Monday, November 16, 2015

Training Recap - 11/09 through 11/15

I want to make these recaps more useful for me, so I'm going take a more analytical view of the week's training. Here we go!

What went well: My effort was on point this week. I had a little health issue and skipped my Tuesday run, and I think that was fine. Between the hill workout and the 5k, I did try to accomplish something. I'm also pleased with two dog runs!

What I can improve on: I need to do a better job preparing for a workout, and I also need to be more IN the range rather than on the low end of the range. I also need to balance the dog running better (more minutes and lower mileage are fine, they just need to be balanced by solid runs).

Daily Recap:
5 runs
21+ miles (target 24-28)
242 minutes (target 240-275)
0 strength
3 Myrtl

Monday: 4 miles, 56 minutes, dog running + Myrtl (Newton Fate)
Target: 30 minutes, easy
I ran two dogs Monday night: 1.65 miles with Danny who wasn't much of a runner and 2.35 miles with Herman who could be a great runner but is easily distracted right now. A yellow lab mix, Danny is a little portly and also very intent on marking EVERYTHING. Herman is a young Boxer with energy in spades. He's also super-sweet and knows how to sit.

Tuesday: unplanned rest
Target: 30 minutes, easy or XT (optional)
No one needs the details here, but it was fine for me to skip this run. Bummer though. Officially moved my hill workout to Wednesday.

Wednesday: 5.4 miles, 49:57, Saucony Kinvara 5 + Myrtl
Target: hill run (warmup, 6-8 repeats, cooldown)
The intent was to do a warmup then do six to eight repeats of a hill that would take me 60-75 seconds to run up (recover equal distance) and then do my cooldown. Well, where we ended up running initially seemed perfect, but the hill (a bridge actually) took me around 30 seconds to run. So I ended up doing 10 or 12 repeats of that hill (pretty quickly - the last one was at a 6-minute pace... of course it was only for like a tenth of a mile!). The cooldown was done with the group and was faster than ideal, but since I didn't actually perform the workout as designed, I had plenty left.

TL;DR: Didn't do workout as designed, but the effort was solid. Good first attempt.

Thursday: 2.5 miles, 48 minutes, dog running, Newton Fate
Target: 30 minutes, easy or XT (optional)
Good thing this was optional because I didn't really get "running" dogs Thursday! (This is where the optional runs/lower mileage of McMillan fits in well right now. If I'm going to follow Hansons again at a later date, my dog runs will have to be on days where I double.)

Friday: 6.1 miles, 60 minutes, New Balance 1400 + Myrtl
Target: 60-75 minutes, easy (usually my rest day, but wanted to save that for Saturday)
First run in my new shoes! It was super-windy and the middle miles were right into it.

Saturday: rest

Sunday: Hot Chocolate 5k, 28:11, Newton Distance III
Target: 5k race
I ran under a friend's bib, and she was corralled way farther back than I would have been. (We were BEHIND the 13-minute pacer, for example.) The race was crowded, tons of walkers (walking several abreast), people holding hands, etc. I am confident that I ran faster than a 9:05 pace, and I had a great kick. After a late bedtime and a terrible night's sleep, I'm happy with it.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Well, that escalated quickly.

Not really, but I did win a free entry to the Glass City Half Marathon in Toledo. It's two weeks after Athens and two weeks before Cleveland -- and likely my best chance to PR in the first part of the year.

Aaron's first comment: "Looks like you'll have two sub-1:55s before May."

I don't know about that, but it does relieve pressure for Cleveland. Or does it apply more pressure? Or do I just run and enjoy all of the experiences? We'll see.

Tentative 2016 now:

January: Dirty Snowflake 4-mile prediction run
February: Dirty Love 10k trail race
March: Shamrock 15k
April: Athens Half Marathon & Glass City Half Marathon
May: Cleveland Half Marathon

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Training Recap - 11/02 through 11/08

I started the week following an intermediate maintenance plan from McMillan, which had scheduled 330 to 420 minutes, easy. (I also joined the McMillan RunClub to test out the community, plans, etc.) The plan goes by minutes, while my mind still goes by miles -- it's weird, but I'm giving it a shot! On Thursday, I switched to a 5k plan (230 to 260 minutes). I'm guessing I will be above the minutes for the 5k plan, but that's okay. I wanted to switch it up, run less but also run harder.

Anyhow, to sum up the week: 5 runs for 22 miles and 230 minutes running. I did a little strength training (squats, core, push-ups) so that's a good thing. I'm disappointed in how Saturday's race went (I should be able to do that trail race at a 10-minute pace), and I'm disappointed that my volume was so low. However, maybe it's what I need.

