Saturday, October 23, 2010

10K + 5K = 15K! Race Report

If you do a 10K and 30 minutes later do a 5K, does that still count as a 15K?

I finished the 10K in about 59:36 (a 9:33 average pace on my Garmin), but I think my official time may be closer to 59:45 because I started my watch a little late. 6.24 miles The last .24 was a 7:49 pace---almost exactly like my 400 meter intervals on Thurs! I rarely do intervals and on Thursday did 3 X 400 meters, and the first two were a surprising 7:49 pace, but the last one was more like an 8:15. I'm glad that 7:49 pace practice came in handy for the last 1/4 mile! I guess it's true that intervals "wake up" your fast twitch muscles. Mine have been kind of hibernating. :-) I enjoyed a Gu Roctane Pineapple during the race---1/2 right before and then 1/2 at mile 3. That is a yummy flavor, by the way. I got it at Dick's Sporting Goods for FREE with a $10 coupon they'd sent me for having a rewards card.

Then I had a little 30 minute break and 1/2 an orange. Got out there for the 5K and ran fairly easy, walked 3 or 4 times. I ran the first 1.5 solid, but that 10K was catching up to me. I started letting myself take 30 second breaks about every 5 minutes in that last 1.5. It was just a cool down anyway---no pressure. I was hoping to finish under 33 minutes, and I did! I finished in 31:57, a 10:15 pace. Beautiful course, beautiful day!

*It's interesting that my 5K pace two weeks ago was 9:30 and felt really hard, but today my average was 9:33 in the 10K and it felt ok. The main difference was all the hills in that other race. Today was mostly flat. Maybe 2 or 3 hills in the 10K and 1 in the 5K. It may also help that I have been trying to do some slightly faster tempo-type running.

Today's ADVENTURE in running was a good one! It was not my fastest 5K or 10K, but it was a great day! There is nothing like feeling good and happy throughout a run!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Vacation Miles (and Miles of Seafood)

I have been at the beach this past week for fall break. It has been a wonderful time with my kiddos (when they were not fighting and were semi-cooperating) and my husband.
I tried to counteract all the food I've eaten and my pina coloda a day by exercising my butt off!

On the trip down, I did squats and lunges during bathroom breaks. I ran 7 miles one day, 5 miles another, and 4.5 today. I have walked and walked and walked on the beach. (At least 6 miles walking.) I rode the exercise bike in the home gym 8 miles. I did some weights and pull ups. And I'm still up about 5 pounds! But let me tell you what all I ate!

It was UGLY. I basically had a TOUR O' THE SEA--South Alabama style (read deep fried with french fries and coleslaw on the side). I started the first day with a fried grouper sandwich. Throughout the week, I added fried shrimp, boiled shrimp, crab cakes (fried), fried shrimp again, gumbo, fried oysters, blackened mahi mahi (twice), and crab in a Gorgonzola cheese sauce. Then there was the pizza (veggie at least), pasta, tirimisu, and some brownie/ice cream thing with a Kahlua sauce. It's making me sick (and a little sad) just thinking about it.

But at least when I ran, I ran hard for at least a few of the miles. I ran a few under 10-minute miles and some at 10-10:05. That's hard for me these days.

I'm REALLY going to work on the nutrition side of things IMMEDIATELY. I'm reading a book called The Paleo Diet in the car on the way home tomorrow (penance?). It's about eating whole foods---meat, fresh veggies---rather than processed foods including grains, dairy, and basic junk. I want to have a body that is healthy and strong (it is NOT about being skinny) and yet I put crap into it. I want to build more lean muscle and run faster. I know theoretically what to do in terms of strengthening my posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, calves) to not die on hills anymore and get faster, but I really have been RUNNING TO EAT. Are you like that? I feel like I can eat anything I want as long as I run 15-20 miles a week. But I'm 40 now. That's not going to work for long as my metabolism slows down. I think muscle and the right nutrition will be key.

Anyway, the best part of running this vacay was the run I least felt like doing---today, on our last day. I woke up tired, irritable, and with tired and irritable kids. My husband drove us all over to Gulf State Park (about 2 miles away) and let me out. He proceeded to entertain the kids for the next 50 minutes at a playground while I explored on foot. I ran down unfamiliar roads and trails amongst strangers and wildlife.
I felt better within minutes. There was just one problem:

Seriously, what kind of idiot needs to be TOLD this???? It was a great run.

I'm dreading the 10+ hour drive home (with all our stops) tomorrow. But we really enjoyed this fall break.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Trouble with 5K's

In my brief three years of running experience, I've run races of several different distances--- 3.1 miles, 5 miles, 6.22 miles, 13.1 miles, and 26.2 miles. Different amounts of HURT go along with each one. You'd think 26.2 and 13.1 would be the hurtiest (yes, I made that word up), but they are not.

No distance hurts quite as much as a 5K.

In a marathon, you get to run at your COMFORTABLE PACE for about 5 hours (if you are me). As long as you are in motion, you are pretty much on pace. You can take occasional walk breaks, walk through water stops, walk up the hills, have a snack, and you are STILL on pace. If you have an aggressive time goal, you can push it just a little, but not too much. (I suppose if you were trying to qualify for Boston, you would push it A LOT, but that's not even something I let myself dream about.)

