Slacker Reboot -Training to SLO (and beyond)

Back in February, I had a few issues with my legs not feeling so good. I figured it was caused by overuse as the training plan that I had been following was a little overeager. The mileage that it was calling for was a little intimidating. 40 mile weeks are great for some people and in theory I like them, but come on, Slacker over here. Weeks 2-5 hitting 40 was yowza! I never actually hit that mileage but I was running more than I was used too. After the ugliness that was the Heart & Soles 10K, I took a week off resting my ankle, Achilles and basically my left leg and started fresh with a new plan. A Slacker Plan. I tried using it leading up to my half in March and I am planning on continuing with it through SLO and for the beach half I want to run in May (doh!).

I thought about what worked for me before 3 days a week and then I considered the fact that I want to run more races this year and continue to improve my times ( sub 2 please?!). Plus there was my goal of hitting 750 miles this year. So I decided on 4 days a week and decided to call it 4-5-6-SLR.slackerplanAnd either 1 long run (L), or a track workout (S) or a race (R) on the weekend. Why does it need a name? Because I like names. Why so many letters? When I figured out the SLR almost looked like Slacker, I tried really hard to come up with a word for C or K, but no luck yet. :( Maybe someday I can graduate to 5-7-9 :)    Kind of random, but does anyone else remember that store?

There are no set days and I can switch of the mileage and work out when I want. Plus, with 3 different towns and a treadmill to choose from, I have a lot of flexibility. And I don’t get frustrated when I miss a Track Tuesday or hill interval Wednesday because I can do them on whatever day I feel like it. Now I don’t feel guilty for never running on Fridays. :) I would like to get to the point where a weekend long run is at least 10 miles; every week. I’m not there but I’m working on it.

Double rainbow!

Wednesday morning’s commute! Double rainbow!

So with that being said, after Monday’s crazy rain and a Tuesday rest, I headed out Wednesday for a quick 4 miles. I wasn’t feeling the run for some reason so I wanted it done quickly. I was aiming for as close to 5k race pace as possible. I had missed my Wave Rider’s so I ran in them that night. Maybe it’s all in my head, but I am faster in those shoes. My first mile included a little warm up and then I was off. Miles 1-3 felt good, I hardly felt like I was pushing. When my Garmin chimed at mile 3, I saw a chance to push. If I pushed- hard- I could pull off 4 miles in what was my very first official 5K time- 35:44. So I pushed. 4 Miles- 35:35-holy crap. This left me on the backside of the lake so it gave me plenty of time to walk it out and breath after. I was super stoked.

photo 3Thursday called for 5 easy miles. The first 2 miles were pretty good, but by starting my 3rd lap, I knew I wasn’t completing 5. My ears were freezing. I can’t stand cold ears, they hurt, so I figured one more lap would bring me to 3.5 miles and I would be done for the night. Which I was ok with because there were a few border collies out for an evening walk. They looked well-behaved, but then I never expected to be attacked by one in the first place a few years ago. I admit I never took my eyes off of them when I ran past and my hand may have strayed to my pepper spray. I had a 1/4 mile left to complete when I got to add a new animal to my animal encounter list-

Run for your life!!!

Run for your life!!!

Yep, these guys are actually pretty scary when they charge you and then try to follow you. Great for a strong burst of speed at the end but freaky. Then I realized they were between me and my car. Boo.

My weekend looks pretty clear. No complaints, I would love to sleep in. I need to get in a long run and an easy run at some point but other than that, nothing. I can’t even begin to say how much I am looking forward to that. :)
Anyone else have an aggressive goose (or any animal) encounter?
How was your week? Anyone racing this weekend?

