Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Field Day

So since training is going so crappily I think I'll write about something else.

Recently I was in the doctor's office waiting to get my allergy shots when I overheard a conversation between a nurse and a little girl (about 6 years old) ahead of me who was getting her allergy shots. The nurse called her name and she ran over and said
"We had field day today"
Nurse: "What's your favorite event?"
Little girl: "Tug-of-War"

I got a pit in my stomach hearing this. I always hated Field Day when I was in elementary school. I remember we'd come back after Christmas break and the PE teacher, Mr. Biggs, would be ready for us to start practicing for field day. He always made us do at least one running event. I hated running and would always pick the shortest distance I could. There was the 25 yrd dash, the 50 yrd dash, 75 yrd and 100yrd dash. The 25 yrd dash wasn't an option after the 2nd grade. Then there was a relay race, hurdles and of course tug-of-war. We'd choose our activities and then we'd be matched to race 3 others of the same ability. We'd practice every Friday during PE until the big day, often racing against the 3 people we'd race on field day.

I don't remember many field days, I think I've mentally blocked them like many of the traumatic events in my life (including most of my relationships). But I do remember one event. It was in 4th grade. I'd picked the 50 yrd dash and been matched with 3 other slower girls including my friend Patty. Every practice I was last and Patty was 3rd. I really didn't care. Then it was field day.

I remember starting out and being just a little behind Patty, which was where I'd been every practice. Something just clicked. I've had a lot of 'clicked' moments in my life. When I've been stuck on a concept for a class and suddenly a light goes off and I get what the professor/teacher has been trying to get across. When I've been stuck on a work issue and suddenly remember where I've seen the answer before. Something clicked that day during this race when I thought "if I speed up, I could beat Patty." So I dug in and pushed myself harder. The race wasn't long enough for my body to catch up to what I was doing so I didn't feel my asthma kick in until after the race, so there was no pain. I remember feeling great. Feeling like I could actually do something I've never done before.

I did beat Patty and got a 3rd place ribbon. That was my first physical accomplishment.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Life, Love and Running

So after bragging about how strong my runs have felt, I went out and ran a sloppy tempo run on legs o' jello. It happens. The schedule called for a 2-mile warm-up followed by a 3-mile tempo run followed by a 1-mile cool down. When I took off for the 3-miles of tempo, my legs didn't immediately respond. It's of course HOT in Charlotte right now and hydrating properly is more important than ever, but not always possible. And that's my excuse for what I was feeling during this run. And what I was feeling was that at any next step I would fold like paper. Though my knees wobbled quite a bit, I didn't fall. I make it the whole 6 miles though the last mile included more walking than I'd care to admit.

This third week of marathon training I added an extra 'speed workout' in the form of the 'Miles of Mooresville.' I love this event! It takes place one Friday evening a month during the summer and the first one was Friday, June 18th. The race lengths are 1 mile, 2 miles and 3 miles, with approx. 20 minutes between each event so that you can run all three. It's timed, well organized, fun, but incredibly hot.

I headed out from my place at 5:15 pm to head 45 mins North for the 7pm start. It took an hour and a half to get there due to terrible traffic! Why anyone lives North of Charlotte and deals with that traffic everyday, I will never understand. I also plan to find a new route before next month's event. My A/C in my Jeep has been broken for 7 years now. I know, I know, but it really hasn't been an issue until this year when I'm driving to Adam's via the interstate on a regular basis. The windows down and moving provides a nice breeze and keeps me relatively cool but when you're stuck in traffic, you just roast. So by the time I got to the event, got my bib number and timing device, I'd sweat out at least a quart of water. I grabbed a 12 oz. bottle of water and downed it before getting to the starting line.

The organizers reversed the course this year. This is the second year for the event and the organizers had requested feedback to make the event more attractive. I think someone must have suggested that the previous ending, which was up hill, was not a fun finish. The 'new' course started off down hill, for about .25 mile then a vicious uphill. The uphill is long and steep. Then you turn a corner and get to climb a slow incline. Then the course flattens out to the end. I think the idea was to go for a faster finish.

I had already decided to concentrate on the first two races and then use the third as a cool down. The first race my bronchial tubes were burning. It was so hard to breathe! The sun was out and the temp was in the 90s and I was pushing as hard as I could. I felt terrible! And the only thing I got for this was an 8:12 mile. Worse than last year by about 30 seconds. Ugh! The second race was the 2-mile race which was 2 loops of the course which meant two times up that horrible hill! This time my stomach was aflame. Good thing there was nothing in it or I'd have lost it. I finished at an 8:38 pace. Which I felt better about than the 1-mile. I decided not to run the 3-mile run and to save it for my 10 mile training run the next day. I grabbed my race tech tee and free beer and watched the third race.

Several folks from Charlotte and from the Meetup group came up for the races. We all complained about the traffic and the heat. A couple of guys were asking if Adam was coming to run. They know Adam is fast, but they've never run with him. I think they were looking forward to competition. Adam always has a hard time getting out of work at a decent time and Fridays are the worst. Add traffic and he was barely there in time to get registered to run the 2-mile race. He rocked it! He finished in 11:01 or a 5:31 pace. He landed in 2nd place. That's only because a 23 year old kid from Chapel Hill (via Nashville) named Brock Baker came to town to visit a friend and decided to join a racing event. He won all three races and ran the 1-mile at a 4:43 pace.

So with about a dozen people up from Charlotte, we planned to celebrate after the event at the Brickhouse Tavern in Davidson. We all headed there after the last race and got a big table on the side porch. It was after midnight before we headed out. So unfortunately I slept in on Saturday and missed my window to run my 10 mile training run before it got too hot. So I moved it to Sunday. Unfortunately Sunday was the hottest day of the year so far. Even starting early was still pretty toasty. I managed to get in the mileage, but due to continuous side stiches the last 1 1/2 miles included walking than I should be doing. I was at least a minute off the pace I needed for my long run.

