Tuesday, January 31, 2012

End of January Rambling

I'm not entirely sure where January went! I remember New Year's, and Martin Luther King Day, and a fair amount of running as well. This month absolutely flew by. Tomorrow is February, and I am also halfway through the fourth week of this training cycle.

Week 2 was pretty uneventful, although I ran my first marathon pace run (5 miles) and was mostly successful. I was sick for much of last week, but managed to recover and get my 10 miler in on Sunday. It went well, and I was pleased that my "easy" pace for my longer runs now seems to be a pace that less than a year ago was a struggle for me to maintain in a race.

I'm looking forward to my speed workout tomorrow. I missed last week due to being sick. I actually enjoy speedwork. I think it's weird that I enjoy it as much as I do, because it's definitely hard and at times I hate it while I'm doing the workout. Yet I always anticipate the track workouts, and get so excited when I think about trying to run really fast. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Week 1 Recap

These recap posts are really just for me to track my training. This week flew by, and I felt pretty good during most of my workouts.

Cross training day. Went to spin class, 45 minutes. My spin class uses RealRyde bikes, which are stationary bikes that twist and turn, similar to real bikes. There's a lot more core work involved just to balance on these bikes, and the instructors usually make us do all sorts of turns. It's a great workout.

4 miles, easy. Pre-work morning run, rather uneventful.

4.43 miles 
For months, I've been planning to attend the Speedy Demons track workout that my TNT coach, Coach Al, holds on Wednesdays at 6 am. And for months, I came up with one excuse after another to avoid going. I didn't want to be the slowest person, and getting up at 5 am is never fun. This week, I finally did it. And, it wasn't so bad. It was even a little bit fun. We did 4x800s with negative splits, and then ran a mile with 4 sets of steep stair repeats after each 1/4 mile. The stairs were not the fun part. I'm committing to attend this track workout every Wednesday for this training cycle. 

A last minute work trip had me departing SFO at 8 am and returning around 8 pm. I decided that I'd take  Friday's planned rest day on Thursday.

Realized that I did not account for Wednesday's mileage in my weekly total when creating the schedule, and since my weekend runs involved runs with other people, I ended up with a second non-running day on Friday. I did some stretching and core work instead.

5.5 miles
Joined the TNT Ultra-Marathon team for a run in Marin. The hilly course took us up into the Marin Headlands with amazing views of the ocean down below. Photos courtesy of Brian and May!

10 miles.
Several of my friends were running the Nike+ virtual half at Lake Merritt, and I joined them for 3 loops of the lake. I ran with my friend Sammie who kept me moving at a sub-10 minute mile pace. My legs were tired from Saturday's hilly run, so I really appreciated having someone else set the pace. I am sure I would have been slower on my own. I got to enjoy a post-run brunch with some wonderful running peeps afterwards, which always makes for a great run!

Week one down...17 more to go until Pittsburgh!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Doing Something Every Day That Scares Me

This week, I started training for my fourth marathon.

I'll be running the Pittsburgh Marathon on May 6th, 2012. 

And (deep breath) I will be attempting to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Which means that I need to run 26.2 miles in 3 hours and 40 minutes. Just looking at those words on the screen is terrifying me. 

My goal here is not based on past performance in any way. My fastest marathon time is 4:56. Essentially,  I will need to take 1 hour and 16 minutes off my marathon time in order to qualify for Boston. And probably more than that if I want to actually be able to register for Boston. (With the new qualifying times, folks who run faster than their qualifying time get to register first.) 

Running a 3:40 marathon is not going to be easy. I am not expecting that it will be easy. I keep telling myself that am prepared for the level of commitment and training that it will take to achieve this goal. 

Mostly,  I'm scared. I threw out my first training plan because it scared and overwhelmed me. (My second training plan is better anyway.) I'm planning some track workouts with some super speedy people, and I just hope they don't laugh me off the track. (Runners are nice. They wouldn't do that.)  I don't want to get injured. (I know how to foam roll, ice, stretch and do yoga to help prevent injury.) 

What if I can't do it? What if I fail?

I don't want to be the kind of person who lets fear prevent her from doing something. I want to live with Eleanor Roosevelt's mindset, and "do something every day that scares you"

When I think about training to qualify for Boston, the thought that stands out above all else is this:

What do I have to lose by trying? 

Aside from a few hours sleep and maybe a toenail or two, I cannot come up with an answer to that question. So I'm going to try. I will do my long runs and tempo runs and interval workouts. I will tell the butterflies in my stomach that if they're going to hang out, they'd better use their wings to help me fly down the road. I will feel my fear, and I will do it anyway.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Tale of Two Races

                                                       Kicking off 2012 with some serious bling!

It's funny how running can bring both the highest highs and the lowest lows. Ok, maybe that's just a tad dramatic. A great run can make me feel like I'm on top of the world, and then the very next run can toss a cold bucket of reality over my happy glow of accomplishment.

This past weekend, I ran Brazen's NYE/NYD runs - the 5K on NYE and the 10K on NYD. From start to finish, Saturday's 5K was a blast. As I was pulling into the parking lot, I spotting a running buddy I hadn't seen in a while. We went to pick up our bibs, then sat and chatted in my nice warm car until it was time for her to start the half-marathon. I wandered around a bit after that, ran into some more running buddies, and before I knew it, it was time to run!

The course for the 5K was and out-and-back on paved trail with some rolling hills. There were a few damp patches with some wet leaves, but overall pretty smooth. The first half went by quickly, as it was mostly downhill. On the way back,  a number of people shouted out hello, but I was pushing too hard to do more than wave.  My lungs started to really burn by the time I could see the finish line in the distance, and I nearly fell on my butt running over a short wooden bridge. Final finish time was 28:43 on a long (3.33) course. Turned out to be good enough for 3rd place in my age group! 

I was definitely riding a runner's high after that race. I couldn't stop grinning, and even declared I was going to wear my age group medal when I went out that evening (I didn't, but I thought about it)

After a New Year's eve filled with delicious Ethiopian food and spending time with great friends, it was time to head back to Lake Chabot on Sunday morning for Race # 2. There were far fewer runners overall on Sunday, but many more runner friends to see (by far my favorite part of these small local races!) A part of me wished I was running the 5K again, but I geared myself up and started the 10K with a small group of friends, planning to stay with them for the race. We chatted and ran just under 10-minute miles for the first two miles, and it felt pretty good. Then, we hit the hills. 

                                                Jumping for joy that I made it to the top, and naively 
                                                       thinking I was done with the hills

The Lake Chabot hills kicked my butt pretty thoroughly. I attempted to run for the first stretch of hill, but that didn't last long. The hills went on for all of mile 3 and most of mile 4. Even when I hit the turnaround and headed back down the hills, I found many of them too steep to run down. 

By the time I was back on the paved trail, around mile 5, I found myself pretty much alone. I had fallen far behind my friends when we first hit the hills, but I was surprised that there weren't any other runners nearby. My legs were feeling the effects of the hills. I tried to get them to move more quickly but they just wouldn't do it. Finally just before mile 6 I met up with my friend Sammie and we ran it in to the finish. Official finish time was 1:10:xx.

I definitely felt disappointed afterwards. I would have liked to have finished faster, and I definitely would have liked to run vs. walk more of the hills. The events themselves were wonderful though. Brazen Racing puts on great races, they are so well-organized, and they have ice cream sandwiches at the finish, even in January.