Sunday, March 11, 2012

Week in Review: 03.05-03.11

Total miles: 69.33
Average weekly pace: 8:30
Total running time: 9:51
Total swimming yards: 0
Total swimming time: 0
Walk/hike distance: ~4
Walk/hike time: ~1:00
Strength training time: 1:50
Total workout time: 12:41

M, 03.05: 8.5 miles in ~45:00 - I left my Garmin in my teammate's car after Saturday's race, so this was weird. I also forgot to write down the time, so I'm just guesstimating on the time it took. Oops. This was a good run to start off what turned into a crazy week! I had to do it at the crack of chickens due to my new part-time job that requires me to be a normal person with normal hours 2 days a week. And of course, had time allowed, I felt like going farther. Le sigh.

T, 03.06: 3.5 in 30:30 (am); 30' PT session with chiro; 8.6 in 1:07:56 (pm) - The morning run was just a typical shake out the legs run in anticipation of the evening workout. I was so busy all day that I didn't have a chance to do more than glance at the prescribed workout, didn't get a chance to calculate the pace for the 600 repeats we'd be doing, and then when I showed up to practice, there was the option for 3x10 min at LT pace with 2 min rest between efforts. Obviously, this seemed like a much better marathon workout, so Pam, Heather, and I headed to the park for these repeats. I was still without my Garmin and had no idea how my body would feel after Saturday's race. Pam had also raced on Saturday, and Heather had done a killer workout over the weekend, so none of us knew exactly what we'd be capable of. I was running blindly with Pam, who announced after a mile that I was either going to be really happy or really pissed that I didn't have my Garmin. After the second repeat, she said, "Ok, Miss I'm-scared-of-sub-7-pace, we're hitting 6:45s." And I felt amazing the entire time - not like I was struggling to keep up or to push the pace; just strong and solid and in control. I don't think I'm going to be going Garmin-less as a rule, but it just really solidified for me the mental debris I'm sifting through right now. It was a great workout to redeem myself for my crappy race and move on to the next stage of my training.

W, 03.07: 5.56 in 56:30 (am); 4.1 in 35:49 (pm) - Body felt good in general today. The morning run was a gorgeous but early run in the park. The evening run was with my beer-drinking running club through the Mission - so some killer hills were involved, but I felt good.

I met for my second appointment with the sports psychologist today. We talked a lot about finding focus and a routine. My goal between now and our next appointment is to find a mantra that I can use when the negative demons start entering into my head during workouts and races. I'm also going to start scheduling even more about my day - including runs, email and Facebook time, etc. - so that I'm not so scattered all the time. I'd already been working on a pre-run routine, which I haven't quite flushed out yet, but at the very least I'm trying to be more focused on just the run, rather than checking email a million times while I change and getting distracted by other things.

R, 03.08: 11.4 in 1:32:58 - I finally hit the road just before sunset, and spent 2 miles trying to figure out what kind of workout I wanted to do: mile repeats at LT, longer LT repeats, hills at LT effort... I finally did 2x2 miles at LT, 15 min easy, 10 min uphill @ LT effort. The first LT split was a bit slow (7:10), but I was running on a dark-ass path with unsure footing for half of it. When I moved over to the road, things got better, and the second 2 miles were at 6:54. I felt pretty solid, and I'm glad I pushed things rather than just doing an easy MLR. I also played around with a few mantras, and I think I found a good one. I followed the run with 15 minutes of hip/glute exercises.

F, 03.09: 5.57 in 50:58 - A nice, early, easy recovery run. Followed by 25 minutes of core work.

S, 03.10: 22.1 in 3:07:49 - Long runs like this are the reason I train for marathons. After a few miles of getting into the groove, I was hitting low-8s for pretty much the entire run. I felt smooth, strong, was breathing easy, and my heart rate stayed well below 160 until I ran uphill for the last mile or two. I haven't had as many super long runs this cycle, between racing and doing some longer quality workouts on the weekends, so it felt good to get a solid one in the books.

U, 03.11: SRD - After realizing my mileage for the week was at the 70 mark, I thought a rest day was called for, as I was feeling a bit creaky. As the day went on, I debated going out, but a good kettlebell session and a long walk through Lands End was more than enough.

