Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My Orange Shoes

Today was a long run day, but I'm taking a recovery week so it was sort of a short long run of ten miles at a comfortable pace (9:13/mile). A couple of weeks ago, I ran a ten miler at a comfortable 9:30 pace so there's a little bit of improvement. Maybe it's because of the last words I heard just before I left my house. My husband saw me in my orange (bright, bright orange) Asics DS Trainers and said, "Those shoes make you look like a fast runner!"

~Gotta Run Now

Monday, July 28, 2008

My Husband Catches a Snake

Yesterday, after we went for a run at the park, our dogs let us know that something was in our yard that didn't belong. Here is the video I took of my husband catching a non-poisonous snake that was on our back porch. If you're a snake-lover, don't worry, he only moved it away from the house. You'll hear my husband suggest I need to get closer to get a good picture, but I was pretty close to the snake. Really, really close!

~Gotta Run Now

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Oops! 4 x 400 Meters

I planned to run four 800 intervals today. I looked at my running journal this morning to remind myself of my plan, but what was really on my mind was how glad I was that I was only running four of those intervals instead of six (because that was an option).

My husband and I drove to the park and I programmed my Garmin, but I had four firmly planted in my brain. I set my Garmin to run four 400's with two minute recovery jogs.

I ran at a warm-up pace for about a mile and then I threw in 6-7 sprints in the second mile. After running two miles, I started the 400's. The first two intervals were okay (in a hard sort of way), but the third one was so hard that I wondered if I could finish. The fourth interval was so hard that I thought if my Garmin didn't beep very soon I would just have to stop before the time was up. Then it beeped! Phew!

I ran about two miles in cool-down mode. Today's total run was 5 1/2 miles long.

After lunch, I got a chance to check out my numbers. Oops! I ran 400's (1/4 mile) instead of 800's. Kind of disappointing, but since it was in the low 80's during the run and the trail was shadeless, maybe that was for the best. The numbers for the 400 meter intervals were:

1st interval - 7:13 pace / 1:48 minutes
2nd interval - 7:08 / 1:47
3rd interval - 7:30 / 1:52
4th interval - 7:09 / 1:47

I compared my times with a similar run I did about two weeks ago (at the same time of day and similar temperature) and here's what I found.

7/13/08 average pace for first 4 x 400's: 7:53/mile (Click on my blog title for today to see that post.)
7/26/08 average pace for 4 x 400's: 7:15

Most of the time, when I feel crazy-tired I start thinking, "I should be able to slow down if I need to, right?" and then I slow down, but not today. Here are the new rules: Don't slow down until the Garmin beeps! Or the finish line has been crossed!

~Gotta Run Now

Friday, July 25, 2008

Recovery Run

My favorite lunch is leftovers (so easy!), but since I didn't have any and a peanut butter sandwich sounded a little boring, I made this chicken and noodles concoction. I cooked some chicken, some noodles and some vegetables and put it all together with a spoonful of basil pesto and topped it with some parmesan cheese. I thought it looked good enough to take a picture.

I'm still confused about which running plan to use to train for the marathon. I was really considering one of Pfitzinger's plans, but then I came across Matt Fitzgerald's Brain Training for Runners which has a few plans in it...

I ran a recovery run of five miles this morning at a 9:50/mile pace. I usually drink every two miles, but only wanted to bring one water bottle and planned to drink at the midway point. I was thirsty at mile two and had to get some sips at mile 2.3 and finally got a good drink at mile 2.5. I probably would have been fine waiting until the midway point, but when you're brain is used to a drink every two miles, any longer than that in the heat seems like the end of the world.

~Gotta Run Now

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Stray Dogs & Cars, Too

I ate some pancakes for my pre-run meal around 6AM and then I waited for the rain and thunder to stop. I waited and I waited. Since I didn't get out to run until about 9:30AM, I had another snack (half of a peanut butter and banana sandwich). It rained during the whole run, but at least the thunder and lightning had stopped.

At first, I felt heavy and slow, but once I passed the .56 mile mark (I checked my Garmin), I felt pretty good. Maybe I ate too much before my run. It was 81 degrees, but the rain cooled me down and it felt easier than usual to run eight miles.

