Monday, April 29, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up

General summary of life happenings from last week (April 22 - April 28).

Weekly Workout Summary
Monday: REST.

Tuesday: 5 mi @ 10:39. This run felt good--my body felt so stiff from sitting so much at work.

Wednesday: 60 minute hot power vinyasa. Instead of my normal 90 minute class, I went to the studio's 60 minute "power hour" class that starts later (the idea being that those that work later can still make an abbreviated class). I definitely will be back--it's a nice alternative when I can't get out on time.

Thursday: 3.5 mi @ 10:21. Got home from work late and didn't want to do my strength training after, so I bailed. Not good!

Friday: REST.

Saturday: 6.5 mi @ 10:45. I feel like I'm getting slower, but I think I just have bad perspective. More on that soon.

Sunday: 3.5 mi on the treadmill. I tried out some HIIT as my "speed work" for the week. I came across this post when looking into HIIT a while ago, and basically used SUAR's workout modified for a slowpoke like me. It looked like: .5 mile warm up @ 5.2 mph; 60 seconds @ 7.1 mph, 90 seconds @ 5.2 mph, repeat 5 times; 60 seconds @ 7.3 mph, 90 seconds @ 5.2 mph, repeat 5 times; cool down @ 5.4 mph. [I think I could go a little faster next time, but I didn't want to kill myself the first time trying it.] Then I followed it up with a longer strength routine. Really good workout!

Weekly mileage: 18.5 miles

Non-plan plan assessment: Missed one strength workout, but I'll take it! I worked fairly long hours this week, so I was thrilled to fit in most of my workouts.

Notable Eats
See above reference to work schedule--not much notable here. Also, they were providing lunch for us everyday (since we were doing long days and were working through lunch). I tried to make healthy choices when available, but since I normally rely on my lunch to be my healthiest meal of the day (big salad + carb, usually), this threw me off a bit. Plus, they made lots of snacks available--and clearly chocolate was the one I reached for the most. Fail! This week (since the "big work thing" is going on for two more weeks, at least) I'm vowing to pack my lunch some days and stick to my own snacks (for the most part). I definitely feel better when I eat better, so I just need to remember that in the moment when chocolate feels like the perfect remedy to a particularly tough area.

Life Events
The aforementioned work ruled the week, unfortunately. But! Saturday did bring a fun event by way of Great Grapes Wine Festival in Reston, VA. We met up with Dan's sister, brother-in-law, baby (!), and some of their friends. Lots of fun was had by all!

But pictures were only had by Dan and I.
The event featured wine from Virginia wineries. I don't know much about Virginia wines (even still) and have negative 7 to offer in terms of intelligent oenophile discourse, but we tried a few tasty varieties. I would recommend all the wineries featured in the photo below, Williamsburg Winery especially (and they were inexpensive too! We went home with three bottles from them).

Thank you to Dan, my hand model in the upper right.
Definitely a great way to spend a Saturday.

Recreating this fantastic photo op.
Actually no we weren't. This is just my go to pose. Awesome!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Goals lately

So I had March goals at some point, right? And it's almost April. Whoops. Really let April get away from me!

How’d I do on my March goals? Well, the fact that I’ve failed to revisit them until now should probably be an indication. Let’s see.

Relationships: this one was actually pretty good! Dan and I had a few really nice date nights and lots of quality time, in addition to fun time spent with both of our families!

Mental: I didn’t do that great on updating the blog more frequently in March, but I’ve been trying to pick it up in April. I really enjoy posting--just hard sometimes to take the time to put words to the page.

Body: Sunscreen. Man, I am so bad at this. I did not do well on this at all in March. In April, it has been a bit better. But the time I always forget to do it is before my weekend runs! They are outside during the day, so it is really the main time I need to actually remember to do it. I think I need to start putting the bottle out and visible the night before.

Home: Work on cleaning out. Well Dan and I did make some progress here. We collected a couple of bags of stuff...except they are still sitting in the trunk of my car, whoops. I need to take those over. But I still need to do another purge of my summer stuff as I rotate out my winter wear and to get my act together with selling some of my nicer stuff.

