Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Weekly Recap

Back to the grind! Sorta. 24.5 miles, speedwork, trails and even a little strength. Success!

Monday: off
I could have done something, but I didn't.

Tuesday: speedwork, 6 miles, 59 minutes, Saucony Kinvara 5
Quarter-mile repeats, which I already talked about in depth. I will call the workout encouraging. I nearly hit my goal -- 2-minute quarter-mile repeats -- so we'll call it a win. I warmed up for 2 miles and then dove into the repeats. After six of them, I cooled down for a mile. Side note: At nearly 200 miles, I'm starting to think these shoes are losing their spring. A lot of those miles -- including last fall's marathon -- are road miles (not Towpath miles), so that's probably not helping. I won't do more than 6 in them.

Wednesday: pub run, 5 miles, Newton Fate
Ah, the monthly pub run (with demos from Oakley and Newton, hence me running in the Fates). We had a nice group running together so I was able to talk with several people. The route is less than 4, many of us went 5 and a few went 6 (and those 6 were part of 10 -- on a Wednesday night!). It was nice. I forgot to Myrtl it up when I got home.

Thursday: trail run, 3 miles at Goodyear Heights Metropark, Saucony Peregrines
We had beer school at 7:30, so I didn't have much time. I drove toward home and got in 3 miles. I wasn't fast (of course), but the parcours is runnable. Ideally I would start to watch my time on that out-and-back drop. I was pretty tired (to be expected after Sunday's race, only one day off, etc.), but I felt okay. Again, I forgot to Myrtl it up due to being crunched for time.

Friday: 2.5 treadmill miles + strength-training at the gym, Saucony Kinvara 5
Nothing too interesting to talk about, but I got in a few miles

Saturday: 8 miles (6 trails, 2 towpath), Saucony Peregrines
I met up Saturday morning for some new trail exploring in the CVNP. We hit the Buckeye Trail south of Redlock and took that over to Boston Store. It was a nice loop, although I might go the other way next time so that I can warm up on the towpath.

Sunday: off
We left early for a friend's party in Columbus, so there was no time (read: I didn't make time) to run beforehand.

This week, I'm hoping for a similar mix-up with closer to 30 miles. No real plans yet, so we'll see. I've already started off by missing Monday (travel and getting home later than expected; plus I was tired after Sunday's party so maybe it's better that I missed), so I'm already behind!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Return to Speedwork

I can't decide how I want to track my "training." I want to improve, and I think writing things down will help. Right now, I have Garmin Connect, a Google spreadsheet, this little space and a Google doc. WTH?! Too much.

Anyhow, I thought I'd try quarter-mile repeats last night. I haven't really done them since last summer, and I haven't tried to run an 8-minute pace since then either. I looked at the last ones, and I had one where I did 6 repeats and recovered a quarter jogging and then I did one where I did 12 repeats and recovered a tenth walking.

Both of those were done better than last night's, but I did them. I started with one mile with a friend, and then we met up with Aaron. So I ended up with a 2-mile warmup, and then I moved into the repeats. I did six of them with quarter-mile jogging recovery. I averaged 8:01 pace for the repeats (I was hoping for sub-8/under 2 minutes), but the last one was a STRUGGLE. It was 2:05, I think, so way off pace. I cooled down for a mile. Overall, I had six miles around 59 minutes.

I had a lot of trouble knowing what the pace was. My watch was constantly beeping -- speed up, in desired zone, speed up -- but the third, fourth and fifth repeats were better in that respect. The sixth one, though. I kept thinking that my watch wasn't working properly because I felt like I was sprinting and the watch was saying I was way off pace. Maybe there was a delay, but it was mostly my lack of fitness.

I'm not sure what this tells me, though. I'm thinking I'll do half-mile repeats next week and then quarter-mile again the week after. We'll see. I haven't been very good about consistently doing speedwork.

As to how speedwork fits in, this is my general plan for the near future: 1 speed workout, 1 trail run, 1 long run, 3 easy runs. Six days/week. Myrtl routine daily. Strength workout paired with two of those easy runs. Hahahahahaha. Strength.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Cleveland Half Marathon Race Recap

The race: Cleveland Half Marathon, Sunday, May 17, 2015
The stats: 13.3 miles, 2:30, 11:17 pace
The outfit: Saucony visor, Saucony Daybreak tank, Saucony Speed of Lite short, Moving Comfort Rebound Racer bra, Injinji socks, Saucony Zealot shoes

This was my fourth Cleveland Half Marathon. It's kind of a tradition, but I just wasn't that into this year. I haven't done much real training, and while I have plenty of endurance, I don't have much speed. I decided to run with someone for whom this race was her first half-marathon. It seemed perfect. The weather wasn't great (storms in the forecast) and I am under-trained.

