(Half) Marathon Reflection Monday/Tuesday

Last time I left off, I admitted that running doesn’t seem to be a big priority in my life right now.

I can’t say that conditions have improved drastically since Friday.

For example, we did treadmill miles yesterday since the Giants game took up Aaron’s evening (we don’t want to talk about it), and I literally put it off until 9:30 (I like to be in bed by 10).  I ran 1 mile and hopped off to “grab some water (aka plop on the couch)” but Aaron ordered me back into the exercise room to finish out the last 2.

We DID however get our 9 mile long run in while we were in Phoenix.

I love Phoenix (well, Scottsdale at least).  One of the biggest reasons is because it was about 58-60 degrees out (PERFECT running weather), and everyone was bundled up like they were expecting a snow storm!

We did our run along The Green Belt which is a stretch of beautifully landscaped grass.  It was a great trail, utilized by a lot of people.  However, it was entirely concrete which is noticeably hard on the legs.  And I got a mosquito bite.

Photo by Jason Franz via blogs.phoenixnewstimes.com

I also have this weird quirk where I judge my speed improvement by how fast I can run 7 miles.  I try to get my 7 mile split in as close to under 1 hour as possible.  The last two long runs it has been between 1:0:30 and 1:0:52.  This time I was able to get down to 59:18, so I consider improvement to have been made!

Overall, this was a great long run.  I finished in 1:17:23 for about an 8:33 pace.  Most of my miles were pretty close to that 8:30.  I don’t usually start packing gels or worrying about water until I get into the 11 mile range, so 9 miles was fine without any of that, but we were pretty thirsty afterwards.

We’d forgotten our Nuun (ALSO just found out a few days ago that it is pronounced NOON.  We’ve been saying it very wrong) and the Whole Foods we went to didn’t have any, so we settled for some weird substitute.

WHAT I’VE OBSERVED THIS WEEK:

1) I ran with my compression socks for the 9 miler, and I had no calf tightness/annoyance.  I’ve been having this calf annoyance since even BEFORE the marathon two months ago but for the first time since then, I had no calf issues during or after.  I think this means I’m going to have to buy another pair.

2) I’m training faster than I ever have.  Typically I use speed work for fastness and run the rest of the runs at a really comfortable recovery pace.  But even yesterday on the treadmill I averaged about 8:03 per mile for 3 miles.  I pushed myself a bit, but it wasn’t uncomfortable.  For our fartlek (hehe) run last Friday morning, I kept a good pace in between sprints (usually I go unnecessarily slow in between).  I don’t know if this will help or not come race day since it is a different approach than I’ve ever taken, but I am a bit excited that I’m a faster overall runner if not a faster overall racer.

3) The thought of cross-training doesn’t seem to make me any more likely to get myself moving.  I’ve been wanting to incorporate more swim/spinning/yoga/weight lifting into my routine and I haven’t.

4) I need to do more upper back exercises like rows.  I did these all through marathon training and I didn’t have any of the shoulder tightness that I normally have for the race.  It’s back.

5) I kind of wish I hadn’t said I was doing this tri on Saturday.  Getting to the gym to learn to swim isn’t going to be easy this week with lots of evening commitments, I haven’t been on a spin bike in weeks, and I still don’t have a swimsuit.  I know I need to do it otherwise it’ll keep getting pushed back, but I’m not at all confident going in.  I’ve never felt more unprepared for anything in my life.

So, in sum, still not 100% into this training, but getting faster and finally (after 2 months) feeling completely recovered from the marathon!

Also, just one last push to enter the Sunglasses Shop Sunglasses giveaway! I’ve actually been wearing my North Beach shades a lot recently and I like them more everyday! I’ll announce the winner tomorrow morning!

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(Half) Marathon Reflection Monday & Other Stuff

WELCOME TO CHRISTMAS TIME!

I will be the first to admit that for me, Christmas time started right after Halloween.  I’ve been watching those high quality holiday movies on the Hallmark Channel, listening to Christmas music, and plotting ways to make this year’s holiday season the best ever.

Aaron has very politely indulged me, even giving up his Saturday nights to watch Eloise at Christmastime and not getting mad when I switch his Pandora station to Christmas music.

But now, my Christmas cheer is completely socially acceptable.  Thanksgiving is over, so I can prance around in Christmas happiness without fear that some Bah Humbug will squash my dreams.  However, I still haven’t put up a tree unlike everyone on Instagram/facebook.  We’re real tree people, so we always wait until December to make sure it doesn’t look dead by Christmas. I’d like to think this makes me slightly less crazy.

Meanwhile, on the running/half marathon training front, things have been going ok.