 

Aside

Award Season

Last week felt like the longest week, granted that was probably aggravated me trying to knock myself into next week.  :)  Friday was stressful but I knew if I could get through I had a whole weekend ahead of me!   I briefly thought about trying to get a few miles in after work but my head was still a little off and hearing my boss exclaim at how bruised my head was, I decided against it.  SLO pics

Saturday I was up earlier than I would have liked but that was ok because I spent the day shopping in SLO.  The weather was great, there was a storm coming in but it didn’t get windy until we were leaving.  The food was super yummy and I didn’t do too much damage to my bank account.  :)   I managed to get in a few miles when I got back to town, but man they were rough.   It was like my brain forgot how to work my legs.   I managed to bring the pace down by the end but my body was rebelling.  Even though it was harder than I would have liked, I loved that I was out and moving.  Especially when I consider that I am now less than 28 days from my next half marathon- SLO!!!!!

Post run time with the puppy

Post run time with the puppy

Moving on- I call my blog Slacker Runner for a few reasons, one of which is that I am a huge procrastinator.  If I can do it later, I will, usually at the last minute.   I am the exact opposite at work, but in most other aspects of my life, I am a Slacker.   I was recently nominated for some blog awards and I am just now following up.  Sorry!!!  So time to rectify that -

versatileThe Versatile Blogger Award-

Suzan over at Welcome to the Nuthouse sent me this shout out last week.   Thanks!!  She’s awesome and if you haven’t checked out her blog, you should go do so!  And I found out that we both just completed our 6th half marathon last Sunday :)

Now, there are always rules-

1. Thank the person who nominated you for your new award, and be sure to include a link back to their site in your acceptance speech.  DONE!
2. Share 7 random facts about yourself– hmmmmm
3. Pass on the award to 13 other versatile bloggers.—- that’s a big number

7 Random Facts-
1.  My mind just went blank.  it does that sometimes.
2.   I have a freaky memory for numbers and some things.  Sometimes I can’t decide if coworkers and customers are impressed or scared.
3. The list of childhood movies and cartoons that I haven’t seen is pretty large.   Actually some popular movies too.  I get a lot of shocked faces.  Like The Sound of Music and A Christmas Story or any of the Matrix Movies.  Never seen them.
4. I worked at a Taco Bell for 10 years.   Spent most of those years as Assistant Manager before I left.   Oh the stories.
5.  I went stag to my Senior Prom.  My dress was borrowed and in recollection was a little more scandalous than I thought.
6.  I got through the City to Sea half marathon by listening to Hannah Montana songs.  No not Miley Cyrus, Hannah Montana.   And I am not ashamed.
7.  I love owls.  I have necklaces and ear rings and artwork and decorative pillows.  My boss even bought me an LED one for station at work.

Now for the nominations-

AttemptedRunner

Running From it All

Tartan Jogger

Don’t Blink Just Run

Did That Just Happen

Life-Everyone Has One

Bay Runner Jamie

Single-Tracked Mind

Lily Runs the World

Pirate Bobcat 

Close to 13 right?

Thanks again Suzan!!

So, with my slacker-ness, I make no guarantees that I will message any of you before you read this (if you read this :) ) so consider this your notification and run with it!   If you’ve been nominated before, congrats!   Just take this as further confirmation of your awesomeness.  If these awards just aren’t your thing, well that’s cool too.   You’re still cool.   Oh and another random fact- my lingo is still in the 90′s.  :)

The other one is The Liebster Award by the lovely Jenni on the Run, but that will require some thought and deserves a post of its own.

How was everyone’s weekend?

Now, I’m off to order a new gear bag, any suggestions?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wine Country Nostalgia

When I line up at the starting line this weekend, it will be for my 4th Wine Country 1/2 marathon and my 6th 1/2 overall.   It has been making me feel a little nostalgic.

I ran my first 5K in the fall of 2010 and then turned lazy.  I drove NikeC down to run the Surf City 1/2 in February 2011 and watching all the runners, I noticed that they didn’t look like the stereotypical runner.  Sure, some of them did, but a lot of them looked like average joes; like me.    I decided “I can do this”.  So I started “training” and ran my first 1/2 marathon in April of 2011. It was only my second race.  I say training lightly because according to an old training log, I only ran/ walked 12 times before that 1/2 marathon.   Oops.

