Thursday, June 30, 2011

June Recap

Average Temp: 76F/24C - summer temps are slowly creeping up!

Miles run: 119.5 mi

Rest days taken: 7 days - a result of a few 5 and 6 day run streaks.  Normally I only run 3 or 4 days in a row.

Highest mileage week: 30 miles (6/20-6/26)

Average pace: 8:16 min/mile

Races: Fast and Furriest 10k and St. Greg's Great Race 5k or The race we said we wouldn't run again!

Current Obsessions: Finishing addressing the invitations and mailing them by July 1st!

Current Blessings: As always, family and friends!

Current Excitement: My best friends wedding next week on July 8th!

Current Read: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.  Not exactly a light summer read, we'll see if I actually finish this one.  Reading is defiantly the first "hobby" to go when I get overwhelmed with things to do!

Current Guilty Pleasure: Strawberries!

Bring on July!  Have a great 4th of July!

Stressed out!

Every since last Friday when we found out that my cousin had died so unexpectedly I have been stressed.  All my perfectly laid plans for the weekend were suddenly thrown out the window.

Sunday was originally going to be the day that I spent addressing all my wedding invitations.  It turned into the day I traveled across the state to see my mom's entire family.  Thankfully that morning I was able to get out for a nice long, relaxing run.

Yesterday, everything caught up with me as I sat and worked and stressed out about my "TO DO" list.

There was so much stuff that needed to be done before Friday and I just didn't see how I could get it all finished.  So I left work a little bit early and went home to run.  I set out for a short and easy 3 miler.  It helped clear my head and got me back on track.  And last night turned into my most productive night all week.

All the invitations have been addressed, I got a haircut, I got gas, I cleaned my room, I tired on my blue dress (which doesn't fit - too big), and went to the library!

Sometimes just taking the extra time for a run allows everything to fall into place.  So tonight, after work I am heading out for another run and hopefully will have all the invitations stuffed into the envelopes and ready to mail tomorrow!

Happy Almost Friday!! 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Now Let's Jam!

My best friends wedding is just under two weeks away.  Saturday she convinced me to come and help her make strawberry jam for her wedding favors.  Saturday morning started bright and early with strawberry picking.  WE may have gotten a little carried away - approximately 22 quarts later...

Then we had to core each strawberry so they were ready to be made into delicious strawberry jam.  We didn't have enough bowls to put all the cored strawberries in so we had to get a little creative!

5 hours later we had over 80 little jars of jam!  It was a fun process filled with lots of excitement including too much pectin and not enough strawberries!

The final step to finish off the favors was to place pieces of fabric over each little jar, secure the lid and attach a ribbon with a tag. 

The final product turned out great! Aren't they the cutest things ever! 

And that was just my Saturday - Sunday was even busier with a lot of traveling as a family member died on Friday.  Today I am just trying to get through the day so I can go home and crash on the couch.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A reason to NOT run in the morning

The last two mornings, my running plans have been foiled because of thunderstorms!  I love a good thunderstorm, just not one that rolls in at 4:30am when I am about to wake up for my run.

Yesterday I had a wedding meeting after work so I just scrapped my run and called it a rest day.  But today I need to get out for a run after work.  It has been 48 hours since my last run and I miss it!

I have two weather apps on my phone and they both told me that thunderstorms were in the area this morning.  I took it as a sign to get 45 more minutes of sleep.

It is tough when mother natures gets in the way of my runs, but I guess that is why it is good to be flexible and rearrange plans.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Track Tuesday Part 2

Last week I expressed my excitement over track workouts.

This week was 400m repeats - my absolute favorite.  They are short, fast and awesome.

Pink spikes from my college track days

After work I headed to the usual running club meet up for a short warm up before hitting the track.  My running buddy was there and although she thought I was crazy about looking forward to the 400s, (I think) she was a little bit excited about the workout.

Coach suggested 2-3 sets of 4x400m at race pace or mile race pace (~93 seconds or 6:12min/mile) with 200m jog recovery

The first set went pretty well but my legs were stubborn and not used to the fast pace.  I tried to keep the pace consistent and not start out too fast because I knew I still had a lot of repeats ahead of me.

95, 94, 94, 94

The rest felt good and my legs speed off on the first repeat of the second set.  I had to reel myself back in so I wouldn't burn myself out for this set.  On the last repeat of this set, I kind of zoned out a little bit and feel off the pace.

95, 94, 93, 95

Coached stopped us after this set and asked how many we had done.  Once again he stressed the idea of only running 6% of your mileage for the Tuesday speed workout (for me 30 mi/week = 1.8 mi for Tuesday workout).  I was already over my limit but I was feeling good so he let me do 2 more 400s! YAY!  My legs felt ready to go so I speed up for the last one just to check out my speed!

92, 89

10x400m done with an average time of 93.5 seconds!  Not bad at all for not running too many "fast" intervals.  My legs are so used to tempo pace, the race pace sure did shock them!

What's your favorite speed or interval workout? 

Monday, June 20, 2011

The race we said we wouldn't run again

The past two years, Brian and I have run this race and every year after finishing Brian says:

"We are NOT doing this race next year, it was too hot"

And every year, around May, Brian tells me we HAVE to sign up for this race and the cycle continues.

