Thursday, December 22, 2011

336 hours

14 days. 2 weeks. 20,160 minutes. That's how long it's been since I last ran. I'm not obsessing about it if that's what you think. Ok, so yeah I am.

2 weeks ago, I ran a great tempo run which was preceded by a great 10 miler, which was preceded by a great 16 miler. I was on a roll. That Thursday of my tempo run, I had my usual stiffness, aches, etc. However, by the end of the day I was hurting - in my hip, my glute and lower back. I had trouble putting weight on it, but then again, I still considered it the usual aches and pains after a run compounded by a long day at work on my feet. Friday, it was better, and I had no worries about it being ok for Saturday's 18. The first 18. I was stiff Saturday, but again, I wasn't overly worried. I won't lie that it wasn't in the back of my mind, but then again, what isn't when you're headed out for 18. Sadly, as many of you know, the situation became a bigger situation. At mile 2.2, I realized it wasn't going to get easier as it was only getting worse. I made the always difficult decision to stop. I decided to walk back and call it a day, remembering the 3 day or 3 week rule. It was a nice 30 degree morning, and my thin long sleeve shirt and capri tights only did so much for my super slow walk back. It took me a little over an hour to make it the 2.2 miles back to my car, and by that time, I was completely frozen and limping significantly. The next three days were a simple wash, rinse and repeat. Sunday, felt better, but didn't run. Monday, the same. Tuesday, decided to go for it. This time, at .75, I shut it down. Also, this time the pain didn't get better the next day. I limped horribly for the rest of the week. I wasn't able to do anything in my Wednesday spin class, except ride along easily while I led the class.

Thanks to a couple of good friends, I had access to an anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxers. I became close with my foam roller and ice pack. All sounds good right? Wrong. None of it was helping. I scheduled a massage for Friday and anxiously hoped it would do the trick. It was a painful hour, but the massage therapist seemed to think the areas loosened up some. I limped out much like I limped in. And the limping continued. The first of my canceled race plans came Sunday when I wasn't able to run the Ole Man River Half Marathon in New Orleans. It was then that I realized the dream of Houston was over. Using my friend's heated seats on the trip to New Orleans and back, I figured out that heat was helping more than anything, and I found some much needed relief that day. Monday, I was able to spin a little better, and I felt better throughout the day than previous days. I was feeling daring so I decided to take Molly for a short walk after walk. I had planned to give a mile a shot, but it was a little tougher than I thought so I decided to cut it short. That was a good idea because soon after, I was limping horribly and in some pretty bad pain. As soon as I made it back home, I immediately went to Walgreens and bought a heating pad! I have been best friends with it all week, and I see more relief from that than anything else. I'm slightly encouraged that I'm better and walking better, however, it's by no means all the way better. I've lost fitness, gained weight and haven't been able to do much cross training during this time, and while the end is closer sight, I'm still probably another week or more from anything close to running.

So, Houston is over, and now I will be looking to other races or options for the spring. I had high hopes for Houston, mainly a PR and the elusive 4 hour/sub 4 hour marathon. It would have been my 12th, and after 2 years of lots of ups and downs (including some significant personal/emotional issues), I felt back on track and ready to really move forward. That will have to wait! My coach told me that it would come down to acceptance, and he was right. I've accepted it and have been focusing on getting better and healthy. He also said that it is not the end of the world. And it's not, but lately it has felt really bad. Working so hard for something to have it pulled away so quickly is very hard to manage, but this is part of marathoning. I'm lucky to have just now had an injury of any kind. I will get better, I will get my fitness back and before long, I'll be running again. I'm so excited for that day!!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Recovery Week

Who doesn't love a recovery week? I do! For me, these weeks are just as challenging as other weeks. You see, coach and I have figured out a great schedule or cycle for my training. Two weeks with intensity and challenging running, and then one week of recovery. By the end of the second week, I am tired, my legs are tired and I'm ready for some recovery time! However, recovery runs hurt! During my recovery weeks, I struggle, and I usually feel crappy. But it never fails that by the time the week is over, and it's time to hit it hard again, I'm all better! Perhaps some of it is mental?

I was really sore at the start of this week. I'm having some soreness in places I've never had before so I'm stretching things I've never stretched before! Tuesday was warm and muggy, and the run suffered even more because of that. It was tough out there, and every mile or so, we took a short walk break. I felt more tired in spin this week than previous weeks as well. Thursday morning I was lazy. I slept late and it was really nice. I felt super guilty about not dragging myself out of bed to run though. I was still pretty sore in a couple of places, so it was probably good I waited. I had decided to get my run in over at my parent's later that afternoon, after the lunch feast had settled, but before the second go round at dinner. Richton is very small, and I knew that running 8 miles there would be a challenge. I did it, but I took several spins around the football field so I wouldn't have to do 4 repeats of the same streets! I was very happy to finish that run. And I wasn't as sore as earlier that morning. I was super lazy on Friday, and was ready to roll for my 12 recovery long run on Saturday.

So someone moved the Longleaf Trace sign or it fell during a storm, cause it wasn't there! I was counting on it this morning in the dark and missed the road. Luckily, I recognized the road and found it on the second pass. My plan was to start at Clyde and run toward Jackson Road to meet Terri and Jenny. I wasn't feel that great, and it got worse. After about 2.5 or 3 miles, I had to stop for a minute. I was light head, dizzy and nauseated. I felt horrible. Terri said I was white as a sheet. I had felt bad a couple of times during the morning and on the first bit of that run, but I had brushed it off as run jitters and stress due to not being able to find Clyde! So after a rest, I slowed my pace and made it back to Clyde where I decided to end the run. Only 3.5 miles, but I didn't want to force a run and get out too far and be stuck. It's recovery week!

I will live to fight another day, and I will be back busting out quicker, stronger miles Tuesday! This is all part of the process.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I'm Still Running!

So I realized this week that it has been over 6 weeks since my last post. I have become a terrible blogger this fall, and really the main excuse/reason is school. I have been slammed with weekly papers, online discussions where I'm reading articles and writing, larger papers, exams, you name it. It's not been a fun semester. Sadly, I don't see my blogging picking back up too much as the semester winds down. I take my comps in January so my spare time currently used for writing papers will be used for studying for my comps.

Anyway! Believe it or not, I have been running! I am 9 weeks (I think) out from Houston, and it's approaching much quicker than I prefer. I would prefer having a few more weeks thrown in for some additional training. I feel as if I was set back a bit with the calf injury then some sickness at the beginning of this training. But it's coming whether I'm where I want to be or not! I do feel like I'm finding some speed again, and I hope to continue building on that all the way up until Houston. Yesterday I registered for the Ole Man River half marathon in New Orleans on December 18. I will be returning to the streets where I met my demise in the gritty chewed up streets last February. I hope to come home scar free this time!

Luckily, the temps have dropped and my intensity is back. Lots of mile repeats, tempo miles and long runs over 12 miles now, which I am enjoying. We have had a gorgeous fall in south Mississippi, probably one of the most colorful we have ever had. We were blessed with cool temps earlier than normal which has caused the rich colors to last more than a few days, more like weeks. The time has also changed providing at least half of my runs to be in daylight! I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the sunrise over the beautiful fall colors of the trees. This morning on my tempo run, I also spotted the first deer of the season. It's funny how they are just deer, but I get so excited when I see them out on my early morning runs. They are so unafraid of us runners on the Longleaf Trace, and they seem to like us getting close to them, which is what we want!

And another thing, my beloved Southern Miss Golden Eagles are 9-1! For the first time since 1962! With a win tonight, we will secure a spot in the conference championship game. This has brought lots of excitement to me, our campus and our state! Go Eagles! Southern Miss to the Top!!!

So, until next time, and I will make no promises of when that will be! But I'll do my best, and of course I will KEEP RUNNING!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

where have i been?

That's a good question. After my time trial, my last post, I had another successful week of training that included my first heart rate workout. That workout was more difficult than I thought, but I lived, somehow. I'm actually looking forward to more of this type of training as the fall continues especially with the weather finally cooling down.

So, after that HR run, I woke up on Friday feeling pretty
blah. Blah as in fatigued, overly fatigued. I shrugged it off, but when I woke up Saturday, I felt the same way but more intense except with some dizziness. There was no hesitation when canceling my run. Sunday, more of the same. Monday, a repeat and a very worthless spin class. Tuesday I was going to attempt a 6 mile easy run. I couldn't even make it 2 miles. I cut the run off at 4 and walked/ran/limped home. I didn't hesitate on Wednesday to cancel spin and Thursday to sleep in. I was very concerned something was up. Luckily on Friday, it seemed to start passing. Hallelujah! I emailed coach and told him I wanted to run. So I went out on Saturday morning for an easy 6. Sadly, I wore out pretty quickly, but I didn't feel sick and it felt awesome to run. Sunday was a different story, but I'm back and I've never been happier. Today I went out for a 7 mile ladder, and while it was still tough, it felt great to be back even stronger.

