Run!, Slacker

Stressed Out

A little venting can be good for your mental state, right?

While my statement last week about my long runs being more consistent was true, what wasn’t mentioned was all the failed long runs along the way.    And they failed in spectacular ways.   Like I don’t know how I ever call myself a runner ways.   And I just don’t get it.

It’s not that I expect all runs to be sunshine and roses, I mean let’s be real here.   There is just something about these runs that just punch me in the gut and leave me pissed off.    So what is it?

The long runs where I fight my inherent laziness and get up in the morning have been pretty consistent.  Slow but that’s intentional, it’s the main point behind 80/20. It’s the midweek long runs that are kicking my ass.   I love getting my long run done before the weekend.    Every month I work a minimum of one Saturday.  That means I typically get a half day during the week.   Yay for extra running time!  I love getting the long run out of the way before the weekend; that way I only have a short run to fit in then I can be lazy the rest of the time.    However, this year, all attempts have just sucked.  Misery, straight up.

First, there was the slowest 10 miler ever in January.  February saw the 5.5 mile blow up- because sitting on the ground at a busy street corner is so normal.  Today- attempt number 3- 12 miles was the plan.   Reality saw 7.5, painful and slow miles.  Grrrr.

 
I was looking forward to today, I was so excited to leave work to run.  It was predicted for the mid 70’s, so I was thinking shorts would be perfect.   I’ve been sore and tight lately, so I also had compression socks on.  On an odd note- I was tight like this last year at this time-I swear it’s like an allergy.    My calves were painfully tight so I walked more of the first mile than usual.  Mile 2 saw more of the same plus stopping to stretch out my calves a few times.    They hurt but I was having trouble figuring out if they were hurting in a injury way or just more tightness.  Less than 2 miles in and I was hot, tired, hurting and having troubles maintaining any sort of pace.   I was walking more than running and felt like bailing.    I considered it but decided that I was just stiff and sore and needed to get better at toughing out runs.   By mile 5, I was pissed off and talking to myself, no way in hell was 12 miles happening.

 
I had 2+ miles to get to the car and slow running wasn’t getting me anywhere.   So it might not have been the best idea but I ran fartleks back to the car.  Oddly enough, I was holding goal half marathon pace for the same amount of time I had been running slowly before.  The walk breaks felt better too.  The only time things felt rough was when I looked at my watch and figured out I was running a sub 7 pace.  Oops.  Hello crazy, slow the hell down.   Yeah, it was only like a minute and a half and slightly downhill but it was a good minute.

The last 2 miles helped wash the sting of the first 5ish off but I just don’t get it.  Have I not adjusted to temps in the 70’s yet?  I made sure to eat breakfast and a small early lunch.  I usually run races on an empty stomach without fuel.   Was it the food that threw everything off?   All three of these horrible runs were run in shorts.  I am so self-conscious in shorts right now- like I wonder if I should burn them all.  Could that really make me so uncomfortable that I tank my runs?   I don’t get it!!!!  The more I stress about it, the more I freak out and the more the run sucks.  It’s driving me crazy!

Do I forego any more weekday long run attempts?  Do I get over my desire to not have to run long on the weekends I work and just do it?  Do I just make the weeks I work on Saturday a cut back week?   I can’t decide!

Also, I’ve been running slow for 3 months now and I feel like I am getting nowhere.  You would think an 11:something pace would be something I could maintain by now but no.  Do I keep putting in the slower miles?  Do I change things up while I have the time before marathon training gets really real? Or did I just need to whine it out?

If made it through this- thank you!

What do you think?

Happy Friday!!

  

Race Day, Recap, Run!

Wine Country Half- Recap

Otherwise known as the tale of 8 seconds.

