Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Year End Review

Well, I didn't make my mileage goals for 2009, but I did exceed the miles run in 2008. Why not? I was very sick in March and injured my leg in October. But I did run more in 2009 than I did last year, so I consider it a success. I learned this year that I shouldn't set exact mileage goals. My goals for next year are simply to run farther or faster than I did in 2009. Now that I'm working with a running coach, that should be easy to achieve as long as I don't have any lengthy illnesses or injuries...

My totals for 2009 are: 171 runs, 731.6 miles. I didn't break any personal records (PRs) in races this year. But I came close in the Peachtree Road Race 10K. That was the race of the year for me in terms of performance. It was awesome! I was highly disappointed in my finish time for the Chicago marathon, but it was totally due to injury. I was set to finish in 5-5:15, but the pain was just too intense so I slowed to a walk for the last two miles. It was a disappointing finishing time, but one of the most amazing/memorable vacations we've had. What fun to share this experience with my daughter and our friends!

Looking forward to a more amazing year in 2010!

December 2009 Summary

December 2009: 21 runs, 81.7 miles

December ranks the 3rd highest month for mileage in 2009.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

It's Complicated

This week started off great, but didn't end as well as hoped. I completed the first three runs as Coach Josh scheduled, but had an upset stomach over the weekend which eliminated my long run. Bummer... I'm frustrated. Is this a virus or do I have food allergies/intollerances? If it's a food issue, what is the trigger? This seems to happen way too often...

Monday: Rest day. But I didn't exactly rest... Took my daughter ice skating. We used to go often before I tore my ACL. I've always enjoyed ice skating, but was afraid to go again for a few years after my knee surgery. I was afraid I would fall and tear it again, even though skating was not the cause of my ACL tear. But that fear didn't even enter my mind when I had the idea for us to go now. Kyra goes roller blading with day care a lot and she glided easily across the ice rink. We had a blast skating for about an hour. We should do this more often!

Tuesday: 4 miles = 0.5 mile warm-up, 3 x 1-mile hard runs, cool down. I went to the local middle school for this run since the high school track was occupied and I really didn't want to do it on the treadmill and our neighborhood mile loop is hilly. I did a half-mile warm-up, walked 1-2 minutes, did a hard mile (9:47), walked 2 minute, did another hard mile (9:51), walked 2 minutes, did a last hard mile (9:43), and walked to the car. I haven't run mile repeats in decades! I went at a moderate pace for the first half-mile and then picked it up from there. I pushed the hardest on the last mile and felt like vomiting afterwards. Wow, 3 miles in less than 10 minutes/mile; cool!

Wednesday: 2.04 miles easy with the dogs. Took Tasha for 1 mile; she had to poop twice and pee several times which resulted in 12:16. Picked up the pace with Riley on another loop around the neighborhood to get the average pace to under 12 minutes/mile.

Thursday: 5 miles in 57:35 on the treadmill. Yay, finally remembered to do plyos (20 skip strides, 1 set of high knees, 1 set of butt kicks). Then did 0.5-mile warm-up (started at 3 mph and gradually increased to 5.2 mph), 2 miles at 5.2 mph, 2 miles at 5.5 mph, then 0.5 mile cool down.

Friday: rest day. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Saturday: sick day. Was supposed to run 8 miles today, but had an upset stomach. Hoping I can run the 8 miles tomorrow instead...

Sunday: 2.2 miles in 27:28. I thought Terri had said that we would go see the movie "It's Complicated", today at 3 p.m. So I set out for an 8-mile run a little after 11 a.m. I would have had plenty of time. But... Terri called me about 1-mile into the run and said the movie started at 1 p.m. I was having a hard time getting into the run, my shins were hurting and I didn't feel the greatest. So I gladly, slowly, returned home to shower and meet her and her mom at the theater. I thought that maybe I would make up the run this evening, but my tummy had other plans. Is this a 48-hour bug or do I have food allergies/intollerances?