So, now to the main reason I have been away. School. Yep, school. This semester is ROCKING my world. I finish one project or paper, and then it is on to another. Never ending it seems!
In fact, I have a midterm tomorrow that I should be studying for, however, I canNOT study another minute tonight. This semester is a big challenge as both classes are requiring all my efforts and my time, and I seem to have lost my classroom A-game somewhere down the road. Who know burn out would come after one year, but in my defense I have been out of school for 15 years. That's a long time! The best news is that after this semester, I have just one class left. One. And count this as proof that I do not plan on ever going back to school again! If I mention that I am thinking about it, slap me. And slap me hard! I am so happy to be doing this, but I will be even happier to have it behind me. Ok, so I think I will study a little bit more tonight....

Oh, and this weekend, I am heading to DC and Annapolis for a 'work' trip. We are taking a group of alumni to see the Golden Eagles to play the Naval Academy. I will get the chance to run while I'm there so I hope to post a few pictures when I get back, if I'm not working on a paper, which is most likely the case. :/

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Time Trial and Me

Good news - my calf seems to be all healed up and behind me, and I'm more than glad to have that situation over and done with. Now I am moving on and looking toward Houston, which is 17 1/2 weeks away.

Earlier this week, coach and I finally ran that 30 minute time trial we have been talking about all summer. I wouldn't say I was dreading it because I was actually a little excited about it. I was actually a little nervous or maybe anxious about it, because no doubt it wouldn't feel good at all. It was still a little cool, mid 60's, humid and dark. But there is something really cool about running in the dark with the way lighted by the moon. After a warm-up for almost 1.5 miles, it began. Coach was thoughtful, he brought me a piece of black tape to cover my Garmin screen so that I couldn't see anything. He latched on to my HR signal on his Garmin in order to monitor the workout. I was running blindly, but I know that trail like the back of my hand, even in the dark, so I had a slight idea of where we were in the workout. After about mile or so, I started breathing like I was dying. Coach told me not to worry about talking that he would take care of that. We made the turn out past Clyde, and headed back, and the best part about that was the slight downhill that you get when you head east on the trail. I was able to get a slight reprieve with breathing, but it still hurt. Finally we hit 30 minutes, and I was DONE! We took a little walk because I really needed to catch my breath, in a bad way! We jogged it in, and the hour long workout was over. In the 30 minutes, I believe I covered 3.6 miles, with the total workout being 6.65 miles. I'm happy with the workout, but I sure felt like I was running faster than I actually was. But the heart rate doesn't lie. From this workout, he was able to establish some heart rate zones, which we will use in training for Houston. And we get to do this again in a couple of weeks!

Following Tropical Storm Lee, and Tupelo, we have had some great weather. It's looking like the dog days of summer are moving on finally, but in the last few days, it has heated back up a little. This morning was the warmest in about a week and a half. That and the hard run Tuesday took a toll on my run this morning. My 8 miles were much more difficult than they should be, but I did them and ran my pace. I was pretty sore and fatigued after that workout on Tuesday so it wasn't the easy pace it was supposed to be.

So after a tough run on a rather warm humid morning, I told coach that I am ready for the weather to cool off for good so that my paces can start reflecting the efforts I'm putting out. I am ready for that extra burst of energy you get on those cool mornings. I am ready to see my breath!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Saddle Up!

Back on the horse! Time to saddle up! There are several reasons me not running the full in Tupelo was a good idea, but the two main ones are this: 1. I prevented myself from further injury 2. I am able to get back on the horse and back to training much quicker.

This week, I'm taking it easy. I'll admit it's nice because after the long, hot, sweaty summer, my brain kind of needs a break. A break from training is great for the body, but you shouldn't neglect the mind! I walked earlier in the week, taught my spin class yesterday and went out for a 6 mile run this morning. I had a great run - nothing fast or fancy, but just good ole fun with two great friends, which is a big part of why we run. After not running a whole lot these last two weeks, it was great to be back out. It was also great to enjoy temps in the 50's!!! This is what we've been waiting for people! I barely sweated, and I didn't even use Body Glide! We are embarking on my favorite time of the year to run. Bring me the 20's, I don't mind!

So the rest of the week will be easy, social runs. I'm looking forward to some extra sleep and some extra rest on the legs. The goal of a week like this is to make me ready to get back to serious training. To make me want and need to run. I better be ready, because on Tuesday, Houston starts. We will start with a 30 minute time trial Tuesday morning. I don't know what the rest of the week holds, but right now, I am ok with just knowing about Tuesday. Nothing about a 30 minute time trial sounds easy or comfortable. But, like I always say, and this could be my mantra, "if it was easy, everyone would do it." This won't be easy, and that's why not everyone does it. So, I say bring it on!

It's time to get the saddle ready because it's time to get on the horse! I'll be ready!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Tupelo 26.2, I mean 14.2

All summer, I have been building for the Tupelo marathon.  I have had a great summer of training during this build.  I had a milestone 50 mile week and lots of quality runs in some serious heat and humidity.  So, I was ready.  Until my last long run a week ago.  Insert dramatic music here.  I was finishing up a great 16 mile run.  I had my tunes in my ear and was cruising in on the last mile, which would be my fastest mile.  With a little over a 1/4 mile to go, I felt a twinge in my lower right calf.  No biggie, stuff aches.  A moment later, something that compares to a knife or a shot in my calf stopped me dead in my tracks.  Wham.  My run ended just like that.  I couldn't walk.  I certainly couldn't run.  I painfully limped back to the gateway.  I had a slightly swollen spot on my leg, and it hurt to even touch it.  I took the next couple of days off and did some walking/running.  I even went for a massage on Wednesday while hydrating and taking in extra electrolytes.  After consulting with coach and a PT he is friends with, we figured it was a just a cramp or possibly a small tear.  Either way, I was nervous.  By Thursday, I was able to run a 6 miler, but not without some pain.  Tupelo was coming closer.  Another off day on Friday with some packing and an early bedtime.  Saturday morning, I went for a pre-race 2 miler, and I was very happy to report no pain.  I thought I was fine and ready.  Bring it on Tupelo!

Terri, Ginny, Terry and I pulled out about 10 a.m. Saturday morning.  After a quick lunch in Meridian, we arrived in Tupelo about 2.  We ran some errands, like picking up race numbers and picking up some gels (that was for me), we went to our hotel for a little rest before dinner.  Dinner was at Ginny's favorite place, Vanelli's, and it was yummy!  Back to the hotel where we were all in bed by 6:30 watching a little college football.  By 8:30 or 9, most of us were asleep, except for ME!  I did a lot of tossing and turning and dozing until 3 a.m.  Of course at 3 a.m., when we all started getting up, I was sleeping well.  Figures!  So we dressed and left around 4 for the start.  After 3 or 4 last minute bathroom trips for us, it was time to walk to the very dark start.  For some reason, I had some anxiety I wasn't prepared for.  All week long before the race, I felt as calm as ever, so I was not expecting this anxiety at all.  Maybe it was the darkness all around at the start.  The sudden start of running without so much as a pop gun.  Maybe it was the nervousness in the back of my mind my calf really wasn't ready to run 26 miles.  Whatever it was, I was not on my game.  I was running the pace I was supposed to, but something wasn't right.  I ached, especially in my right leg.  Terri and I let the crowd thin out and as the sun came up, I expressed how I was feeling.  I think I complained a bit too much, but she was great and let me talk through it.  I started needing extra steps at the water stops.  I even needed a walk break a little further down the road.  My heart wasn't in it, and I felt terrible.  I began considering that I might not be able to make it.  But I had the hardest time making that decision.  I literally debated and battled it for miles and miles.

At 13, it was decision time.  There was a turnaround, and full marathoners went back the way they came. 14.2 ers went straight in for another mile.2 to the finish.  For the last 2 miles, I had pretty much figured I would stop, but when it came down to it, I had a hard time pulling the plug.  I was hurting, the leg wasn't going to get any better and neither would my mental state.  The guy at the turnaround yelled at me that marathoners needed to turn around.  I said I knew, but I needed a minute.  There was no going back once I went either way so I needed to be 100%.  Even as I decided to go 14.2 and finish there, I was wondering.  I walked / ran that last mile and the whole time, I was telling myself I had done the right thing.  I was hurting.  Finishing 13 more miles would have been a bad decision, but in that moment, all I could think of was I had quit.  Wimped out.  And that I wouldn't be running my 12th marathon that day.  I wouldn't have the bragging rights.  But when running, you have got to leave the ego in the car.  There is no room for it.  The ego is what causes problems.  And in my case, it would have caused greater injury.

So, I finished the 14.2  and there was no celebration.  Terry had finished an hour before me, so I figured he was back at the hotel cleaning up.  A littler later, he was back and told me he wasn't surprised to see me after the week I had with the calf situation.  That made me feel a good bit better.  We hung out while waiting on Terri and Ginny.  They came in an hour or so later and we headed back to shower and go home.  Yes, it rained, more on Ginny and Terri than Terry and I, but it was damp the entire time.  Including on the trip home.  But we made it.  And we had a great time with lots of laughs and fun.