In the first mile, I saw a familiar brown dog in the middle of the street. I walked up to the house where I thought his owner lived and rang the doorbell. No answer. I called the first number on his dog tag. The numbers were tiny and this dog was squirmy. I left a message at "somebody's" number. Then I called the second number on the tag and while I was talking to the lady on the other end, she walked up to the front door and opened it. She hadn't heard the doorbell ring. She was so grateful to me for bringing her dog home that I felt pretty good after that. I think I should add that last number to my cell phone. It might save me a little trouble in the future. My husband says I should start charging for my "dog-return service"!

In the third mile of my run, I saw a car down the street coming towards me (but in their own lane) so I crossed over to the right lane to give them plenty of space on this quiet neighborhood road. Then the driver got in the wrong lane and started coming right towards me in my lane (in the wrong lane). Fi-nal-ly, they swerved into their own lane. So I'm still alive and glad about that! : )

My pace for my 8 mile run was 9:25/mile and my mile splits were:
9:41, 9:30, 9:42, 9:21, 9:25, 9:22, 9:15, and 9:06.

~Gotta Run Now

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Better Twelve Miler

Because Hurricane Dolly might bring rain and wind to the Houston area tomorrow, this morning I decided to run my long run today instead of later in the week.

I ran twelve miles for my long run this week because last week I had such a hard twelve mile run. I thought it would make me feel better if I ran a decent twelve miles this week.

I drank Gatorade and had water with gel every couple of miles last week which made me feel terrible. This week I drank every two miles: alternating Gatorade and water. That worked for me today.

Today's run was so much better than last week's long run. I never felt like I couldn't run anymore. I didn't have to think up pep-talks. I was tired in the last few miles, but it was nothing like last week when I started out too fast. It's a good thing when a twelve mile run doesn't require everything you've got, but I'm not saying I felt like turning my twelve mile run into a thirteen mile run, either. ; )

Here are the mile splits: 9:48, 9:37, 9:48, 9:37, 9:39, 9:38, 9:54, 9:28, 9:38, 9:45, 9:59, and 9:59/mile. My average pace was 9:44/mile.

~Gotta Run Now

Monday, July 21, 2008

3 x 30 Second Sprints

Last night, I looked through my running journal to see if I recently ran at anywhere near my sprinting goal for today - a 7:07/mile pace - ever. I thought seeing some fast paces would give me a little confidence. I looked and looked and then I gave up.

This morning I ran a couple of miles to warm-up and then I started my thirty second sprints. The thirty seconds went by so fast that I didn't have time to think about anything except my running form. During my recovery jog, I checked my Garmin to see my pace - 6:29. I ran the second one at 6:24. Happiness! : )

After that, I was tired and thirsty and on my way home for a drink. At the last second I decided that I wanted to get the third sprint over with so I hit the button on my Garmin and raced home. I felt slow. I didn't take the time to check my time on that one and ran a few more miles to finish up my seven mile run.

When I got home, I checked the pace for the last sprint - 6:09. The numbers are already in my running journal. Maybe I should go find a highlighter so that I can find them the next time that I need a little confidence boost.

~Gotta Run Now

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Good Run

I'm glad I woke up early (5:25AM) in order to get my run in before I got too busy today. I ran a little over eight miles with ten one-hundred meter (about 0.06 miles) sprints. My pace for most of the run was supposed to be a moderate effort and it was nice to not have the pressure of having to run at a specific pace. I ran the first 6 1/2 miles at a 9:21 pace and then I started the sprints.

I ran just a tad over forty miles this week.

~Gotta Run Now

Thursday, July 17, 2008

It Looks Good At First...

I ran twelve miles with an average pace of 9:45/mile. I wish I could stop there, but it's not as good as it sounds.

First problem: I drank Gatorade or drank water with a gel every two miles until I couldn't stand it anymore. Next time, I need some "water only" breaks.

Next problem: I started out too fast and by the six mile point of my run, I wanted to quit. That's partly because I picked up the pace even more at the start of mile five, hoping to do two or three marathon paced miles. I felt good in the beginning of my run. The running felt easy. There was a breeze. I didn't want to slow down. Bad choice.

