Showing posts from June, 2009

When Treadmills are Good

Last night, my husband and I stood at the front door and watched the lightning in the distant sky while the thunder roared. The wind felt almost cool and it did finally rain just a little last night.

I did thirty minutes of strength training today and went outside for a run. I ran 4 1/2 miles with a 9:58/mi. average. Then came the best part of today's run - the treadmill hillwork. It only lasted a few minutes and the fan was blowing on me full-blast. I felt cool for the first time all day. I did 6 x 10 seconds at 7% incline hills on the treadmill.

Pre-run: Cheerios, banana and milk
Post-run: chocolate malted milk and 1/2 peanut butter/raisin/honey sandwich

Monday's Slow-Fast-Slow-Fast Run

First, the temperature: about 80 F. degrees. The plan: increase my speed by ten seconds every two miles. But here's how I ran the 8 miles: 9:57, 9:49, 9:33, 9:23, 9:34, 9:44, 9:40, 9:26/mile. Not what I'd planned!

After finding the first half of the run easier than I thought it would be, I changed the plan to: keep the same pace or go faster. I thought I must be getting used to the heat. But then I slowed down and I slowed down some more. Today's average pace was 9:38, an okay average, I just wish I had been able to increase the speed gradually like I had planned. I guess the heat got to me after all.

Pre-run: a couple of pieces of toast with jam and peanut butter
Post-run: strawberry/banana/yogurt/milk smoothie

Freedom 5K Packet Pick-up

I signed up for the Freedom 5K at Corelli's in Sugar Land. See my free spaghetti and French bread? I ate it all - starving after this morning's five miler, I guess.

A bit of bad race news: the race is not chip-timed like I thought. That means that where you stand at the start is especially important because everyone's time will begin at 7AM no matter what time they cross the start line. (Update: there was a timing mat at the start and the finish after all. Yay!)

If you want to sign up for the race, click on the Freedom 5K '09 link in the sidebar under "Upcoming Race".

Running the Freedom 5K will be a fun way to start the fourth of July - looking forward to it!

No Sugar Added

I'm not going to sugarcoat this run. It was a hard five mile run at a 9:59/mi pace.

There were three stretches of shade (maybe 1.5 mi. total) and the rest of the way, the sun was shining down on me and hot, hot, hot. I wanted to stop running. Memories of being in the 22nd mile of a marathon came back to me. I focused on the short distances I had left: 3/4 mile, 1/4 mile and then only 1/10 left.

But what helped the most was the music. If it weren't for the voices coming out of my earbuds telling me to have hope, to be brave and that I am blessed and lucky, I might still be out there - ever so slowly walking home.

And that was the last run of my 32 mile week.

Pre-run: Cheerios, milk and 1/2 banana
Post-run: vanilla yogurt and a peach
Shoes: Mizuno Wave Rider 11
Temperature: Around 80 degrees F. (no time to check the heat index) during the run. 85 (feels like 96) an hour after the run. It may reach 101 (heat index of 108) today.

Sugar Land Town Square Dinner & Dessert

Last night my husband and I met at Cafe Express in Sugar Land (a Houston suburb) for dinner. I had grilled chicken drizzled with basil pine nut pesto and sweet potato fries. Delicious! These were my first sweet potato fries. If you like sweet potatoes (and you do, of course, right?!), you'd probably like these fries, too. (Or look in my blog sidebar where I added a sweet potato fry recipe and make your own.)
We saved room for dessert and walked across the street to Swirlls. I had white chocolate macadamia nut and cake batter frozen yogurt: both good. My husband liked his pomegranate yogurt with blackberries on top. It's self serve and they give you a large bowl to fill. Self-control is key! The small store was packed which made it sort of like a party. Fun!
Deal alert: ask for a Swirlls card. They'll stamp it after each purchase and after a few visits, they'll give you free frozen yogurt. Also, I read on their webpage that on your birthday (bring ID) they'll give you…

'Round the Culdesac and Back

When I saw that it was only (!) 76 degrees F. I thought it might not feel too hot out there compared to yesterday. Wrong! Today the sun was shining and it was toasty.

First, I ran a warm-up mile. Next up: speedwork.