Days run this week: 4
Miles run this week: 13.24
Highlight of the week: 1-mile repeats at the middle school track
Goal for next week: complete all scheduled runs

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I'm committed

I decided to take a plunge and hire a running coach. I've heard great things about Coach Josh, aka Speedy Sasquatch, so I decided to give him a try. I committed on Monday. He asked me what my running plan was for the week and I sent it to him. He made just a few minor changes and entered the week's plan into Buckeye Outdoors. He said normally he provides paces for the runs, but since we're just getting started, he'll evaluate my running this week and provide pace guidelines for next week. Sounds good to me!

Monday: rest day

Tuesday: 5 mile intervals in 1:00:55. Treadmill: 1 mile warm-up, 6 x (3 minutes at 6 mph + 2 minutes walking recovery at 3 mph), 1.6 mile cool down at 5.2 mph.

Wednesday: 2.03 miles in 25:32, around the neighborhood with Riley (golden retriever). Now I remember why I should only take him on morning runs. Too many distractions! He tried to chase after squirrels, cats, dart away from the big-brown-truck-man, etc. It was like running an obstacle course trying not to trip over him.

Thursday: Rest day. I was supposed to run 4 miles today, but I was sick (and so was my daughter). Decided it would be best to rest today (which was planned for tomorrow), and run tomorrow to maximize my running efforts.

Friday: 4 mile progression run in 47:11. Each mile was a little faster than the one before. Mile splits = 13:00, 11:45, 11:27, 10:59. Kyra woke this morning to find the elves using my sweaty headphones to jam out to her iPod. Silly elves!

Saturday: 10 mile long run in 2 hours, 3 minutes, 6 seconds. Since Kyra is with me this weekend (and she's too young to be left home alone for this long of a run), I opted to run on the treadmill. I listened to Gordon's Running to Disney podcast episodes 39 and 40, which were about his taper and Rocket City marathon race report. Awesome episodes! I started my run slow and pushed harder at the end. During my prior marathon training I would take walk breaks every 2-3 miles, and more frequently at the end. This time, I only took one walk break, at mile 5, to consume an energy gel and water. I sipped on water while running throughout the run rather than slowing to a walk to drink. The run felt good, and I sure was glad to finish.

Sunday: 2.05 miles in 23:49. My legs are still sore from yesterday's long run. If I weren't committed to a coach, I probably would have skipped the run today. But since I'm accountable to someone else, I went outside and jogged 2 miles around the neighborhood. I had a sneak peak at the training Coach Josh has planned for me for next week. I noticed that he has my 2-mile runs at an "easy" pace of 12 minutes per mile. That would be an easy pace on a flat route or treadmill, but not extremely easy in my hilly neighborhood. When I ran that route on Wednesday with Riley, the average pace was 12:34. I decided to try to do a 12 minute pace today. The first mile in my neighborhood 2-mile route is very hilly. I normally walk up some of the steep hills. I walked up those same hills, but started walking a little farther up the hill rather than at the base. I managed to complete the first mile in 11:54, but I wouldn't call it "easy". The next mile was easier and I couldn't resist running a little faster at the end for an 11:27.

My sister called me this morning. She asked if I had registered for the ING Georgia marathon. I told her no, that I had decided to run the Wrightsville Beach marathon instead. She said that she wants to run it with me. It will be her first marathon. I told her that I had planned to register for it today and she asked me to sign her up too. I registered us for the marathon this evening! Now I wonder if she'll pick up her running and be prepared for it? She hasn't run much lately and wonders when she'll find the time. I told her that I make it a priority. Of course, work and my daughter come first, but I schedule in time for me as well. I hope she makes the time to run! I'd love to run it with her. But if not, I know that my friend, Kim, will be running the half-marathon so there will at least be someone else that I know there. Currently there are only 130 people registered for the marathon; hope I don't finish last.

* Days run this week: 5
* Miles run this week: 23.08
* Highlight of the week: hiring a running coach, registering for Wrightsville Beach marathon
* Goal for next week: follow Coach Josh's plan

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Oh what a week!

