Sunday, February 26, 2012

Adding mileage to a long run

This morning I had 105 minutes of running on the schedule. I ended up doing just a hair under 120 (2 hours), however. Why in the world would I want to do that? Well, the original plan went a little awry, but it all worked out in the end.

My running plan today included participating in a 10K run, which I gave myself 60 minutes to complete. So I just needed to add 45 more minutes and voila! Done. I went back and forth over when to do those extra minutes. Before the race? After? A little on each end? I settled on doing all 45 minutes before the race and planned to be done just before the race started. I got there to the park in plenty of time, checked in, and set off running. The weather started out rainy and a little cold, which was a bummer since when I left my house it was a bit overcast but not raining. The weather cleared up and the sun started shining a little ways in to the run, though.

By the time I got back to the starting line for the race I was warmed up and ready to go-- unfortunately, there was a snafu. The race was delayed by about 30 minutes! I started panicking a little, knowing it wouldn't be the best for my training run to take a half hour break. Since I am friends with the race organizers I offered to run an errand-- literally!-- for them, which took me on a quick out and back for a total of a mile and a half. When I got back I still had a few minutes to wait before the race started.

The race itself was great. The weather was a little funky-- over the course of the 10K we had sun, hail (more than once!) and rain. The 10K was two out-and-backs. When I finished the first one I was nervous about doing the second one . . . it would take me over my 105 minutes. I told myself I could cut the race short and essentially "DNF" (did not finish) if I needed to. However, when I got back in to the second half of the race I felt great and pushed to do the whole thing. I stopped to walk in the last mile or so since my hamstring was hurting, but other than that I felt great.

My total amount of miles was 11.6 in a hair under two hours. It was a lot of fun and was so very close to the mileage of my upcoming half that it felt a little extra thrilling to know that I will be more than ready when I step up to that starting line!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Getting better

Yesterday and today are easier days for me as I prepare for running 105 minutes (which will likely transfer to just over 10 miles) tomorrow. And by "prepare" I mean eat jelly beans, laze around and obsessively check the weather while simultaneously willing it to change from possible snow and definite rain to 50* and sunny. I have a 30 minute run on the schedule today but that isn't too bad for me these days.

And I can scarcely believe I even can write that. Who is this person that thinks a 30 minute run isn't too bad? Now, I'm not running these super speedy-- or else a 30 minute run would be much, much harder. My running these days is about 75% getting in the distance/time and 25% picking up my speed. I don't run my short runs fast unless I'm at the track for an intervals workout.

But where am I going with all of this? The other day Mel from Tall Mom on the Run posted this saying:

I didn't know why it struck me so much at first, but as I sat with it, I started to figure it out. From the time I started getting serious about my fitness level and then started running/training I always, always told myself "when you get stronger this will be easier". Now, yes, if I "phone in" my workout then it's easier, but that isn't really what I'm talking about here. It turns out the workouts don't get easier. I am working just as hard but am going faster/longer/harder than I ever have. 

So far I have been having a hard time giving myself credit for the increased strength. At some point during any given bootcamp class or intervals class you can hear me uttering something along the lines of "oh, I am going suck at this!" (though I try to be a bit more witty about my choice of words). But you know what? I usually don't. I usually am stronger than I thought I was going to be. 

The other night at bootcamp we all had to do full push-ups at the end of the night. We all groaned, probably no one more loudly than me. I always, always do my push-ups with my knees on the ground, claiming I am not strong enough to do the full ones. But I did them. And I did more than I thought I would (since I thought I couldn't even do one!) It was eye-opening. I wondered, why didn't I think I could do real push-ups? I guess it should be easier. But as the saying above goes, full push-ups aren't easier, I am just getting better. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

New pictures and new posts

I have a couple of new posts up over on my schooling blog, The Schooling Bridge. Go check them out! Lots of pictures!

I have a few more pictures I wanted to share that I just discovered weren't lost on my phone after all! My phone is doing weird things, like taking pictures and then not showing them in the gallery. I finally remembered that restarting my phone often makes them magically re-appear. So, ta da! Here they are for your viewing pleasure.

During our snowstorm in January the girls and I went sledding with our neighbor and her two fabulous kids. Her little girl, the one in the front, is also named Iris. Isn't that the cutest thing? Here the girls are on a sled train catching snowflakes on their tongues.

Iris was teaching Eloise how to read using the Bob Books app on our new iPad. iPad+helpful older sister= mama's job is done!

A few weeks ago Eloise was invited to a pony birthday party. I didn't get any shots of her on the pony as I was busy helping lead ponies around, but she actually spent most of her time grooming this little guy. Poor thing was probably totally humiliated! Ha.

I can't believe he stood there so calmly for the kids to dote on. See his "My Little Pony" style design on his backside?

Eloise has pretty amazing bed head most mornings, but the morning I snapped this picture it was particularly impressive.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Up, up, up!

Today was a "recovery run" which means I didn't add more time and miles on to my long run, I just did 60 minutes. I had Matt drop me off somewhere I mapped out to be six miles from home and then I ran back. It was a route I hadn't run before and I knew for sure one little part was up hill but thought it would be smooth sailing the rest of the way.

Oh, no.

Check this out:

I could not figure out how come I felt like I was working so hard! Now I know. It isn't a flat route. Not by a long shot.

I see now that the uphill was fighting against me, but I also just was dragging between miles two and three. Definitely gave me some practice in how to get back in the groove when I am struggling!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Best laid plans

Today I ran for Sherry, just not in the way I envisioned I would.

If you hadn't already heard, Sherry Arnold went out for a run early one morning in January near her home in Montana and never came back. She was murdered. Today was the day Sherry's cousin from Shut Up and Run planned a virtual run for anyone, anywhere in the world, that wanted to join in. 

