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.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My First Week - Training Update

it's almost been one full week that i've been working with James (PowerMultisport), and it's already been one of the best weeks of training i've had. we had our initial meeting on Monday, April 4. since then, I've done six workouts. i posted last week about my first two runs (tempo thursday is BACK!) the following saturday, i was to run 12 miles easy, 9:30 to 10 minute pace. terri and i started at 6 a.m. to avoid the heat, but there wasn't much avoidance. it was warm and really humid and the run suffered. i didn't get to upset about it, i just wanted it to be over. my legs were fatigued from thursday, but the heat and humidity weighed me down more than anything. i didn't have pain, i just couldn't go. we managed a 9:33 pace for the run, so i was satisfied. the run wiped me out for the day though. i had zero energy and even walking through the mall with my mom and niece was work. i took two naps and went to bed early. terri suggested we do our sunday run that morning since it was going to be so warm that afternoon. we were done before 7:30, and after a shower, i went back to bed for a couple of hours before it was time to go to church. i was pleased that my legs and body felt better. that run had no time expectations, and we didn't even look at our pace. we just ran. monday is my spin day, but my legs still felt some fatigue, so i kept it moderate becuase i knew i'd need fresh legs for tuesday's workout. my schedule was for 4 x 1 mile repeats in 7:50. 8 miles total with warm-ups, recoveries, and cool-down. i felt great, and we nailed all four of them. chris and james ran all four with me, and terri was there for three of them. when i couldn't talk, chris and james chatted it up for me. i had a blast. i took the rest of the day easy. wednesday is another spin day, but i felt pretty good in class. we eased into the workout and ended strong. i also took it easy the rest of that day, because thursday (today) was tempo. my workout was to be 8 miles with 6 at 8:10. that's what i did last week, but today i wasn't going into the workout thinking 8:45 like last week, i was going into it thinking 8:10. it was a bit intimidating even though i did it last week. terri and vicki were doing their own thing, and chris overslept, so it was just james and i for the run. we did our mile warm-up, and we were off. we maintained and kept our pace, even with a crazy dog and a brief stop for water. the splits were 8:05, 8:04, 8:15, 8:32 (water), 7:56, and 7:51. james had his virtual partner set on his garmin, and even though he got a bit ahead of us, we caught him and left him in our dust at the end. the last two miles reflect why they were the hardest, they were faster. james let me take a minute to breathe at the end of the 6, and we walked a minute or two before jogging it in. we averaged 8:07 for the 6 miles in 48 minutes and 46 second. dang proud of that! today, i will rest the remainder of the day - will be in class from 2:30 until 8:30 or 9 tonight with a break between classes for dinner. tomorrow is a complete rest day, and i am looking forward to sleepng IN until 6:30! that's 2 whole hours later than all 4 days this week. back at it saturday and happy about it! dawn is getting her groove back!

Monday, April 11, 2011

staying motivated

this has often been the toughest part of my running ever since the beginning. if you've read my blog any over the last year, you have probably noticed it. it's tough to keep the motivation up especially since running and training is really mental. it's easy to focus on the things that bring us down.

over the years, these are some things that have pulled me down.

1 - not so great fitness

2 - poor training results

3 - hot weather

4 - fatigue / stress

but when times are good, they are good. the feeling of being motivated, energetic and loving to run is one of the best feelings. i've learned it doesn't take much to get you there, you just have to get there. these are some ways i've been brought back up out of the running dumps.

1 - one good race or run - it only takes one good experience to get you fired up.

2 - a new gadget, outfit or running shoes

3 - a goal - race on the calendar

4 - motivated running partners

it doesn't take much to get you going in the right direction, you just have to find what that is exactly. the key is staying there!

right now i'm motivated, more than ever. why? i had a good marathon almost 6 weeks ago. i have great running friends. i'm seeing positive results in my training. i have a coach. now i just need to keep all this with me and keep moving forward as the toughest running time of the year is approaching.

what motivates you?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

tempo thursday is BACK!

i still love thursday runs. today, two cool things happened. first, i had a much faster tempo run. second, i learned about garmin connect. let's talk about the tempo run first. my workout today was to be a tempo of 6 miles with a slow mile warm up and a slow mile cool down. the pace for the tempo was to be 8:45. yesterday, james emailed to say he was going to come on the run with me. chris and terri were also going to be there. we headed out and that mile warm up wasn't that slow. i was thinking, well, if i'm running an 8:45 tempo, it at least won't get much faster. after 1 mile, we were off, blazing! we were striking hot right off the bat, but we settled down quickly and eased into a more responsible pace, in the low 8's! i didn't think about not being able to sustain that pace for 6 miles, i just ran. a few years ago, i used to get told all the time to 'just shut up and run!' so that's what i did. we clicked away in the low 8's, stopped for a sip of water, and finished it. my average for the 6 tempo was 8:10. not too bad! the average for the first 7 was 8:19. we took the cool down mile much slower, and i needed it cause homegirl was tired! i'm excited about this run, and excited about what is to come. taking james on as my coach could be one of the best decisions i've made regarding my running in a long time. during the run he mentioned to send him the garmin reading from the run. i was like, uh, ok. i remembered having a CD of some stuff that came with it, so i got to work and tried it. well, that wasn't what he was talking about. he gave me the link to garmin connect, so i downloaded it and then uploaded my history from my garmin, and there it was, and it was so cool! everything was there, pace, map, best mile, etc. i'm not normally a big information junkie, but that stuff is the shiz! i will be uploading ALL my runs from here on out. and if you aren't doing it, you should be! here is my run from today - thursday tempo so, my legs are tired. fortunately i get a day off tomorrow and will enjoy a full day of rest. although, after today, i feel like i can tackle anything. this morning i learned that i am faster than i thought i was. there is a runner inside of me!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

