my running club - will be great! I can't wait to use it this Tuesday for the mile repeats workout!

I guess I have crossed over to the dark side! Do you have a garmin??

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Half Marathon - Week 4

Monday - Easy
3.25/29:25/9:04 pace

I woke up at 5am and heard the rain so I reset my alarm and went back to sleep for another hour.  After work I rushed home and changed my clothes and headed out in the sunshine for an easy run.

Tuesday - Tempo
7.85/1:02:31/7:58 pace

Ran outside with the running club and pushed myself farther than I thought I could.  2x2.5 miles at tempo pace is a LONG way to run!  But I made it and felt awesome!

Wednesday - Recovery or Off

I just was not feeling it in the morning after Tuesday's tough run and so I decided to take the day off because I knew I had another tough run coming on Thursday.  My mileage was already higher than last week so I didn't want to push it.

Thursday - Tempo
7 miles/58:40/8:23 pace

My 25th Birthday with an awesome treadmill tempo run before work!

Friday - Easy Off

My plan said to run easy today but I decided to take another day because my long run Saturday was going to be L-O-N-G!  I wanted to rest up my legs and not put any extra mileage on them.

Saturday - Long
12.92 miles/1:54:40/8:52 pace

Up at 5:30am to ran with the running group again.  This run was the special "Run around the Bay" that they do every year.  The original route was for 15 miles, but I ran a slightly shorter route which was just under 13 miles.  Forecast called for rain but thankfully it held off until after the run.

Sunday - Off

Total week 4 mileage: 31 mi

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!!

Today is my 25th Birthday and I started the day off with a great run!  My first MWMLR (Mid week Medium Long Run - created by Marlene!)

It was 9F outside this morning so I got up at 5am and headed to the gym.  My legs felt fresh since I switched up my schedule this week and rested yesterday.  The run was tough but 7 miles later I was done.

1 mile easy (9:05)
2 miles at half marathon pace (8:00)
1 mile easy (8:49)
2 miles at half marathon pace (8:00)
1 mile easy (8:41)

Official Birthday celebrations will start tonight with dinner, cake and hopefully some good gifts and the partying will continue into the weekend although I do have a group long run Saturday morning at 7am - definitely going to need a nap that day!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Don't forget the headlamp!

Monday afternoon I got an email saying that the indoor track where we usually run the Tuesday evening running club practices would be closed.

Tuesday morning I received confirmation that we would not be running indoors, but outside at a local park.  We ran at this park throughout the fall and it has some great trails as well as a 1200m loop around a reservoir.  This was the perfect place to do last night’s workout – running on an indoor 200m track would have been so boring.

The view from the loop on a nice summer day!

We met up a little before 6pm and did a short warm up around the loop.  There were a lot of runners out as the Fleet Feet group runs on this loop on Tuesday night as well.  As the sun began to set, we did some quick math before starting the workout.   

2x 4000m at tempo pace with 3 mins recovery (4km = ~2.48 mi)
1 lap = 1200m/0.75mi
4000m = 3.5 laps

I don’t have a garmin so I had to guesstimate where the half way point of the loop would be.  We started on the downhill which then goes into a long uphill.  At the top of that hill it evens out for a bit then has a slight downhill followed by a slight uphill as you come to the completion of one full loop.  Everyone took off down the hill but I tried not to start too fast which didn’t work.  I sailed through the first loop in a faster time that last week’s 1200m on the track.  I was feeling good so I tried to keep the pace but running the long uphill 4x was tough and definitely slowed me down.  It was a beautiful run – the sun set, the light slowly vanishing as twilight became night; the view of the city with the lights of the buildings shining bright and the many runners out on the loop slowly turning on their headlamps.

First loop = 5:16
Second loop = 10:48
Third loop = 15:50
Total (3.5 loops) = 19:11

I jogged the rest of the loop back to the start which took me over 3 minutes.  For the second set, I turned on my headlamp to combat the growing darkness and set out to run just as fast as I had the first time.  It was tough but what I enjoyed most during this second 4km was watching all the headlamps bobbing out across the course.  It was so much fun to have so many runners out all running the same course.  I am glad that I had my headlamp not only to light my way but also so that the other runners could see me as they ran towards me.  A head on collision would not have been good.  Over the course of this tempo, my eyes became blurry in the darkness and it was hard to focus.  I don’t know if it was because I was hungry or just pushing it really hard but I almost felt drunk.  My vision wasn’t clear and it felt like my body was on auto-pilot just running the workout.

First loop = 5:20
Second loop = 11:03
Third loop = 16:05
Total (3.5 loops) = 19:42

I was glad to be done after this and slowly jogged one more loop and then headed for my car.  I felt in a daze of exhaustion as I drove home.  A hot shower and dinner definitely helped to bring me back to life.  I later mapped out the course and I think I ended up running a little over 2.6 miles for the tempo instead of the 2.48 miles but that tends to happen when you don’ t have a GPS watch.

I tried to get up this morning to run a recovery 2 miles but it just didn’t happen.  My schedule said recovery or rest and I think I need the rest after that workout!  I always seem to push myself harder when I am with the running team!
Bathroom shot post workout

Total workout = ~7.85 miles in 1:02:32

Happy Wednesday!