Since the distance from my mailbox to one end of my street, around the culdesac and back to my mailbox (where I kept a water bottle and a small towel) is about 3/4 of a mile, that was the length of my intervals today. I did 4 x .75mi. with 8:01, 8:02, 8:07 and 8:25 (can we just throw this one out, please?!) working out to be the pace I ended up doing. I didn't keep my eye on my Garmin today to watch my pace. Looks like it's better when I do.

I was so tired after the speedwork. I really didn't want to run a cool-down, but I made myself do it anyway knowing it was good for me.

Pre-run: banana bread
Post-run: chocolate milk
Total miles run today: 6.11
Shoes: Asics DS Trainers 13

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
(recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated American Classics)
This is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe!


2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour (2 cups plus 2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup packed dark brown sugar 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus one yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 to 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Stir flour, salt and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
3. In large bowl, blend butter and sugars, egg, yolk and vanilla together. 4. Add dry ingredients slowly, until just combined. Stir in chips and nuts. Chill dough.
5. Use about a 1/4 cup of dough for each cookie and place on the cookie sheet.
6. Bake 15 - 18 minutes.

Makes 18 large cookies.

C'mon Rain!

I made myself some oatmeal first thing this morning. I heated some water up in a race mug and poured in some oats and raisins. I stirred in some vanilla whey protein, but that didn't taste good. I sprinkled on some brown sugar and cinnamon. Then it was good.

I went outside and was surprised by sprinkles. We haven't seen rain in ages. Our yard has big cracks in it because the ground is so dry. The neighborhood has a voluntary water rationing program now- we're to water on even numbered days only. I went back inside to get my visor, but I didn't need it after all. I ended up taking it off and attaching it (safety-pins are great) to my waist band. It was hot - 82 degrees F. (felt like 87), but it was overcast - a good change.

I ran about 4 1/2 miles outside and then I came home and as usual, took my shoes off and left them in the laundry room. I walked through the house, saw the treadmill and remembered that today was hillwork day. So with my shoes back on, I was on the tre…

30 Minutes of Exercise

This morning I did these exercises (2 sets of most of them):

Hamstring curl with Swiss Ball (10)
Push-ups (20)
Superman (10)

Goal - Hold/do for 1 minute:
Side Plank
Wall Sit
Straight Leg Raise
Sitting V Up
Ab Scissors - Had to rest after 30 seconds.
Swiss Ball V Ups

Pre-exercise: shredded wheat with milk
Post-exercise: 1/2 pear, cottage cheese, healthy muffin

Asics Landreth 4 Shoe Review #4

Now that I have over a hundred miles on my Asics Landreth 4 shoes, it's time for another review. At first, I kept to short runs in my Landreth shoes. That's because I couldn't run in them for more then 3 miles or so without them hurting my feet. After putting sixty miles on them, I was able to run longer in them, even using them for long runs.

But they were still bothering me when I first put them on. The material around my ankle felt uncomfortable and bulky. Now that they have a hundred and thirty miles on them, though, I don't have any problems with them.

I wouldn't buy another pair of Asics Landreth 4 shoes. Except for my first pair of running shoes, I've never had this much trouble with my shoes before.

5 Mile Recovery Run

I did thirty minutes of exercises at home: cross-training stuff like weight work, wall sits, leg lifts, etc.

Then I got outside for my five mile run. I didn't have to worry about speed today - just finishing, but the heat made it tough. When I finally made it back to my driveway at the end of my run, it was such a relief to be done.

Pre-run: pancake topped with peanut butter
Post-run: chocolate milk and 1/2 banana and cantaloupe slices

Wild Animals in My Yard

I saw a deer looking at me from the side of the road just after I got out on the road for my run this morning. We saw one in our front yard this weekend, too. Deer aren't the only kind of wild animal we saw this weekend.

There's a bird nest in our front yard and we heard some birds making a lot of noise near the tree. We found a venomous cottonmouth snake slithering up towards the nest. My husband caught the snake while I stood by with my cell phone and car keys in my pocket just in case we had to make a quick trip to the emergency room.

I felt pretty good on today's long run, but at the seventh mile, I started feeling a little warm. When I hit the nine mile mark, my whole body felt tired. I was glad that I downloaded some new music last night.

Then at the 9.5 mile mark, I passed a loose, barking dog and it didn't scare me. That's when I started feeling better. The heat didn't seem so bad anymore. I knew I was going to be able to finish the run.