I've had some time to reflect.  Do I regret anything?  No.  But am I disappointed?  Yes.  I trained all summer through heat, humidity, 4:30 a.m. wake ups, sweat, chaffing.  So of course I'm disappointed I couldn't finish what I had started.  I worked hard this summer.  But I can't help what happened with just a week to go.  And Tupelo was just a run, not a race, and certainly not the race I'm working toward.  Years ago I would have tried to keep going and risked further injury or damage.  I realized I am a more mature runner that can now make smarter decisions based on what is the right thing to do and not what I want to do.  That's a pretty good feeling, and I'm proud of myself for being strong enough to say, I don't need to do this today.  I will live to race 26.2 another day!

Monday, August 22, 2011

sweet #50 = Taper Time!

This has been a great summer. I'm in my 5th month of working with Coach, and it's still going very well. It's been the motivation and fun I've needed to push through these tough months and do the training I need to do. With Tupelo's 26.2 looming ahead in now less than 2 weeks, I feel prepared to go and finish this race standing up.

I just finished up my last big week of mileage and am now sliding into taper time! I won't lie and say I'm not happy about the taper. It's been a hot, humid summer, and I've had more early mornings than one person should. I'm especially happy because my last big week was a milestone week of 50 miles. I've never put in 50 miles in one week, and it felt awesome! Each mile was fantastic, accomplishing all the paces and distances on my plan for the week. As the week wore in, the runs got more difficult, but that made the finish that much sweeter. It's definitely something I plan to accomplish many more times!

So what does taper hold for me? So far, an extra day of rest after Saturday's 20 miler. Tomorrow I'll be back at it with a 6 mile run. Shorter distances and perhaps some elevated paces which will equal 30 miles this week. I'll take that! I've never been one to hate on the taper, so this time I plan to embrace all that it has to offer, which will be whatever Coach says!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tupelo Countdown - 3 weeks to go!

I have no excuse for my absence other than apathy. I just haven't felt like writing much. I finished my summer semester of school on August 1, and I was so tired of writing that I just needed a break. I had to turn in a 25 page paper and complete a final exam that night so you can see why. I am happy to be have one more semester under my belt, but I am sad to report that my 4.0 streak has come to an end. Yes, I got an A- this summer (who gives A-'s anymore???), and I now have a 3.95. Oddly enough, I was a little upset! But I have come to terms with it and am ok now. I am enjoying a break from classes, however, I will kick back up next Wednesday.

And yes, I have been running these last two weeks. When I left off on July 30, I had just finished up two weeks of mileage building. Obviously I was looking forward to a week of easy running for some recovery. Recovery week came at a good time because my Garmin finally gave it up. On its last run with me, my 16 miler on the 30th, it was giving me all kinds of crazy feedback. So, I finally ordered a new one. My week of recovery was quiet, no Garmin, tired legs and tired body. The last two runs of the week, Saturday's 12 and Sunday's 8, were extremely tough. My new Garmin had come in, and I was testing out the heart rate monitor that I had decided to get. Not knowing anything about BPM and what was normal for me, I wasn't sure what was what the first time I wore it. During those two runs my average heart rate was about 170, and I figured that was high because i felt horrible. My heart was racing, felt lightheaded when I stopped, and had no energy. Coach even commented that he was surprised at my BPM. I tried to shake it off and was ready to head into the next week.

I was prepared for the next mileage build, but I admit I was nervous because of how tired I was during recovery. The week called for 46 miles. Tuesday was 10 again, with a few hills, at marathon pace + 30 seconds. It was a fantastic run. I usually give James numbers on how the run went, on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest. I called that run an 8. I nailed the pace for all 10 miles and actually came in a few seconds under, averaging a 9:26. And my heart rate was much more normal at 158 BPM for the run. Thursday was 12. Another solid run, perhaps even better than Tuesday. My paces were faster, especially in the last half of the run at 9:24, 9:20, 9:15, 9:23, 9:07 and 9:04! I started a bit slower so my average for the 12 was 9;28, but my heart rate averaged out at 158. I was really pleased after this run, and I was only 16 miles away from closing out a solid 46 mile week.

Saturday morning, I was literally running on fumes. After a late Friday night helping out a friend, I met the crew to run the 16 on just 4 hours of sleep. James had told me running on limited sleep would be ok as we often run marathons on little sleep with nerves on top of it. He was so right. This was the best long run I've had all summer. After the first mile, I was on pace right away. For the first 6 miles, I hovered around 9:50 to 9:55, then for the remainder of the run 9:30's and low 9:40's. I started tiring out in the last 4 miles, but there was no way I was going to let up. The last two miles, in typical fashion, were faster at 9:22 and 9:15. The average for this run was 9:44 with an average heart rate of 152. I was pretty excited I held on and came in under pace on this run after the two previous runs were such hard efforts. It was a solid, solid run, and I was happy.

I had pretty much polished off 46 miles in perfect form. Every run was on point. 9:30 and 9:44 might not seem fast to most, but try doing it in extremely high humidity with temps in the upper 70's, low 80's, with the index hovering in the upper 80's. Last week was better temp-wise, and we were blessed with a breeze most every morning, but let's face it, it's still hot. Despite it all, I'm running better than I ever have throughout the summer, and I'm pretty darn proud of that. It's a major milestone for me. I'm also running my best at the hottest part of the summer, and I consider that success. And as coach says, success breeds success.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

the few, the proud, the marathon runners of summer

that's what i told my coach today in an email. each weekend, my running partner and i see the same runners sweating it out logging long runs, working toward a marathon. we are out early, before the sun comes up, trying to avoid as much of the heat as possible. we are dripping with sweat. we stink. we are hot. we are tired. but we do it each week, earning a spot in a club few want to join. we are the ones who train for a marathon during the summer.

i am 5 weeks away from my 12th marathon. terri w., ginny d. and myself will be running 26.2 in tupelo on september 4. it will be early, hot and hilly. while running on these hot, humid mornings where the temperature is 80 at 5 a.m., and the heat index is pushing
90 some mornings, i wonder, why in the heck i am doing this. it's hard, and pretty much every morning i hate getting up at 4:30, but for some crazy reason i enjoy it. why? because i am a mileage junkie (sounds like there should be group therapy for this or something). training for this marathon over the summer has been tough, but it's bringing me to a new level of endurance. i am able to run 40 + mile a week and run it fairly well. it's teaching me how to train in tough conditions, while building mental strength and conditioning. i am pretty much running this crazy marathon partly to say i did it. to run one in the hottest months in the south and survive. the image to the right is the race logo. i hear it is ranked one of the top shirts and medals in the U.S., and i want one! you can't get one unless you finish though. and finish i will do!

i will be recovering this week after two weeks of some hefty mileage building. i have two more intensive weeks of training after the recovery week where i'll hit 46 and 50 miles respectively. i'm excited! i've never done 50 miles in one week that i know of, maybe 45. i told my coach that i'm either sick or ginny d! ginny won't mind me saying that cause she's a bigger mileage junkie than i am so it is meant as a compliment!

i really do hate the summer months for training, but we must keep going. but come september 4, i will be looking for my tie-dyed shirt, my skull and cross bones finisher medal and fall weather! one of those i might have to wait for a little bit longer.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Blood, Sweat, and Tears - almost literally!

As I've mentioned before, I am working with a running coach. And as I've mentioned before it's going super well. I'm loving it, and I am finding it very beneficial to me on top of my training. He manages my schedule for me on a weekly basis, based on my reports of how I feel following a workout or other circumstances. After each run, I upload my Garmin report to Garmin Connect and send him a detailed email of my run, including everything from how I felt to how much I sweated. He provides trainng feedback, congratuatlions when it goes well and encouragement and support when it doesn't. Like i said, it's working. The text below is from my email I sent him this morning. I began it with a note to get a cup of coffee and a snack, cause it was a story.

Let’s do the run portion of this post first. But before I get into my email to him, let me go back to Tuesday. On a scale of 1 to 10, Tuesday's run was a 10. My schedule was a 10 mile run at marathon pace plus 30 seconds. The run was dead on. I was kicking butt and taking names! Ok, now on to the email. Today's schedule was 12 at the same pace, and it was tougher than Tuesday. I was feeling some fatigue and not very fluid. After a couple of miles, I did loosen up and started feeling better. I was able to get on pace and managed it fairly well. We were going to run 7 then Chris was going to come for the last 5. We held the pace steady and huffed and puffed our way back to the car. We made the turn to go toward where we had parked, and Terri asked, what’s our mileage? I looked down, the Garmin was blank. I think it might have died for good this time. I knew where we were so we kept going and finished the first 7. I don’t feel like we slipped off our pace any. Chris had his Garmin for the second half, and we ended up pretty well on pace the last 5, On a scale of 1-10, I was at a 10 on Tuesday, easily, but today was probably a 6. It wasn’t an easy run, but I’m proud of my perseverance.

Let me add that my Garmin has been dying for weeks, maybe months. It's been doing some strange things, so this was not a surprise, and really almost funny. Terri and I joked that we should have a service for it because it has been with me a long time. It's been a good Garmin. So, I'll be making a new investment probably today. Garmin update: looks like it still might have a life, or two if I am hopeful. It's on and has power. CPR might have worked!

