Goals, Run!, Training

2017- The Year Of

It’s that time of year where social media is full of reflections on the previous year (mine is here!) and goals or resolutions for the new year to come.  This is not that post.

I don’t do goals.  Goals are a 4 letter word in my book, literally and figuratively.  When I first joined the blogging world and Instagram, I followed along, all the cool kids were doing it- why not me?  I tried, I did.  95% of the goals I set for 3 years were spectacular failures.   The more I tried, the more I failed and the more I stressed.  It was a vicious cycle.

The problem is that I don’t like goals.  They rate up there with the word “potential”.  I hate that word.    90% of the time potential is always followed by the word “but”.  I’ve told employees over the years that I will never use it in their performance review and so far I never have.     But I’ve gotten sidetracked.

Goals don’t work as incentive for me.  They work for some people and that’s great,  they’re just not my jam.   Fessing up to a goal free 2016 took a lot last year, I was afraid of the reaction.   That said, I think a goal free 2016 went quite well- most miles run in a year and I ran a freakin’ marathon.  😀😀 Yeah, I’m still on that.

So that brings me to 2017.  I may not have goals, but I do have a word.


2017 is all about the challenge.  I want to challenge myself, not just in running but in multiple ways in life.  2017 is shaping up to be an interesting year in a variety of ways but instead of letting it push me along, I want to do my best to be driving the bus not just a passenger.


This is primarily a running blog so lets talk about running.    In 2017, I want to Challenge myself with some speed.  I have never been fast but I used to be speedier than I am now.     I’m not putting a number on it, I’m not even putting a finishing time on it.  One race finish does dictate speed.     I let myself use my health issues as an excuse for far too long, I was too lazy to put in the work, whatever the reason was, it’s time to put in the work and see what I can do.

Right now I only have a few half marathons on the race schedule, Livermore and Destination Races Santa Barbara being the key ones.  I do have the crazy desire to run another marathon but the only one that really intrigued me was Revel MT. Charleston.  However, it’s April 29 and I just don’t think there’s any way that I will be ready to run it.  Plus, it’s in Nevada and well, that’s a drive.  😛  So instead, it looks like I stick with my 1 half a month schedule February to summer and then reassess for a fall marathon.   While I am Challenging myself this year, I don’t relish the idea of 20 milers in the CA summer heat.    😛  I’ll do it if I have to; it just doesn’t sound fun.

I want to apply Challenge to more aspects of my life as well.  There are so many ways that I need to expand my horizons and step outside my comfort zone but I’m saving those thoughts for later date.   The water hasn’t quite boiled yet.

So, 2017- Year of Challenge…

Let’s do this.

Slacker 

Goals, Run!, Slacker, Training

Marathon Musings 2

It’s week like this that freak me out about marathon training.

Last week, I was riding the high of my highest mileage week ever and I was stoked.  This week? Three days off… in a row.     Oh crap, is the real Slacker back?

Cue freak out.  The plan I am following is pretty specific. Do the work outs when and how prescribed.  Be as consistent as possible.  Yes life happens but try to keep the volume consistent and lower the intensity if needs be.  Did that happen? No.

Poor planning and faulty equipment brought about Monday’s missed run.  I had a procedure done and the odds of running afterwards were unlikely but I was holding out hope.   Then my damn car died in the parking lot of the doctors office.  Seriously?!    I took it as a sign that I shouldn’t be running and sweating all over the new cuts I had on my body.  I figured I could make up the missed miles on Friday.  Maybe.

Yeah, it’s been one of those weeks

Tuesday called for 800’s and I was excited to run them.  I kind of love intervals and wanted to see how I fared.   Except, the worst allergy day of my life sent me home from work where I proceeded to nap for 3 hours.  On the floor.  Maybe it was a gnarly head cold but all I know is that it got progressively worse from Sunday until Tuesday when my right eye was almost swollen shut.  What the hell.


Wednesday wasn’t much better.   My eyes were open and I made it through a full day of work but still felt crappy.  Running was out the question though.  New carpet went in at home on Wednesday so that evening was spent furniture moving.   Can I count that as a workout?  I actually cleared 10,000 steps which I only do when I run. 😛

I did so good for 7 weeks but week 8 is kicking my ass.   Now I am freaking out.  What kind of fitness am I losing?  Or not gaining?     Next week’s intervals are supposed be 1K repeats.  Do I stick to the plan or run the 800’s I missed?   Next week also sees my tempos increase to 8 miles.  I’m not ready!  I need to reread the book again.