It was an important reason to run. I have thought a great deal about Sherry over the past few weeks, ever since the news broke that a runner had gone missing. Unfortunately, I was too wrapped up in my own internal drama today to focus on why I was running in my "Running for Sherry" bib today. 

I thought I had a a long run on my training schedule for this weekend, so I decided to do it today, as my plan was to run for Sherry with a group of gals I had met online. Usually I do my long runs on Sunday, but what the heck, I'm a wild and crazy girl, so I would do it on Saturday. I scheduled a few things around this run today and was ready to go. I got up early, I dressed all cute in purple, pinned on my Running for Sherry race bib and drove across town to the meeting place for the group run. I got there early and stretched, did my jumping jacks and lunges while I waited, I was ready! And then the meeting time came and went. And then I walked around freezing my butt off. And then ten minutes went by and I thought I must be mistaken, so I went to my car and checked the info on my phone, nope, I was at the right spot. I sat in my car warming up, watching for other group members. Finally I went back over to the spot and I hear someone calling me. It was the group. Somehow, every single person met in a different spot . . . . except for me. 

Okay, okay, I was freezing, everything was starting late, everyone met in a different spot than me, I assume everyone must have already said hi and nice to see you to each other, let's take our cute group shot, etc etc . . . but it would be fine. I had found them and we could finally run. Everyone else knew each other. Everyone had a buddy, everyone had their pace and I was concerned before the run that no one would be running my pace . . . and no one was. Most of the group took off and once I realized I would be running alone I stopped to pull out my ipod. Unfortunately, by that point, I felt so bummed and let down by the group run that now wasn't, that not even music helped me get in to a groove. I turned around and took a rough spin through the park before heading back to my car, mentally kicking myself over and over for ditching my regular running partner (since he is well, a he, and the group is a women's running group) and turning down an invite from my running group to do a Valentine's Day Dash so that I could meet for this run. I couldn't get in to my groove at all and it didn't help that my hamstring was bugging me. 

I got home and told my family how disappointed I was and how I was hoping to meet new friends and have a really great time and it didn't go at all how I had envisioned it would. I just felt very left out. Iris said to me "I feel like that a lot, too". To be honest, the feeling is all too familiar to me and is something that has happened to me over and over since I was young and it's not the end of the world, but it is disappointing. It's funny, I look at my girls, and I see how Iris is so much like me. More shy and has more difficulty fitting in and making friends. And Eloise is more the opposite-- she jumps right in and makes her presence known no matter what. It is amazing how people really are just born the way they are! 

Anyways, I will hop right back in to my training tomorrow, with Sherry on my mind . . . . and vow to never again ditch my running besties. 

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Discovery Park Trail Loop

We are in the middle of the most gorgeous Spring in Seattle! What's that? It isn't Spring? Ah, well. We'll take it! We have had highs in the upper 50's for a few days and it's been sunny.

Yesterday morning I had a make up running class at the track and it was so much fun to run in the morning in the LIGHT. It made me realize how much I really don't like running in the cold and dark. I mean, I am guessing I am not in the minority here on that.

Today my friend from running class agreed to join me for my longest training run yet, 90 minutes. Typically this will translate to roughly 10 mins/mile, or 9 miles. My friend recommended I meet him at Discovery Park and we could run the Trail Loop three times. Sounded like a good plan to me! I had never run on trails and therefor had no idea what to expect. The one thing I thought we would encounter is tons and tons of people, and I was quite worried it would impact the run, but it was just fine. Lots of people, but not crowded.

Running trails is tough work. We ran the loop twice clockwise and then turned around and ran it once counter-clockwise. I swear, it felt like we were going uphill the whole way on the last loop! It was extremely tough to keep the pace I am normally used to running, but we did each 2.8 mile loop in almost exactly 30 minutes so it worked out really well for me needing to do 90 minutes. I am so glad I had my friend there with me. If it weren't for him, I am not sure I could have made it! We also left our water in his van so I didn't have to carry my obnoxious water belt, which was certainly handy.

I don't carry my phone when I run (no where to put it), but I wanted to take a few pictures of the view after I got back to the car (which I didn't remember to do until I had driven about 1/2 mile down the road!).

 This is the view of the Olympic Mountains over the Puget Sound.

 See that little point of darker land in the middle? That is Alki, where I do the vast majority of my runs. I wish my phone didn't take such terrible pictures, it actually was much sunnier than it looks in this picture.

 We couldn't see Mt. Rainier from where the trail was, but here is a cool view of it. 
Again, with the naked eye it was much more clear! 

Here is me, sweaty and red faced post-run. 

All of the awful weather and cold nights of running were (almost) forgotten in one glorious weekend of running.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Half-assing it

Tonight was another night of my bootcamp class. I have to admit, now that I have fallen in love with running, I am not so in love with bootcamp. It used to be my "big workout" of the week and now it's just one that kind of gets in the way of running. What keeps me going is knowing that I need to do some form of cross-training and I also have a good friend in the class to chat the night away with whenever we are able. Sometimes our unusually mean and cruel instructor will separate us to keep our chatting from interfering with the workout. The nerve! Hrmpf!

It is actually a great workout. Tonight I definitely half-assed it, though. It is amazing that I can go through a whole workout kind of just doing the motions. The motions of a million push-ups, crunches, lunges, etc etc. I was realizing that I am obviously getting stronger since there is no way even six months ago I could even go through the motions without practically killing myself. When I want a tougher workout now I have to really focus and push. Sometimes I get all bummed that I don't feel like I am getting stronger, but then I can look back over a longer period of time and realize that I am, it just doesn't happen overnight. Kind of fun to get that perspective!