Next week:
I'm racing the Emerald Across the Bay 12k on Sunday. I'm going to juggle things around a bit and do a long-ish run on Thursday (16-17 miles) so I don't have to worry about missing a long run for the race. That gives me a full two days to recover before the race.

I'm also really going to focus on the mental training aspect and see how I can implement some of the things I talked about with the psychologist into my training runs and races. Tuesday's workout on the track should be a good test, as the workout's a tough one!

My schedule has suddenly become a lot more rigid due to a new part-time job that has me on "normal-person" hours two days a week. I still need to readjust my routine to make sure I can still get to the pool and do strength training. I have a few exercises from my PT/chiropractor that take about 15 minutes to do, so that's been good to do immediately after runs, but my regular weights and kettlebell routines are still important for me to fit in.

On that note, it's an early morning tomorrow, so in the interest of sleep (another thing for me to get better at this week), that's all for now!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Week in Review: 02.20-02.26

Total miles: 44.58
Average weekly pace: 9:07
Total running time: 6:47
Total swimming yards: 5200
Total swimming time: 1:50
Walk/hike distance: 3.2
Walk/hike time: :58
Total workout time: 11:02

M, 02.20: As mentioned previously, this is the run that maybe shouldn't have happened. Especially now in hindsight... I also did my 3.2-mile "sunset loop" walk and some core work in the evening.

T, 02.21:
I did an easy 3 in the morning to test everything out. My hamstring was tight, but certainly not painful, and seemed to get better as the run progressed. After a killer session on the foam roller and some diligent icing, I didn't feel anything the rest of the day. I figured I was good to go at the evening's track session. I figured wrong. I was ok during the warm-up - again, tightness but not pain. I was really excited about nailing the workout: the infamous Michigan Miles. This workout is as follows: 1600@10K pace, 1600@LT, 1200@5K, 1600@LT, 800@3K, 1600@LT, 400@1500, with the only rest being the jog from the track to the path that encircles the top of the stadium for the LT miles. As I started at my 10K pace, which was feeling strong and solid, I felt my hamstring a bit but then it seemed to settle down. Until the 300m mark, at which point it seized up and told me to stop. After a few minutes of cursing and some frustrated tears, I talked to the coaches, and got a recommendation for a chiropractor/sports medicine doctor. Upon getting back home, I left them a voicemail, iced, and had a pity beer.

W, 02.22: Rolling, icing, moping, repeat. I also swam an easy 2400 yd in 50 min.

R, 02.23:
The leg felt better when I woke up, and I had my appointment first thing in the morning. After analyzing my stance, I was diagnosed with a "classic case" of a twisted pelvis. My lateral stabilizing muscles - the gluteus medius - aren't strong enough to maintain a neutral pelvis, so it gets all twisty. The whole thing twists to my right, causing my right psoas and my left hamstring to be chronically tight. It was actually pretty cool how he figured this out: I lied on my back and basically wiggled my feet back and forth, together and apart. When I stopped moving and let them rest naturally, they both pointed to my right. Twisted feet = twisted pelvis. After some ART-type massage and some time hooked up to the stim machine, I could feel a difference. I was also given the green-light to run and "let the pain be my guide." I was also told to keep it between 4-6 miles, but that was contradictory advice, as it turns out. The beautiful, unseasonably warm weather that day was tempting, but I was good: I iced and swam (2800 yd in an hour, including 7 100-yd 'faster' with 25 yd of easy breaststroke in between).

F, 02.24: judgment day! I felt a bit tight when I sat up in bed and tentatively touched my toes, but a busy day ahead meant getting up and hitting the road first thing. And I felt great! Tight, to be sure, but I was able to do 5.6 miles at a super easy pace pain-free. Again, rolling and icing post-run like a good girl! To add to my good run, I was also notified that I am officially a member of the Impala Racing Team - I was accepted after my tryout period! I am so pumped to be getting to know these women and to be a part of a team!