what a week!

i keep waiting for things to slow down, but one task or project gets replaced by another. i think that's just life. the good news is school will end soon! then i get a short break before i start a brief, but full summer. two research classes sounds like way too much fun for one person! today as i registered for summer and fall classes, i realized i will only register one more time after this, and that will be for my spring 2012 semester, my LAST! i can manage 3 more semesters. this week started off great. i had a really good spin class monday morning - great group and a great workout. met with my new coach at lunch to get some planning done. then headed home to see what the weather was going to do. i had planned to take molly for a walk then do some school work, but the storms had other plans for me. i decided NOT to go walking because it looked like things were blowing in rather quickly, and i did not want to get caught a mile from my house. i ate a bowl of cereal and decided to relax a little before doing some work and watching dancing with the stars. again, the storms had other plans for me. a little before 7, it kicked up really quickly. shortly after that, it got really rowdy and at 7, there went my electricity. i decided to attempt some school work anyway, but i guess i was too bothered by what was going on outside to concentrate, plus i couldn't see well and it was only frustrating me, so i gave up. after the storm quietened down a bit, i decided that i would try to sleep. at 8 i headed to bed. i was hot. molly was hot. my ears were acutely aware of every single noise outside. i couldn't relax to sleep. then, i started listening for the power truck and each time a truck with flashing lights went down my street, i jumped up to see where it was going. around 9:45 the lights came back on. i hopped up, turned off the lights, crawled back in bed and hoped for sleep to come quickly. it did not. i guess i was lying there thinking of the school stuff i didn't do because i was wide awake! i am guessing around 11:30 i fell asleep. my alarm was set to go off at 4:30. it did, and shortly after that i received a text from one of the group saying they couldn't make it. i texted another person in the group and asked if they were coming and was told to go back to sleep. so i did about a half hour later. i wish i had gotten up and said, let's go anyway. i think we both would have been glad. oh well, now i'll just have to get a few in after work. this week is an easy week anyway so it shouldn't be that bad. i'm proud to say the bed doesn't win the fight in the morning that often, but i sure do hate when it does. crossing my fingers that tonight after work i will be ready to run! maybe i'll let molly go with me for a mile of it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

goodbye march, hello april

this week went so much better than last week. work was calmer and my training was back on. school, however, is nearing the end of the semester (hallelujah!) so it's going to be picking up over the next few weeks. even though i needed those rest days last weekend and actually enjoyed them, i was really glad to be back to training this week. monday is my spin day so i was back in class teaching. i could tell i had been off my legs for a few days, but they found their way pretty quickly. tuesday morning, terri, chris, and i went for some 800's. it feels good to do speed work, to push, to get quality running in. wednesday i felt it in class, but by thursday, i felt great. terri and i had a really solid 10 mile run on a cool, humid and misty morning. we were drenched with sweat and rain by the end of the run, a weird feeling when we were a bit chilly. friday, i took the entire day off due to a few things i had to do, one volunteering at a local 5k. this morning, terri and i met up for our saturday run. i almost don't call this a long run as they are about the same distance as my weekday runs. today we were going for 10-12, but of course ended up with 12. we ran our first 3 miles rather slowly and chatted with a fellow runner that we see often out of the longleaf trace. he's a man in his mid to late 60's who is about as dedicated as anyone. we enjoyed visiting. we didn't pick it up too much after he left us and had even commented that it was ok because we were both tired. then we ran into james. he ran up behind us at about 5 miles and ran the next 5 1/2 with us, and yes, we picked it up. did we mind? nope! you know, you think you're tired, but then when you just run harder, it is there! from that point on, our miles were around 8:30, some under, some a bit over. when james joined us, we were at a 9:42 pace, and we ended it with a 9:12 pace (i think). i wish we had started a bit quicker than we did, but i'm still pleased with how it ended up. monday, i am meeting with james to start organizing how he is going to work with me. i am taking him on as my coach! i'm very excited about this next step in my running and the results that i firmly believe i will see. i've been running for about 8 years, and while i've learned a lot from my peers and things i've read, i don't feel i have the knowledge and all the discipline it takes to get where i want to be. this is something i've never done before, so i'm sure i'll have lots to blog about in the coming weeks! for now, i'm going back to some homework and the final four.