Monday, December 29, 2014

DPHM Week 4

My left leg has decided to stop being a team player. A couple miles into my long run on Sunday I started getting this weird pain in the back of my knee. It was kind of a snapping sensation as if a tendon/muscle/something was being stretched like a rubber band and then being snapped against the back of my leg. I tried slowing down and focusing on my form, but the pain persisted so I ended up just walking back to my car. A little frustrating to miss a long run, but probably the right decision in the long run.

I've actually experienced this pain before and it was caused tight hamstrings. I am going to back on my mileage a bit and focus on stretching and foam rolling. I think I caught it early enough that it won't be an issue. I was about due for a cutback week anyway, so I'm not too bothered about missing a few miles.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 5.16 tempo
Wednesday: 3.4
Thursday: rest
Friday: 6.12
Saturday: 4.36
Sunday: 3.34

Total Miles: 22.38

Post run cookie!
I am so glad that the holidays are over. I have been eating a lot of sweets lately and not actually running enough to justify eating quite that many cookies. Also, you'll notice that this week I skipped my strength training session. Insert excuse here. I definitely am ready for the huge heaping of motivation that the new year will bring. Hopefully that will get my strength training back on track, and maybe, just maybe, make it an actual habit.

Apart from cutting my long run short, I felt like this was a pretty great week of training. The tempo run on Tuesday felt amazing. Hard work, but very manageable. The 6 miles on Friday were faster than anticipated and I felt great for the entire run. If it wasn't for the temperature dropping after sunset, I probably would have stayed out for another mile or so. But I was wearing shorts and I could really feel the temperature change.

Shorts and a hat. Totally normal, right?
Sadly I think that was my last opportunity to wear shorts until I am running around Florida in February. The 10 day forecast is showing highs in the 20s and 30s. No snow though, so no complaints from me!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Need for Speed (and motivation!)

I am officially 12 weeks post calf strain! Woohoo!!

Since I haven't had any additional issues with my calf since the injury, I have decided that I am ready to start adding in some speed work once a week. For now I am going to focus on tempo runs. As I've mentioned previously, I am using McMillan Running to determine my training paces.

Tempo runs, or threshold runs, are supposed to "challenge [my] threshold between easy and hard." My pace for these runs should be between 7:37 - 7:55. I aimed for about 7:55 last night for about 2.5 miles. About halfway into the run, I realized I would not be able to maintain that pace for that distance so I cut it down to just under 2 miles. Since these runs are supposed to be medium effort, I wanted to feel challenged, but not out of control (if that makes sense).

Warm up: 1.46 miles in 14:00 (9:35 pace)
Tempo: 1.92 miles in 14:58 (7:48 pace)
Cool down: 1.78 miles in 16:34 (9:18 pace)

I plan to keep increasing the distance of the tempo portion as my training progresses. I will probably top out around 5 miles, or about 40 minutes. I was pleased to discover that when I went out for an easy run on Wednesday that I didn't have any residual soreness from putting in a hard workout.

Hello new running shoes!
The weather is nice and I have some new running gear from Christmas to test out, but I am feeling completely drained of motivation. I'm not sure if I am just tired from having a couple busy days or if I might be coming down with a cold or something. I had a tickle of a sore throat this morning, but I feel fine right now, just lazy.

Monday, December 22, 2014

DPHM Week 3

Monday: rest day
Tuesday: 4.09
Wednesday: 5.18
Thursday: 4.09
Friday: strength training
Saturday: 5.16
Sunday: 9.43

Total Miles: 27.95

Monday is supposed to be my strength training day, but I was just not feeling it last week and really wanted a day off. I have no discipline when it comes to sticking with a strength training schedule. It was raining on Tuesday and I had about a million errands to run (last minute Christmas shopping). I had no interest in going for a run, but, fortunately, am really disciplined when it comes to keeping a running schedule.

Rain + mascara = not my best look
Wednesday was 5 miles with run club. One of the other runners brought holiday cards for everyone and included a Clif Shot with each one. She is seriously so kind and thoughtful. This really made my day! Runners are the best sort of people.

Thursday's run got a bit dicey towards the end because the rain was turning to snow and suddenly the sidewalk was turning to ice. I should have run earlier in the day before the temperature started to drop, but, I was trying to be nice by waiting for Mr. Shoe to get home. So I could drag him out on a run too. Instead of taking a rest day on Friday I caught up on my strength training. A certain old man cat even helped me stretch afterward.

"Stop stretching. I need attention right meow."
Saturday was an easy 5 miler. Sunday was supposed to be a nice and slow long run, but I ended up running quite a bit faster than anticipated. I ran without my watch, but right before I left I started the stopwatch on my phone. I was aiming for 9:30-9:45 miles, but I didn't check my time during the entire run. I was feeling strong so picked of the pace for the last few miles. I ended up averaging a pace of 8:43. Ooops. I might need to work on my pacing!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

DPHM Week 2

Last week was another great week of training, even with my mini-race on Wednesday. I was a bit sore on Thursday so I took an unplanned rest day and rearranged the rest of my week.

Monday: strength training
Tuesday: 4.49
Wednesday: 5.18
Thursday: rest
Friday: 4.2
Saturday: 8.18
Sunday: 4.09

Total miles: 26.14

Paces for week 2 were pretty consistent, averaging between 9:12 and 9:41. I actually don't know my pace from Wednesday's run since I didn't have my watch with me. I'm probably happier not knowing since I am sure it wasn't as fast as it felt.