S, 02.25:
My OCD kicked in. I didn't want to miss a long run in my training cycle. But, I wasn't going to force the miles and be out another week. When I left my house, I really didn't know if I was going to run for 2 miles or 20. I ran the first 5 miles very tentatively (read: paranoid). Again, the leg was tight but definitely not painful. I kept the first section on the flat path along the beach. Five miles later, I was feeling good and loose and decided to loop around Lake Merced, which would give me at least 14 for the day. Running back along Sunset to the park, I didn't want to just go home. I looped the park first! At any point in my run, I was willing to stop at the first whisper of pain (I know that's easy for me to say now that I didn't end up having to, but I swear it's true! I had my phone and my credit card for cab fare if I needed it!). But my leg actually responded to the miles by improving, and there were definitely some miles in there where I could forget about monitoring my leg and enjoy the nice day. If I got too greedy with the pace, which was anything under about 8:20-8:30, I felt tightness, so I just kept things nice and easy. It was definitely the slowest long run I've done in recent memory, but totally worth keeping the leg happy for a greater number of miles! After the run, I rolled and sat in an ice bath, and I also iced later in the day.

U, 02.26: I waited until the afternoon to run, after having some errands to run and writing to do in the morning (including jetting around town on my newest addition: Phoebe, my age-undetermined Specialized Craigslist find!) Again, I left not knowing how long I'd run, and to my delight, I completed 8.5 miles without pain, without tightness, feeling like my old running self. I still rolled and am currently sitting on ice, but this definitely bodes well for my upcoming week! I was feeling so much better than I even added on a kettlebell and leg-heavy strength routine, which I neglected the past week.

Next week:
I have another appointment tomorrow morning for some more pelvis-neutralizing fun. I definitely want to get some at-home exercises to get those stabilizing muscles into shape! My friend Chris already has me doing a bunch, so I can only imagine how bad they'd be if I hadn't been doing those! Yikes!

The scheduled team workout for Tuesday is 1000m repeats at 10K pace. I don't think I will be testing out the hamstring at 10K pace! I'd be tempted to do LT miles, but certainly not 10K. I will save myself for Saturday, when I am entered to run the NorCal 10-miler as an Impala. It will definitely be a game-time decision to race or guard the leg, but I'm excited to wear Impala blue and represent the team.

I also have a meeting with the sports psychologist I mentioned in a previous post. The free initial consultation can't hurt, and I think it could be a motivating conversation at the very least.

50 days till Boston!

Monday, February 20, 2012

7 for today's 7.36 in 1:07:01

1. My left hamstring is being a cranky asshatface. It has been off and on since I had to run 20 miles on a treadmill last weekend (F), followed by another 8 TM miles the next day (S). My legs always revolt from TM miles. On day 3 (U), I noticed it grabbing after a mile so called it quits and took the next day  (M) off. It didn't even whisper at last week's Tuesday track session, and was nice all week until Saturday, where it started protesting during the end of my last LT repeat. I cut today's planned 10 short because I want to do tomorrow's track workout. I found some nasty shit with the foam roller post-run - of course, I've been rolling it ever since it started squawking, but today was especially brutal. Between the rolling and icing, I hope to nip this niggle in the bud - it feels a million times better tonight than it did this morning.

For those of you who have dealt with cranky hamstrings before, I have a question: when I roll, the tightest point is at the top of my hamstring, near my glute, but the part that is cranky is at the other end, on the outside of my leg close to my knee. I'm sure the tightness is just manifesting itself there, but has anyone else had this happen?

2. Today was probably a "do as I say, not as I do" run. I think I should have cut it even shorter. I know I would have given that advice to anyone with a niggle. So, I will berate myself for running and promise (with crossed fingers) that it will never happen again. I blame the fact that I was 3.5 miles away from home when I realized I should probably not do 10 miles and that returning was almost all downhill, which didn't stress things out too badly, and that it doesn't really "hurt," but just feels like it could be very easily convinced to turn into a monster.

3. Tomorrow morning, I'll evaluate things and see how the leg feels about a 3 mile easy run. I don't want any surprises at practice tomorrow night. But, as per post #2 above, I'll be smart!

