At least I’m consistent.

Since I’m sidelined right now and can’t run, that gives me lots of time to THINK about running.  On February 22nd, I ran my 15th half marathon.  You’d think I’d be getting pretty good at it by now, right?  Well you’d be wrong.  haha  Let’s review, shall we?  I’ll leave out the handful that were outliers due to being run just for fun or in terrible conditions.

November 2009, my very first one, after only four months of running – 2:42:33
April 2010 – 2:29:15
October 2010 – 2:21:15
April 2011 – 2:15:28

So far, so good, right?

March 2012 – 2:14:21
March 2012 – 2:13:20
October 2012 – 2:07:24 (PR)

Yep.  Nailing it.  Consistent improvement.

And then…

March 2014 – 2:14:18
October 2014 – 2:21:35  (I knew I wasn’t in shape to be racing this one though)
December 2014 – 2:17:29
January 2015 – 2:13:19
February 2015 – 2:14:41

We won’t even count those first two because that was when I was really still new to this whole running thing.  But look at that.  2:13 – 2:17 is apparently my happy place.  So I guess that saying is true.  You know, the one about, “if you train like you’ve always trained, you’ll perform like you’ve always performed,” or some shit like that.  I obviously need to do something different because what I’m doing now isn’t making me any faster.  I really shouldn’t be surprised.  My training plan basically consists of “run fast sometimes, run slow sometimes, run for a long time sometimes.”  When I really stop to think about it, my races really do reflect my training.  At two of my last three half-marathons, I’ve bonked right around the 7-mile mark.  Well guess what.  My “fast” runs are usually at that pace and are always around 5 or 6 miles.  Seems like a no-brainer now that I realize what I’m doing.  If I’m not accustomed to ever running any faster than that, and never for more than 6 miles, OF COURSE I can’t carry it for 7 more miles.  But I know I can’t run 10-mile race-pace training runs either, so… I guess I really need to do some studying on where to go from here.  Obviously I need to run my fast runs faster, but what else?

*SIGH*

I’m probably wasting my time, or at the very least getting way ahead of myself, even thinking about all this.  I haven’t run a step since 2/22 and I can’t see myself starting up again any time soon.  But I can tell you that when I do, things are going to be different.  I don’t know exactly how yet.  I may even enlist the help of a coach if I can find one that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg after I get a solid base built back up.  Like I said, I know I’m way ahead of myself, but a jacked up hip can’t stop a girl from dreaming.

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This Week’s Wins

Scoring a sackful of seasonal Clif bars and Larabars at Kroger for 50 cents each!

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These shoes and these shorts

shoes and shorts
Love, love, LOVE my new Hoka Cliftons and Lululemon Run Times shorts.

This

3lbs

Birthday freebies

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This run

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Such an AMAZING run… which I think is due at least in part to my new shoes! It just felt EASY.

This little girl!

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Our new foster, Penny! More on her story later.

What’s gone your way this week?

Training Recap & PFTW

Adding a new puppy to your life unexpectedly a has a way of totally upending any plans that you may have had.  Since this is Sami’s second week here with us, we’re kind of getting into a bit more of a routine.  After a largely nonexistent training week the week before last, last week wasn’t terrible.  I got in an easy run, intervals, and a long run, so I guess I got the necessities done anyway.  So let’s talk about those three runs a little bit…

The easy run was an easy 5.4 miles.  It was supposed to have been 6, but I was in a time crunch.  Not much to say about this run.  It was easy.

The intervals… well I have a little more to say about the intervals.  A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I thought I needed to reassess my goal pace.  I don’t talk much about pace specifics here because frankly I’m embarrassed by them, but I think I need to put it out there to get my point across for this one.  My 5k PR was an 8:38 pace, so until recently I’ve been happy to keep my 400s under 2:10 or so.  Well, a couple of times here lately I’ve seen indications that I may be a little bit faster than what I’ve given myself credit for.  Last track session, my 6th 400 was 1:54.  So when I went back this week for 6 x 400 again, I decided to try to keep them all under 2:05.  I kind of shocked myself by pulling off a 1:55, 1:58, 2:00, 1:57, 2:00, and 1:56 with 200 recovery in between.  Sigh Sometimes I wonder what I could do if I’d actually push myself and commit to a solid training plan.