Anyway, back to the story.

Now the fun part of the run. First, we thought we were being stalked in the first 2 miles, but luckily it turned out we weren’t. It’s creepy when a car approaches you slowly, passes you and the turns around. I told Terri if he pulls up next to us and stops, we are running into the highway. Turns out he was looking for a house, cause he parked, got out and went in. Not to mention, there was a creepy old guy on a bike at 5 a.m. too. And he was not a cyclist. So, we meet Chris later, and probably 2 miles from being done, so we are at a very tired 10 miles. It’s daylight at this point, and we are easily visible. A car is coming toward us, and Chris was moving over to where we were pretty much single file on the edge of the street. This guy was not moving over though. As we protested his complete ignorance of us being there, he was motioning for us to move. He came within inches of hitting Chris. I think I yelled something, probably ugly, and we all stop, amazed, and look back at him. And he is turning around! I immediately got mad. It’s funny how when I’m angry I am not afraid at all! So he pulls up next to us and for about 3 -5 minutes, yells at us for being wrong. Says we should go run in a park. He was not going to cross the double yellow lines, etc. I did not stand there and take it. I yelled back, and a lot. I’m ashamed at how I acted, really, but I was SO mad at the ignorance of this man and his complete disregard for human safety and how willing he was to hit one of us to avoid crossing the double yellow line. No wonder Mississippi is the fattest state. I don’t know if I’ve ever been as mad as I was this morning, but I was beyond. I called him some names, and told him to go, to mind his own business and leave us. He drove along beside us for about a block or so. I realized my yelling was doing no good. I shouldn’t have even started, but when my life and my friend’s lives are in danger because of his stupidity, I got fired up. About a half mile or mile later, I had to stop and walk because my blood pressure was sky high and it was making me feel bad. My quick burst of adrenaline had just as quickly left me. I’m still mad and embarrassed by my behavior, mostly because I stooped to his level. But that’s how runners and cyclists get killed – because someone wants to prove their point on the road and not move.

I have apologized to Chris and Terri for my behavior, and thought long and hard about how I reacted, but it still doesn't take away that runners and cyclists are easy targets for those out there who don't see it as important to give us a small piece of the road. In their eyes, we are wrong. Not only should I have not acted how I did because it wasn't going to solve anything, I shouldn't have acted that way because he could have reacted differently himself. So, lesson learned, you can't fix stupid. Next time, I'll do my best to keep moving and pick my battles.

So, a good, hard fought, 12 mile run today. 28 miles of 42 completed for this week. Up next, 14 with friends! I will be avoiding traffic on Saturday also.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

good for the soul

recovery week has once again found it's way to me. and it's almost over. fortunately i get to look forward to a relaxing recovery week after two weeks of mileage building. let me say again, i don't dislike the mileage build weeks, but everyone needs a rest. and i always enjoy my rest.

there is something exhilarating, while difficult, about the high miles and the long run. high mileage weeks challenge the body and the mind. you really start to test your limits, especially in this heat, and i love it. the testing, not the heat. so far, i have reached about 40 miles, and with 7 weeks to go til tupelo (i think 7), i will climb a little higher. my training for tupelo is mostly about building mileage while maintaining a base speed. the heat has simply been too much to force tempos and speed sessions that will just leave me frustrated and overly fatigued. sadly we still have a long ways to go before summer will end, however, i'm happily managing in the heat. i'm nailing paces on my long runs and finally hitting the slightly quicker paces during my weekday runs which are now between 8 and 12 miles.

tupelo looms like a giant something, not sure what. but i'm feeling more and more confident as the summer rolls along that it will go well. well, being as well as can be expected in the mississippi summer. my goal is not for time, but to finish standing up. or maybe it should be to finish! houston follows tupelo by about 4 months. i have slightly bigger goals for that one, but i will save that for another day.

after last week's rolled ankle, but still very successful 16 miler, i came into recovery week a little tired but happy. the week started slowly, my body still feeling the last two weeks, but just like it's supposed to, i started feeling better as the week went along. my legs woke up, my body felt better and now i'm ready for the next two weeks. recovery weeks are like little rewards for the hard work. they are good for the legs. the body. the mind. but really good for my soul! just like that, i'm ready to work hard again next week. bring it!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

81 degrees

that's how warm it was at 5 a.m. this morning. not the kind of air you want as you start a 16 mile run. armed with gu's and chomps, we set out. after the first mile, we were on pace. as i told coach, that wasn't planned. i was going to ease into the pace. i have been letting the pace come to me on these longer runs and today, it appeared at mile 2.

we stopped for water and nutrition at jackson road, and terri had dropped some G2 at clyde so we had a little extra once we got there. we had decided to go out about a half mile past the turnaround so we could have some recovery time at the end of the run. so we hit clyde depot twice. we took our time at the water stops to make sure we had all the hydration and nutrition we needed since it was warm.

heading back from clyde on our way to jackson road, terri spotted a snake. i was oblivious. we waited for it to pass, while i snuck a closer look at it. to me, a snake is a snake. all are scary. my favorite part of the run was not the snake, but terri's high stepping moves once the snake passed. she was NOT going to be caught near the ground in case this snake had a friend behind him. i lost it laughing at her. if you aren't sure what a high step is, refer to the photo to the right.
once back at jackson road, because we went out a bit further, we had only 3 miles left. all we needed to do was stay on pace and finish it. the miles really clicked by quickly, and before we knew it, we were in our last mile. we were steady and strong. perhaps because we had planned a little treat at the end of our run, and we were running toward it. a big reason we decided to go out a bit further was to hit up the sonic on 4th street for a powerade slush. we have come to love these in the summers after long runs. it's a reward and an enjoyable way to replenish electrolytes. we eased up the hill to 4th, got our slush, and enjoyed a nice mile walk.

another successful week is wrapping up. i will wake up in the morning for a recovery run, unless my ankle that i rolled on thursday is feeling a bit sore and painful. it's healing, but after today's 16, i don't want to take any risks tomorrow. it's a faint shade of purple (i'm not a bruiser), but the swelling has gone down a good bit since yesterday. it is most painful in the high ankle area, and mostly when i rotate it. otherwise, it's ok and will be better quickly i believe. i'm clumsy i guess!

next week's schedule includes two works i'm growing to love - recovery week. me loving recovery week doesn't mean i don't love the hard training weeks. it just means i'm ready for a rest. training weeks are intense, challenging and exciting. recovery weeks are restful, easy and pleasant. both weeks have their place.

and by the way, i ate $24 worth of outback tonight. most of it was healthy. :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

it is just 10 miles...

40 miles - that was my total for last week. what a great week it was. every run was nailed. every run had a purpose. and every run was good. i had a lot of confidence and extra motivation coming into this week, and i was ready.

i enjoyed the 4th on monday with minimal activity. i took it easy, enjoyed the pool and my family and got some extra rest. tuesday's run was a 10 miler, and i attempted to head to bed early so i could be rested for the 4:30 wake up. i slept horribly, and i felt really weird when i woke up. i felt weak, a bit nauseated and my head was very fuzzy. i shrugged it off as being the morning blahs, and got ready to run. i met up with terri, and we headed out. i knew immediately it wasn't there. there would be no forcing it or easing into it either. i figured i'd forget the planned pace and just do the distance. after about 2 miles, i was quick to learn i couldn't even do that. that course is two five mile loops, and after 3 walk breaks in those first miles, i knew that was all i had. I had no issues calling it a day. i went on to work, but i felt pretty crappy all day. battled some stomach issues and just felt yuck.

i really thought i'd crash that night, but no, another sleepless night. i felt better when i got out of bed on wednesday though and enjoyed a great spin class. i even had my yearly evaluation. so i figured wednesday night i'd crash after two rough nights. no again! but poor sleep doesn't really affect my running, so i felt ok when i woke up this morning. once terri, vicki and i got loose in the first few miles, the run was right on point. nailed it. but....we stopped for water just before mile 3 at the track. after a lap around, when leaving the track, i stepped on a big rock, really more of a piece of concrete, and rolled my ankle. i didn't fall (shocking), but i was in pain. i walked it off, caught my breath, and realized i could go on. the thing with a rolled ankle is when i'm running it doesn't hurt, but rotating it sideways and around KILLS it. i have a nice big egg on the side of my ankle and it's a bit blue. however it's nothing major or severe, and i'll be fine.

definitely some ups and downs this week, but i came through on top. see, i've learned that ups and downs are inevitable and really shouldn't be a big deal. it's how you deal with them that makes the biggest difference and can be a big deal if you let it. in years past, i have been bothered by days like tuesday, but you have to realize that there will be days when you're sick, the weather is bad or you just don't have it. you have to put it behind you and move forward. you have to realize that one run doesn't make or break your training. that's exactly what i did. i put it behind me, and tackled today's run with no problems. i mean, it was just 10 miles....