Monday: 5.28 miles, 9:44 pace (52:00), Newton Fate + Myrtl + strength
Target: run 50-60 minutes (5k plan = 30 minutes)
I ran in a neighborhood by work, so I wasn't always 100% sure where I was. The intent was to run 50 minutes. I changed my watch to show current pace (but didn't look at it) and time, and I discovered that view is elapsed time (may need to make a view that is JUST time). I planned to run for 50 minutes and ended up stopping at 52 when I got back to the car. ANYHOW. It was dark and I hated that, but I was able to wear shorts and short-sleeves, so that was nice.

Tuesday: 4.2 miles, 10:07 pace (42:30), Saucony Kinvara 5 + Myrtl
Target: run 40-60 minutes (5k plan = off, XT or easy 30 minutes)
I met Aaron for a 40-minute run after work at the Bike & Hike. Completely dark, but again, I was able to wear shorts and short-sleeves. I felt generally okay, but lacked much desire to further. Negative split, at least.

Wednesday: 5 miles, 9:48 pace (49:05), Saucony Zealot blue
Target: run 60-75 minutes (group run) 
Aaron and I ended up skipping the group run on the Towpath and running in Kent. It was nice running with streetlights, and the temps were fantastic. Obviously I was supposed to run for at least an hour, but it's hard to feel that motivated during maintenance. We ran quickly, with a negative split. Of note: the blue Zealots are really feeling dead, and my right calf was okay without compression, although it was still noticeable.

Thursday: 3.3 miles, 40 minutes dog running + Myrtl + strength
Target: run 40-60 off, XT or easy 30 minutes
I had the joy of running with Harvey Dent, a young hound/Jack Russell mix. To me, he seemed like a giant JR. Good pup, cute, strong, lots of energy. We kept a good pace even with his frequent stopping to sniff. I stretched and foam-rolled when I got home and then followed up with squats, abs, and push-ups.

Note: On Thursday, I changed my McMillan plan from a maintenance plan to a 5k plan ending Sunday, Jan. 17, which is the date of the 4-mile Dirty Snowflake Prediction Run. I expect that I will run on the high end of the range here, but I figured this might be more motivating than the maintenance plan. After the race, I'll just jump into the 10k program for the Dirty Love or start the half-marathon program for Athens -- we'll see how they line up.

Friday: rest 

Saturday: 4.4 miles, 46:45 (10:38), Saucony Peregrine
Target: Munroe Falls Trail Race (4.4 miles)
→ should be long run, 90-105 50-60 minutes 

I'm pretty disappointed in this. Slower than the first race by about 40 seconds, and I have no idea why. I think I should have run a course PR. I feel like I'm broken.

Sunday: unplanned rest
Target: run 50-60 off, XT or easy 30 minutes
For several reasons, a run didn't happen today, but at least we raked leaves -- that's some activity at least.

Upcoming week: 
  • Monday: 30 minutes, easy
  • Tuesday: hill run (warmup, 6-8 repeats, cooldown)
  • Wednesday: 30 minutes, easy (probably will go longer since it's group run night; also considering moving the hill workout to Wednesday)
  • Thursday: 30 minutes, easy
  • Friday: off
  • Saturday: 60-75 minutes, easy
  • Sunday: 5k

Thursday, November 05, 2015

McMillan Running

As I mentioned earlier, I'm doing a McMillan plan to get me through November and December, and then I'll decide what I'm doing for next year. The structure is fine for me and I can continue running six days a week. The plan actually has more off days, but they're off, crosstraining or easy. Since I'm accustomed to six days/week and I'm doing the dog running, I want to stay there.

The biggest difference, however, is that the plans is based on minutes rather than miles. It's a strange mindset. It's especially useful for easy runs, but I'm finding it more difficult to slow down when I'm running my minutes. I'm hoping that will shake out.

One thing I like about McMillan -- and running less mileage -- is that I can run my easy and long runs a little faster than I did while following Hansons. A lot of my easy runs end up around a 10-minute pace, which is a little fast for Hansons but within the range for McMillan. I haven't done any speedwork yet, so I don't know how the McMillan paces will work for me then.

On Hansons, all of my speedwork was done using a wide range (5k to 10k pace), and I'll be honest: I mostly floated around my 10k pace, which is around 8:45. Because I changed plans after the scheduled speedwork this week, I won't be doing any until next week (I think it's hills). And that's fine: I have a trail race on Saturday. I'm also doing the Hot Chocolate 5k next Sunday, so that's going to mix up my training a little bit.

Monday, November 02, 2015

October Recap

So October was all over the place! I had a peak week, tapered, raced and recovered. I also started dog running weekly.
  • 27 activities
  • 131.24 miles in 24:17:02 (11:06 pace, which is great considering the walking and dog running; pace was 10:21 if you take those out)
  • 5 dog runs
  • 5 walks
  • 19 Myrtl routine
  • 2 strength
  • 8 rest days
  • 4 trail runs
  • 2 races (Munroe Falls, Columbus HM)
  • 2 speed sessions (5x1M, 3-mile time trial)
  • Highest mileage week: 49 miles
  • Lowest mileage week: 13 miles
I'm also well on track to hit 1500 miles for 2015.