By the five and a half mile mark, I was spent. There was a walker with her dog (I was at the park today) who apologized because he was standing in the middle of the path and all that I could do was whisper, "Izzokay." Compare that a few miles before when I saw someone with a dog, I smiled and asked what kind it was as I ran by and then yelled back that it was cute. (It was a wire-haired griffon. He looked like he had bushy eyebrows.)

At the beginning of mile six, I pulled a bottle of Gatorade off of my belt to drink and stood in the shade of a bush. "I can't!" swirled through my brain. So it was time for a pep-talk: I can run six more miles. I want to run twelve miles today.

At mile seven, I wondered why I was still running. No one is making me run. I wanted to run. Sometimes it's good to think about that.

At mile eight, I told myself that all I had left was four short miles. That's shorter than most recovery days.

At mile nine, I ran back to the car where I had some ice water. No, no, I wasn't quitting! It was early for a drink break, but I had to wash the sweet gel and Gatorade taste out of my mouth.

I wasn't due for a drink break until mile eleven now, but I took another short stop at my car for more water at mile ten. I was really babying myself.

I ran some more and with 1.58 miles to go, all I could think about was taking off my wet shoes and socks. I felt like I was running in a puddle. I only had about fifteen more minutes to go now.

And then it was done and off came my shoes and socks.

Here are my mile splits: 9:27, 9:10, 9:21, 9:21, 9:08 (trying to speed up to 8:47), 9:02, 9:51, 9:59, 10:03, 10:34, 10:23, 10:36/mile.

And now you have the full story. When I was driving away from the park with the air conditioner on full-blast, I was so pleased that I had run the full twelve miles. I made a couple of bad choices, but in the end, I didn't quit. I didn't quit. I didn't quit. Okay, I'm done now! I'll quit!

Oh, except for this: I ran six miles yesterday at a 9:30 pace. My stomach cramped at the end. I'm pretty sure it was because I didn't have anything to drink since the two mile mark, though. That won't happen again, though. I hope.

~Gotta Run Now

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Two Marathon Pace Miles

I ran seven miles this morning with two being marathon pace miles. While I was out there running, I decided that I'd run the two marathon pace miles at 8:47 for a 3:50 marathon finish. Since I was drenched in sweat and tired after running four miles (part of this while running from a dog), it was an easy decision to make, but maybe not the best time to make it.

"Hmm... Do I feel like running at an 8:24 pace or 8:47?"

It was a little bit hard to get down to marathon pace. Those two miles were run at 8:54 and 8:37. If you average that, (let's do that or I'll be unhappy with the first mile) you get 8:45 or 8:46. Goal accomplished.

If I run with a marathon pace group, my finish time goal should be either 3:40 or 3:50 (they don't have a 3:45 pace group). I could try for 3:40, but that would be a stretch (8:24 pace) and it might mean starting too fast and slowing too much and not even finishing in 3:50. On the other hand, a 3:50 finish would only be a four minute and three second improvement, but it would mean qualifying for Boston which would be great.

~Gotta Run Now

Monday, July 14, 2008

Pictures at the Park

I had a little diversion during my five mile run this morning at the park. My husband took some pictures of me so that I could add a picture to my blog. The picture shows the park where I usually run when I blog about running at the park. When I run there I need to keep my eyes open for wild pigs, coyotes and snakes. I've seen them all there.

~Gotta Run Now

Sunday, July 13, 2008

When It's Good To Be Wrong

Today the goal was to work on increasing my stride frequency. I followed a plan I came across that Greg McMillan came up with, which was to warm-up, run 10-15 sprints and 6-8 quarter milers (time should be 1:54-2:00 or about 8:00/mi and faster pace) and then to cool-down. How did the plan work out? I warmed up for a mile. I ran the sprints for one mile (I only had time for 9) and then I started the quarter mile work, with recovery jogs for half the distance.

