Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Return to Speedwork

A couple of weeks ago, I posted my gripe about our local track being buried in twenty feet of snow and a thirty inch layer of ice. (Okay, that may be a bit of an exageration, but still. Can't run on it.) I've used this as an excuse to skip the last four weeks of speedwork in my training plan.

Last night, I decided it was time to suck it up and actually do a speed workout. The schedule called for 3 by 1600. I ran a 4.5 mile loop from my office - one mile as an easy warm-up and then the 3 fast miles (with one minute rest intervals between miles), and the rest of the run was an easy cool down. It's a good thing I did this workout. It felt noticeably more difficult than the last 3 by 1600 I did about a month ago. Apparently when you don't do speedwork, you lose some of your ability to run faster. Huh. Who woulda thunk it?

The last fast mile? Yeah, almost killed me. I was VERY tempted to break it up into two 800's with a little rest interval in the middle. My internal dialogue was almost as bad as the domestic I observed in the dairy section at Walmart on Sunday. "Just stop and walk, you are too wimpy to do this workout." "Shut up. Stop being such a whiny baby!" And so on.

In the end, it ended up being a good workout, and all the speedy miles were faster than what the schedule called for. The difficulty was a motivator to make these weekly speed workouts a priority. Now that it's getting nicer out (above freezing today!), it's a little easier to think about running after work.

Twilight update: stayed up way past my bedtime finishing the first book Saturday night. Picked up the second book while grocery shopping at Walmart on Sunday and read the whole thing Sunday night. Maybe the Twilight-induced sleep deprivation had something to do with my perceived exertion during the speed workout? Damn vampires.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Friday Night Fun?

Because of my husband's work schedule and my babysitter's girl's weekend away, this weekend's long run could only happen Friday right after work. Twenty miles on the schedule. I picked up Sophie from daycare and brought her home and quickly changed into my running clothes. Jim came over at 5:00 and we were out the door.

This was the first twenty-miler on this training schedule, and the longest I've run since Grandma's last June. I was just a teensy bit nervous about heading out for such a long run at 5:00, in the cold, and oh, it was snowing. The run actually went pretty well. Miles 13-17 were tough, but after 17 I felt a little boost and just plowed through the last three miles. It definitely felt good to back on track with the training program. But spending a Friday night running 20 miles? Sorta lame, I think.

Lest you think my Saturday night is just as lame, after I'm finished here I'm off to speed clean the kitchen and living room, change the laundry, and cuddle up on the couch with the first book of the Twilight series. By the way . . . I've put off reading the Twilight books because I wasn't sure I'd be into them. I picked up the first book yesterday and started reading it at lunch, and am totally hooked. The last hundred pages of Richard Ford's, The Lay of the Land, are going to wait until I figure out what happens with Bella and Edward. Have a great rest of the weekend!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Puketastic Week

It's been a week since my last post, and it's been kind of a long one.

On Wednesday night I started feeling a little sick right before my 7 mile run. I blew it off, thinking it was just nerves (why do I let myself get so worked up about these middle distance tempo runs?). The run was HARD. About half an hour after I finished running, I started throwing up. Welcome stomach flu. I was sick all night Wednesday and all day Thursday, and finally started feeling back to normal on Saturday night. My husband was also sick. Sophie, thankfully, has been fine.

With all our pukiness, we canceled our plans for Friday night and ended up having a quiet Valentine's at home. My husband bought me new running shoes (what greater sign of love is there, really?). Sunday's long run also took a hit because of the flu. After not really eating anything for three days, I just wasn't up to the 17 miles that was on the schedule. I did a nice, easy 10 miles instead and was glad I made the change.

Yesterday was a holiday, so I headed up north with a couple of girlfriends for a day of skiing. I ski once a year and am definitely a beginner. It always seems like a good idea until I am hurtling down the hill, snowplowing furiously and thinking, "Holy crap, I'm definitely going to die." I survived without any injuries and had a great time.

Now I'm back to work and fully recovered, and definitely looking forward to getting back into my routine. Hope everyone has a good week!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Anyone Got a Shovel?

Or a hairdryer?

Under my training schedule, Mondays are devoted to speed work. The first Monday called for 3 by 1600 meters with a one minute rest interval. I had no problem with that. The second Monday (last week) called for 4 by 800 meters. I skipped that because I did a 5K on Saturday and then the long run Sunday. This week called for some crazy combo of 1200, 1000, 800, 600, and 400. I need the track.

The problem? Our high school track is covered in a disgusting layer of snow and ice. Yesterday I asked my husband if he would go out and shovel a path for me. I didn't think this was asking for too much, as I really only need one lane cleared. And Valentine's Day is coming up. I thought he might sneak out while I was sleeping and tackle the track with a lethal combination of a blow torch and an ice pick. But I drove by the track this morning, and it was still as snow covered as it was last week.

So instead of my speed workout, I did yoga this evening. It felt good to stretch, but I miss my little speed workouts. I miss pushing the puke threshold. I miss racing with myself. I miss arguing with myself about whether I've done two laps or three.

While I have NOT been living up to the speed workouts in this program, I've been hitting the other workouts dead on. Saturday's long run was 15 miles and it was another great one. I managed to stay almost a minute under the goal pace for the workout. These first two long runs have been very encouraging . . . only fourteen more to go!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


So I have never quite been able to get the hang of fueling on the run. My first summer of running longer distances, I would run 8-10 miles without even bringing water with. When I started training for my first marathon, I dumped little bottles of Propel in the ditch at various spots on my route. My method has pretty much been to drink (and eat) when I feel like I need it. I cannot tolerate the texture of gels/Gu, and the sports bars always feel like a big brick in my stomach.

A lot of the professionals recommend that you start replacing and refueling before you feel like you need it. As I start checking off my long runs, I'm trying to get the hang of this, and also trying to figure out what sort of fuel I should be using.

Sunday, I ran 13 miles. My mom picked up some Sport Beans from Target for me (isn't she nice?). I also loaded two of the bottles of my new fuel belt with grape G2 and two with plain water. After 6 miles, I took the Beans with plain water. At 9 and 12, I drank half a bottle of G2. I liked the Sport Beans. They tasted good, they sat well in my stomach, and I felt an energy boost after taking them. The main drawback was how cumbersome they were to eat - you can't just dump the bag in your mouth. Well, maybe you can, but I can't. I had to take a couple at a time, chew them up completely, and then have a couple more. And they got stuck in my teeth a little bit.

I think I will try to continue having my first "snack" at 6 miles, and then every 6 miles thereafter. At every three in between, I'll try the Gatorade. I might need to move up to a full calorie Gatorade, we'll see how it goes. I really like the lighter taste of G2. My mom also bought me some Sharkies from Target, and from feeling the package, they are a little softer than the Beans, so I'll try those this weekend on my 15 miler. Anybody have any other suggestions for fuel?

On a somewhat related note, the 13 miler on Sunday? Best long run ever. I was really nervous because I haven't run more than 10 miles since summer. But the weather was perfect and I felt really strong for most of the run. At about 11.5 miles, my hips and legs started feeling pretty sore, but I was able to keep my pace and my fastest mile was the last mile! Wahoo! It was a huge confidence builder going into the marathon training.