On race morning I had no idea what I was in for but that also gave me the benefit of not being that nervous.  I broke so many running rules that day.  I borrowed NikeC’s iFitness belt that I had never used before.  I also ran in a cotton t-shirt and heavy tennis shorts.   I really had no clue what I was doing.

My only goal for that day was to finish under 2:30:00.  I paced my run by song intervals.  Run 1 song, walk 1 song, and so on.  I remember that C’s husband was running as well but I didn’t really know him that well then.  He passed me at mile 5 and I never saw him again.   This was also the point that I learned how the HOB Fun Run (my very 1st race) had spoiled me.  As I was running, I felt a looming presence behind me.  Sure enough, there was a semi truck coming up the road.  Holy crap, the roads weren’t closed!!!  To this day, HOB is the only race I have run with closed roads.   Truthfully much of this race is a blur.  I know that by mile 10, I was feeling pain in hip muscles that I didn’t know existed.  My feet also felt so bruised and that feeling stayed for almost a week after.    I think my interval plan had faded to run 1 song, walk 2 but I really don’t remember.   The course is all rolling hills, and the one at the end was steeper and I was so tired.  As I rounded the last turn to the finish line, a volunteer yelled out that I should run faster; that I only had a little way to go.  Didn’t she know I couldn’t move any faster?!   I didn’t meet my goal but I was proud of what I had accomplished.  NikeC and my mom were waiting at the finish line for me.

Finish time- 2:37:50.

Awww, my Federer hat, I miss that

Awww, my Federer hat, I miss that

My running after that was hit and miss.  I ran a few more races that year and then winter started.   I returned to Slacker status.   In 2012 I signed up for Wine Country again.   I trained slightly better for this one, 26 runs before race day.  :)   However they were all pretty short.  Then 2 weeks to race day, I woke with the worst stomach flu I can remember.  Like I was so sick I called in sick to work for 2.5 days.  This was the first time in almost 5 years that I had called in.  I managed 2 short runs over the next 2 weeks and still felt like crap.  To make matters worse, that lovely time of the month (sorry boys!) started the day before the race.  Race morning was wet and rainy and my ankle hurt.   Maybe I should have DNS’d but I headed out with the goal of just beating the previous years time, even if by just 1 second.

They changed the course from a loop to and out back.   I learned just how demoralizing out and backs could be.  I was barely at mile 5 when the runners were already passing me on the way back.    Waah.    I pushed on but I was miserable.  I had no idea what my pace or time was because my Nike+ app had malfunctioned and I didn’t realize until a mile and a half in.   Adding insult to injury, the clean up crew was picking up the mile markers on the other side of the street while I was on the return portion of the race.  Ouch.   Then at mile 12, I think I scared a race volunteer.  He was trying to be supportive and cheer us on, but he also said that it was 10:30.  The race started at 8:00.  There was no way I was running the last 1.1 miles in less than 7:50.  I burst into tears, loud caterwauling sobs and visible tears.   He had no idea what to do, I wish I could go back and apologize to him now.   The last mile was partially on a dirt path leading to the finish line, I cried off and on the entire mile.   Crossing the finish line, I realized that the race had started late and if I had pushed just the tiniest bit at the end, I would have hit my goal.  They also switched from medals at the finish line to wine glasses this year.

IMG280

Me and the pops

Fall of 2012 is when I started to get serious.  I broke :30 for a 5k and finally got under 2:30:00 for a 1/2 (City to the Sea).  My goal for 2013 was to get under 2:15:00 in a 1/2.  When I registered for Wine Country, I was glad to see that website said they were going back to the loop course of 2011.  I also knew that with how hilly the course was 2:15 was unlikely so I was shooting for 2:20:ish.     I lined up at the start line feeling nervous like usual.  5 minutes to start, they announced a course change.  Instead of the little killer hill at the end, we would be going all the way down to another street and then up.  This street was the little hill x10.  My car doesn’t even like going up the street.  WTH?!  Not cool!