My general plan for building my mileage in 2015 is two weeks of building followed by a cut back week. This rotation worked really well for me during my fall training this year. I am holding off on taking a cut back week until I get my mileage back up (targeting week 5 as my first cutback week).
This week I am aiming for a minimum of 27 miles.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Fighting words

Step 1: Tell myself that I am going to run all of my runs at an easy pace.

Step 2: Fail miserably. Twice. In one night.

On Wednesdays Mr. Shoe and I usually head to a local running group to get our miles in. We started doing this over the summer and it was one of the best running decisions that we have made. We found out about the Growler Gallop through this group (and I scored a growler of beer at this race!) and I met fellow runner who just happens to be our neighbor. If she hadn't texted me on Tuesday to go run, there is a chance I would have chosen pajamas over running tights and stayed in bed reading all night.

The group usually runs 5-6 miles. Everyone stops at the halfway point to regroup and take a bit of a break and then we head back to the starting point to regroup one last time (and pick a restaurant/bar for post-run refreshments).

This week, about a half mile or so into our run, Mr. Shoe flagged me down to tell me he is heading back to the car. His calf has been bothering him and he didn't want to over do it. We chat for a minute and I figure I can easily catch up with the end of the group. So I catch up with the last few runners but decide I want to run just a bit faster. So I tried to catch up with the next group of runners. It was a straight section and I could still see them. Easy peasy.

Except not. After a few minutes I realized the trail started twisting around and I lost sight of my friends. I couldn't see anyone behind me either, even though I knew they had to be there. Suddenly it was just me, my footsteps, and my breath fogging in my headlamp (which added a nice eery glow). It might have been peaceful if I wasn't so afraid of the dark. So I started running faster to catch the next group. And faster. And faster.

Finally I caught sight of them, about a quarter mile from our well-lit meeting place. I knew I wasn't really in danger, if I had called out, I'm sure the group would have heard me. Or I could have waited a minute or so for the group behind me to catch up. But alone in the dark, I panicked just a little.

So for the return trip I made sure to lock in my pace with a couple of guys so I wouldn't be alone. With about a mile left, without comment, we slowly started picking up our pace and trying to catch the two guys ahead of us. We pass this one guy with about a half mile to go. A minute or two later he ends up passing us back, and before I can stop myself I say, "Wow, it's like you want me to pass you twice." There is a brief pause before my previously silent running partner says, "Yeah, those are fighting words."
Wednesday. Raceday. Same thing, right?
The next thing I know it is an all out race to get back to our cars. I'm sorry to say that that one guy out paced me in the end, but hey, there is always next week for the rematch!

Monday, December 8, 2014

DPHM Week 1 + Sunday routine

Last week was the first official week of training for the Disney Princess Half Marathon. I still haven't finalized my 12 week training plan, but I have outlined the rest of December. I want to see how I am feeling before I make any concrete training plans, but I must say I felt great this past week!

Monday: strength training
Tuesday: 4.09
Wednesday: 5.18
Thursday: 3.4
Friday: rest
Saturday: 4.2
Sunday: 7.1

Total miles: 23.97

I have been keeping the pace for all of my runs in my easy range. For me, that is 8:28-9:29 per mile. I am using the McMillan pace calculator and my most recent half marathon to determine my training paces. For my marathon training I used this calculator to determine my long run pace even though it made me super nervous to be running so "slow." But, I have to say, I was thrilled to discover that although I was averaging 9:45 on all of my long runs (and most of my shorter runs as well) I averaged 8:06 for my half marathon during that training cycle (PR!). I am hoping to have similar results in 2015.

Post run selfie
I think this week was a bit of a breakthrough in terms of returning to running after an injury. On Tuesday's run I felt like I was struggling to maintain even a 9:26 pace, but each run felt easier and easier as the week progressed. My long run pace was 8:56 and I felt amazing during after the run.

Post run snack
I was starving when I finished my run and so, so happy that there was a loaf of homemade oatmeal bread waiting for me. I may or may not have indulged in two slices topped with butter and honey. After a shower and a nap, I spent some quality time with the couch in my pajamas with an ice cold beer.

Short's Thirst Mutilator wins the award for cutest beer label ever.

It is nice to be getting back to a Sunday routine. Long run, nap, eat/drink all the things. The best part about winter is getting to delay the long run until the afternoon so I can sleep in! Getting up at 6 every Sunday in the summer gets old quick! Plus running errands on dead tired legs sucks. Yesterday I was able to do my grocery shopping first thing in the morning and go for my run around lunch time. It was the sort of day that reminds me just how much I love running and training.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Return of the long run

Sunday marked the return of the long run...sort of. I don't know that I really consider 6 miles to be a long run for me, but based on how long it has been since I've done anything longer than 3 miles without a walking break, I think it should count.

Mr. Shoe and I really couldn't have asked for better weather, especially for the end of November! It was slightly overcast and about 57 degrees out. I'm in a bit of disbelief that I wore shorts for all of my weekend runs! Last year it was freezing the weekend of Thanksgiving! Even on Friday this week it was cold and snowing.

My goal for the run was to keep the pace easy for the first 4-5 miles and then kick it up for the finish. Instead I ran the entire 6 miles at a steady pace, that ended up being faster than I intended. I am going to need to work on my pacing this week since I am determined to actually start a training plan today. And I really need to if I want to be ready for a half marathon in just 12 weeks.