April Goals?
Well, oops. My main (mental, not actually stated anywhere) goals for this month were to: actually start the sunscreen habit and just generally be more social. As discussed above, the sunscreen habit is still a work in progress. The being more social goal is going okay! I went to an event with my coworkers, went to a few different yoga events and met people, and am exploring running group options in the area to meet runner friends too. And I’ve made upcoming plans with current friends too.

I’m hoping to get back on the goal tracking train for May--to come this week!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up

General summary of life happenings from last week (April 15 - April 21).

Weekly Workout Summary
Monday: 5 mi @ 10:35. I remember zero details about this run. 

Tuesday: REST.

Wednesday: 4.5 mi @ 10:35.

Thursday: 60 min vinyasa yoga - went to a fun yoga event put on by my local Lululemon. Details below!

Friday: 3.5 mi on the treadmill at the gym - included 3x800 stretches at 6.2 mph. Then I did a strength training session--which made me so embarrassingly sore for how easy it was. Need to stick with it!

Saturday: REST. I was at work for a while, boo.

Sunday: 7 mi @ 10:42. Though I had to break it up a bit with a pit stop at the local high school for a bathroom break. No fun. Then in the evening, Dan and I went for a ~30 minute walk! This was really nice and something we want to start doing more frequently. 

Weekly mileage: 20 miles. 

How'd I do according to the new non-plan plan? Pretty good--missed one strength training session. And the particular yoga I went to wasn't heated/vigorous, but it was a nice stretch. 

Notable Eats

Dan and I went out for a "fast casual" dinner on Tuesday night at Cava Mezze Grill. I got a delicious rice bowl w/ falafel and a gazillion awesome veggie toppings and spreads. So good.
That pink stuff is pickled onion. Be still my heart.

Boring weeknight meal that can be made in five minutes flat, check:
Put bread in toaster, stick (already cut up) green beans in microwave, scramble eggs. Done.
Slightly less boring weeknight meal. I tried making some roasted chickpeas with leftovers I had from salads, thinking meh at least I'll use them up. Wow was I wrong--these were so good! Just olive oil, salt, chile powder, and paprika--toss them in the oven at 350* for 30 minutes. Definitely worth trying.
Plus sweet potatoes with sunflower butter + green beans. Can you guess what my veggie of the week was?
Dan and I did one of our at-home date nights on Saturday, which is really just an excuse for us to buy cheese/fancy meats (for him) and drink. Winning. Featuring cheese and breads, carrots + hummus, and berries. With a whiskey ginger off to the side.

Clearly the second plate feature more cheese, less produce.
Weekly events
As I mentioned above, I went to the "Om in the Sun" event put on by my local Lululemon on Thursday. 

Oh look whose picture they used again
It was a lot of fun! Not the most vigorous practice in the world, but certainly started to work up a sweat and a fun social activity. I met some new girls in my neighborhood, so that's always good! [Though, sidebar: at the beginning it felt like just a giant Lululemon employees gathering. They came from ALL OVER the DC area, not just the local store, and I felt a little weird that I didn't work for them! But then after it was clear there were others that participated too].

At the end of the session- namaste - Source: Lululemon Tyson's Facebook page.
I'm in the purple in the super distance!
And then after two local food places, Sweetgreen and Cava, fed us with quite the spread of eats! Tasty.
Sweetgreen juices (so good), dips and wraps, and a make-your-own granola bar!
Photos taken after the food was pillaged by hungry yogis.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

My non-training-plan plan

After my question on whether or not to do a  half-marathon, Anne Taite gave a very helpful metric: if it is less than 6 weeks away, go ahead and train for it. If not, don’t do it, because you’ll probably get burnt out. I loved the specificity of it! And it turned out the races I had been looking at were about two months after the 10-miler, which is maybe why I was balking at them in the first place. It seemed like so much longer to be training.

Additionally, my “big work thing” is finally happening, yikes! It is already digging into my personal time--I was at work for six hours yesterday (a Saturday)--so that further confirmed that maybe right now isn’t the best time to train for a big race.

So, I’m going to forgo the half-marathon this spring. I think it is the right call for life right now--though I am already starting to plan out which fall half I’ll want to do!

Even though I won’t be doing a formal training plan for the next several months, I’m still going to keep working on my running/fitness--getting faster and getting stronger!