Thursday, June 30, 2011

breakthrough?? maybe...

i don't know if it was a breakthrough, but i'm calling it close at least. the run on schedule today - 12 miles at M+30. it was a tad bit cooler than tuesday, but let's face it, it's warm no matter what. every day in the summer is a struggle.

the last few weeks, i have had some problems maintaining my M+30 pace for the whole run. in fact, i would downright fall apart in the latter miles. i had decided that i would start a bit slower for the first mile or two, then try to get on pace, and slow down in the last mile or two if needed. today, after about 2 miles, i got on pace and stayed there. james had told me it's those middle miles that mean the most, so i really worked to stay on track from 3 until at least 9 or 10. but once i got close to the end, i didn't want to let up. i knew i'd get tired, so i would tell myself, when you get to 10, you can ease up. i got to 10, and i decided to wait until 11. i got to 11, and i said, well i'm this close. i got tired in that last mile or so, but i pushed on through. before i knew it, i was back at my house.

the temperature might have been a little cooler than tuesday, but it's still super humid and warm. i was soaking wet, with not a dry spot on me from head to toe. i always suffer through the summer, and having a great run has almost been impossible for me. to the point of not wanting to run. after my run today, that motivation was back up high, as if i had done an awesome speed or tempo session. it wasn't a fast run, but it was a strong, solid run in never easy conditions. and it was 12 miles.

tonight, i'm relaxing and enjoying my success from this morning. (i should be doing school work) i'm also thinking that i trust my coach. trust his judgement on every aspect of my training. and today, the pieces for the summer started really falling into place. a breakthrough? yes!

Monday, June 27, 2011

i played the lottery and won

what did i win? a spot in the 2012 houston marathon.

on june 1, registration opened for the marathon and half marathon. terri and i immediately threw down our credit cards and got our name in the pot. we've been talking about houston like it was a given, but in all reality, it wasn't. so when this registration closed last thursday and the word went out that everyone would know by monday, i got anxious and excited. i checked my email and bank account all weekend long, waiting. i felt like i was waiting to hear news on the scale of a new job or something. instead, i was waiting to hear if i get in a 26.2 mile run where it will take me 4 hours and cause me pain. ha!

sunday, terri, me and the mauls lounged at the pool, and i constantly checked my email. nothing. sunday night, working on a final exam for school, nothing. laying in bed trying to sleep, nothing. this morning, i woke up to go teach my spin class, and like i always do, i peer at my phone with one eye barely open. i saw an email. i opened it. and there it was, my receipt for the registration fee. i knew terri would be asleep, so i refrained from texting her at 5:15 a.m. to tell her to check her email immediately. i made it through spin class, and finally felt like 7 a.m. was ok to text her. she texted back about an hour later with one word, IN.

terri and i have been excited about this race for one main reason, the olympic marathon trials. what a great opportunity to see some of our best marathon runners at one venue. i was able to see the 2004 trials in birmingham, and i was thrilled at the thought of seeing them again. the thing that made us nervous was that one of us would get in and the other wouldn't. no one likes traveling to these things alone. so we were relieved and excited all at once. i did the half at this race in 2005, and it is still my PR in the half. that's not saying much because i've only done 3 official halves. i know it's a well done race, so i'm looking forward to an opportunity to PR again there.

this race isn't until january 15, so before i can get to houston, i have to go through tupelo.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

the week of friends

as i posted a few days ago, this has been my recovery week. my main running partner and friend, terri, was in honduras for a mission trip, so i was left to my own to get in my miles. it ended up working out that i was able to run with a variety of friends, some new and some old.

tuesday was an 8 miler, and as i was sitting in my super long monday night class, i was starting to think i was going to be on my own for that one. no bigs. good, faithful and oldest running partner, vicki, texted me saying she wanted to run. two things i'm happy about - 1. vicki has text now and 2. she wanted to run the next morning. after getting out of class at 10:20, i was not excited about waking up at 4:30 to run at 5. she ran 5 of my 8 with me, and it was a nice recovery run. we were able to catch up and the miles just flew by.

because monday was such a late night, i was pretty tired tuesday and even wednesday. thursday, my run was only 4 miles so i opted for sleeping in and hitting the treadmill after work. enter second friend run. a new, but now very close, friend from work is getting back into running, so i coerced her into hitting the treadmill with me. she and i were both going for 4 miles, and she did amazing. for just starting back, she was able to run the whole 4 miles with only a couple of short walks. her success made my run so much more fun.

thursday's run was only 4 miles because, enter friend 3, an old running partner who moved to fayetteville about 4 years ago was passing through town and wanted to run. she and i planned to do 4 easy just to catch up and since it was my recovery week, the timing couldn't have been better. vicki joined us as well, and we had so much fun.

saturday was another easy 8, and jenny maul (from hello jenny) was going to run with me and vicki for part of it. as jenny and i were about to head out, jen torres (from the running artist) came running up and ended up going the 8 with us. jenny and jen had never met, so it was even more fun as they are both artists! we had such a nice visit and a great run on top of it. before we knew it, the 8 miles had clicked by and we were done.

friends are what make running so much more fun. recovery week was successful because i recovered and had great runs. i feel good and ready to resume my build for tupelo (10 weeks by the way). recovery week was also not just successful, but fun. i enjoyed the company of some great people that i don't always get to spend time with. that's what it's all about sometimes. thanks vicki, ashley, jenny and jen for a great week!

Monday, June 20, 2011

recovery week

this week is coming at a good time. right after a tough week. and right on time. i get to sleep a little more, run a little less, but eat a little healthier. i have no trouble taking rest days or recovery days, especially when i'm tired. i don't get antsy. i don't get annoyed. i get rested.

this week, 8 is the magic number. 8 tomorrow, 8 between thursday and friday and 8 saturday, all at recovery pace. i will also get to enjoy friday with an old running friend who is passing through town, which is running at its best. running with friends is one of my top reasons to run.

recovery weeks are not just for the body, they are also for the mind. i have instructions this week to take care of my body - get extra rest, maintain a good diet, run less miles, etc. while my body is resting a little, so will my mind. there will be no thinking about maintaining a pace or not being able to. the fewer miles will allow for more sleep, more rest for the brain along with the body.

they say, and by they, i mean everyone who knows anything about training, that recovery and rest is as important as the actually training miles. rest is part of training. the body needs it. the mind needs it. and i'm excited about it. here's to recovery week!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

hot spots, heat and horse flies - 11 weeks til tupelo

my build for tupelo continues. i've long been a fan of the high miles, and this week we started inching up there. since the snickers marathon in albany, i've done no more than 10-12 for my long runs, mostly 10's, with anything up to 8 during the week, even with speed work. i have 11 weeks until tupelo, plenty of time to ramp it up. along with the miles, this week was complete with heat, hot spots and horse flies.

this week started with 8 on tuesday at marathon pace plus 30 seconds. if you aren't up at 5 a.m., then you probably don't know that it's hot at that time of the morning. one trade off with running so early is you trade in the temps from the sun for thicker humidity. there is absolutely no movement in the air that time of the day, but you don't have the sun beating down on you. it's really a no win situation because whenever you run this time of the year, it's hot. the first 5 mile loop was ok tuesday. i held the pace i needed to, but after the short water stop, the run went south. holding the pace was a major effort.

thursday was a 10 miler. we would do two 5 mile loops. same story, different day, however, i think we felt worse on thursday. we were close to the pace on the first 5, but on the second, we were beyond ready for it to be over. i haven't done this in a long time, but there were 3 short walk breaks. there you go, that's how difficult it became.

so i was a bit nervous heading into today's 14. the last two haven't been successful, and i really needed today to go well. it was 79 degrees at 5 a.m. that's amazing. i decided i would take the run slow at the start, ease into my pace. i did just that. after about 2 miles, i was on the target pace so all i needed to do was hang on for 12 more miles. after the third mile, my legs finally started to open up, and i began to gain a bit more confidence about the run, although keeping in mind the heat and rest of the run to come. we picked up a few friends for parts of the run, and some horse flies. it was that time of the morning when they were looking for someone or someones to pester. luckily they either found someone else to hang out with or gave up on us after a while. i felt strong and solid for most of the run, but in the last 2 miles i began to fade. i still held on to my pace and finished the run right on pace. it worked out that there was about .6 to walk to get back to the car. it was a great way to get a bit of recovery and rest before i piled up in the car to go home.

this week i battled heat, today the horse flies and all three days, hot spots. i need to buy stock in body glide. no matter how much or where all you put it, it's never enough. i have spots on my rib cage, my waist, my arm and my legs. i love the summer for all the fun things like tans, swimming, snow cones, but i despise it for chaffing, dehydrating, and my runs suffering. i'm longing for winter...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

tupelo build

my new blog background makes me think of my childhood and my grandmothers. they were very traditional and quilted and sewed and stuff like southern grandmothers do. that talent didn't make it passed my mom to me, but i am happy to enjoy the things they made. i have one of my grandmother's quilts and an afghan that my mom made me, and i plan to continue to pass those down in my family.