Oh what a week! I met my 5 times a week goal, my mileage goal, received a free entry into a Spring 2010 marathon, and seeked out a running coach!

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 4.04 miles total, speedwork = 1.04 mile around the block with Riley (golden retriever) warm-up. Then 0.25 mile on the treadmill, warm-up. Four times 0.5-mile at 6 mph with 0.25-mile walk/jog recovery between. Felt good!

Wednesday: 2.28 miles. 1.04 miles with Tasha (husky), then the rest with Riley. Easy run.

Thursday: Rest Day. Was offered free entry to inaugural Blue Ridge Marathon in Roanoke, VA. Who me? Yes! Was giddy about it all afternoon. This is a hilly course. Not sure if I should accept since it will be hard. But maybe I should, since it will be hard. Just go into it with the expectation of simply finishing within the 7 hour cut-off time, rather than a PR.

Friday: 3 mile progression run. 13:10 warm-up mile, 11:32 marathon pace mile, 11:00 faster paced mile. Sent in my completed entry form for the Blue Ridge Marathon. I accept the challenge. For several months, if not longer, I've had a goal of running the Pine Mountain 40-mile trail ultramarathon in December 2010. The Blue Ridge Marathon will be great preparation for that event. Plus... did I mention free entry?

So now that I've decided to take on this challenge, I thought I should probably get a running coach. Especially because I'd really like to run the Wrightsville Beach marathon too, which is 5 weeks before the Blue Ridge Marathon. I'd like to run the Wrightsville Beach marathon faster than my previous marathons. I can follow a cookie-cutter training plan (i.e. Hal Higdon), but want to improve my pace and have no clue how to properly train for two marathons within 5 weeks of each other. Hiring a running coach is something I've been thinking about and researching for months. I listen to a variety of running podcasts and have heard about Coach Speedy Sasquatch in several of them. I thought of him at first, but then thought it may be better to find someone local. I searched for local coaches and found very few. And those few didn't have impressive websites. There is a blogger that I follow in North Carolina that has exceptional blogs; he hopes to coach soon, but isn't coaching yet. I considered another North Carolina coach, but he's in charge of an inaugural marathon and his program seems to focus on the local athlete, so I ruled him out as probably being to busy. My thought kept turning back to Speedy Sasquatch so I contacted him about coaching. He coaches people around the country, the podcaster seems obsessed with him, so I decided to give him a try. Sent him an inquiry and then responded by filling out a form for him. Hoping he can help me reach my goals!

Saturday: 8 mile long run. It was 32 degrees when I got up this morning. Thought I would run on the treadmill. But then looked at Twitter and saw that Dirtdawg50k ran outside in 18 degrees with a windchill. Threw out the question of indoor vs outside and he responded with get your butt out the door (or something like that). So I put on tights, thermal top, long-sleeved cotton shirt, hat and gloves and began my run. I left home, turned left on Cole, left on Five Forks, left on Lake Lucerne to almost Hwy 78, then turned around when my Garmin 405 said I had gone 4 miles. I've run this route before, when the weather was much warmer (80s). It was much easier today in the low 30s. I really enjoyed the run until about 7 miles, when I tripped over thin air. Why am I so clumsy? I can't even blame the sidewalk. Thankfully, my gloves and tights covered any damage, so I took a few seconds, dusted myself off, thought that I've done this before, and kept running home. At home I realized that my right knee was scraped through my thights, I have a small scratch on my left hand, and my right elbow is probably going to bruise from landing on it as well. Was surprised at how well I felt (energy wise) after the run, but the shower STUNG.

Sunday: Easy 2-mile run on the treadmill just to get a few more miles in. My right arm/shoulder hurts. Guess it took most of the impact from my fall yesterday.

* Days run this week: 5
* Miles run this week: 19.32
* Highlight of the week: Receiving free entry into Blue Ridge Marathon!
* Goal for next week: Keep on running... 5 times a week, 22-ish miles.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Blue Ridge marathon? I think so...