Overall, I think heat is contributing more to being off pace than anything else. I feel like my legs want to run and want to push the pace. My bronchial tubes and ab muscles are not completely on board. Tonight's speed workout calls for 12 - 400m, on the first day of summer. Nice.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More Marathon Training

So during week 2, God decided to turn up the heat. It's really tough to hit the pace I need to hit in this heat. It'll be in the 90s this week and probably every day until some time in September. The good thing is that I haven't missed the pace by much and I feel really strong. I've kept up with my increased stretching and I can really feel the difference it's making. I've cut back the frequency of my runs on the suggestion of a friend of mine who said that even though it feels good to run extra miles, the program that I'm using is pretty intense alone.

This week I'll still add an extra run when I run the Miles of Mooresville runs. I ran this last year and I'm really looking forward to it again. It's 3 timed runs in downtown Mooresville. A 1-mile run, 2-mile run and a 3-mile run. The course isn't flat. It starts down a slight decline, then begins a slow decline, then a nice downhill, but then you climb to the end. The course is the same for all 3 races, you just do more loops for the second two. It's not bad, but when you add the extreme temperatures, it's tough.

My strategy, if you want to call it that, is to focus on the first two races for a total speed workout of 3 miles. I plan to make the most of the downhills to get my speed up. The 3-mile I'll run as a cool down. Last year my July 1-mile time was 7:51 and 8:06 in August. My 2-mile time in July was 17:07 (8:34 pace) and 17:20 (8:40 pace) in August. I didn't run the June races last year. I was fighting plantar fasciitis last summer and I remember that did bother me during these races. So did the heat! It will be interesting to see what my times are this year. My plantar isn't completely healed but does feel much better.

I don't know what running Friday night is going to do to my time Saturday morning. I thought about postponing my long run to Sunday morning but then that would mean running my long run and then my speed workout back to back. I think this will be good practice for H2C. I hope so anyway!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Training Week 1

Interesting first week of training for Hood to Coast and Twin Cities Marathon.

Monday was Memorial Day and the first official day of training. My plan (a modified FIRST plan) called for a speed workout of 6 x (1 min fast, 3 mins easy) with the 10 min warm up first and then a 10 min cool down following. Since I was lucky enough to have the day off on Monday, I decided not to tie myself to a time and meet with a group for a workout. I instead went to the J in the morning and used their outdoor 'dirt' track for my workout. I'm not sure how big this track is (I think it's 1/8 of a mile) but since my training was time based I didn't feel it mattered. During the warm up I noticed dark clouds rolling in. Since I didn't hear thunder or see any lightning, I wasn't too worried. After the 4th 1 min fast/3 min easy session, the clouds were almost over the field and I started getting a tad worried. After my 5th session, I decided to head inside and finish on the treadmill. As I reached the front door to the J I started hearing big rain drops. Before I hit the inside door to enter the gym area the bottom fell out and it was a complete down pour. It was an interesting scene from inside the windows of the gym on the treadmill. Lightning, thunder, slanted rain made the time on the treadmill go by a bit faster.

The FIRST program only requires you to run 3 focused runs a week which allows for a great deal of cross training. You can add a run or two for cross training and to prepare for H2C, I've added 3 runs. One is a Tuesday hilly 2.4mi run. This week this run was an uneventful, humid and hot (87*) run. But I felt strong and that's what counts. The second and third runs are my '2 a day' runs for H2C. I'd originally thought I'd just run an extra run Saturday evenings to get in a '2 a day' day, but have figured out that with a busy social calendar, this would be impossible. So Thursday mornings I run before work and after work. That puts about 9 hours between runs, which may turn out to be too much time. But I've not been able to find a training program for a relay race so I'll have to wing it as best I can. Thursdays runs didn't go well. A side stitch in the morning and heartburn in the evening. Not sure about the cause of the sidestitch but I've traced the heartburn to peanuts and peanut butter in a Clif Mojo bar I had for snack. The important thing is that my legs felt good and strong for these runs.

Wednesday's run was the second official training run for the FIRST program and mother nature wasn't on board with that run either. This run is a tempo run and the plan called for 2 easy miles, 2 fast miles, 2 easy miles. I arrived at CRC in the rain to run with the group. I was the only girl in a group of about 12-14 runners. The thunder and lightning were rolling in as we gathered on the front porch. I told the group when at start time that they could go ahead and start or wait out the lightning. You know men. If one said 'let's roll' the others have to follow. So I watched as all but one of them took off in the rain and lightning. Two more late comers showed up and we used a blackberry to watch a radar screen showing intense storms right over our location. When it finally passed it was close to 7:30pm and the four of us headed out. Rounding a corner in the 3rd mile I saw some cloud to cloud lightning and decided to call it a night after 4 miles. It seemed stupid to risk death to train to run a 4:15 hour marathon.

My long run this week, and the third run in the FIRST program series, called for 8 miles at a pace of 10:05 (planned marathon pace + 30 secs). In case you're not mathematically inclined, my planned race pace is 9:35. Because it was only 8 miles, less than I'd run the week before, and I didn't have to meet anyone at a specific time, I lazed around in the morning and didn't get started running until 8:15. It was already 87* and the humidity was on full blast. It was a tough run because of the heat, but surprisingly there were a few moments when I felt pretty good. I missed my overall goal time of 1:20:40 by about 3 minutes. I'm going to blame the heat and humidity for that and let it pass.

In all the first week was less than sucessful. But I'm not going to let that cloud the rest of the training. Weather happens, life happens and you have to learn to run through it.