I'm also constantly fighting my natural state of laziness...having a (publicly-articulated) plan should hopefully help with that. So I’ve created some general guidelines to take me through these “no plan” months. It basically amounts to a non-plan plan--oh well, there are worse things in the world than being a little neurotic. Here’s my non-plan plan that will take me from April until early August:

Run 4 times a week. I do like my current habit of running 4 times a week. It keeps my endurance up and ensures that running remains a habit. I figure this will be one longer run, one speed work day, and two easy, junk-mileage type of days. I’ll probably average 15-20 miles per week.

...But don’t stress if I miss a run. An important part of this non-plan plan is to allow myself flexibility and to choose living life over exercise! So if going out to dinner with Dan on a random Tuesday sounds better than getting my run in, that’s what I’ll do (within reason, obviously). Not that I didn’t do this while training for the 10-miler--but I won’t feel guilty or like I need to make up the run later in the week.

Do one 8+ mile run a month. For the most part, I’m envisioning weekly long runs to be around 6-7 miles. That seems to be a happy, maintaining-my-endurance/feel-like-I’m-getting-a-real-run place without being so exhausting that it knocks me out for the rest of the day. But! Once a month, I’d like to get out there for a slightly longer run--something 8 miles or longer. They’ll probably be slow and terrible because I’m not doing them consistently, but I know I’ll feel more confident come fall if I sprinkle a few longer runs over the summer.

Strength train twice a week. No excuses! I’ll do them on run days--I’ll probably be running on the treadmill more frequently anyway (DC summer heat, ugh), so I’ll already be at the gym. Just need to make myself do them!

Yoga at least once a week (probably twice). This shouldn’t be hard to keep--I’m loving yoga lately. It is so good for my body and a nice break from high intensity running.

Run a couple local races! I don’t want to do anything too big, but I think running a couple 5ks could be fun and could be a good test of my speed.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up

I meant to post this on Monday, but obviously got caught up in the coverage of Boston. I don’t have too much to say about it that hasn’t been already said more eloquently elsewhere re: general sadness/anger at what happened, the effects on the running community, and the gratitude for spectators. My thoughts go out to the victims and their families.

I want to be better about documenting my eats, workouts, and fun events here regularly, so I’m going to try to start making this a weekly feature!

Weekly Workout Summary: April 8 - April 14
Recovery week from the 10-miler! I took it pretty easy.

Monday: 35 minutes on the elliptical plus some light upper/core strength. I thought this workout would help me “shake out” my legs, but I don’t really think it helped and probably made me feel more sore the next day! Should have been a rest day.

Tuesday: 3.3 mi @ 10:40. This felt ROUGH. It was unbearably hot out (upper 80s), and my legs were still really tired from Sunday’s race.

Wednesday: 90 min hot power vinyasa yoga. Oh dear god was it hot. It was 90 degrees outside--and the studio was way hotter. Truly drenched when I left.

Thursday: OFF. Went to a coworker’s apartment for a fun event!

Friday: OFF. Spent the bulk of the day at my (likely!) future grad school!

Saturday: 6.5 mi @ 10:40. First couple of miles were a little ploddy, but after that things felt good.

Sunday:  60 min outdoor yoga class! That new-ish shopping area near me started offering free weekly outdoor yoga classes like they did last fall. It was a nice, easy class--a blend of hatha and light vinyasa.

Damn, that girl on the end in the lavender top has a really nice butt...
Source for the picture: Mosaic District Twitter feed. I’m pretty sure that picture was taken last fall and that is yours truly on the end in the back. I was looking at it and like...hey, I have those tops. And that brown curly ponytail. And that yoga mat. That’s me!

Weekly mileage: 9.8 miles. Heh, I ran more than that in one day last week!

Notable eats
I really eat a lot of the same things over and over, but I’ll try to feature a few meals here a week.

I'm a fantastic food photographer; I know. I call this: Cheesy Bread Phallus Plate.
I’m sure you’ve seen this method featured on Pinterest--well I will attest to the fact that it works! I’ve made it a few times, and it is definitely tasty and a cute presentation. This was pretty basic interpretation of it: 3 eggs, 3 TBSP cream, shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 1/3 of a 8 oz. block?), salt, and chives. I used a regular baguette cut in half (with a little saved on the side) to make two servings.