We arrived downtown to meet the group at 6am, but apparently the group was quite timely. We were about 5 minutes late to the meetup spot, and the group was leaving. We talked briefly with some friends who were at the tail of the group, but we couldn't leave with the group because our friend (who was also running late) picked up our bibs. We got our bibs and settled and headed over to the start.

A few of us, pre-race
The storms left the forecast, and it looked like it was going to be okay. Then there was a brief, but somewhat heavy, rain right before the start of the race. Luckily that was the only heavy rain of the day!

We tried to find our people at the start, and we couldn't. None of us were prepared to run "fast." We simply didn't know what to do. We watched the race start and hoped that we'd be able to find someone as they went by. Eventually we figured we had to just take off and hope we'd run into someone while, well, running.

The first mile ticked off, and we hadn't seen anyone. We were still running very easy, warming up, looking around constantly. Finally we found the girl I'd wanted to run with! And then another guy came up on us! It worked out perfectly. I stuck with her for the entire race, and Aaron and our friend ran with that guy, taking him to a nice PR.

The course was pretty different from last year, which was a surprise. I thought only the start had changed. But don't worry -- the race still ended with the shoreway, which is challenging. We were feeling pretty good, so I felt comfortable pushing her to run the entire time. We passed a lot of people on the shoreway, and that always feels good!

Post-Race sheen
Overall, the race turned out well. I don't mind the shoreway finish, but I wish it could be shorter. There's not much crowd support (too difficult for people to get there), and it's not very scenic. You're just running on a highway. I think that makes the rolling hills feel worse than they are.

One other slight complaint is the beer garden. There is no shade, and by this time, it was getting really warm out. Also, the lines for beer were very long, and they weren't moving very quickly. Figuring out a better way for that would be nice. They could use a little more food, I think. Akron provides a lot more.

Weekly Recap

27.4 miles 
1 trail run, 1 race
0 strength training, but lots of Myrtls/stretching/rolling (but not enough)

Monday: rest
I planned to do nothing, and then I thought I would be able to do something because my post-work plans canceled. Ultimately I decided two days off after Salt Fork was probably a good idea.

Tuesday: 4.7 miles, 9:30ish pace, downtown Kent, Saucony Kinvara 6
We did a group run from Water Street Tavern in Kent. I ran a little faster than I should have, and I felt tired. (Also, not sure why I didn't wear my Zealots.) I'm still hoping that my body will feel better after consistently doing Myrtl routine. (Regular strength-training will commence next week... unless I "race" the Cleveland half on Sunday.

Wednesday: 4-mile training group run, 9:40 pace, Saucony Zealots
Nothing much to say about this run. I ran with three others, and we took it easy. The weather was cool and comfortable.

Thursday: 5.35-mile trail run, 12:26 pace, Saucony Peregrines
After work, I met Aaron at Sand Run where he ran the jogging path and I hit the trails. I still felt tired, but recovered. There was a huge tree down on the trail that I actually had to climb over. 

Friday: off

Saturday: off

Sunday: Cleveland Half Marathon, 11:19 pace, Saucony Zealots
I should do a short recap on this race, but I ran with one of the girls from the group who did really well in her first half-marathon. It was warm and very humid, a little rain but nothing bad (rain actually felt nice). We had a slight negative-split, which is good for the course where the final miles on the shoreway are tough.

And that's last week. Basically a nice recovery week after Salt Fork. I'm tired today, so I won't do a workout after work. I'm not even sure I'll do anything actually. But then it's time to get to work. Up next is the Thirsty Dog 8k on Saturday, June 27. (I need to register for that actually.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Salt Fork Spring Challenge

The race: Salt Fork Spring Challenge
The stats: 10.4 miles, 2:21, 13:34 pace, 1300 feet of elevation change
The outfit: Saucony Speed of Lite short, Saucony Speed of Lite tank, Moving Comfort Phoebe sports bra, Injinji socks, Saucony Peregrine shoes

14/32 in age group
36/93 in female division
126/210 overall

Well, that's done. It was hard, and I was not in shape to do well. But I did it -- and loved it.

Honestly I loved it more before I saw where I finished overall, but that's my own issue. How I finished in my gender and age groups makes me feel better :)

But let's backtrack. Thursday/Friday, I carbed up a bit and definitely focused on staying hydrated. The high for Saturday was forecasted for the upper 80s, and the race didn't start until 9:30 am. Lots of water and Nuun, and I bought a Gatorade that I started on Friday and finished Saturday morning on the way to the race.