this has been a good week of training. i am starting my build for tupelo, and the summer is continuing its build too. i'm beginning to become a bit more acclimated to the temps, but it's a slow process. i ran 8 on tuesday and was supposed to do 10 on thursday, but the humidity and warmth got to me a little so i stopped at 8. i would rather do 8 and maintain my pace than push for that extra 2 miles and struggle. saturday was a 12 miler and again, i chose to stick with my run plan for that day, much to the delight of coach james. i maintained the scheduled pace throughout the run. as coach says, and i'm learning to say, today is not race day. i'm learning a lot about being smart with my training and what to do as well as what not to do.

i'm also learning that running alone is perfectly ok. just like anything else, habits develop, and this is something i'm developing again. there are times when my training schedule will be different than what my friends want to do, and i have to make sure i get my runs in. so when those moment arise, i go alone. mostly this is on sunday when i do my recovery runs, like this morning. recovery works work fyi, in case you aren't doing them. i usually start these runs feeling stiff and tired, but end them feeling a little more energetic and loose. they definitely have a purpose in a training week.

i finished this week with 34 miles and 2 spin classes. i'm really focusing on my running for the first time in years, meaning, i'm mostly just running and limiting other cardio or intense exercise. hopefully it will serve me well come september and january. this week will be a slight ramp in mileage, and i'm looking forward to it! i have a strange love affair with high miles.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

vacation and tupelo

the heat has taken the wind of my sail and put the block in my writing. it's hard to write about running when it's the same old story - it's hot. i will not dwell on the heat in this post, just like i'm not dwelling on the heat in my training.

since i last wrote, let's see, i've been running, went on a vacation and switched over to the dark side.

with the record temps these last few weeks, coach james has had me pull back a bit on my paces, including holding off on tempo runs for a while. we have had above average temps here lately and even at 5 a.m. it's tough. i have also started my build for tupelo. it's been a while since i've done more than 12 miles, and well, next week i will get to run 14 again. i have kinda missed it. i have a close relationship with a long run
the best part of my hiatus from blogging was my short vacation to the beau rivage. terri and i went down for 2 nights and 3 days of bliss. we ate, napped, sunned, napped, ate, sunned, watched movies, sunned, ate, napped, ate, napped, etc. you get the idea. it was a wonderful relaxing weekend full of my favorite indulgences. we spent two amazing days at the pool and got some good rest, and ended the trip with a amazing massage. i came back savagely tan, relaxed, and possibly 5 pounds heavier.

lastly, i switched over to the dark side. i am now all mac. i purchased a macbook pro, and just like i was one of those with the iphone, i am now one of those with a macbook. i'm in love. once you go mac, you never go back. it sure made my class today much more fun.

Friday, May 27, 2011

thunderstorms and treadmills and books!

it's been a quiet week on the training front, but that doesn't mean i haven't done anything. after last week's recovery, we were slammed in the face with new, hotter temperatures. coach james decided to hold off on speed work until i am a bit more heat acclimated. i promise, this post won't be about the heat, but this time of the year, weather seems to be a common topic among runners. heat or storms or the rare cool front.

tuesday, the usual speed work day, was a simple 6 mile run at marathon pace plus 30 seconds. after struggling through the runs last weekend, for some reason, it felt a little cooler tuesday morning. my run ended up being just shy of +30 seconds, with the last few miles at marathon pace almost. i felt great, didn't feel overheated, so i went with it. i scaled back in spin class this week after a rough morning on monday. my legs were junk, and i know saturday and sunday were to blame. wednesday i felt much better and amped back it slightly. thursday's workout was to be a ladder, 7 miles, starting at 10, dropping 30 seconds each mile until i got to 8:30 and then back to 10. i woke to storms, lightening, and my power blinking off and on. i couldn't tell if it was raining, but all i heard was thunder, and all i saw was lightening. a few texts between the group sent us all back to bed. by the time the storm would have passed, i probably wouldn't have had time to do the workout and get to work on time. dang work! after consulting with james, the plan was to hit the treadmill after work at the payne center.

now, i have a treadmill at home, however, i almost can't stand it. when i'm on a treadmill, i need to be completely distracted from the fact i'm on the treadmill. runners are mental, but i'm probably the worst, it's no secret. and the treadmill is one of my weakest spots. the plan was to do 3, and then go from there. if 3 was all i could manage, then success. if 4, hooray! if 5, i was done! 3 went by slow at time, and fast at times, depending on what came on the ipod. 4 was a bit easier, and 5, well i was almost done. i played with my speed a bit, nothing faster than a 9:20 or 9:30, and cruised in the last 2 miles. on the treadmill, my mind is telling me that my legs hurt, my hips hurt, i can't breathe, i'm tired, etc. it tries every trick in the book to get me to throw in the towel. it tried yesterday, but i fought the battle and won. i was a little proud of myself, and proud i did the workout. anything mental i can tackle is confidence in the bank.

on the way home, i treated myself and picked up my favorite grilled chicken salad from crescent city and enjoyed my night on the couch, READING! my friend jenny maul (hello jenny) turned me on to the hunger games, and i finished it in just 4 days. i'm now starting the second book of this trilogy, catching fire. i can't put them down! i really love to read, and with school starting back next week, it might be a short lived luxury, but i plan to keep it around as a moment of sanity in a hectic and short 2 months of class.

the plan today, enjoy my rest day and prepare mentally for tomorrow's tempo. i will be visualizing success, nailing the paces, and the feeling of victory at the end of the workout.

Monday, May 23, 2011

summer, it's a love/hate relationship

recovery week ended with a heat wave! last tuesday i ran in a long sleeve shirt and 45 degree weather. thursday, it was warmer, but still upper 50's. by saturday the fun was over. and i think it's over for good. i told james this week that i wish it would just get hot and stay hot. as much as i love the cool snaps, it just needs to go ahead and stay warm so i can start getting used to it.

saturday was tough. it was still recovery week, and i was scheduled to do 12 miles easy. i felt really heavy and had very little energy so i dropped back to 10. i had NO trouble keeping my pace where it was supposed to be for the recovery. it's amazing how much the weather affects your body. james had a great post about that last year and reposted it today. you can read about it here. it's interesting to know what goes on inside your body as the temperatures rise and fall.

sunday was tough too. i woke up and did the 6 recovery miles early, grabbing some water at about the halfway point. i managed the pace a little easier, but my body still felt the heat. i was happy to spend the rest of the day off my feet, relaxing by the pool and on my couch in the AC. i think we are in for a rough summer! i have a love/hate relationship with summer. i love that campus is quiet with students being gone. i love the fun things summer includes like the pool, the lake, movies, sugar free snow cones. but i hate how hard it is for me to run. that hate equals all the fun things i mentioned above, that's how strong it is. but as much as i hate it, there is nothing i can do about it except deal with it!

this week is back on with intensity, and it will be challenging with the lows being in the upper 60's and the humidity being high. the a.m. runs are like a double edged sword. you avoid the sun and the hotter temperatures, but you get the highest level of humidity during the day. i definitely do better before the sun comes up.

i have one more week before school starts back. i'm going to ENJOY it! i have a great book to read, and a long weekend ahead that will include some more pool time! and that is pool time with a float and a radio.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

4.0 and 3 semesters to go!

i don't normally write something two days in a row, but i'm in a pretty good mood today so i thought i'd put a little something down.

monday is monday and they usually are tough, but a monday where you find out you got another 4.0 makes a pretty good day. i have NEVER had a 4.0, at least since 9th or 10th grade maybe. at this stage in my life, after being out of school for 15 years, i'm pretty jazzed. i don't consider myself a great student, but i do think i'm working a little harder than i did during my undergraduate days. i'm old, what else do i have to do but study and write papers? well, i could think of a lot of things, but not all are productive. i have realized that my fellow grad students in my program might look at me like i looked at those 'non-traditional' students back in the day. however, i try to break the stereotype and don't ask for extra homework or make us stay late with tons of questions. in fact, i'm as eager to get out as they are, if not more. they are the ones staying late and asking questions.

so at 38 (sigh), i'm 2 for 2 with 4.0's. now i want to keep the streak going and finish my masters with a 4.0 GPA. i have 5 more classes, so it's doable, but it won't necessarily be easy. on may 31 i start back to summer school with a class on tuesday and thursday mornings from 8 - 12:30. it's a five week class, so that means a lot of work in a short amount of time. i also start a night class that will go through the first of august, 10 weeks i believe. that's still a short amount of time. the good thing i guess is the same professor teaches both classes - maybe there will be mercy. ha!

on the training front, it's recovery week. i started out my day with an easy 8 mile run with terri and chris. we had some good talks as well as a good run. i think these runs where you talk about life and get off your chest the tough stuff you're dealing with are some of the best. not only do you let your legs recovery, but your mind is refreshed. i get a few more of these this week, and i'm looking forward to them.

for today, i'm going to enjoy work, then go celebrate with a few friends after work over dinner and then a movie.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

week 5 - success!

this week was a good week. i enjoyed my rest day, one without work this week. i'm also enjoying my short break before summer school starts. i'm able to go to bed early, which helps with getting up for those early morning workouts. it seems that the end of the semester brings one full week of catching up on sleep and doing NOTHING! i love it. 5 more classes - 3 more semesters.