Training Recap - 10/26 through 11/01

Week 2 without a plan, enjoying running shorter right now. Initially I kept up with the Myrtls, but other strengthening fell by the wayside. I ran just over 26 miles, which is perfect.

Monday: 4 miles on trails, 11:05 pace, Saucony Kinvara 5 + Myrtl + Core
Is it possible that I'm still not recovered from that 18-week training and the half-marathon? I guess so. On Saturday's run, I felt like the effort was too high for the temps and the pace, and I felt similarly Monday night. Usually when I do this loop, I run for an hour and do whatever within that hour. I decided to cut it short when I hit 4 near the trailhead. Effort seemed too high for what I was running.

Afterward, I made sure to do my Myrtl exercises and some planks, and I'm calling that core work. Baby steps.

Tuesday: 3 miles dog running! Saucony Zealot (blue) + Myrtl
I took out a lovely little 3-year-old Pomeranian/Sheltie mix on Tuesday night. We covered just over 3 miles in 40 minutes. While there were plenty of stops (he pooped three times and peed more than that), we were going at a nice clip. He's a sweet dog who kept looking back for me, likes to jump and spin and really just wants to hang out. It was fun. Later that night, I did my Myrtls and some light stretching.

Wednesday: 5 miles, 10:08 pace, Saucony Kinvara 5 + Myrtl
I really am going to be sad when these 5s are done. Wednesday group run was an easy-paced 5-miler. I'm still feeling tired. Negative-split the first and second half, but the third mile (with the turnaround) ruined a complete negative split (and at 10:22, is what put the pace over 10).

Thursday: birthday! 3 miles, 8:53 pace, Newton Distance III + Myrtl
We had dinner plans, so I only had time for a few miles. As I was running, I decided to consider this as a time trial in preparation for Home Run for the Homeless. Negative splits (9:12, 8:57, 8:29). I know I just posted about a plan for Home Run, but I'm looking at a very structured 2016 and I'm thinking less structure might be better. The idea is to push the pace weekly on a short 3-miler.

Also, these are a new pair of Distance IIIs. They're 8.5s and they're perfect. I loved my old pair, but they were just slightly too small.

Friday: rest
I thought about doing something, but we need to get the house ready for visitors. Plus, Fridays off are my jam.

Saturday: 8 miles, 9:57 pace, Saucony Kinvara 5
I ran by feel and eased into the run. I backed off and let my friends run ahead because I didn't want to be faster than a 10-minute pace. Second half done without looking at my watch was faster than the first, so that's always nice. Finished strong

Sunday: 3.1 miles, dog running with Tag, Saucony Zealot blue
Gorgeous fall day so after I got done with work (baby fair), Aaron and I headed to the shelter to get in a few miles. I had Tag who was pretty great. Sweet and energetic. I think these Zealots are getting close to retirement.

Upcoming week:
Not sure what the plan is going to be. I'm roughly following a McMillan intermediate maintenance plan until half-marathon training starts up again in January. In the early part of the maintenance plan, the runs are all easy; then we move into a couple of workouts per week. I, however, would still like to include a hard 3-miler each week to test progress, although Saturday's race might be my effort run for the week.

McMillan is a mindshift since the plan uses minutes instead of mileage, and obviously I think in terms of miles (I'd like to hit 30 miles this week.) I'm going to give it a shot, though. I joined the McMillan RunClub to test it out. The plans are nice, and there looks to be a really strong community establishing. (That would have been really helpful with Hansons; they should add something like that.) The weather looks good this week, so I don't expect I'll make it back to the gym even with it being dark after work. In any case, back to six days a week!
  • Monday: run 50-60 minutes
  • Tuesday: run 40-60 minutes
  • Wednesday: run 60-75 minutes (group run)
  • Thursday: run 40-60 minutes (dog run)
  • Friday: rest
  • Saturday: Munroe Falls Trail Race (4.4 miles)
    -->should be long run, 90-105 minutes
  • Sunday: run 50-60 minutes

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Yamaha RD350

So I turned 40 years old this week. For my birthday, my awesome boyfriend got me a 1975 Yamaha RD350 (also, according to the frame sticker, manufactured in 10/75 so it's even more perfect!).

I first rode an RD a few years ago when Aaron's brother brought his to Bandcamp. I loved it.