Speaking of next week- I am supposed to be running a half marathon on the Saturday of Memorial Day  weekend.     I was torn between using it as part of my long run or using it as my tempo since the miles are supposed to increase next week anyways.  It’s on the beach so I figured marathon pace would be a good goal for it.    Something made me double check the time.  10AM!!!    What the hell!!!  This is California for crying out loud.  I have never had any race start that late.    Not even a 5K.

I have a few concerns with this.  1- the temp.  It’s in work town and the temperature is usually fairly moderate but I would be finishing after noon so who knows?    2- food.  I don’t fuel before half marathons or long runs yet.   But I am also used to a 7AM start for races.   I think I would have to eat something before a 10AM race start.  Which wouldn’t be a horrible thing since I do need to get used to fueling more.  But that leads to concern 3.  3-bathrooms.    Food could make me sick; my stomach has a proclivity for going wonky at the worst times.   What do beach races usually not have?  Bathrooms.    Ok, technically, there are bathrooms at 2 points but they are off course and would add 1/4-1/2 mile if needed.   Plus that would be across soft dune sand.   Grrrr.  I am seriously considering running the 10K instead.

So help me out…

Half marathon or 10K?

How much damage will this week set me back in marathon training?

Goals, Run!, Training

Week 20 Training Recap

Week 20 for real??!? Where has the year gone?

And the marathon training keeps rolling. I am already tired.  Or still tired from an emotional April.  Who knows anymore.  My focus this week was to up my running from 4 days to 5.  My big goal for May is to consistently run 5 days a week.  My training plan actually calls for 6 days of running but one of the first changes I made was dropping Friday’s run.  If I handle May well, I may consider adding in Friday miles but I am not going to worry about that now.


Monday- 4 easy miles.  After an unplanned Sunday rest day, I was really hoping that these “easy” miles would feel easy.  Yeah, not so much.  My legs felt tired.  Part of it may be mental- I was a die-hard believer in never running on Mondays.    It’s only been a month-ish since I started running on Monday’s and I think I still mentally rebel sometimes.  #rebelwithoutaclue    Post-run, things snowballed quickly and the next 6sih hours were spent waiting in the ER.


Tuesday- 6.98 miles- 1.25 mile w/u, 8 x 600’s, 1 mile c/d.  Dude.   This was the first time using the workout feature on my Garmin; it worked pretty well.  With Monday night being so long and not getting to bed until 2 something, I told myself 2 things going into this run.  1-walk the recoveries and 2- listen to your body.   I knew I was overly tired and under fueled.   I didn’t want to just bail on the workout though.  I decided to try the warm up and 2 600’s with recoveries and see how I felt.  If I needed to drop the intervals and do easy miles, I would.  I was hoping that making the recoveries a walk would be enough to get me through it.   My plan calls for 600m repeats to be done between 3:26-3:35 but never having done 600m before, I had no idea what to expect.   I just tried to run by feel and be consistent.  The drawback to the workout feature is that it showed my current pace, I’d knew what overall time I had to hit but had never translated that to pace. Oops.   Actual repeat times– 3:17, 3:22, 3:15, 3:23, 3:20, 3:19,3:16, 3:21.  Holy crap, I did it!!  I felt pretty good when I was done but was tired so I skipped my last recovery and went straight to the cool down.   I might not have done that had I realized the watch would just stop at 6.98 miles!!!!  Grrr.

Wednesday- Rest day Pizza day- nuff said.  😜


Thursday- 7.25 miles- 1.25 mile w/u, 5 tempo miles, 1 mile c/d.   Oof, that was rough.   Nothing about this run ever felt good.  I ran this tempo on the streets and I looked forward to every stop light.    Built in breaks without having to feel guilty?  Hell yeah!    Outside of those, I never walked or took a break, so that is huge in itself.     I was glad to hit the cool down portion and even happier when that was done. I was so happy for cool down that it was almost faster than the tempo miles.  Oops.   A run-in with an off leash dog turned it into a walk and lowered the pace, which was probably better anyways.   😒  Tempo goal- 10:18.  Tempo miles- 10:03, 9:58, 10:04, 10:10, 10:07.  Pace wise, I did what I was supposed to do but it was just ugly.   It was also my first run with my Fitbit and one point it said my heart rate was 182.  What?!  I know that most runs will feel tired but this one just had me worried for the longer tempo runs that I know are coming all too soon.