Sunday I ran 12 miles.  They were uneventful.  At 70 degrees, it was hotter than it has been and wiiiiiindy as helllllllll.  But with my H20 hydration pack loaded with Nuun and a couple of gels, I made it through it with no issues.  Was it as fast as I’d like?  Not at all.  But it didn’t suck.  Then I came home and got the foster pup and walked her for 2 miles on the road behind my house then took her home and traded her out for my two dogs and took them to the park for three laps (2.25 miles).  I’m sad to say those are the only meaningful longish walks they got this week.  I fucking hate this getting-dark-at-5-pm bullshit.  I can’t walk them from home after dark for fear of getting mauled by the coyotes, and going into the park after dark skeeves me out because it’s just too dark and secluded, and I can’t carry my gun into the park.

So anyway, that brings us to this week… It’s race week again.  St. Jude is on Saturday.  And yet again, I am unprepared.  This will be my 13th half-marathon.  You’d think I’d have this shit down pat by now, but I have never gone into one feeling like I was properly trained.  Sure I can get through 13.1 miles.  But will I go out there and kick ass and PR and race to my full potential?  Nope!  Again.  Maybe someday…

Training Recap & PFTW

This week kicked last week’s ASS!  In the running department anyway.  I totally dropped the ball on doing any kind of strength or cross-training though.  Oh well.  We can’t have it all, right?  haha

Monday – Rest day.  Nada

Tuesday – I was off work Tuesday and I had planned to cram a lot into that day, including going to the gym.  I ran 6 easy miles and I walked the dogs 2 more, but the gym never happened.  And it’s funny because as I sit here on Sunday writing this, I can’t remember why.

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday – 6 miles, 3 at tempo pace.  It was FREEZING!!!!!  I went from running in a tee shirt and shorts on Tuesday to cold gear tights and long sleeves and gloves on Thursday.  Cold-weather running is my absolute favorite, but I guess I need time to acclimate to that too because I was chilled to the freakin’ bone the rest of the night.  It took two hours in my fleece lounge pants and sweatshirt with my fuzzy robe on under a fluffy blanket drinking hot chocolate to warm up!

Friday – Rest

Saturday – 6 x 400.  NAILED IT.  One of the intervals was at 5K pace, and the other 5 were well below it.  The last one was over a minute faster than goal pace.  I have no idea where that came from.  None.  Reassessing goal pace. Also, walked dogs 1.5 miles.

Sunday – Ahhhhhhhhh redemption.  Last week’s attempt at 11 miles was a disaster, and I ended up cutting it short to 9 miles.  Today i ran 11 miles, nonstop, no fuel, effortlessly, and at a decent pace.  I desperately needed that mental boost.  It was cold, it was raining, and I loved every single minute of it.  It rained the entire day, so my poor doggies didn’t get walked again Sunday.  That was by their choice though.  They had zero interest in even going outside long enough to pee.  They each held a 10-hour piss to avoid going outside.  Fucking princesses.  haha

PFTW:

Things are about to get pretty tricky because I’m losing my help at work. That means longer days and 6 days a week, but I’m gonna try my damnedest to keep some sort of semblance of a training plan.

Monday – Rest or easy spin
Tuesday – 6 easy + strength
Wednesday – Rest (It’s D’s birthday!)
Thursday – 6 easy
Friday – 6 x 400
Saturday – Spin + Strength + walk
Sunday – 12 miles + walk

And squeeze in walks with the dogs as many days as possible during lunch. This getting dark early shit SUCKS!!!

Training Recap & PFTW

Not my best week.  Not by a long shot.

Monday & Tuesday – Rest days.  I had planned to go to CrossFit Monday again, but when I logged onto Wodify that morning and saw the wod I changed my mind.  It was a team wod and I HATE those.  I didn’t even squeeze in a walk with the dogs after work because of the stupid-ass time change.

Wednesday – 5 x 400 plus a little bit of strength… just some pushups, core work, and squats, but hey it’s better than nothing.  That night when I went to bed everything was just peachy, but when I woke up in the middle of the night to pee, my IT band let me know LOUD AND CLEAR that it was pissed.  I haven’t had so much as a twinge out of it in a looooooong time until that night.  I wasn’t going to start foam rolling at 2am, but I hit the foam roller hard when I got up that morning.

foam roller

Thursday – Super, super easy 5 miles.  Like ridiculously easy.  I think I dozed off once.  haha  I wore my heart rate monitor again to see just what it runs on super easy effort and it was still a 166 average.  Screw it.  I’m done with paying attention to the numbers.  I’m only going to judge by perceived effort.  I may check it periodically just out of curiosity, but I’ll never be able to use it as a training tool.  Also lots of foam rolling.