4. Last week, I got to join the team for a clinic/presentation by a sports psychologist. A lot of what she said really resonated with me, and it's been making my mind churn a bit, both about running and other stuff. She talked a lot about breaking bad patterns and gaining confidence and turning off negative self-talk. I'm not going to expand any more now, but I think some mental training blogs are forthcoming. It also made me realize that, even though I'm not really a believer in "fate," per se, the universe sometimes brings people into our lives at the exact moment you need them. The trick is to recognize you need them.

5. I am trying to not feel guilty over not setting my alarm and waking up at 8 naturally every day. I work from home. I should not have to get up at 6 just for the sake of having a long morning, especially when I can't usually get myself to bed before 11 no matter how good my intentions are. So what if my work day begins at 10? Sleep trumps forcing myself to be a morning person!

6. I'm going to be very, very cranky if my hamstring sucks tomorrow.

7. I will be smart - I will be smart - I will be smart.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

6 for 6

6 for today's easy 6 in 57:05

1. I am writing this from my balcony, where I am sitting in a cozy chair in a bikini top and floppy sun hat. The sun is hot, the breeze is cool, I can see the ocean, and it's days like this that make me have to pinch myself to realize that I'm here, that I'm here because I want to be and for no other reason, and that makes me happy. I told my mom the other day that on each of my runs, I still have a moment that takes my breath away, be it a view or a passing "I'm lucky to be here thought." I hope I never lose the ability to count my blessings.

2. I normally go long on Saturdays, but I'm doing the Kaiser Permanente half marathon tomorrow, so I still have one more hard workout this week. I won't be racing it, but rather doing it as a MP run. I'll do approximately 3 miles to warm up, then do the race in 1:35 (7:14 pace). This race is right in my backyard, on the roads I run nearly every day, so it will be a fun way to get in my first official MP run of the training cycle. It is actually an ideal course for a PR race, but as I mentioned last time, that's not what I need right now in my training.

3. Even though I still have one more workout to go this week, I have felt really great all week long. I think I'll be able to bump up the mileage a bit next week while keeping the same amount of quality runs. I think increasing the mileage and holding it steady for a few weeks is letting me adapt to the addition of some intense workouts. Hopefully this will continue over the upcoming weeks as the long runs get longer.

4. On Thursday, I'll be heading to Cancun with some of my best girlfriends for a long weekend. I will have to do some adjusting, but I don't think I'm going to be able to avoid a long run while I'm there. This will probably mean heading to the treadmill in the fitness center of the resort, as I'm not really sure I should be trying to run 20 miles along a highway in Mexico. It's crazy to think that Mexico is now on the "do not run in strange places alone" list, but I'd rather load up my iPod with episodes of This American Life and Marathon Times podcasts than be looking over my shoulder for 20 miles. Unless, of course, anyone has recently been to Cancun and can suggest a good running route :) Of course, once I get there, I may be able to find a little loop around the grounds of the resort to run around millions of times. (Note to the girls: I'll wake up early enough and won't let the run lessen my fun the night before, so you won't even know I've done it. This is vacation, after all, and I'd rather have a crappy run than give up any fun!)

5. Ok, males (and anyone else who doesn't want to hear girl-talk), skip to #6 (and don't say I didn't warn you). Since Houston, I've been really diligent about counting calories and trying to get my diet back in check. And the scale Has. NOT. Budged. And it's super frustrating because it makes me want to just give up. I had an epiphany the other day: that the time over which I've seen the scale creep up coincides exactly with a change in my birth control pill prescription. And sure enough, this week I'm on the placebo, and I dropped a good 5 pounds almost overnight! Holy crap! I have an appointment on Monday to get a new prescription, and I hope I can go back to something without this terrible side effect. I've been on several pills and this is the first time I've had to deal with weight gain. Any other ladies have this problem? How annoying is that? My clothes really aren't fitting any differently, but I'd rather not have to carry around the extra pounds on my runs, especially when I'm trying to lean up and slim down. Stoopid hormones.