In a half-marathon, you run at your SLIGHTLY UNCOMFORTABLE pace for 2 + hours (again, if you are me). There are times that you even grow kind of comfortable with that slightly uncomfortable pace. I think these are perhaps still my favorite distance to race. You feel like you REALLY accomplished something at the end, but training doesn't take over your life and recovery doesn't take 4-6 weeks (or longer) like a marathon. You can walk during the water stops for 15-20 seconds and still feel like you are racing a half-marathon.

Then there are 10K's. This is, for me, where the "pain zone" starts. A 10K is pretty much uncomfortable for nearly an hour. I'd call that my DEFINITELY UNCOMFORTABLE, BUT MANAGEABLE pace. In a 10K, my goal is usually not to walk, while my body is screaming, "Can't we walk.... just a little bit.... for a few seconds??" But I try to trudge on. The middle miles are the worst. In miles 3 and 4, if I let my mind wander, it wanders me right off pace! After 4 miles, a 10K is no longer fun (if it ever was), and those last two miles are brutal. I think the KEY with a 10K is to run smart, run even splits, and to hang on for dear life in those last two miles!

Finally, there is the 5K. I think 5K's are supposed to be fun. (Aren't they all?) But you are basically asking your body to run at your VERY UNCOMFORTABLE pace for 3 miles. For me, I never quite catch my breath in a 5K. I probably sound like I'm hyperventilating to the other runners around me. I don't let myself walk (or mentally beat myself up if I do). My body sends danger signals to my brain, and all this negative self talk starts up, "I can't maintain this pace for two more miles. I'm going to flame out. I am a terrible runner." I don't know why the negative self-talk rears its ugly head in 5K races, but it does. The only good thing about a 5K is that it's over relatively quickly. I love getting past that 1.55 mark on my watch and knowing I'm more than half-way there.

I ran a very hilly 5K this morning. It was in the top 2 or 3 most difficult courses I've run. It was the APSU Homecoming 5K--my alma mater. I ran it as a fitness test to see how much speed I've lost with all the time off this summer. My base line was a 5K in May two weeks before my calf strain. I ran that one in 28:10, and it was a moderately hilly course. I ran it two weeks after finishing a half marathon in almost the exact time as the one I did two weeks ago. I thought there were enough similarities to give me a good test of where I am now.

I really gave this 5K my all, and I finished in 29:30. Yes, the hills might have been a factor, but I've basically lost almost a minute and a half! If I were a numbers person, I would figure out the percentage of speed lost, but I'm not quite that ambitious.

But it could have been SO MUCH WORSE. I could have lost 3 or 4 or 5 minutes. I'm not at all disappointed.

In fact, I'm proud of two things:

1. I didn't walk at all, even with the hills. That's the first time I've run 3 miles nonstop in MONTHS. A goal starting this race was to finish strong.

2. I finished strong. I trailed these 3 ladies for the entire race and on the finishing stretch (UPHILL!), I passed all three of them. I really didn't think the fastest one was within my sights. She kept getting further and further away in mile 2, but I reeled her in a bit in mile 3 and just powered up the hill past her to the finish line. Even after I passed the first two, I thought, "There's no way I can catch her right here at the end.... is there? Well, maybe I'll try."

I did run that last part so fast that when they stopped me in the finishing chute, I got really dizzy and thought I was going to pass out. I was also about to throw up. That's how I know I really left it all out there!

Oh, I managed to get 3rd place out of 8 ladies in my age group! I was really happy about that!

Afterwards, I ran 2 more miles for good measure. (Or should I say shuffled/walked? They were very slow because I was done!)

Coming back after a 3-4 month injury is going to be hard and will take time. I've just got to be patient. In two weeks, I'm going to do a 10K. (Can't say I'm looking forward to it---see above!)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Life after Half-Marathon

From July 3 to September 25, I had two focuses:
1. Get my 20 people ready for the half-marathon and through the race AND
2. Get myself well after the calf injury.

Now, I'm just kinda wandering around aimlessly! I'm experiencing that (oh so common) post-race lack of motivation. I ran just 6 miles last week and really felt tired from the half (so I know I gave it my best shot on race day). On Saturday, I had planned to run another 6, but when my alarm went off at 6:00 a.m., I said, "Nah," and rolled back over. This lasted exactly 30 minutes before 2 of 3 children appeared outside my door and eventually squirmed into the bed between Hubby and me. Don't they know it's Saturday??? My nine year old was actually dressed for school!

This week, I've done a couple of 3 milers on the treadmill despite the GORGEOUS, perfect running weather we are having. I just had no motivation to go outside, but watching DVR'd episodes of The Biggest Loser was fairly motivating.

This Saturday, I'm taking a fitness test. I signed up for a 5K! I have done no fast running since May, so we'll see how it goes. If nothing else, I can gauge where I am now and then figure out where I want to be! I'll post a little report after the race.