Friday – Beautiful sunny 2-mile lunchtime walk with the dogs, plus abs, pushups, and squats again.  And more foam rolling.  Several times.

fall

Saturday – 5 easy.  One of those miles was done with the dogs.  I had taken them to the park for a walk and they were feeling quite spunky, so we picked it up to a run for a mile.  We did a total of 2.25 miles, then I came home and ran 4 more easy miles for a total of 5 miles run and 1.25 miles walked.  More rolling, and I think I finally rolled out the last of it.  Whew!  Nipped that one in the bud!  (I got up that morning and made the last-minute decision to run a 10K, and that didn’t exactly happen…but if you followed me on Instagram you’d already know that!)

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So. Many. Squirrels.

Sunday – Sunday sucked, y’all.  It sucked so damn hard.  The plan was 11 miles, and when I first set out I felt great, but that didn’t last long.  I brought a Huma gel with me to take around the halfway point, but I took it around mile 4 hoping for a little pick-me-up.

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It boosted me through the next couple of miles and then I bonked.  I was DONE.  I gave up the fight at mile 9 and walked the last two miles home.  I felt so defeated.  Ah well… it is what it is.  I guess I was due for a shitty run.  Onward to next week!

PFTW:
Monday – Walk
Tuesday – Strength + 6 easy + walk
Wednesday – Walk
Thursday – 6 x 600 + strength
Friday – 6 easy
Saturday – Strength or spin + walk
Sunday – 11 (rematch)

Training Recap & PFTW

Monday:  Are you sitting down?  I. WENT. TO. THE. GYM.  It hurt oh-so-good while I was doing it.  Then oh-so-bad for four days afterward.  Seriously.  My abs were so jacked after class that I couldn’t even stand up straight until Friday.  And I bruised and rubbed blisters on my tailbone doing the situps.  I was a pretty sad sack this week.  haha  (Plus walked 0.75 mile with the dogs during my lunch break.)

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Tuesday:  The plan was 5 miles, and I had been looking forward to it all day.  It was cloudy and cool and absolutely perfect running weather at lunch when I packed my running bag.  I took clothes to work with me so I could change and run after I got off.  By the time quitting time rolled around I was beginning to rethink my tank and shorts I’d brought, but I went with it.  Then a mile into my 5, it started raining.  Not a hard rain but a steady one.  If it had been 5 degrees warmer, it probably would have been glorious, but  as it were I was a wee bit cold.  Even if I’d been running harder to get my blood pumping a little bit would have been nice, but it was an easy run day.  Gotta admit, it was hard to hold to that easy pace the last couple of miles.

Wednesday:  HELLLOOOOOOOO D.O.M.S.!!!!!!!  No running.  Walked 2 miles with dogs.  Before I took them out, I drove our favorite, most convenient walking route that we haven’t been able to use the past few weeks because of hornets.  I wanted to check out the nest to see if it was still active.  It was weather-worn and abandoned, so YAY we don’t have to drive to town to the park for every walk anymore!!!

Thursday:  Still miserably sore.  Hurt to breathe.  Still no running.  Walked 2 miles with dogs.

Friday:  Ahhhhhh, finally a little relief.  I was able to get out of bed without rolling over to my stomach and pushing myself up, so I was able to run.  I was itching to the point that I couldn’t wait until I got off work.  I took a long lunch and ran a quick 5 miles mid-day.  A great tempo run. It was awesome.  That’s the first time I’ve ever done that, and I think it just may be a new thing.  For the first time in … I can’t even remember how long, I didn’t have a case of the afternoon drops.  I ALWAYS get sleepy after lunch, but not that day.  Loved it, loved it, loved it.

Saturday:  Rode spin bike while I watched a couple of episodes of That ’70s Show on Netflix.  Man, I miss that show.