Friday- Rest day.   Aww, bliss.  I indulged in some very yummy tri-tip, garlic bread and garlic green beans.  It was amazing.


Saturday- 8 miles   Misery.  I am intentionally keeping one of my weekend runs in the mid-late afternoon.    I need to work on building my heat tolerance back up.  I know that’s one of the things that hurt me at SLO- it was a very warm morning.    Saturday was only 76 but it kicked my ass.  I took more than a few walk breaks, a couple of stops and ran out of water.   Well hell, that’s not a good sign.    We’re not too far from constant triple digits here!   Oh well, I got in some hills.    To add to the pain, I realized that my training plan only called for 6 miles.   😓😂

Failed cool pic attempt but my Benjamin Button-ish made me laugh

Sunday- 10 miles  I got up early in an effort to beat the very high heat of 81.  Yes, that was sarcasm.  😏     This was rough, my pace was all over the place.  Some 10’s, some 11’s and some 12 minute miles.   It was warmer than I would have liked but like I said I have to get used to it.  I had more water than the day before but I dropped my bottle around mile 4 and broke the lid.  Seriously??  I had enough left to get me through the run but I had to carry the bottle in a certain way so I didn’t spill the rest.   I also knew that week’s mileage was catching up with me so I was fine with going slower.   When all was said and done, I was still closer to long run place than I thought I would be.

Weekly miles- 36.2 miles

It was a long, hard week but I completed every workout I set out to do.  I felt like throwing a little party when I finished my long run.   This was my highest mileage week ever– hell yeah!  Right now I feel ok, but I know I need to keep on foam rolling and stretching.    Moving on to this week, my mileage stays relatively the same but my intervals shift to 6x 800’s.  Yikes!!   I have a doctor’s appointment on Monday that could mess with my easy run though.  I thought about moving it to the morning but if I am still struggling with 8 AM runs, 4 AM is not going to happen.  😜  I really don’t want to miss my run so we will see.  I know consistency is going to be key to getting through this training cycle.   And a good dose of good luck.

I feel like there is something else I wanted to share but I can’t remember what it was.  Oops!

How was your weekend?

Do you run a last recovery or go straight to cool down?

How’s your weather?

 

Goals, Run!

2016- Breaking Free

It’s that time of year!   Social media is filling up with goals and resolutions for 2016.   For runners, that often shows as mileage goals, pace goals, race goals, etc.  Along with all the other things we want to accomplish in the year to come.  So without further ado- here are my goals for 2016-

 

 

 

 
No need to refresh your screen, there’s nothing there.   I’m not setting goals for 2016.

There I said it.   I’ve had this post half written for months, talked about it with my mother, talked about it with my boss.   But clicking publish? Sharing it with a community who thrives on goals?  A community that uses hashtags like #goaldigger?  That was harder than I thought.   So let’s break it down.

I set goals in 2014 and 2015.  2014 was about 50/50 for goal completion.  2015?   I didn’t compete a single goal.   Not one.     2015 was a stressful year, and worrying about hitting some arbitrary mileage/pace goal wasn’t helpful in calming me down.    Feeling like I “should” run just to add to my total was harshing my running joy.   That’s just one example.   2015 also had it’s share of shiny and that will be up in my next post.

Now, this is isn’t to say that I don’t want to improve.   I do.  I will continue to search for the training plan that works for me.   I will do my speed work and my long runs.  I will enjoy my easy runs more.   I will still track my mileage and the paces I hit.   Just not for some random number total I pick because I think it looks good.   I want to become a better runner, but in a more natural, linear progression kind of way.    Because I enjoy running enough to do it often and not just because I should get in that extra 3-4 miles.  I will still recap my training and running, I like sharing with you all and I look forward to the feedback.  Between this blog and Timehop, I am able to look back at the way things have changed for me over the past few years.  I still like looking at all the numbers; I just need a break from the pressure of feeling like I don’t measure up.    I used to care less about how I measured up with everyone else and I need to get back there. Back to basics, I was there in 2013, can I find that calm again?

IMG_9785

2014 started a ball of stress that grew and grew in 2015.   I felt like a boulder being rolled down a hill picking up mud along the way.    Some of the stressors are things that I am not currently in the position to change, others I can.  Starting with how I react to it.    I did a piss poor job in 2015.   Going forward, I want to focus on calming the hell down.   And turning to food less, but that’s another story.