6. Ok, welcome back males. Looking back on the goals I set for myself this week, I realize I should recap if I met them or not!
~ Nailing Tuesday's workout of 1200 m repeats at 10 K pace. That's about 6:30 for me, so I will just focus on not going out too fast so I can complete all the reps.* Met and then some! I was stoked about this workout! I hit splits at 5:01 (6:32 pace); 5:00 (6:28); 4:53 (6:21); 4:55 (6:22); 4:58 (6:28); 4:52 (6:21). And I felt fantastic - for as bad as I felt last week, I felt awesome during this workout. Hoo-yah!
~ I missed swimming last week. One good swim session, probably on Thursday night.
* Swam on Wednesday afternoon for 45 mins (2300 yds).
~ More kettlebell! Well, strength in general.
* Did one core session, two leg-heavy strength sessions, and three KB sessions. I really feel the difference on my when I get these workouts in.~ 8 hours of sleep per night. Which means getting over the "guilt" factor of sleeping in a bit. I freelance and work from home, why do I need to get up at 6:00 if I know I can't get my butt to bed before 22:00? Once a night owl...* Erm. Fail. 6-7 hours each night. But I am working on this!
~ One mid-week blog post in my old "list" format.
* Just in under the wire with today's post.

I'll be back tomorrow or Monday with a full recap of the week!

Monday, January 30, 2012

1 down, 11 to go!

Week 1 training: recap (70.2 miles total; 9:00 average pace; 12.6 total workout hours)

Mon: started the week off with a "whatever" run (whatever distance, whatever pace) of 8.75 miles.

Tues: ~4 easy in the morning, then an evening track workout with the Impalas. After a warmup, drills, and some strides, the workout was 3-5x1600 at LT pace with 1 min recovery. I did 3 in 6:37, 6:37, 6:46. The first two were definitely too fast, but they didn't feel like it - the benefits of working out with others. I don't know why I stopped after 3. I felt tired, but probably no more than to be expected, and I was honestly annoyed with myself for a good 48 hours for not doing at least 4, if not 5. It made me really think about my mental game and pushing myself when things get hard. It's been evident in my races, and I don't want it to come through in my workouts, especially those with the team. I want to push myself to the limit to see what I'm capable of, and that won't happen by giving up in the middle of a workout.

Wed: a double recovery day, and a bit more mileage than I planned, but my slow speed didn't make the miles very straining. 5.56 in the morning, followed by some kettlebells and core work. In the evening, I ran to the bar where my Wednesday night running/drinking group met to join them, for a total of 6.5 (3.5 solo, 3 with the group).

Thurs: I had written on my plan "20-30 min @ LT." When I left the house, I definitely felt a bit sluggish, and so thought instead to do a MLR without speed. But, as you may have noticed, I said I was annoyed for 48 hours, and it hasn't been 48 hours yet. I started thinking about my workout on Tuesday, not so much that I was "missing" LT miles, but that I felt like I had given up when I got tired. So, as I neared the flattest part of the park, I thought, what the hell - I will pick up the pace for 20 minutes. Not to LT pace, but at least to HMP effort. Those 20 minutes were ~7:19 pace, which isn't really even MP, but my AHR was 177 (high for MP) and my Garmin was a bit wonky, so I'm still calling it HMP effort. And I didn't die. Score one for the mental battle.

Fri: not surprisingly, my legs were tired! I called this run before 5 miles - I was glad to have gotten out for a few, because after the run and some stretching, I know I felt better than had I not run at all. But, no use adding miles just for mileage sake. I wanted to make sure I had lots of energy on Saturday (which probably was not served well by the number of beers I drank Friday night, but, I made it to Saturday, which was...)

Sat: the Impalas met at 8:30 am for a hill workout. Even when I went to bed on Friday, I wasn't 100% sure if I would meet them or just do a long run on my own. When I woke up at 7:30, I figured I might as well go, even if the beers the night before weren't so thrilled about the idea. It was an absolutely perfect morning, there were a ton of women at practice, and I was determined to score another for my mental battle and do all 8 of the 400 m hill repeats. I came as close to puking during a workout as I have in a very long time, but I did them! Number 6 and 7 weren't very pretty, but I nailed the others at a very consistent pace. And, as I was catching my breath and trying not to lose my pre-run toast at the top of Strawberry Hill, the crystal clear view of the San Francisco skyline helped keep my spirits up! After practice, I ran back home to collect my friend Richard, who was in town for business and crashed with me the night before (hence the beers). Together, we did another 6 easy miles to round out my 16.25 for the day.