Sunday:  Long run of 10 miles.  It wasn’t the best.  I can’t be upset about the pace or anything.  It was 6 seconds per mile faster than the same route last Sunday, and I really felt pretty good while I was running it.  However, afterward… dude, I was DRAINED.  It was about the same temperature as last Sunday, but the big difference was last week was overcast and felt cooler whereas today was full sun.  I sweated a ton more.  I haven’t been wearing my heart rate monitor at all lately because I’ve just been going on feel, but I decided to wear it today just for giggles.  When I looked at the HR data, it was no wonder I felt zapped.  My average HR was 177 for those 10 miles.  But, y’all, I swear I didn’t feel like I was working that hard.  My HR is always way higher than the average person’s, even when I’m in great shape, but I really didn’t think it would be this high today seeing that I’ve been doing good about running my easy runs at an easy effort.  Maybe it was the full sun, maybe I was dehydrated… I don’t know, but something was up and my body was clearly working a lot harder than I thought it was.  I’ll be wearing my HR monitor for the next few runs to see if this was a fluke or if it’s still running that high on all my easy runs.  Anyway, after showering, drinking some Vega recovery accelerator  a protein shake, and quite a bit of water, then taking a short nap, I felt good as new and me and D took the dogs out for a 2-mile walk.

Totals:  1 strength day, 1 cross-train day, 20 miles run, and 6.75 miles walked.  Decent week!

Also worth mentioning, I tried a Huma gel for the first time during Sunday’s 10 miles.  I really, really liked it!  I’ll do a full review later.

PFTW:
Monday: Rest or easy cross-train
Tuesday: 5 easy
Wednesday: 5 x 400
Thursday: Strength
Friday: 5 easy
Saturday: Strength or Spin
Sunday: 11

Lucky Number 7?

I have had a love/hate relationship with running for the past couple of weeks. Five-miler in New Johnsonville: hate. New three-mile PR: love. Attempted 3 miles on a treadmill: HATE. A completely kick-ass seven-mile run Sunday: LOVE!!! I’ve only run that distance one other time, and that was last fall when I was training for my first half mary. I finished my seven Sunday 10 minutes and 19 seconds faster than I did just a few months ago! So I guess the truth is in the numbers, folks. I may feel like I’m not getting anywhere, but apparently I am. My goal all along has been to finish my half in April 1 mile/min faster than I did in November, so 13 minutes faster. I gained almost that much time in only a little over half of the distance!!! It looks like I may need to up my goal a little bit.

Unless…

Was it just a total fluke? Was it luck of the Sevens? It sure felt like the stars were aligned in my favor. The weather was perfect. Seriously. PERFECT! I’m talking the shorts-and-long-sleeves kind of perfect. I’d had a great night’s sleep the night before. I was on a new route, so the change of scenery made the time fly by. Plain and simple, it was just a good run.

I’m on for eight this weekend. I can’t wait!

BUT FIRST!

I think I need to be making a trip to Nashville for some new shoes Saturday. I’m feeling the slightest twinge of pain in my right foot. The same pain that I had during my training last year that turned out to be tendonitis. It was nothing serious, really. Just aggravating as hell. It completely subsided with two weeks of no running. I’ve never had an actual fitting done at an actual running store, and I think it’s time.

So I’ve encountered runner’s gut, I’m looking forward to long(er) runs, and I’m fixing to drive two hours to have someone analyze my foot and my gait. Am I an official runner now?

Let the Games (and the Cursing and the Crying and the Pain) Begin!

It’s that time again! I’m 12 weeks out from my second half marathon, so it’s time to get serious and start really training again. I’m actually kind of excited about it, though. I’m excited to see just how much time I can knock off. I’ve continued to run (albeit sporadically) through the holidays just enough to keep me fitting in my jeans and keep me from having to start from scratch at the beginning of this training schedule. So I feel pretty good going into it!

I ran my first race yesterday since the half in November, and I was quite pleased with the result. It was a 5-miler, and I came within 34 seconds of my old 5-mile PR that I set back in October. Yes, it was 34 seconds SLOWER, but my old PR was set on a flat route, and this course I ran yesterday was SUPER HILLY. Not one freakin’ flat spot anywhere. You were either climbing up a hill or coasting down one the entire five miles.

IF I can manage to maintain yesterday’s pace for 13.1, I will finish the HM in April 18 minutes faster. That would make me a very happy girl. 🙂 I’m determined to do everything I can in the next three months to make myself a stronger runner. This time around, I plan to really push myself during my short runs rather than just cover the distance, vary my routes to incorporate more hills, and actually do some cross-training. On the recommendation of a couple of friends, I just ordered the P90X DVDs. I’m usually VERY skeptical of at-home fitness informercial junk, but I hear these are pretty awesome. Stay tuned for my personal review!