Dan's all cut up (because, full disclosure, some of mine fell apart)
Notable life events:
The aforementioned visit day at *future grad school*! Really starting to look forward to next year, instead of just feeling constantly panicked. Once I put my name on the dotted line, I’ll discuss this more openly!

Going with Dan to get the supplies for a mini balcony herb garden! Well right now it is really just an herb, not an herb garden--Home Depot’s herb selection was picked over, so we didn’t find everything we wanted. We’re working on getting it filled in this week!

Single, sad herb.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

To Half or Not To Half?

I am currently STRUGGLING with the decision to run a half-marathon following the 10-miler or not. I am truly torn. So let’s outline the pros/cons, shall we?

Pros to running a half-marathon this spring:
I can build on my 10-miler training. This is the major reason I’m considering it. I’ve already put in a lot of the legwork for recommended half-marathon training--some plans even have people stopping at 10 miles for the long runs. I’d plan to go a bit farther (I’d like to hit 13), but it would only take a few more weeks of building on my existing base.

I’d check off an item on my fitness "bucket list." I know I will never do a full marathon, but I really want to do a half someday. It would be cool to do it sooner rather than later! Plus, with starting grad school this fall, I worry that I’d be short on time for training for a fall half-marathon. Might be nice to do it now while I have the time!

I like the accountability provided by longer distance training. If I don’t do a half this spring, I won’t really get another opportunity to do one until the fall (DC = too hot for summer races). So I’d pretty much be done with “real” training until fall--and thus would lack the accountability that training for a longer race provides. I could train for a 5k, sure, but it doesn’t provide the same level of “I need to do these runs otherwise I will embarrass myself on race day” that a long race provides--I could (now!) do a 5k with minimal training/ramp up.

I really don’t want to lose my endurance/run base. This is kind of stupid, but it feels so important to me. I’ve started to mentally identify as this 20+ mile a week runner, and I hate the idea of losing that and going back to struggling through a 5 miler. I worry if I don’t have a longer race on the horizon that my weekly 10 milers will become 4 milers and I’ll be right back to where I started.

Cons to doing the half-marathon this spring:
I’m worried I’d be “tainting” my 10-miler results. Kind of a weird way to put it, but I just feel like I worked so hard during the 10 miler training cycle and was so pleased with the way it ultimately went--it feels like it can only go downhill from here. I did three 10-mile runs in preparation for this race, and several other 8 mile+ runs. Based on the scheduling, I’d only get in a few 11 mile+ runs before a half-marathon, and I just worry it wouldn’t be as thorough of training as I did for the 10-miler. Which maybe would be fine...but I wouldn’t want it to overshadow my 10-miler accomplishment, or somehow water it down if the half-marathon wasn’t nearly as fast. I kind of just want to bask in the glory of a job well done and finishing the 10-miler faster than I ever expected--not set myself up to be disappointed if I don’t do as well at a half.

I could explore other exercise options. I’ve mentioned that I’ve been struggling to fit in all of the cross-training activities I want to do on top of my runs. Well, running less would certainly help that issue. And who knows--maybe some added strength training and cross-training would make me a stronger runner come fall!

I might get burnt out on running. I already started to feel this at the end of the 10-miler training--feeling like I needed to get out there on certain days of every week became mentally fatiguing after a while. Every run became an exercise (pun!) in motivation and mental strength. It wasn’t that I didn’t love being out there once I got going--but I just didn’t want to feel like I had to be out there all the time, you know?

Life has the potential to get crazy. There is this giant, looming work project on the horizon that keeps getting pushed back (6 months and counting!). When it hits, it is going to hit hard, and I will have minimal non-work time for several weeks. I hate the idea of putting my life on pause for a work event--ESPECIALLY one that keeps getting delayed--but it seems a little foolish to be committing to train for a race when this could hit any week! Oh and plus, I already signed up for a preparing-for-grad-school econ class going from April-June. Not a huge deal (I’m taking it for general knowledge background, not an actual grade/requirement for entry), but certainly another time commitment to consider.

THE WEATHER. DC was a god-awful mid-80s this week. If this is what I’m in for with half training, I’m ready to throw in the towel already. Not something I want to be dealing with on 10+ mile runs!