this was a great training week too. due to the warmth on thursday, james shortened my long run from 10 to 6, but changed up my tempo for saturday. the weather was forecasted to change by saturday and be cooler so he upped the workout from 8 miles and 6 of tempo to 11 miles with 2x4 of tempo. it was exciting to think about. after last week's tempo going so well, i had some confidence in the bank. this is new territory for me. i'm having success in my training and it is carrying over into my mental preparedness. as i told james this week, the only thing i have to worry about it going out and going out and executing. he's planning my schedule, the pace, etc, and it takes all the worry and stress off of me.

it was around 60 degrees saturday morning, and i was fortunate to have terri meeting me for the first half of my run. we warmed up slowly, ridding the trace of some large pieces of debris from the storm the night before. our first mile in the first set was a bit off the pace at 8:37, but after that, it was dead on. 8:33, 8:27, and 8:25. i had 1 mile of rest in between, which was supposed to be 10:00, and we quickly discovered we were running a bit faster. the mind knew it had to slow down, but the legs didn't get the memo. but we did and ran it in 9:57. during that mile, i ate a gu, then quickly grabbed some water and said goodbye to terri. i plugged up to the ipod and got back to it. thanks to pearl jam, the foo fighters, muse and coldplay, i had 4 more strong miles. 8:24, 8:26, 8:24, and 8:24. my cool down was 9:42. i was fired up that i nailed the paces, and that i felt great doing it. my legs weren't as fresh as i would have liked, but overall everything was clicking. what my legs lacked, the mind and rest of my body made up. needless to say i was stoked when i was done. a little more confidence in the bank.

vicki had agreed to meet me this morning for my recovery at 6:30. i am so encouraged by how i've felt on these recovery runs the last couple of weeks. i've done them the day after hard runs, and i have felt pretty good. i couldn't go run a 7:50 mile or and 8:30 even, but i can easily manage the 10 minute recovery pace. it was a little cooler this morning, and we had a good run. my garmin died halfway through the run, but up until then, i was dead on the 10 minute pace. recovery runs have a purpose, and mine are doing their job. yesterday, the legs were a bit achey and sore. today they are much better.

while i was relaxing today, i did some stretching and even did a little ab work. i need to start incorporating some core work back into my training as well as some regular stretching. that's a new goal. it's also time to get serious about my diet again since i've, well, slipped. :)

this week i logged 32 miles - 5 at 7:50 and 8 and 8:30. i also had 2 reocovery rides in spin class. i'm now looking forward to a new week of training!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

trample the weak, hurdle the dead

the old saying goes 'never say never', and i have learned that it's true. i said once, years ago, i'd never run a marathon. i've now done 11. i said i would never go back to school. i'm currently working on a master's degree. i probably said i'd never get a tattoo. i have one. so now i just don't use this phrase because i have learned that anything is possible.

yesterday, another 'never' came back to get me. i once said i would never run the tupelo marathon. yesterday at 11:30 a.m., i signed up for the 2011 tupelo marathon. my running crew and i had decided a few months ago that we were going to do it, so i knew once it was time to sign up, i would. so what changed my mind? i have no idea! i think it's a new challenge. the race is september 3, the hottest time of the year. it's hilly. and it starts in the dark at 5 a.m. i'm not afraid of the dark. hills don't really scare me that bad. but the 80 degree temps with 90 something % humidity at a race start does! it's ridiculous. this is not my goal race so it will be just a go run well and have fun kind of day. well, more like a run the best that i can kind of day. no way around it, we will have fun somewhere in there - most likely before and after the race, and not during. if you're near me during the run, ignore the words coming out of my mouth and terri, don't take it personally. :)

i have the best motivated running partners and a great coach and mentors so the pieces are there for me to survive this. AND i'll get the cool shirt and coveted medal!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

it's getting hot in herr

i agree with james, summertime has returned, and no i'm not happy about it. for most of us, even though we live in warmer climates most of the time, running in the heat is difficult. for the rest of us, it's even more than difficult. i would take 20 degrees any day over a 80 degree morning or a 95 degree afternoon. i abolustely despise running in the heat.

we were lucky last week with some 40 degree mornings. even on saturday it was a lovely 50-something degrees for my tempo run. and it made for a great run. well, that and the fact that i felt great. i had to be at work at 7:30, so terri was the glutton for punishment that met me to do the workout. my tempo was a 1 mile warm-up, 6 at 8:30 tempo pace, and a mile cool-down. my legs felt really good as soon as we started. i got on pace quickly and stayed there. it was ideal. for 6 miles, it was pretty much dead on. me and the garmin are becoming very well connected. it was a great run.

sunday, i expected my recovery to be really tough because as soon as i got done with my tempo on saturday, i showered, dressed and went to work immediately, no breaks. i was on my feet from 7:30 to about 2, and i was beyond exhausted when i got home, and this was after working about 12 hours on friday too. however, on sunday, for as stiff and as stove up as i was, i felt really good during the 6 miles. again, dead on with pace and i wasn't even trying on that one. again, me and garmin, bff's.

monday is rest from running, and i teach my spin class. we had a small group, just 3, so we just rode and chatted. it was just what the doctor ordered. my lower back was bothering me yesterday, so i doped up and by the evening, it was much better. i was beyond sleepy so i got to bed early and was ready for the speed session this morning. gone were the cool temps and back were the hot, humid temps. after my warm-up, i was already drenched! they were tough today. as i told james, there was no way around this being hard. i did what i knew i had to do, which was just suck it up and do it. and i did. terri and chris did the first 3 with me, and then i was on my own. that fourth one was the toughest, and it wasn't because i was alone. it was because it was 73 degrees and i was depleting. my legs felt great, but my breathing was very difficult and my body felt like it was draggng a concrete block. we are not adjusted to the temps and higher humidity so during this process of adjustment, james had told me that i had to decide if i needed to ease up 15 or 20 seconds on my paces, and that thought crossed my mind many times during the workout. i didn't, and the whole time, i was wondering if that was a mistake. i'll find out thursday when i do my long run. i took longer recoveries in between, probably of about 7 minutes instead of the usual 5 or 5 1/2. that seemed to help. on that last one, i just said, ok, go. and then it was over. the cool down was very tough, and i walked at the beginning for a minute and even at the half for about 30 seconds. i couldn't have sweated more today. it was ridiculous. but i made it...7:50, 7:49, 7:48, 7:54, and 7:51.

the summer will be tough, no matter how you look at it. it's just how it is here, however, i plan on doing all i can to kick its butt.

Friday, May 6, 2011

abc's of me

ginny over at happy feet 26.2 posted this earlier. like her, i have seen this circulate through the blogsphere, and i was inspired by her to post mine today. maybe you'll learn a little something about me.

here goes!

Age - 38
Baseball - favorite place is The Pete this time of the year
Chacos - my favorite shoes
Dogs - you all have heard about my best friend molly, the big black lab
Easy runs - i appreciate them more now
Friends - love my friends!
Golden Eagles - SMTTT!
Height - 5'5
Iphone - yep, i'm one of those
Job - manager of programs (event planner) at the southern miss alumni association
Kids - no kids, no plans for any - molly and my 3 newphews and niece are enough
Last of the Mohicans - one of my favorite movies
Master's Degree - what i'm working on
NCAA sports - LOVE it
Older brother and sister - one of each
Peanut butter - nuff said
Quiet - that's how i like things
Running - should i say more?
Saturday - favorite day of the week
Thanksgiving - favorite holiday
U2 - a favorite band - after coldplay of course
Visiting my mom and dad's pool - favorite summer activity
Wrist tattoo - 26.2
Xray - had a few - back, foot, teeth
Yellow - favorite coldplay song
Zoo animal - the cats!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

rainy days and tuesdays get me down

imagine success. that was my mental plan for today. i was coming into this workout with fresh legs after a week of recovery miles, 36 of them, but still recovery miles. coach james had emailed me some mental tips to help me get through the workout, and i was confident i'd have a good day.

75 degrees and humid. that's what it was at the start of the run. the mile warmup was slow and easy, and i just let my legs open up on their own. i started the first repeat and got on pace immediately and stayed on pace. i was excited because i typically start out way too fast or too slow and have to speed up too much to get on pace. 7:49, nailed it. sipped some water, felt some sprinkles, did the recovery, and started again. this time, i did not find the pace. i felt so good that i wasn't understanding it was easier because i was going slower. i was blaming it on my Garmin. it was cloudy and my Garmin has not responded in clouds of this kind before so i thought it was not catching up to my speed as quickly. wrong! between the half and 3/4 mark, i realized i was slower and i was not going to be able to catch up. i didn't think that sprinting that last little bit was a good idea to get the pace i needed. so that one was 7:59. i was annoyed. recovery, a few more sprinkles, and back on track. third was was spot on again at 7:49.

during the second mile repeat, about halfway through it, the wind shifted quickly and immediately it was cooler. i've been outdoors when cool fronts passed through and they were gradual over an hour or hours. this one was almost instantaneous, and during our workout the temp dropped over 10 degrees. crazy! great scenario right? wrong again. remember those sprinkles? at the end of the third mile repeat, the bottom fell out. i thought it was one of those bursts of rain that stopped as quickly as it started. wrong again for the 3rd time this morning. i grabbed a quick sip of water and attempted the cool down, but the rain got harder and was blowing in sheets - there was a strong crosswind coming in from the north. i was drenched and it got cold quickly. after my recovery, i took shelter under the gateway restrooms. a cyclist was doing the same, and had his phone. the radar showed a small cell, and we both thought it would move quickly. i was thinking i could finish the workout. it did not move quickly and 10 minutes passed. i also got cold. when the rain didn't stop, i decided to call it a day. my body had cooled down for too long, and i would need to add a longer warm up before i did the last 2 repeats. plus, the time was getting away from me, and i would risk being late for work. i ended the workout with 5.5 miles and 3 repeats, 2 on pace.

i am ticked that i messed up my second repeat because i know it was there. and i am ticked that the weather ended my workout early. i was feeling better than i have in almost 2 weeks, and i was ready to put some intensity into these legs. i'm disappointed things didn't go as planned, but finding the silver lining, i'm very happy with how i felt. it's encouraging for the rest of the week.