Sun: After a lazy morning of sleeping in, reading the paper, and drinking a pot of coffee, I wrapped up the week with a nice 6.25 sunny, beachy recovery run followed by some kettlebells. My legs didn't feel too bad, and I did a leg-heavy strength routine a la Chris later in the evening.

Even with 3 quality workouts, I kept the rest of the paces slow enough that my average weekly pace was only 9:00! And I'm fine with that, if it lets me add in the quality without sacrificing too much mileage. I don't know if I'll hit 90 mpw like I did in my last training cycle, but since I want to emphasize quality, that's probably for the best.

I'm signed up for the Kaiser Permanente half on Sunday, and I'm 95% sure I'll be doing it as an MP run instead of racing full-out. Even though I could technically afford a mini-taper week this week and a mini-recovery next week, I think I want to train through it. My mileage already dropped a bit around Houston, and I just want to give myself the most appropriate workout at this point. I'm not sure racing another half is what I need right now.

This week's goals:
~ Nailing Tuesday's workout of 1200 m repeats at 10 K pace. That's about 6:30 for me, so I will just focus on not going out too fast so I can complete all the reps.
~ I missed swimming last week. One good swim session, probably on Thursday night.
~ More kettlebell! Well, strength in general.
~ 8 hours of sleep per night. Which means getting over the "guilt" factor of sleeping in a bit. I freelance and work from home, why do I need to get up at 6:00 if I know I can't get my butt to bed before 22:00? Once a night owl...
~ One mid-week blog post in my old "list" format.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Return to Boston

Since the end of December, I've been running plan-less. I've been trying to do at least one "workout" per week - basically a few tempo miles thrown in to my Tuesday evening runs.

Then I ran the half marathon in Houston on the 15th. I decided on the 14th that I was going to try to race it - not expecting a PR but at least wanting an indication of what my current fitness was.

And my 1:34 time told me what I kind of already knew: that I'm fat and out of shape.

It gave me the motivation to actually want to train for Boston as a goal race. The race is 12 weeks from yesterday. Which, in cycles past meant I would crack open the Pfitz plan and get going. But I'm ready for a change, to mix things up a bit. I've been reading Daniel's Running Formula lately; I thought about using his plans for NYCM last fall and decided against it. Daniel's plan revolves around two quality workouts per week, and the rest of the days are easy or general pace runs. This seemed to be a good foundation to incorporate more quality and still be able to be flexible with the rest of the runs.

The other piece of this cycle is that I'm starting to work out with a racing team, and I want to participate 100% in the Tuesday evening track workouts.

So, taking all my basic goals - Tuesday night workouts, more targeted workouts, flexibility, getting away from Pfitz - my training plan looks like this:

T- track
R - Daniel's T-based runs OR a Pfitz-like MLR
S- easy long run OR a Daniel's targeted long run workout

The R/S runs will alternate each week. The weeks I do a T run on Thursday, I'll do a long, steady-state run on Saturday. The Saturdays I plan a Daniel's targeted run, I'll do a longer steady-state run on Thursday.

I have penciled in which workouts I think I'll do, but it also depends on what happens on the Tuesday. So, there are essentially no numbers in my plan yet. This is quite strange for me, but I think it'll allow me to be very good about running on the non-workout days as much as I can, trying to keep my mileage high, but not feel pressured to do so in case the quality days take too much out of me. And for as much as I'm a slave to numbers, there's something to be said for still being able to leave the house not knowing how far or fast I'll run and just listening to my body. This will be one big experiment, but it's making me excited about training instead of feeling "meh" about it, which is what I would be feeling if I was facing another cycle of Pfitz.

I also want to be better about doing weekly recaps and blogging more about how I'm feeling on my runs and workouts to get feedback and to keep myself honest about how I'm feeling.