The quarter milers were tough. By the third one, I was giving myself the "you're almost half-way done" pep talk. By the sixth one, I was telling myself, "Legally, you can quit. There will be no shame. The goal is to run from 6-8 of these." By the seventh one, the only one I went over my goal time with 8:21, I thought I should quit before it gets worse, but I didn't want to quit. During the eighth one, I was exhausted. I really didn't think I had anything left. I knew my time would be really slow, but somehow I ran it at a 7:57 pace.

I ran six miles today. I ran 38 miles this week.

~Gotta Run Now

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Just Because

When I woke up Wednesday I was surprised that my heel pain was completely gone. I went for a run that morning. My mile splits: 9:34, 8:31, 8:40, 8:39, 7:53, and 9:29/mi.

I ran an easy five miles on Thursday and ten miles Friday. I kept the pace pretty steady for my long run at 9:30.

This morning my husband and I ran at the park. I ran six miles at a 9:30 pace. It was much harder than yesterday's run. I didn't have much energy left after yesterday's long run.

You know what my sweet husband gave me yesterday? Roses! Just because.

~Gotta Run Now

Friday, July 4, 2008

Freedom 5K Race Report

I found my place at the race start, chatted with another runner and soon it was time to begin running. I had trouble getting down to my goal pace of 7:34 and within the first half mile I thought that I'd already ruined my race. Not good! I didn't want to give up so early in the race so I started thinking like a cheerleader.

"Don't give up yet!"

"Way to round that corner closely!"

"Way to pass that runner!"

My finishing time was 24:01 minutes (7:44/mile average pace). I PR'ed by 13 seconds, but I wish I could have run at least one second faster. 24:00 sounds so much better!

This race made me want to push myself harder. Is it time to go running again? I'm ready!

~Gotta Run Now

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Only 199 Days Until the Marathon

I signed up for the January 18, 2009 Houston Marathon! I was planning on running in the Kingwood marathon, a smaller marathon with only 300 runners, but I want to run in a pace group this year so I changed my mind and signed up for Houston. If I'm in a group, I should be okay even if I have trouble with my Garmin like I did in January... unless everyone else has trouble with their Garmin, too. Impossible, right?! Besides, running with a group will be fun.

I don't know which marathon training plan to use. The plans I'm thinking about are the Ultimate Marathon Training Plan - Advanced, one of the plans at the Boston Marathon website, or the 55 mile/24 week plan in Pfitzinger's book, Advanced Marathoning.

So far, my goal is 3:50:59 (to BQ). The first time I ran a marathon my goal was just to finish. The second time my goal was to PR. This will be my second time to try to BQ (and my fourth marathon).

I came across an article about running in the heat at the NY Times website that you might like to read. It was long, but interesting.

Today I'm taking a day off from running. I'm really excited about the race tomorrow. Thank you for the well-wishes! : )

~Gotta Run Now

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Mid-week Catch-up

Sunday, I ran five miles at the park. My husband, who ran with me, saw a feral hog near the trees on the back loop so later when I ran along that path alone, I kept my eyes on those trees. It was uncomfortable to run while looking off to the side, but I didn't want to get chased by a hog. The problem with keeping your eyes on the trees is that you miss what's on the path ahead.

I just happened to look down in time to see a red, yellow and black striped snake within a foot of my feet. I took a giant leap in the other direction and ran down the path - fast! I don't know if it was a poisonous coral snake, a harmless milk snake or something else. Later, when my heart stopped pounding, I tried to remember the little snake rhyme that helps you identify the non-poisonous snake: "Red touching black is a friend of Jack." Unfortunately, I twisted the rhyme up so that if I'd trusted my little ditty, I would have thought the poisonous snake was harmless, but I think I've got it now.

I ran four miles on Monday and six miles on Tuesday. Tuesday my mile splits were: 9:18, 8:56, 7:25, 9:16, 9:00, 9:18. The goal was to run one mile at 5K pace and I was shooting for 7:34.

Today I ran five miles at 9:28. Perhaps it's because I'm rested from running fewer miles this week or maybe the humidity was low, but for once, this easy run really was easy. What a nice change. By the way, I ran by a deer this morning.

~Gotta Run Now
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