I registered for Wine Country knowing that it might not be the best idea given my recent hamstring issues.   But, it being the very first half marathon I ran,  I really do love this race, hills and all.   I wanted to run it partially because of that and partially because it was year number 5 for me and you can’t break that streak right?   That said, I was going into it with low expectations.   I had a rough week with troubles sleeping.  I pushed too hard on Thursday’s run and was feeling it in left leg.   Plus the weather was predicted to be hot and cloudy.  I was ok with the hot forecast but not so much with the cloudy.  Clouds = moisture = asthma.  So, very low expectations.   Which I was ok with as I have been having some thought battles with myself while running lately.  But more on that next time.

Saturday- So not a restful day before the race.  I worked in the morning and had a full afternoon of errands and tire rotations.   Lunch was mostly skipped due to that- smoothie for the win!  In fact I ate less on Friday and Saturday then I have in weeks, let alone leading up to a race.   I tried to catch part of the tennis team’s match but it was seriously over 90 and there was no shade at the courts so I only lasted 20 minutes.  I picked up my bib and swag and did manage to drive the course.  Yes, I know it well but I wanted to make sure there were no surprises.   The plan was to update my playlist and go to bed early that night.  Ha!  I have been having troubles with my phone and it crapped out on me.  It took me 2 hours to get it running again and by then it was late.   So no new playlist.   I ran to a mix of Fall Out Boy, Set It Off and Papa Roach.

Prior to the start
Prior to the start

Race morning came all to soon.  Since it was so close, I slept as long as possible before heading out.     The lane to the grass lot where we park always backs up so I briefly thought about parking in a little lot about 1/4 of mile from the start line.  I figured that wouldn’t be a horrible warm up but nah.   I parked in the grass lot and wound up a stones throw from the start line.  Literally, I could have thrown a rock and hit it.    I ate nothing prior to the race and when I could have gotten out and warmed up a bit I stayed in my warm car.   The morning had dawned a little cooler than expected.  I was just feeling meh.   It was kind of nice not being nervous.  🙂  While I had low expectations, I had told my mother I was aiming for 2:15, but really thought it would be more like 2:20.  The plan was to text her at mile 10.    I headed to the start about 3 minutes til.   I met up with H real quick to say hi and then we were off!

Smiles at the end.  :)
Smiles at the end. 🙂

Miles 1-3-  9:36, 9:13, 9:15

And I went out of the gate too fast, what else is new?   There is fairly large hill at the end of this race so I always intentionally positive split this race.   A slightly fast start is one thing but this was ridiculous.    There was no way I was maintaining that.   Annoyingly enough, I had to stop and tie my shoe during mile 1.  Ugh.   The hills start in mile 2.   I kept telling myself to slow down but my legs would just not listen.  I even went so far as to try and bottleneck myself.    I tried to intentionally run behind groups of people in an effort to slow down.   No luck, but first hill done.

Miles 4-6-   9:19, 9:27, 9:28

Still too fast.  I caught up to H around mile 3, it was a nice little check in.  I admitted that I was going way too fast for my current fitness but had decided to just go with it.   I figured I would hang on as long as I could but knew I was probably going to hit the wall hard at some point.   But I was enjoying the views, the vineyards and the clouds and the morning sun and was having fun so I decided to go with it.    My breathing was on point, so I figured why not?  Just past mile 4, we turn onto the airport road.   The road is Trashed.  It makes the pic I posted the other day look like a walk in the park.    After running this race so many times, I had a plan.  I hopped onto the dirt shoulder and ran there for the next 3 miles.    It was shale and slightly uneven but it was awesome.   I lost H around mile 5.   IMG_9747Miles 7-9-  9:25, 9:05, 9:03

Miles 6-9 are a series of rolling hills, I guess all my hills are finally paying off.  Where the heck did those splits come from?!  I was still feeling good but lost all math computing skills.   I hit mile 8 at 1:15.  Looking at my watch, I quickly did the math and knew that if I maintained a 10 minute pace I would hit the finish line around 2:07.  However that didn’t take into account the big hill at the end so my math told me there was no way I was PR’ing or beating last year’s course time.   I was really ok with that.  I felt great and was having fun running and rocking out to music and that was the point.   Do you see the problem with my math?