So--what say you? Anyone have any opinions or suggestions? I’m starting to lean one way, but really would appreciate any perspectives/similar experiences!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Recap

I did it! And I beat my A+ goal! Here's how it all went down. 

My mom and Dan came to the race with me for support! We all camped out at a hotel in DC the night before and definitely did not sleep enough. Oh well. I had made sure to get a fair amount of sleep Friday night in anticipation! I think we were all up when the alarm went off at 5:45 am. 

I ate half a PB&J on wheat (normally I have a piece of toast w/ PB&J pre-run, so this was a good make ahead option for the hotel) plus a banana. Plus coffee of course! 

We took the metro down to the start at Smithsonian. I couldn’t believe how crowded it was--considering this was only my second race ever and my first “big” race, I was really overwhelmed! 

Waiting for metro at 6:30 am. That thumb wins the
supporting actor award for this recap.
First priority upon arrival was BATHROOM. We had a bit of trouble finding them, and once we did the lines were fairly long. But luckily, after learning the challenges of race portapotties at the 10k, we had planned in a good chunk of time for them! I actually made it to my corral on time, whew. 

Waiting in my corral with a nervous smile-grimace.
It was FREEZING at the start of the race, but I knew I had a tendency to overheat while running. So I kept the jacket on until the last minute and then ditched it. So glad I had my mom/Dan there to take my stuff so I didn’t have to screw around with bag check. 

Panic levels (and corresponding manic face) increasing.
And finally the corrals started to move forward (I was in a slower one) and after a fair amount of walking/waiting...we were off!

The Race
I’m having a hard time remembering all the details from the race, but I’ll do my best to document it!

Miles 1-2: Man was it crowded. I was honestly shocked at the amount of people and how packed it felt--was not prepared for that. My first mile pace was almost a minute slower than my others due to the crowd! I also probably was doing some weaving here--I ended up about .2 miles over 10 according to my phone.

I found the 10:30 min/mi pacer and stayed around her for a while. The bridge at mile 2 was nuts--sooo crowded and hard to run. I was having a hard time settling in to a comfortable pace.

Miles 3-4: We ran up to the Kennedy Center and back. I wasn’t super big on all the turnarounds on this course--I think I just prefer a bigger loop. We went under some overpasses, which were like mini-tunnels and kind of fun. I was still hanging around the 10:30 min/mi pacer at mile 3 but still wasn’t really finding my legs. We went down a downhill and she kind of started pulling back, whereas I was ready to kick it in. I decided to pull ahead of her a bit and see how that felt. What a difference! My legs were ready to go a little faster and wanted to hold their own pace (as opposed to following someone else). I was nervous about this decision at the time (going out too fast!), but it ended up being the right call.

Focus face. My on-the-course pictures reveal that I  put my thumb
up when I run, even when I'm not trying to. Perpetual thumbs up!
Miles 5-6: I got a text from Dan telling me they were near the midpoint of the race. I looked and looked and...didn’t see them. Such a bummer! I know they were bummed to miss me too. After that I started texting them intermittently to let them know what mile I was on so I wouldn’t miss them again! [Next time, I’d do this earlier!]

I started to feel the rumbles of hunger at mile 5, which is earlier than normal for me. As I’ve mentioned, I never take in water or fuel during my normal long runs, so I was a little wary of trying anything out on race day. I kept focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. 

Half-way split: 51:42 (10:20 min/mi pace)
10k split: 1:04:12 (5 minutes faster than my 10k in October!)

Miles 7-8: Hains Point! I was excited to reach it because I had never run along Hains, and I know it is considered sort of a “athletes’ paradise” in DC. I think I’d agree with that! Beautiful, serene surroundings and a flat, long stretch. The only issue with it was the wind coming off the water! It was the only time during the race that I got chilly, but I was still glad I opted for no jacket overall. 

I was feeling pretty good but hungry. I knew I had some time in the bank to work with for my goal, so I decided to throw caution to the wind and try some Gatorade at a water stop. Man did it taste good. I just had a few sips, but it stopped my stomach from rumbling and seemed to give me a boost!