Except this year, it wasn't insanely hot and humid and the race was actually a really nice time.

I had a really busy day Friday.  Work in the AM, awards luncheon for work, wedding dress fitting at 2:30pm, then drive to Brian's parents, run the race at 7pm.  My stomach was a mess all day and I didn't know why.  I just felt out of whack and it could have been from being nervous about my fitting or just the stress of the week.

The dress fitting went unbelievably well - the dress fits great and all I need done is the bustle!  I was so nervous about the color.  Back in January I had tried on the dress in white but ordered my dress in ivory.  The women at the bridal shop assured me that the color would be fine but I was still nervous.

When I was all finished with that, I hit the road and headed to Brian's parents house.  While I waited around for the time when we would head to the race, I tried to relax but my stomach was still all tied up in knots.  Feeling that my stomach was not right made me even more nervous for the race.

Finally it was time to leave and head to pick up our packets.  A quick warm up later and I was standing with Brian at the start line.  With about 5 minutes to go, the gun went off!  I nearly had a heart attack.  They were just test firing the starting gun.

The course is pretty flat and I made sure not to start out too fast.  All these other girls were sprinting past me, but I held my pace back and just watched them go, hoping that I would catch up with them in the second mile.  My stomach was still in knots, but thankfully it was not affecting my pace too much.  I continued on to the second mile and slowly started passing a few people. At this point I could not wait to finish; as I made the final turn I saw the finish looming in the distance.  It was sooo far away and on a slight uphill.  I knew I was on track for a PR, but I wanted that sub 21 finish so badly.   I saw the seconds ticking away and as I crossed the finish I guessed that my time would be 21 minutes flat.

And I was right.  1 second from my goal.  I think if my stomach had not been such a mess from all the stress I would have run faster but my stomach and heart were just not in it.  It was a good race, thankfully not too hot and a good way to end my "spring" racing season.  I have decided that I will be taking the month of July off from all racing.  It will be nice to just focus on training and not worry about fitting in races.

Time: 21:00
Age group: 3/?? (no online official results posted yet)
Garmin splits/paces:
6:21 pace

Brian did well too even though he didn't train and doesn't know his time - but he said "he felt good" so that was a win! I guess we will be running this race next year after all!

Have a great Monday!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Photo Friday: Bad Race pictures

I dug into my old race pictures and found some really bad ones!  I seem to have perfected my "death face" over the years!  Enjoy!

First Boilermaker - 2006
Summer 2007
Summer 2008
Summer 2010
Boilermaker 2010
March 2011
Half marathon - Spring 2011

 Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Track Tuesday

It is the most wonderful time of the year! Every Tuesday I get to go to the track and run with my running buddy!

This weeks and next weeks workout happen to be my personal favorites! 

There is nothing like pounding out some fast intervals after a long day.  The weather was perfect last night (in the mid 60s) and my legs were ready to go.  Even though I was on my 6th day of running in a row, something I haven't done in a long time, I still felt pretty good.

3x1000m = 4:12, 4:11, 4:03

Today, I am enjoying the rest day and looking forward to next week!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fast and Furriest 10k Recap

Saturday morning I literally jumped out of bed because I was in such a deep sleep that my alarm scared me awake!  Once I calmed down, I had my usual oatmeal and coffee and then headed to the race.  I met up with my running buddy who was running the race with me.

After a quick warm up around the block, we headed to the start.  I was a little nervous just because I didn't want to go out too fast in this race and then have the final few miles be horrible.  Soon enough it was time to start - this was a fairly small race so there were not that many people so the start was not crowded at all.

I had no idea what the course was going to be like because this was my first time running this race and also I had failed to look up the route.  My legs wanted to take right off but I pulled them back and started off at my tempo pace like planned.  I let the other racers go past me as I stuck with my pace and enjoyed the first few miles when the pace felt good.  There were quite a few woman in front of me and I focused on the closest one to catch and then pass.  It was a fun game to play while running.

The next few miles flew by and I was already passed the half way point.  I was still feeling good so I decided to start picking up the pace a bit.  My legs just kept going and going.  I was waiting for the feeling of wanting to stop but it never came.  I continued on and felt strong the whole race.  I ended up running the second half of the race faster than the first.  And the second half of the race ended up being faster than my current 5k PR.

Mile 1 - 7:11
Mile 2 - 7:16
Mile 3 - 7:05
Mile 4 - 7:02
Mile 5 - 6:52
Mile 6 - 6:46
Last 0.2 - 6:42 pace

Official Time: 44:06 (7:06 pace) - a new 10k PR by 4 minutes
Age group: 1/18 (first two overall girls were also in my age group - the 25-29 AG around here is stacked!)
Overall: 26/190
Female: 4/101

Keys to running a strong 10k race:

1. Don't start out too fast - For me, tempo pace was a great pace to start at.  I had been training at that pace for a few weeks so I knew what it felt like and I knew I could hold it for at least 3 miles.
2. Run the tangents (aka run in a straight line) - adding on extra distance takes more time and if you are using a garmin, makes you think you are running at a faster pace than you actually are.
3. Stay in the moment - focusing on the person right in front of me helped me to focus just on that and not think about how many miles I had left or how tired I felt.
4. Run on a flat race course - not always in your control, but this race had an excellent course which was flat and beautiful!