Friday, April 29, 2011

another month & week down

another month is done as well as another week. i'm wrapping up my recovery week of training, and i'm starting to feel back to normal. tuesday was an 8 mile recovery, thursday a 10 mile recovery and tomorrow will be 12 and sunday 6. i'll log 36 miles this week. starting tuesday, it's back on with the intensity with speed work. i'm ready!

last sunday, i wrote about my plans for the week. some things i accomplished, some i didn't. first on my list of seeing southern miss defeat alabama. well, that didn't happen. second was to run with scott jurek and chris mcdougall. that didn't happen either. unlike the baseball game, i can explain that one. you see, i had a semester long project due the next day as well as the in-class presentation for that project. the project was a public relations campaign that i built throughout the semester. the presentation was only to be 10 minutes, but i don't do well going off the cuff when speaking in class. so i opted out of the naked run tour that evening to do my final prep for my campaign. said campaign is pictured to the left and was a 1 1/2 to 2 inch thick piece of work, and it better get me an A in this class! the presentation went well, and the campaign is turned in and finished. next up for this class, a take home final due in 2 weeks, and a 10 page paper for another class due in one week. after that, my semester is over. 2 semesters of grad school will be one, with only 5 classes left. 2 in the summer, 2 in the fall, 1 in the spring with comps.

the third item on my list was to attend the school of mass communication and journalism spring awards banquet where i was receiving an award. a few weeks ago, my professor emailed me to submit some work for the student showcase. i thought it was cool, and told her i'd do it. then i realized submissions were due by 5 that day! so i pulled some work i did for a class last semester and sent it in. i was at my parent's house on good friday enjoying the pool and got an email saying i had won an award and would need to attend the banquet. most of the awards given were for graduating seniors, selected by faculty, for their undergraduate success, but there was also the student showcase for particular pieces that were submitted. i won for best public relations research. i submitted a paper i did last semester on social media that focuses on facebook and dove into the social phenomenon it has become. i don't know how many submitted work (probably not many), but i was still honored to be recognized. the theme of the banquet was geared around the oscars hence the reason my trophy is an oscar.

the fourth item on my list was to run lots of great miles, and for the most part i did. at the start of the week, i wasn't as fresh as i would have liked to have been, but the recovery week is working and i'm feeling better. coach james has tweaked my schedule some, so i'm looking forward to starting back with challenging but attainable workouts and seeing how this new schedule works out. i have high hopes.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

runner therapy - why i run

people run for so many different reasons. i would say a good many start running to lose weight. i know i did, and it worked. but then i caught the running bug or rather i got a taste of the running drug. sure i lost weight and got fitter, but i gained so much more. in my last few posts, i've acknowledged that i'm working with a coach. in my initial meetings, i filled out some paperwork and one of the questions was 'why do you run?' that was not a hard question for me to answer.

i started running with a friend probably 8 or 9 years ago. she wasn't athletic nor into exercise, but she wanted to 'tone up' for a beach trip. so, we started running. about 2 weeks later, she quit. i kept going. i finally was able to run a mile without stopping. then 2. then 3. then 6. and the next year, i ran a marathon. granted it wasn't a great marathon, and to this day stands as my worst time, but it was the start of a lifestyle of running. since then running has come to mean so many different things to me.

as i mentioned above, i started running to lose weight initially, but that's not why i kept running. there are very few things i have done that can compare to finishing a marathon. the physical and mental challenge is so great and the level of difficulty is so high, and once you finish, this wave of exhilaration washes over you and you realize you just ran 26 miles and 385 yards. it's an unbelievable feeling of pride in yourself that you overcame lots of tough moments to cross that finish line. i have yet to find a feeling that compares. the best part is it stays with you for a while. and it's not just with marathons. i can go out and have a kick butt tempo run, long run or speed session and have just about the same feelings. the feeling of accomplishment is like no other. you earn bragging rights!

running has changed me. not just my body, but also my mind. running brings out the good stuff. it brings out the tenacity you need to tackle an obstacle at work or at home or whatever. it brings out a healthy competitive spirit. it brings out a new level of confidence. it gets the endorphins moving. it creates a stronger mind. it helps alleviate stress. this is all stuff you need to handle life, and life is HARD! running does that for me. it makes me feel good. and it makes me feel good about myself.

the best part is running has given me great friends. i started out as a lone runner for the most part. i met a few runners in the early days, but i still didn't dive into the local running club. it wasn't until the running club president began working in my office that i became social in the running community. i started getting involved in the club, and there i met some of the most amazing people who are now my best friends. we always would joke about how different we all were, but we had one strong common bond. if you distance run, you spend lots of time with running partners, you get to know them very well and get very comfortable with them. i might not look forward to an 18 or 20 mile run, but i look forward to the camaraderie that will be shared on those runs. most of my best memories are with my running friends and have revolved around a run. i have lifelong friends, and they are some of my biggest fans and supports. runners love all runners and are a very accepting group.

so that's how i answered the question on the questionnaire. as long as i'm able, i will run. below is a picture of me in college, when i was close to my heaviest weight. i've come a long way!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

off the wagon / back on the wagon

ok, time to get serious again because i haven't been 'winning' with my diet! the last two weekends i have eaten a tad too much easter candy! and a few other treats of the non-candy type. those shall be kept a secret. i am that ashamed. so, tonight, after a big lunch of ham, casseroles, pound cake, and a few pieces of candy, it's back to it! back on the wagon! i stocked up at the grocery store last night so no excuses!

in other news:
my semester is winding down, and in a couple of weeks i'll be able to enjoy a few weeks before the summer session starts. this thursday i present my public relations campaign that i have been working on all semester. in the meantime, i have to have the campaign printed and bound and prepare the presentation. next week, i turn in a 10 page paper that i only have 2 pages of so far. obviously that needs a lot of work. then the next week, i turn in a final exam that i got last thursday. yeah, haven't started it yet at all. it will all get done.

this week:

  • i hope to see southern miss defeat alabama!

  • i plan to run with scott jurek and chris mcdougall

  • i will attend the school of mass communication and journalism banquet where i'll be receiving an award

  • and i will run lots of great miles!

Friday, April 22, 2011

week 3 - ups and downs

i haven't written in about a week so i figured it was time to give an update. i've been doing a good bit of running and even more school work, which is why i haven't had time to post. it's the end of the semester which means final projects due very soon. also means i'll have a few weeks of NO SCHOOL very soon!!!

i'm in my third week of training, and still so far so good! but i did have my first rough patch. last saturday was my usual long run at an easy pace and sunday was a slow recovery run, which i did on my own here in petal. monday, my legs felt great in spin, and i was very confident for my speed session on tuesday. i woke up tuesday to warm, muggy air, so i knew i'd need all that feel good my legs had to offer. the legs and body felt good, but i struggled to breath. my workout was 5 x 1 mile repeats at 7:50. they were tough, but i completed all of them on pace. 9 miles total for the workout.

wednesday in spin my legs told a different story. fatigue. the warm, muggy air makes everything different, and harder. i started to feel a bit of worry for thursday's tempo run - because of how i felt and the warm weather. i was totally off my game thursday morning, even forgetting to bring some water. and i realized during the first mile that my garmin settings were not right. i felt ok during the warmup, but i just knew i was tired and knew the workout was going to be tough, however, i was ready to give it my all. we started the tempo, and it was rough, but i stayed with it hoping the speed would come. it didn't. i was fighting too hard to maintain. i took a couple of breaks around 2 and 4 miles, and after the 5th mile, i decided to pull the plug. maybe i should have pulled the plug earlier, because each mile got slower and slower. i took one more short walk break during the 'cool down' mile, and soon after it was over. i left the workout with only small amounts of disappointments. i knew my previous workouts had all been right on point, and with the extreme changes in weather, this is often what to expect.

today i'm enjoying a full day of rest after sleeping in! i'm also going to enjoy a recovery week next week of easy miles. i will get one of these gems after three weeks of intensity. my hope is that i will begin adjusting to the warmer temps, and remind myself that conquering the summer will make me stronger in the fall.