I remember along this stretch having to constantly remind myself that I was racing. My legs kept wanting to fall into a normal run pace of 10:30-45, but I was feeling good and could give more--I just had to remember to do so! I found a girl that was keeping relatively my pace and tried to keep her in my sights for the rest of the race (thank you, off-white long-sleeve girl! Sorry if I was creepy!). Some good crowd support during this leg of the race--loved the drum groups!

Intentional thumbs up. Feeling good!
Miles 9-10: ALMOST THERE. I wasn’t feeling too rough physically, but I was just ready to be done. I started to pick up my pace for the last mile and a half. The hill at the end is a little brutal after a (mostly) flat race. I actually slowed down a bit toward the finish line because Dan and my mom were supposed to be there! I was scanning the faces in the crowd desperate to see them--and finally, 20 feet from the finish line, I saw them! I was so happy to see them and be done:

Dan is a really good photographer! Love this picture.
I ended up finishing UNDER my A+ goal time!! Official time/pace was 1:42:13, for a 10:13 min/mi pace.

Splits according to my phone:
Runkeeper claims it was more like a 10:03 min/mi pace to account for the total distance of 10.2 miles that I actually ran. Either way, I’ll take it. I’m SO THRILLED with how the race went and truly astonished that I finished that fast. That was close to a full minute per mile faster than my 10k just 6 months ago!

The Aftermath
After the race I was so ecstatic about my finish time! I seriously couldn’t believe it. I think I probably annoyed everyone all day with continuing to talk about the race. :)

We wandered around for a bit trying to find me some nourishment. I was fairly famished by that point, but that weird queasy hunger that made me not want to eat a ton of solid foods (I got over that pretty quickly). Gatorade tasted awesome.

So happy!
I wasn’t super in to hanging around at the post-race activities...just wanted to shower and get off my feet. My mom made the executive decision that if we could find a cab we would take it, and we got lucky and found one pretty quickly!

We met up with the rest of the fam back at the hotel. I am normally not a big shower person, but man that shower felt fantastic! After I got cleaned up, we had lunch at the (very nice) hotel buffet. All you can eat brunch buffet (with really really good food) post long run = exactly what I wanted.

And then the fam had to get on the road (sadface), and Dan and I headed back to VA. We rallied to get some groceries, which is where he surprised me with these!:

Beautiful congratulatory flowers! And drying dishes.
And then the rest of the day was spent pretty much like this:

Shirt of success. Pose of awkward.
With a 1.5 hour nap thrown in there too. Even with the nap, I crashed hard at night and slept for 8 hours...I was so exhausted. My legs are hurting quite a bit today (more than normal)--likely because I didn’t really stretch after the run and didn’t ice like normal. Oh well--not a big deal if I need to take it easy this week--I’m not training for anything anymore!

Final thoughts
The 10 mile distance was a lot of fun to run. Long enough that real “training” was required, but not so much that training took over my life. I found it a little challenging to race that distance--I couldn’t figure out how much to hold back--but I think that’s more from general racing inexperience than anything else. 

The Cherry Blossom 10-miler is a great race. Mostly flat (though not QUITE as flat as I expected) and a pretty course (though minimal cherry blossoms during this particular year!). I was shocked at how big it was though--I honestly don’t know if I really love big races. It was so crowded and overwhelming. But then again, it was very well organized, the expo was fun, and the course was well-staffed with support. I think I’ll have to try out a small local race before I decide which I prefer!

Most importantly: I was SO HAPPY that my mom and Dan were able to be there. It really made the day 17 times better to share it with them. They were both so amazingly supportive and proud that it makes me tear up! So a big THANK YOU to them!!! Love you both!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Goals for the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler

Just a quickie post before Sunday's 10-miler!

Real talk: I'm nervous. Not as bad (yet) as I was before the 10k (my first race)...but considering I was literally in the tub the night before, crying and saying the totally coherent thought of: "But what if I DO BAD" to Dan over and over before the would be pretty hard to match that level of panic.

I just worry that I'm going to embarrass myself or somehow fail to achieve the goals and let other people down. So it is a BIG DEAL that I'm willing to put these out there before the race! My instincts are to keep them private so that I can't feel the public shame, but I think it is important to share both successes and failures in this little running journey of mine. So. Here we are. Be nice if I don't meet them.