I want to try to focus on finding the shiny in things in life.   Running should be one of those things.   Now I realize that most of my runs will be hard and tiring and there will still be days I want to quit but I used to enjoy the hard or rough days.  I haven’t in a long time.  I need to change my mindset and in order to do that “goals” and I are taking a break.   Goal has become a four letter word in my book, it’s joined the ranks of “potential”.  I dislike that word and try to never use it but that’s not the point here.

 

That last bit needs to be my new motto

Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having goals.   I just need a break from them.  Call it a trial separation.    Maybe this won’t work, maybe it will.  Either way, it’s something I need to do.  The journey to an improved Slacker starts now but goals are not invited on this road trip.

So, are you still with me or have I scared you all off?

Goals, Run!, Slacker

Training Thoughts

Alright, time to be honest.   It’s been a long time coming, I’ve hinted at it but let’s be real here.   The training I did for 17 weeks for City to the Sea was a mess.   I phoned it in.  I knew I was phoning it in but I kept on running in denial.  But actually, let’s look at all the half’s (halves?) I’ve run this year.

Surf City- 2:19:00
Wine Country- 2:06:05
SLO-2:15:06
Shoreline- 2:14:29
City to the Sea- 2:12:40

Surf City was the very beginning of my training cycle so it really was just a very well supported, expensive long run.   Also the 25K trail race seven days prior made for some sore legs.  The race was a bucket list race, you could say just running it was checking it off the list.   That said, the 2:19 isn’t bad.

  
Wine Country was in the middle of SLO training.   I was using a McMillan training plan for SLO and Wine Country was built-in as a tune up race.   I went into it with zero expectations but had my best race of the year.    Which I hadn’t expected as I was having some issues with my legs, achy knees and super tight calves.

I was best trained for SLO but even that was mediocre.    I would say I followed 75% of my training plan, my very nice, designed just for me McMillan plan.  What a waste.   I still believe I could have PR’d that race had I not eaten asphalt at mile 5.  Throw in the gnarliest stomach issues I’ve ever had running for the last 5 miles and I am still damn proud of that race.

  
Shoreline was a last minute decision to add a race in the middle of July.  It fell on my birthday so why not?   Under trained and 75% humidity- why not?  Shockingly, I met the goal I set for the race- sub 2:15:00.

City to the Sea was supposed to be my goal race, my time to shine; I was finally going to run a sub 2:00:00 half marathon.  Except yeah.    A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how I wasn’t in PR shape and a sub 2 just wasn’t in the cards right now.  But why not?   A hill in mile 9 kicked my ass and I didn’t recover, but why?  It was 200 ft, not a mountain, why?

Let’s talk about that training plan.  17 weeks, right?   Running 3x a week with one easy, one speed and one long run.  In theory it was just what I needed.   3 days was what I could handle having to deal with some serious stress at work and my stupid stomach.   On a side note, it has occurred to me that all the stress at work is exacerbating my stomach issues but that’s not the point.    So what was wrong with my training?

Choosing quality over quantity means those runs actually have to be quality runs.  They weren’t.  They were time fillers.   Speed work was rare.  You can’t race faster if you don’t run faster.  Want to know how many double-digit runs I completed in those 17 weeks?  One.  One lonely 10 miler on a random Friday afternoon.   9 milers?  Maybe 2.   So how was I expecting to meet my goal when I wasn’t putting in the work for it?   Yeah, I have no answer for that.   I was more than a slacker, #slackerindenial.

So it’s time to buckle down.    Once I figure out what that means.   And what it will look like for a Slacker.  I know I will never be one to throw down 50 mile weeks and it’s not about the miles, it’s what I put into them.    I’m pulling out my dusty running books and looking at that McMillan plan again.   I don’t have any races planned for the beginning of 2016 but I’d like to have a solid start to an actual decent base with good running workouts by the end of the year.   Can I do it? 

I have one half marathon left this year.   23 days away to be exact.   I thought about trying to make it another goal race attempt but I think that might make me pissed off at running.   Right now I am mad at myself and it should stay that way.   Plus, this a travel race and I really just want to enjoy the scenery.  It’s Monterey and Big Sur!!  And I may be stalking fangirling Kara Goucher the day before.  Or trying to.  I may be distracted.   😃

The sad thing is that as I write this, I have only attempted 1 mile since Sunday’s race.   Unfortunately, I got sick this week. I actually left work early yesterday I felt so crappy.   I’ve gone to work with a concussion, so going home sick is kind of big for me.   My goal is get in a couple of solid runs this weekend.

So tell me, can a slacker get real?  #slackergetsreal

Training thoughts you want to share?

Any books you can suggest?