I also bought a new handheld water bottle, and 18-ounce, insulated one from Nathan. A bigger version of what I currently use (and like). But it wouldn't stop leaking! I don't know if it was me or the bottle. I need to have Aaron look at it. In any case, the guy who drove us down to Salt Fork had some disposable waters in the truck, so I took one of those.

I got up around 6 to give myself plenty of time to get ready and get to my friend's house by 7. Salt Fork is about 90 minutes from Akron, and since we all had to pick up our packets and stuff, we wanted to have plenty of time. It worked out. Easy trip down, and we arrived with plenty of time to get our stuff and get ready to run.

We were a group of four, but the guy with us is pretty fast so he lined up at the front. The three girls lined up toward the back. It's a small, non-chip-timed race so we weren't really all that far from the back. And we took off. I stuck with the other girls for the first couple of miles, but with the single-track and hills and lots of walkers, I lost them early on (around mile 2 maybe). I remember when it was: There were two paths up a hill, and I went one way, they went the other and then there were, like, six people in between us.

That's okay - I knew the one girl was way faster than I, so I was going to lose her eventually anyway. She finished in 2:05 so her pace was about 1:30 per mile faster than mine. She FLEW on the second half of the course, though. Impressive.

I trucked along, taking it easy. I knew I wasn't in great shape, so I didn't want to wear myself out. I am not very good at passing people, especially on single-track where you have to be aggressive. I don't know how much quicker I would have been (I finished in 2:21 at a 13:30 pace) if I had passed more aggressively though. I may have just tired myself out more.

I was feeling pretty good until around 8.5, and the hills finally got to me. I was trying to run as much as possible, but my pace slowed considerably. And the last 1 to 1.5 miles were mostly uphill, so that was rough. We finished running across a parking lot, and I had nothing left. Nothing. I finished at an embarrassingly slow pace.


So there's lots of room for improvement! I'm looking forward to putting in some work so that when I go back in November -- and I will! I loved the race and the course -- I will feel a lot better.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Weekly Recap

Race week, which means I tapered this week. 26+ miles for the week with a little strength on Monday and the Myrtle routine throughout the week (although I don't think I've done them since Friday - duh!).

Monday: 5 miles, treadmill, intervals, Saucony Kinvaras
I didn’t have a set plan, but I warmed up and cooled down roughly for a mile each. Then I ran .4 at 7-7.5 mph (so 8:34 to 8:00) and recovered for .1. I wasn’t feeling great, but I did okay. Mostly I was cranky that it was raining and I couldn’t hit the trails.

Tuesday: 5.25 miles, trails, Saucony Peregrines
I met Aaron after work at Sand Run. It was a little faster than last week (12:30 pace), but still not confidence-boosting.

Wednesday: 5 miles, towpath, Saucony Peregrines
I brought the wrong shoes! Just an easy run with the training group. Ran out with one person, ran back with another. 

Thursday & Friday: rest

Saturday: Salt Fork Spring Challenge, 10.4 miles, 2:21, 13:34 pace, Saucony Peregrines
This will be its own post, but it was a great race, great course and overall great experience. My lack of training was quite evident, but that's okay. 

Sunday: rest

Review: The Walls Around Us

The Walls Around UsThe Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Interesting story-writing technique. Took me a bit to figure out what was going on -- you do need to read the chapter names! -- but I liked it. I thought the characters were mostly well-written (even Ori who wasn't a narrator), and the story was iridescent. I've never read anything by this author before, but I am very curious to read something else.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Review: Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally

Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally
Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally by Kelly Starrett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I downloaded the Kindle version of Ready to Run after learning about the book at a Crossfit workshop about running. The Kindle edition needs re-edited, but overall, I found it interesting. I disagree with some of the content (the insistence on flat shoes, for example, although I do wear 4mm drop shoes so close to flat), but the focus on mobility and running throughout your life are things I'm very interested in right now. I intend to use this book as a resource going forward -- lots of good mobility exercises.

I kind of wish I'd bought the physical copy because it isn't optimized for digital use, so that's disappointing. It made it difficult to go back and forth, which would have been nice. There are many occasions where you're reading about the why of something and the author cites a corresponding mobility exercise. There should be easy "back" links or something.

Fun fact: The author also mentions the podiatrist who put the plate in foot when I broke a few years ago. (That doctor is a long-distance runner and HUGE proponent of "natural" and barefoot running.)