I normally only post on this blog once a week, but felt compelled to do a special edition today. During my lunch break, I looked at Twitter and saw a re-tweet about free Head Sweat hats to early registrants of the Blue Ridge marathon. I wasn't considering running that marathon, had actually never heard of it, but clicked on the sender to follow their tweets. Next thing I know, I get a message from BRM26pt2 asking if a "free entry" would sway my decision for a spring marathon. I've had a poll on this blog trying to decide which of four marathons I should run this spring, none of which included the Blue Ridge marathon since today was the first time I'd even heard of it. I looked at the marathon's website, checked out the distance from home in mapquest (7.5 hours), and replied that free entry would definitely sway my decision. A few minutes later I was sent a comped entry form to the race. WOW! What started out as a simple new person/group to follow on Twitter in hopes of learning more about running, turned into a free spring marathon! The downside? The race is hilly/mountainous. The upside? It's free and scenic. I wrestled with the ups and downs the rest of the afternoon. But then came home to find that Riley (golden retriever) chewed the buttons and part of the collar off Kyra's GAP sweater as well as shredded a re-useable shopping bag. He also pulled off a seat cushion, but no damage was done to it. I was furious! Now I'm thinking that free and hard (which means harder training/more stress reduction) may be just what I need. The other good thing is that it is 5 weeks after the Wrightsville Beach marathon, which means I have more time to train and/or I may be able to do both marathons if I get serious about running and treat Wrightsville Beach as a long training run. I'd also like to run the Pine Mountain 40-mile trail ultra marathon in December 2010. Training for/completing a hilly marathon in April will certainly help in preparation for that race. Thanks for helping me decide on at least one spring marathon!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

five out of seven days, YAY!

OMG! I jogged 5 days this week! Most days were short/slow jogs, but 5 outings none-the-less.

Monday: Started out the week with 2.04 easy jog/walk miles in the neighborhood. My back HURT with every foot fall. (In case you didn't know, I was bucked off a horse during a canter on Thanksgiving and landed on my head/back. VERY PAINFUL.) My goal for this week is to just get in the habit of getting up and out the door most mornings. I'm going to take it slow/easy/day-by-day based on how my back recovery goes. I hurt, but am proud of myself for getting out the door!

Tuesday: Two days in a row! Jogged an easy 2 miles on the treadmill this morning. My back still HURTS. Stretched afterwards, which felt great!

Wednesday: Can you say... 3 days in a row? Did an easy 2.13 miles on the treadmill. My original plan was 2, but decided to go a little bit farther. Back still hurts, but is feeling a little better. Yay! But so much for these socks... Riley (golden retriever puppy), managed to snag a sock from the bathroom floor and took a bite out of it. Luckily I caught him before he ate the entire sock! Obviously need to take him out for a run, but am waiting for my back to improve. He's such a strong puller at the beginning of a run, or when startled, that I don't want to take any chances of hurting my back worse.

Thursday: REST DAY

Friday: 3 easy miles on the treadmill. Back is slowly improving.

Saturday: REST DAY or CROSS-TRAINING? Had planned to do an easy long run today, but decided to shift it to tomorrow when the weather is supposed to be better. Went Christmas shopping this afternoon, which meant walking around for hours. Does that count for cross training?

Sunday: 6.89-mile long, easy, jog/walk at Suwanee Greenway Trail after daughter's very close basketball game. They lost by one point and were ecstatic! This is the closest they've come to winning this year. The trail is adjacent to the parking lot of Suwanee Sports Academy where my daughter's basketball games are held. My back still hurts, but it's feeling a little better each day. I took it easy. It felt great to do a long jog/walk again, even though it was very slow. I mostly enjoyed the 2/3 mile soft surface trail through the woods, which I ran twice. Ate at my favorite mexican restaurant afterwards. YUM.

* Days run this week: 5
* Miles run this week: 16.06
* Highlight of the week: Getting out five days; trail running at Suwanee Greenway Trail
* Goal for next week: Keep up the momentum. Run most days of the week, even if for only a few miles. Try to add a speedwork session.