On Thursday my whole family (aside from my mom who was busy on Operation Thanksgiving Dinner duty) ran our Turkey Trot 5-K.   A few weeks ago I was thinking I was going to use this race as my attempt at a sub 21.  But I got out on that course, fell into a solid 7:00-7:15 pace, and was feeling really good.  I remember what it felt like for me the one time I did hit 21:05, and I decided I didn’t really want to get that awful sick feeling again.  So, I didn’t.  Maybe not the most competitive thing I could have done, but I’m ok with it.  I dread 5-K’s more than anything, and I don’t want to anymore.  I came in at 22:18 (7:10 average pace).  Still better than my last few 5-K times, and definitely a confidence booster than I can run 13.1 miles at a 7:15 pace in a couple of months.  Plus, I think this is my first ever 5-K that didn’t make me want to hurl.

To celebrate the amazing weather we’ve been having (still in the low 60’s during the day) we decided to get one more climb up our mountain on the La Luz Trail.  Typically the top is snow covered and dangerous by late November.  It is a little sad that our weather is so dry that we don’t have any snow on our mountain but it made for perfect hiking conditions. This hike is about 8 miles up a 3,600 elevation gain.  My dad and sister made their way up for the first time!

Yesterday’s long run was a little harder than it should have been after the climb up a mountain.  We had 8 miles on the schedule, so we headed to the most flat course we could find, and knocked them out.  I had an average pace of about 8:38, so I was going a just bit faster than last week.  And definitely minutes faster than I was running a year ago.  I felt pretty fatigued, my face got sunburn, and after we finished, my calves tightened up to a point suggesting I’d run much harder/faster than I really did.  I spent the morning doing some intense rehabbing just to get myself back to walking like a normal person.  But definitely on track with where I want to be right now.

On the non-running front, I’m pretty sure I did something very close to swimming last week! I’m working on a breathing rhythm, and after a few failed attempts (and lots of inhaled water through the nose…very yucky feeling), I think I’m getting the hang of it. I’m hoping that with a few more lessons, I’ll at least be able to not look like a drowning abomination on Indoor Tri Day!

Otherwise, our Thanksgiving week was pretty normal:  I baked! (gluten free pumpkin snicker-doodles), two dinners with two families, late night Black Friday shopping, football watching (GO GIANTS!!!), and planning my annual gingerbread house (you can see last year’s HERE).

We’ll take some of that turkey, please!

Muppet Christmas Carol is a Thanksgiving tradition.

Aaron is obviously adopted

Macy’s at about 1:00 am. 

Hope everyone is having a minimally painful Monday!

P.S….there *may* be a giveaway coming later this week! (And by may, I mean I’ve already agreed to do one in exchange for free stuff, so…)

(Half) Marathon Reflection Monday

Well, we are officially back in training!

As of right now, we aren’t really following any sort of training plan. Aside from knowing that we’re adding a mile to our long runs every weekend and doing 2 speed workouts per week, we’re kind of winging it.

Besides, with Thanksgiving, an out of town wedding, Christmas, the billion things that go along with Christmas, an inevitable sneezey cold (it always happens in December), New Year’s, freezing temperatures, and a wedding anniversary, we probably wouldn’t do a good job of sticking to a plan anyway, so why set ourselves up for failure.

BUT I also want to accomplish some big things over the next 10 weeks. The problem with creating a ridiculous goal and actually accomplishing it (as was the case for the marathon) is you pretty much think you can do it every time.

So, my goal going in is a 1:35 half, or 7:15 per mile average (I’m not really sure why but it seems like a good number to reach for).

I am not anywhere near this.

My last real (non-puppy) 5-K in July was a 7:20 average.  On ONE occasion have I been able run a race faster than a 7:15 pace.   And according to McMillian, my half time is about 1:41 half based on my marathon time. So, I’ve got some speed to work on.

Aside from hitting a 1:35, my other goals for this training session are:

1) Yoga once a week to keep limber

2) Strength training: I’m never very consistent with this, and I need to get better.

3) Staying injury free by being proactive (with stretching and identifying nagging annoyances before they become issues)

4) developing a solid base for an easy transition into marathon training the week after the race.

We did our first long run this weekend.  I was planning on getting in 5 miles, but we went for a trail run next to the river and we ended up at about 5.8 instead, so we’re already ahead of schedule!

Overall, I felt ok.  My calves were tight yesterday, but considering we took a 5 week break with nothing more than a few 3 mile runs, it didn’t feel labored.

It was a slow run because it was on a trail (lots of really loose sand, lots of horse poo, and lots of change in direction).  And of course, lots of picture stops/tree climbing/general shenanigans   We had some COLD weather this weekend, so Saturday morning was our last chance to get in a good run with fall leaves because I’m guessing a lot of them have just met their ultimate death thanks to the sub-freezing temps and wind.

Our mighty Rio Grande River

I am excited to get back into the swing of things and to have a routine to keep myself on track.  I’m not looking forward to running in the early morning, especially because we’re having an unusually cold week (I know I complained a lot about the heat this summer, but I may hate running in the freezing cold even more).

I hope everyone had a good training weekend!