It fits me well, is light and nimble and quick. It's a two-stroke, so it goes well with my scooter addiction. I finally rode it a tiny bit last weekend, and I am going to love it. There are some things we're going to do as preventative measures (nothing wrong with it, totally unmolested bike). As evidenced by this video, its only real problem is that it doesn't have rearset pegs (YET):


Because it's so original, we're not going to mess with it much, at least not anything that would make it impossible to return to stock. So the fenders will not get any holes, no repainting (except for the oil tank because the left side is ruined). I'm looking at cafe seats, and we'll put lower bars (not clipons, though). And my much-needed rearsets. Hope this winter is short!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Columbus HM

I was reading a blog post about finding the positive in every race, and it reminded me of Columbus. I was happy with my race - finally sub-2! - but honestly, I was a little disappointed that it wasn't better. I'm no longer feeling that way. I had to run conservatively, but on pace (9:09 although I knew I would run the course long). Simply put, I didn't know how long I could hold pace.

First 6 miles: 9:02 pace
Second 7 miles: 8:52 pace
Last .3 (I always run long): 7:52 pace

--> Nothing wrong with that. Let's be honest: My only goal was to go under 2 hours, and I did it. 

Actually there is something wrong with that. I should have gone a little slower to get my palindrome to match my bib (13531). 3 seconds!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Home Run for the Homeless

I've run the Home Run for the Homeless every year since 2010. This Thanksgiving race is the only fundraiser for Gennesaret, which is a nonprofit that provides shelter and food for the homeless. It's well-run with plenty of food afterward. Even though it's small, there are tons of kids (fast ones, college runners) and plenty of fasties show up so there's no placing in my age group here. For example, last year was my best time, and I finished 16 out of 76 in my age group.

In 2010, it was my second official race (about a month after my first 5k, which also benefited the homeless), and it's hilarious to look back at my race recap. I remember that it was raining and that Aaron and I were sincerely concerned that they might cancel the run or hardly anyone would be there.

The challenging 4-mile course runs mostly through Glendale Cemetery in Akron. My watch always measures a little short, and with the few hundred feet of elevation gain and the rain/cold that always accompanies the race, I need the extra time to make my pace kook better :)

My official history of the Home Run for the Homeless:
  • 2010: 43:28, 10:52 pace
  • 2011: 39:46, 9:57 pace
  • 2012: 39:17, 10:21 pace - There was a course change that year and they measured the course at 3.8. Oddly enough I just noticed that my watch time - 38:32 for 3.9 miles - is way different from my official time, which was 39:17. Also I don't remember why I had such a bad race that year. 
  • 2013: 36:48, 9:25 pace
  • 2014: 35:11, 8:47 pace
Compare that to my watch times (don't have data for 2010):

So there's been real improvement over the past five years, and I'm really hoping to continue that. I can't have plateaued yet! I've taken the two weeks after the Columbus half very easy, so I should be ready for some speedwork next week. Tentative plan for the three weeks before the race is to run six days a week, not too long, mostly easy, with one or two speed workouts thrown in weekly. For speed, I won't be doing any of the Hansons stuff, at least not the length. I'm thinking 6 miles with 5x800s, tempo miles and 6x400s. Before the Home Run for the Homeless, there's also another Munroe Falls trail race, so that will be like an effort run. So something like this:

  • Week of 11/02: 30 miles with 5x800s (7:52) and a trail race
  • Week of 11/09: 35 miles with 6 miles (4m at 8:54) and 8-mile long run
  • Week of 11/16: 34 miles with 6x400s (7:52) and 7-mile long run with 5m at 8:51
  • Week of 11/23: race week! short, easy runs then race on Thursday

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

What's next?

I'm floating along with no plan right now, and while unstructured running is perfectly fine, it's also a little worrisome for me. I don't want to lose the gains I've made, but I do want to rest and recover before going into 2016.

2016 races planned:

  • Shamrock 15k in March (goal: course PR so under 1:28/9:26, but ideally closer to 9:00)
  • Athens Half-Marathon in April (goal: sub-2/9:09)
  • Cleveland Half-Marathon in May (goal: sub-1:55/8:46)

If you do the math on another 18-week training cycle, that would have me start training either December (Athens) or January (Cleveland). I just don't know about another 18-week cycle that long, through winter.

And then there's the fact that Athens is an easier race than Cleveland (but it's a month earlier and given winter, it seems more likely that I could PR later).

In more short-term talk, I've been considering doing a 5k to see where I am speed-wise, but the last couple of runs haven't left me convinced that I can get close to PRing. I don't know if it's lack of confidence or real fatigue, but I'm hesitant to do it, lest I get depressed. I have the Home Run for the Homeless, which is a hilly 4-miler that will give me a good idea of where I am too.

In any case, I am hoping to hit 20 miles this week and then back up to 30 next. The plan is to stick around 30 until I hop back into a training plan. Perhaps I should do shorter cycles. Like find a February race (Dirty Love 10k perhaps - difficult trail run) and just train for it, then make a plan for Shamrock and so on.

Hmmm... Kinda liking that idea. And I also like that typing this out helped me come up with a plan. I think I'm going to write a plan for Home Run and go from there.