My B goal is to finish the race. I will honestly truly be happy if I finish the race (and have fun doing it!)--it is only my second race ever, so finishing is still really exciting., 10 miles is long. This time last year, I was running 2 miles at a time, on the treadmill. Now four miles is an easy day and I'm going to race a 10-miler. Nuts!

That being said...I have finished the 10 mile distance already a few times, and I've put in a good amount of mileage prepping for this race. I feel confident that I can do more than merely finish--it seems reasonable to have a time goal in mind!

So my A goal is finishing under 1:50 (an hour and 50 minutes). This would put me at an 11 min/mi pace, which looking at my recent long run paces, is very doable for me.

My A+ to finish under/around 1:45. That would put me at a 10:30 pace...which I still think is a quasi-doable pace to shoot for too, based on my recent long runs (10:37-10:50 pace). But this is definitely the A+ goal--all of the race day stars will need to align for this to happen!

Honestly, I think it will come down to A) how much race day adrenaline actually makes a difference and B) how much the lack of hills helps me or hurts me. I am used to running in some fairly hilly neighborhoods for my training runs, and this course is amazingly flat in comparison. This could potentially be a good thing (yay no uphills!), but I'm actually worried that I've gotten too used to using the downhills for recovery and that it could hurt me. So we will see.

So that's what we're working with. My plan is to start with the 10:30 pace group and try to hang on. This might be a stupid if you have other ideas, please let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

10-miler training

A little late (considering the 10-miler is less than a week away!), but here’s what I did to train for my first 10-miler!

I’ve been doing four runs a week, broken down as follows:

  • One long run. The cornerstone of any distance training plan. I was building on a base from a 10k, so I started with a 7-miler. I’ve basically been increasing the distance by a half mile each week. I had planned to peak at 11, but given that I missed a week with a cold, I stuck to around 10 (10.3). I still feel good going into the race though!
  • One mid-week longer run. This started as a 5 miler at the beginning and now I’m doing a 6 miler. These runs, maybe even more than my long runs, really helped me build my confidence for race day. A lot of times I’m feeling tired/not wanting to run for that long on a weeknight, so it is a good mental exercise. And it makes the rest of the weekday runs feel so much shorter!
  • One 4-miler: No frills, just running for four miles.
  • One shorter, usually treadmill run, with speed intervals: I don’t usually have a rhyme or reason to the speed intervals. Usually something like 4x400, but I’ve been doing 800s or tempo style too. It will typically last between 3 and 4 miles. I like doing this on the treadmill for pacing purposes and so that I can get a strength workout in afterwards.

Honestly, for most of the paces (besides the treadmill run), I just run whatever feels comfortable that day. Sometimes pushing myself feels great; other days I’m slogging through. I’m trying to push myself when I feel up to it.

I’ve taken a “cut back” week every fifth week to try to offset the mileage increases and give my mind and body a break. I think these have been helpful overall--or at least not detrimental.

In addition to the running, I try to get in 2-3 cross-training activities a week. I vary these up a bit, but here’s what I choose from::
  • Power vinyasa yoga class. I usually do one of these a week.
  • Easier yoga day--either a hatha-style class the studio or a shorter session at home.
  • Some time on the elliptical (followed by strength training).
  • Strength training. I try to get in at least one full-body session per week, but I really should incorporate two because I’m seeing how beneficial they are. Hard to fit in with everything else! I usually do two “circuits”, with each circuit having one of the following: a leg move (or a compound leg/arm move); an arm move; and a core move. Go through the circuit once, repeat twice. Then do the same for the second circuit. It helps me get it done quickly and not get bored.
  • Core work, if I have extra time after a run--just five minutes worth.

On a good week, I'd get 2 yoga classes and a strength session. And some weeks (ahem last week) I totally drop the ball on cross-training and do a big fat goose egg. I know they are important, but mentally having a hierarchy of what were "must-dos" and "nice-to-dos" was really helpful for making me feel not too overwhelmed by everything. Running (particularly the two longer ones) = must dos; cross-training = nice to do.

Below (behind the cut because it is crazy long), I've listed out a ton of backlogged weekly workout summaries (going back to February!). I figured these would be helpful for showing how I usually fit all of the activities in in a given week. I was writing these as I went but had never gotten around to posting them!