Happy Monday and Happy Racing!

Friday, June 10, 2011

A rare race distance

Finding a 10k has been a tough job.  It seems like such a rare race around my town.  In fact, the last time I ran a 10k was almost 4 years ago to the day. 

Going back into the archives, I found that my first official 10k was when I was 20 years old.  Thankfully, the records have been deleted from the interwebs so there is no evidence of that horrible race.  It took place on July 29th, in the heat of the summer on a very hilly course.  I was unprepared and under trained.

My second 10k was the following year when I was 21 and preparing for my final season of college basketball.  Once again I ran a race on a very hilly course which had the finish on a sandy beach; worst decision ever - trying to sprint on sand was horrible.  This race also marked the time when I ran 3 hard races in a course of two weeks.  A 10k on June 24th, a 5 mile race on July 4th, and the Boilermaker 15k on July 8th.  I don't know why I thought I could run those races back to back to back, but I did and it was tough.  Currently, I believe my 10k PR is 48:16 from my 2007 race.

So the next question do you race a 10k?

It is definitely not a race where you can run really fast because you know its going to be over soon - that's a 5k.  And it is definitely not a race where you start off at a cruising pace and the painful part (normally) isn't until the final few miles - that's more like a 15k or half marathon.

Hopefully it fits in between those two types of races because basically 10k pace is supposed to be about tempo pace.  And tempo pace is supposed to be the pace you can race at for about 50 to 60 minutes.

We will see how tomorrow goes.  At least the weather forecast is calling for rain!  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Back to the Track

It may be unbearably hot outside, but this is my favorite time of year because my running club moves the workouts to the track! 

This time last year was when I first started running with my running club - amazing how the time flies and how much things have changed in a year.  It feels so great to be back at the track and starting to do some speed workouts!

Last night was the first one of the season and of course it was so hot and humid outside.  During the warm up I could already feel my stomach getting upset because of the heat.

The workout:
2x2000m at Tempo pace (~7:15 min/mile) w/ 2 min recovery
6x200m at race pace (~43 secs for each 200m) w/ 200m jog recovery

5 laps around the track went pretty quick as I finished the first 2000m with my group.  The second one was not as easy and I really had to focus to keep my pace from slipping.  After finishing the 2000s I did not want to do the 200s but a friend talked me into it.

2000m in 8:58 (7:10 pace)
2000m in 8:55 (7:06 pace)
6x200m at descending pace (49, 49, 48, 46, 45, 44, 43 secs)

Running in this heat is a whole new thing.  The humidity takes so much more out of me than normal.  Thankfully I was able to hit my paces for this workout, but it is getting harder and harder.  Today we are headed for a high in the 90s!  I sure am glad that today is a rest day!

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Avoiding a runners' tan

I have very fair skin and every summer I start out with very white legs and arms.  Eventually I start to get all kinds of tan lines from my running shorts, running watch and running tops.  Of course a watch tan is very cool to show off to all my friends but it does not go with a wedding dress (or a bridesmaids dress).  Neither does criss cross tan lines on my back.

How to avoid summer running tan lines:

Option 1: Run in the morning

Option 2: When running in the morning is not possible,

Wear simple running tops that wont produce weird tan lines and allows for easy sunscreen application.

 Applying lots of sunscreen!

Wearing hat/visor and sunglasses.

So far so good - no tan lines that I can see, but this is just the start of the summer!

Friday, June 3, 2011

It's called Bride Brain

...and I have a serious case of it.

Symptoms of Bride Brain:
  • Forgetfulness
  • Distracted/scatterbrained
  • Possible nervous twitching

This morning I had an extra bad case -

  1. Running the wrong route and not realizing until I was over a mile into the run
  2. Forgetting to put on make up
  3. Forgetting my wedding planning notebook at home
  4. Ordering a small coffee at Dunkin Donuts instead of a medium
  5. Paying the Dunkin Donuts drive through man and then driving off, forgetting to get my change

Thank goodness for the weekend!  I don't think this tiny cup of coffee is going to be enough!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. We had the rainiest May since 1896 (with over 18 inches of rain!) but now June seems to have brought the heat wave!  With temps soaring above 90F, I have been doing most of my runs in the mornings.  It may be hard to get up some mornings, but it is totally worth it to see some beautiful sunrises while I run. This morning I ran 5.5 miles with 2x2000m at tempo pace (~7:13).

2. Today marks a major turning point - 100 days until the wedding (of course I have a count down on my phone)!  My to-do list may still be a mile long but everything is slowly coming together.  Also in 36 days, I will be Maid of Honor to my best friend who is getting married.  I could not be more excited to watch her get married!  It is going to be a summer of weddings!

3. I signed up for a race!  On June 11th I will be running the "Fast and Furriest 10K" to benefit a local animal shelter.  I have not run the 10k race distance since summer 2007 and I think that is the ONLY 10k race I have ever run.

YAY! It's Thursday!