Just one of the on course spectators.  (taken Saturday)
Just one of the on course spectators. (taken Saturday)

Miles 10-12-  9:44, 10:09, 9:34

Oh hello wall, nice of you to join me.  My breathing had gone from nice and easy to labored.  My left leg was feeling tighter as well.  Both in my hamstring and my IT band.  I took a walk break, texted my mother, and used my inhaler and then pushed on.  I also used that walk break to restart a particular song.  I have developed a weird fascination with Why Worry by Set It Off, I deliberately started the race with it and used that break to start it over.   Guess it helped because look at mile 12.

Mile 13-  11:01

Damn hill.  I walk this hill every year.  If my math is right (ha!) the hill has an elevation grade of 10+%.  It kicks my ass just walking.  My heart rate usually increases so I end up walking more at the top too.  But I know that going in so seeing an 11 minute split was fine by me.   A girl ran past me on the way up, telling me not to give up and just keep running.  Nope, I knew what I was doing worked for me.    She started walking about 10 feet later.  See, the hill is just a beast.  I started running again but I was tired and it was so much harder than before.  I pushed on though because I was so close to the finish.   I really should have paid more attention to my watch.  It didn’t occur to me until I was crossing the line what time it was.  I crossed the finish line at 2:06:05.

Just a little tired.
Just a little tired.

Are you FREAKIN’ kidding me?!  My PR is 2:05:57.  8 seconds.  8 seconds.

This race gives you a medal and a wine glass and a bottle of water at the finish.  I always feel like I am going to drop something.  My mother usually ends up rescuing the wine glass.   🙂   I had seen H a little ways behind me during the tiny out and back so I knew she wasn’t too far behind me, so we waited for her to cross.   After chatting a bit, she headed off to find her co-workers and I headed off to stretch in the grass.  IMG_9737I can think of 2-3 places where I could have shaved off 8 seconds.  My math had been so off from mile 8 on and I just didn’t pay enough attention to my watch after that to know how close I was to my PR.  Partly because I hadn’t thought I had a shot in hell of getting anywhere near that time.  It honestly hadn’t occurred to me.   That said, I am damn proud of how I ran this race.   Yes, I started too fast but for the most part, I managed to maintain that.  I ran the hills smart and I think running in the dirt for so long was a huge help.  I also finally ran the freaking tangents!  Which for the windy part meant running along the center yellow line.  I just had to dodge a car every now and again.   🙂

Hills, hills, and more hills, I still love this race.    Great set up, great views and always a good crowd.  Did I mention that the male/ female winner gets their weight in wine?  I will be back for another Wine Country.

Ambassador, Run!, Slacker

January Recap

How is it 4 days into February already?!  I am not ready for that!

Backtracking to January- well it started great and then derailed.  I rang in the New Year and new month with a great 10 mile run.  I was ready to get to my training and get started on that 1000 mile goal for 2015.   I was doing great up until January 8.  Then the sickness hit.  I took 11 days off.  11?!  That hurt both my training and my miles.  According to Smash Run, I ran 10 days in January- 10. That’s 21 days off.  Ouch.  So with that in mind, I suppose the below number is actually a good thing-  🙂

January15So 68 miles?  Not too bad.  January included one race- Spooner’s Cove 25K.   My farthest race/ run to date and the most time I’ve spent on my feet outside of working at Taco Bell.    Just kidding.     However, with the way that my runs were so spaced out, I am not sure how well they added to base building.