This race felt better than the previous ones.  Even though work had cut into my training, (changing offices, longer hours) I felt more prepared.   Nike+ worked fine this time and even though I went out faster than I should, I maintained for the first 8 miles.   I slowed as the miles went on and I remember being jealous when the girl in front me had the energy to jump in the air for the photographer at mile 11.   I managed a smile grimace.   I hit the final hill and crawled up it.  But at that point with what Nike+ was telling me, I knew I could walk and still get under 2:20.   And walk I did.  According to Nike, the elevation gain was 200+ feet in .15 miles.   I am not sure how accurate it is.  Maybe it wouldn’t have felt so rough if it wasn’t 12.5 miles into the race.  I then walked a bit more at the top to get my heart rate back down.   I was so pumped to cross the line this time.

Finish- 2:14:04- woo hoo!!!IMG901

The pops again!

The pops again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I drove the course today, both to refresh my memory and take some pictures of the course.  The beginning seems hillier than I recall and the middle stretch longer.    With the last hill, I would have to hit mile 12 at 1:45 in order to break 2:00.   While I would absolutely adore doing that, I am not going to injure myself to do it.   I have another 1/2 in 4 weeks, so I have to keep that in mind as well.  As of right now, there have been no course changes announced this year.  The race did announce that half marathon finishers get a medal and a wine glass this year.  Yay!!!  It’s the little things right?

Anyone have nostalgia for a particular race?

Happy Wednesday!!!

Loving this Light

I mentioned in my previous post that this week is inspection time at work.  I thought I was prepared but what I was not prepared for was for him to show at 8:05 on Monday morning.  Seriously?!!?  I hadn’t had my coffee or my soda; I was in a sudden panic that I hadn’t crossed my I’s or dotted my T’s.  Aargh!!!!   By the time the day was done, I was just stressed and cranky.  I needed to run but I knew it wasn’t going to be awesome; my brain was tired.

I may have been stressed but I was so excited to take advantage of the time change!   I changed after work and headed for the lake path that I haven’t been able to run since the time changed last year.    My commute is a narrow two lane highway going through a canyon which is prone to rock slides.  The road has no shoulders, blind corners and is heavily shaded.  Seriously I think my hips are bigger than the “shoulder”.  The speed limit is 55 but most treat that as a suggested minimum.  Imagine my surprise rounding one of the corners to find a man running with traffic wearing black.   Seriously, dude?!   I get that you want to make the most of the extra daylight, but this is not the road for it!

lakeCollageOnce I arrived at the park, the weather was amazing.   I was aiming for 5 miles.  The path is a little over a mile around so I was hoping that 4 laps would be 5 miles.  That would be perfect, right?  Not so lucky.  Lap 1 came in at 1.18.     Lap 1 included my warm up but I could tell I was sluggish.  I was ok with that because I just wanted to run.    I was also a little sore from Saturday’s long run, wearing new boots all day hadn’t helped either.

Miles 2 and 3 were a little rougher than I would have liked; this trail is flat after all.   I feel like it was just after mile 3 that I settled in.  Mile 4 felt good and 5 was better.   Since I was on the backside of the lake when I hit 5 I kept running until 5.5.  I figured that still gave me a quarter mile to cool down before hitting the exercise equipment that I use to stretch.   I didn’t have any real goals with this run, just to enjoy the weather and the path and run off some stress.  Mission accomplished!

IMG_3383The lake was not as low as I thought it would be.   We still desperately need rain but the ducks and geese had some water.  There were plenty of people taking advantage of the weather as well.   I saw other runners, walkers and plenty of dogs.   Some were running solo, some with friends.    Everyone was friendly too.   I had a conversation going with a guy as we passed each other on laps.  He was out walking and saw me pause to take pictures.  I told him I needed a little break.   :P     I also loved that there were 3 guys who looked like they had just come a jam session with their garage band doing laps.

A little traffic on the way out.

A little traffic on the way out.

