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.