As for some of my other goals?  Well, socializing didn’t happen because well, who wants to hang when you are contagious?  And I finished one book.   One of the 4 I started.   I did read your blogs and some fanfic online but that last bit doesn’t count.    January did have some shiny though- sorry- still excited.IMG_8778So now on to February.  The original plan was to run easy/ rest this first week of February and then get to work on speed.    My spring goal race is SLO and it is 11 weeks out now.   I admit I am nervous about breaking 2.  Part of me doesn’t think I can and the other part thinks I need to get out of my own way.   Luckily my training plan has me easing back into things the next two weeks so that’s a little comforting.   Oh and for added incentive- I received this shiny news in my email this morning-2015 MEDAL

Runners take their finisher medals seriously because it is a tangible badge-of-honor and proof of their accomplishment. The 2015 finisher medal with the barn and windmill highlights our local rural heritage, and like competing a marathon or half-marathon, it represents hard work and tradition,” said Heather Hellman, Event Director. “Our medals are unique and we change it every year, so they become very collectible. On race day, we look forward to placing our 2015 medals around the necks of all our proud finishers so they can take a little piece of San Luis Obispo home with them.” Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2015-san-luis-obispo-marathon-half-marathon-5k-april-24-26-registration-10056923529

That was just the kick in the pants I needed!  Plus I’ve kind of always loved old barns, so I think it’s kind of awesome!    The email helped get me out the door today for the baby speed work that was on my training plan.  Woo hoo!  Let’s see if I can keep this motivation going!

And on the socializing front, my friend talked me into I signed up for a craft swap online.  What the hell was I thinking?  Oh yeah, I heard Harry Potter and signed up.  However I have the crafting skill of Longbottom (nerd moment!!) so I feel sorry for my partner.  Fingers crossed!

How has your February started?

Are you crafty?  Help!!

What’s your shiny/ dull for the week so far?

Run!, Slacker

Running with Turbo

Even though I have been running for a few years now, there are still times that I feel like a complete newbie.  I know plenty of people have faster times, some people run more miles on a daily basis, so many people have run a full marathon and I am not sure that I ever want to run one.   Usually I am ok with all of these things but sometimes all those feelings and insecurities come rushing back.

After Sunday’s fail of a run, I headed out Monday with the a goal of 4 easy miles.  To that end, I headed to the nice, flat lake path to take it easy.  My left leg has been a little sore off and on so I was thinking of the following splits- 13 for the warm up mile, 10-10:15 for 2-4, with a .6 mile cool down walk.   I am still walking the bridge through the playground area due to construction and little children so this seemed not only doable but easy.  That was the plan.

Who dressed me?!
Who dressed me?!

About 1/4 into my warmup, I stopped to get a rock out of my shoe.   This was when I first encountered Turbo.  A guy dressed all in black comes running my way moving pretty fast.  No big deal, I’m warming up, nothing to feel embarrassed about right?  I hit the half mile mark at about 7.5 minutes and break into a jog, then around .75 of a mile here comes Turbo again.   Still warming up, still ok, but I did pick up the pace a bit.  I was just finishing the first lap (around 1.2 miles) and nearing the bridge area when WTH?! Here comes Turbo again!  Adding insult to injury, he was now bouncing a tennis ball on the ground and catching it, all while running.  Come on!   Now it was matter of pride, I mean he essentially lapped me 3 times!   No walk break just keep running.   He passed me again during lap 2 and twice in lap 3.  I had to take a short walk break, which of course happened right as he was passing, still bouncing his ball. Starting lap 4, I noticed that he had moved on to do pull ups and chin ups- which I think he did the entire time it took me to complete that last lap.  I’m not sure what made feel more self-conscious; the fact that he was so damn fast or that he had no idea I was being an insecure creeper.  😦

Miles 2-4 all mid 9's again, oops.
Miles 2-4 all mid 9’s again, oops.

Since Monday turned out faster than planned, I took a rest day Tuesday.  I headed back to the lake on Wednesday for another easy 4.  This time it was woman I ended up racing pacing.  You know that e-card about a treadmill racing?  Definitely.  This also applies to stationary bikes...