Today, I had to remind myself that rest days count as training too.    The weather was awesome again.  The inspection is still going on and I am discovering the meaning of stress sweat (TMI?).   I have been through so many of these before but this one just seems intense.    Leaving work I had to go return the previously mentioned new boots.  They ripped yesterday, classy right?    Then driving home, I passed no less than 9 people out running.   Against traffic on wide roads, yay!  I was so jealous.   But rest is good, plus I had classwork to do.  :(    Besides tomorrow is another inspection day, more stress to run off!!!

Moving along

Moving along

I am thankful that the extra daylight brings the lake back into play.    It is outside and flat, both dirt and paved.   More fun than a treadmill but better for my ankle than all hills.   It also brings me back to be being a 3 town runner.  I don’t know why, but the fact that I can run in 3 towns on a weekly basis just makes me smile.  :)

I am 11 days out from the Wine Country Half and we are officially 46 days away from SLO Marathon.  I am so excited for both but I am getting nervous.    I still have a discount code for the SLO Marathon- anyone want to come run with me? Or faster than me?  :)   Check out the amazing town and people too!  Check out this bling for SLO Marathon-

Sweet!!!

Sweet!!!

Who is ready for hump day?

Anyone taken advantage of daylight savings yet?

Am I the only one who has formatting issues?  Thanks WordPress, thanks.

A Pretty Slog

Since I have come to the conclusion that I have troubles with taking it easy, I headed to the gym on Wednesday evening.    I need to work on controlling my pace better when running outside but for the purposes of this run I relied on the treadmill.  That is one good thing about the bore-mill’s,  I made sure to never go above a 6.2 the whole time and spent a few minutes warming up as well.    4.5 miles in 45 minutes.   It should have been 5 miles but I just wasn’t feeling it.   Which is kind of funny because by the time I did my cool down I was at 5 anyways.  What I don’t understand is why treadmills feel so hard?  The belt is doing some of the moving for you but it just seems 5x harder.   I know that a lot of people share this opinion but I really wonder why?

I wore the Adrenaline‘s yesterday and they felt pretty good.  Tonight’s run was in the Wave Riders.   They felt great however the run did not.    The weather was gorgeous if windy and I was excited all day to get a solid 4 miles.    Plus I was looking forward to trying out my new toy-

It's a Flip Belt!!!!!!

It’s a Flip Belt!!!!!!

Amazing shipping, I ordered it late Sunday night and it arrived yesterday.    I have been eying it for a few months and finally decided to just buy it.   It is heavier than I thought it would be but I was hoping that wouldn’t be noticeable on.   And for the most part it wasn’t.  My phone fit in it with the case on perfectly.  It was also easy to get it in and out to take pictures.    It was a little awkward with my pepper spray so I just kept that in my hand while running.  Which is fine for shorter runs but that will be trickier when I carry water.    I will be testing that this weekend on my long run, a long, slow run.  (No race for me this weekend.)    I am not forming an opinion on the belt just yet.   :)

soprettyTonight’s run was rough.  Just rough.   I decided to run the route from work, hoping for a good 4 miles.    It started off downhill like always but into a stiff headwind.  Ugh.  I felt like I was running through a swamp.   I was hoping it would get better when I rounded the corner– no such luck.   Less wind but still swampy.   It never really seemed to click.  I turned around at the 1.5 mile mark and headed back.  My goal was to take it easy this week anyways, right?

That's actually pretty good

That’s actually pretty good

Once I made it back to my car, I checked my Garmin and noticed that my pace actually was pretty good.   I guess I just wasn’t feeling this run.  It made last night’s treadmill run seem good.  :)  Maybe I should have only planned on running 3 days this week and not 4 after last weeks rest and recovery time.   My legs felt so heavy; nothing hurt which is great, it was just funky.    My long run this weekend will be between 8-10 miles and I am planning on crawling… Really.  I am shooting for distance over pace this weekend.   I will rest tomorrow and one of the weekend days.  Who am I kidding, Friday is always a rest day – :)

sunset centerToday’s run may have been rough, but at least I was out there.  Plus the view was awesome, so no complaints there.   Now, I am ready for Friday!

Who else is ready for Friday?

Who is racing this weekend? LA?

Anyone else counting the hours until Daylight Savings Time???