View all my reviews

Monday, May 04, 2015

Weekly Recap

I ended up with a pretty decent week, for once. 30 miles, one trail run, one strength session, and I've been doing the Myrtl exercises regularly (maybe even daily -- I should keep track!). Speaking of Myrtl, I have been trying to do them every day (or at least an abbreviated version), and I think it's helping. A couple of years ago, my left hamstring was really bothering me so I went to a sports chiro a few times for Active Release Therapy (ART). He suggested these exercises and some other to correct muscle imbalances and open up the hips. I did them for a while then, but got lazy.

My right hamstring -- which was inflamed after Athens -- has been feeling better since I've been trying to pay more attention. (I'm ready a book called Ready to Run, which was written by a Crossfitter/PT who is really into mobility. I don't agree with everything that guy says, but he makes some really good points.)

In any case, ideally, you would do the Myrtl before the run (that's debatable though), but I've been doing them whenever. Getting down in the grass at the trail isn't appealing to me.

So onto last week!

Monday: 4 miles on the treadmill, Saucony Kinvara 5, stupid slow pace
Just not feeling it, although leading up to the run, I was. I hopped on the treadmill because it was colder outside than I wanted and I didn't really want to leave the house because of the new kitty. I had a workout planned, but I felt so sluggish that I ditched it. (Probably should have pushed through a little more. WIMP.)

Tuesday: 5 miles on trails, Saucony Peregrines
After work, I went to Sand Run for some trail miles. It was packed there and part of the trail was closed, so I ended up doing a slightly different route than normal. It as nice -- no path at all, all trails. I ended up with a 12:53 pace (so yes, it took me over an hour to "run" 5 miles), which isn't bad for me on trails. I'm not sure of the elevation because the activity corrupted in my Garmin, but given other runs there, I'm guessing around 500 feet.

Wednesday: 6 miles on the towpath, Saucony Kinvara 6, 9:34 pace
The weather was fantastic -- warm, sunny and not humid -- but after two days of running, I wasn't sure what I could do. I didn't really want to run slow since that's all I've been doing. I ended up running 6 miles at a 9:34 pace, and it was a very consistent run, mostly thanks to my friend who ran with me. He didn't want to run fast so we let the lead group drop us. My quads were pretty sore after the lunge sequence on Monday and the trails on Tuesday, but they loosened up during the run. When I got home, I did some hip strengthening.

Thursday: rest

Friday: 1-mile warmup run + upper body/ab strength
After work on Friday, I hit the gym. I skipped lower body stuff (except for the Myrtl exercises) and focused on abs and upper body.

Saturday: 13 miles in the morning, 1.5 miles in the evening
The training group had its 13-mile run, which is always cool. We had a very small turnout, which was disappointing. The weather was great, the run was at a casual pace and that was that. That evening, we did the "Sombrero Shuffle," which is a "race" in Tremont. There were five checkpoints (five locations, five things to do/get), and there were 10 of us who did it as teams. We basically stuck together and had a great time.

Sunday: rest

This week, I'm gearing up for the 10.4-mile trail race on Saturday. Monday-Wednesday will be pretty typical. I'll definitely rest on Friday. Thursday might be a light workout or rest depending on how I feel after workouts Monday-Wednesday. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Happy Monday! This week is starting off way better than the last two. I'm not sick, and I'm not overly tired -- but I am a little worried about MY NEW KITTY.

A friend of a friend needs to get rid of their cats because the new baby is allergic. There are three, although one might stay. And we might take the one we didn't take, but we have to get the first one acclimated!

Meet Sullivan:

He's around 7 years old, and he had a ROUGH day yesterday. We went to his house, and he was super-nice and sweet with us. So of course we steal him and take him to our house. The good news is that Duncan is FANTASTIC. I am so proud of him. I think he's sad that Sully doesn't want to play. In fact, Sully hasn't done anything yet. He was behind the couch when I left.

Normally I would have him separated, but I don't want to freak him out any more by forcing him to do something. And Duncan isn't going to hurt him, he's mostly ignoring him, although he's meowing a lot more. (And I'm not going to lock up Dunks all day. When I get home tonight, though, I will lock up Duncan and try to lure out Sully with some canned food. He needs to eat!)

Duncan: "I'm sad. I know there's a kitty here."

We'll just hit the weekly recap here since I didn't do much after Sunday's half-marathon and subsequent illness.

Monday - rest
Tuesday - rest
Wednesday - 4 miles, 10-minute pace, Saucony Zealots
Thursday - rest
Friday - 1-mile walk, Saucony Triumphs + strength-training
Saturday - 12-mile run, slow, Saucony Zealots
Sunday - rest

See? Not much to talk about. This week will be more normal, but I'll barely hit 100 miles this month. CRAZY. But I'm back at it with renewed purpose (more on that later -- once I really figure out what that means!).