Yeah, it was like that.  We seemed to be evenly paced, so we passed each other at the same 2 places on each lap.  If we had been running the same direction around the lake, that might have been creepier actually, breathing down each others neck.   Then when I was walk/ jogging my cool down, guess who was coming my way?  Turbo, again all in black.    I made it back to my car and was putting all my gear away when he ran by again, bouncing his trusty ball.   I swear if it wasn’t a huge privacy issue and slightly stalker-y I would have tried to get a pic of him and his ball.

What about you guys?

Ever run into or by someone that made you feel like a total newbie?

Please tell me I am not the only lurker person who checks out other people’s running habits?

What are you up to this weekend?

Ambassador, Run!

~A change in plans~

~A change in plans~

Today is my Friday and that makes me smile 🙂  I have the next 4 days off, woo hoo!  The original plan was to run a half marathon on a local army base on Saturday.  Packet pick up would have been tomorrow, so I took the day off.   They were also giving tours of the course.   However, with my ankle a little sore and getting the chance to be an Ambassador for the SLO Marathon, I adjusted my race schedule.  My first half of the year will be March 23 and this weekend I will be racing a 10K at a nearby college instead.   I will then spend the day enjoying SLO.    But I still have tomorrow off.  🙂

Yesterday, I packed everything I needed to hit the gym after work.  I was planning on 4 miles with some sort of speed drills thrown in.   The weather was amazing throughout the day and I was dreading the treadmill.   On a last minute whim, I decided to chance it.  I didn’t have my Garmin, I didn’t have my running belt and I only had my Wave Riders.  I had never run in them outside only on the treadmill plus one puppy walk.   But I was running outside!

scenes from the run
scenes from the run

I checked the sunset time and knew I could get in 3 miles.    Maybe 3.5 if I pushed it.   I had an armband, so I shoved my phone in it and was off.   Seriously, I have never changed that fast and I was walking up the block before everyone else was in their cars.    I had a 3 mile route planned, out and back.     The first 1.5  miles are slightly downhill so in this route I am usually quicker going out than coming back.  The first mile felt a little rough, I was breathing heavier than usual.   I took that as a sign that 3.5 would not be happening.  That is until Nike chimed in at mile 1- 9:00.  Holy crap, that’s race pace not training!

Change in plans, now I wanted to run 4 and hold that pace.    Mile 2 came in at 8:57, then the turn around.  Here I did stop for a few pics, also to lose the sweatshirt I had started out in.    I ran past so many photo opportunities but I wanted to hold pace and beat the setting sun.   Then it was back the way I came, uphill.  I always walk a part of mile 3 as the road in the state park gets super narrow.  The return route has a blind corner on a downhill for cars, so I slow down to pay more attention to the cars.  I figure it’s easier to jump out of the way when I am not huffing and puffing.  🙂

Heck Yeah!!!
Heck Yeah!!!

The sun set just past mile 3.  The last bit of uphill was hard and I knew I was slowing.  I hit my car and was only at 3.8 so I ran around the block again.  Luckily I hit 4 and stopped Nike before walking a cool down.  Which was cool because I was not running around the block and the police station again.   Figured that would look a little odd.  🙂

I was so pumped after this run.   I had no idea I could do that in a training run.   I think racing the sun was a huge part of that.  That pace would not have happened at the gym.    Nor would it have been so pretty.  Plus I could smell the ocean and the eucalyptus while running.  I may have to try that again next week.

Poor Shoe
Poor Shoe

On an annoying note, today my favorite boots decided to lose a bottom.  I almost took a header while walking across the tile floor.   Now I am trying to decide if they are worth repairing or if they should be retired like a pair of running shoes.   They probably have a similar amount of miles on them.  🙂

Now I just need to decide how to spend my four days off.  Is it bad that I kind of want to have an Austen marathon?  Jane Austen, that is.  Or maybe I can get my friend to actually go to the movies.  Hmmmm.  And somehow, I agreed to help my mother with tennis practice tomorrow.   One thing I know, I will be sleeping later tomorrow morning.  🙂

Anyone have big plans for Valentine’s day?

Who’s racing this weekend?