My average pace…

Finishing Up a 31 Mile Week

I woke up later than usual around 7'ish and had some banana bread before I went for an easy five mile run. The best easy runs are those I do the day after a hard running day. I don't think pace matters on easy runs, but on these days I feel like I deserve to go slowly - like I earned it. The last couple of miles weren't easy - it was so hot. I looked forward to the short stretches of shade on the road and the cold chocolate milk I'd drink when I was finished.

Give it Another Shot

This morning speedwork was on the schedule: 4 x 800m. at 5K goal pace. I was aiming for 7:30/mi. pace. My times were 7:29, 7:27, 7:37 and 7:39. The last two were a disappointment.

Of course I have excuses for missing the goal: A bug landed on my face. I ignored it (What self-control!) until it bit me. I tried to wipe it off my face. I've got more, but I'll stop there.

Anyway, I started my cool-down run, but I was still bugged about my time. I wondered if I could do better than 7:37. So I ran a fifth 800 meter. I ran it at a 7:24 pace (3:42 minutes). That'll do!

Pre-run: Breakfast Bowl
Post-run: Strawberry/banana/yogurt/milk smoothie
Shoes: Mizuno Wave Rider 11
Total Miles: about 6

Babying My Phone

I did forty minutes of strength training and then I went for a run. Unfortunately, my cell phone died, but then revived yesterday. Maybe our high humidity is the problem so I put it in a plastic bag and stuck it in my back pocket during my run. (I don't know if this will help.) It was a little noisy - like I was being chased by a plastic bag, but my phone is still working.

Once I got back home, I hopped on the treadmill for some hillwork. I upped the incline from 6% to 7% for the last half of my eight 10-second hills to make it a little more challenging.

Update: Putting my phone in a smaller pocket the next day took care of the noise. Phew!

Pre-run: Banana bread
Post-run: Chocolate malted milk, banana bread and peanut butter
Today's total run: 5 miles
Shoes: Asics Landreth 4

The Sun On My Side

I ran five miles after thirty minutes of strength training this morning. It's pretty hot so I ran down the shadiest streets in my neighborhood. I tried to run mostly north and south so that I wouldn't have to run towards the rising sun. That makes it seem even hotter, and I don't need hotter!

Pre-run: toast with honey
Post-run: yogurt with strawberries and pecans
Shoes: Mizuno Wave Rider 11

Ten on Monday

Today I ran ten miles (9:33/mi. ave. pace). It was a good run until the seventh mile when I felt hot and tired. My slowest mile was the eighth mile, but in the ninth and tenth mile, I felt fine again and even ran the tenth mile fastest of all. Maybe the Gatorade Endurance finally kicked in. I kept some on the back porch and drank 10 ounces of it every 2.6 miles (the length of my favorite loop in my neighborhood).

Pre-run: toast topped with peanut butter and raisins
Post-run: chocolate malted milk and a banana
Shoes: Asics Landreth 4

Hot Saturday

Saturday I ran four miles. I started out later than usual and the sun was up higher in the sky so it was really hot. After two miles, I started planning ways to take a shortcut home. But instead of cutting my run short, I sprinted to the shady spots and ran as slow as possible in the shade. That worked!

My Training Plan for Week of 6/15/09

I've been thinking about taking a recovery week so this may change quite a bit. We'll see...

Monday - Long Run: 10 mi.
Tuesday - Run 5 mi.
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - Run 5 mi. with hills
Friday - Run 6 miles including 4 x 800m. w/400m. recovery run
Saturday - Run 5 miles

Run 31 miles total

Warm-up and Speed-up

How do you warm-up for a race or speedwork? Here's a Running Times warm-up article. Today I tried my own more relaxed and slower version. I ran at marathon pace twice until I got to the fire hydrant or whatever. Then I ran at half marathon pace for a shorter distance twice also. I liked breaking up an easy warm-up with speed, but not too much speed. Maybe next time I'll speed up even more.

After a two mile warm-up, I ran one mile at 8:00/mi. ave. pace and then I ran easy for 1/2 mile. I picked up the speed for one more mile for an average pace of 8:02/mile. I ran about a 1/2 mile cool-down. I'm glad I only had to do two faster miles. Today's five mile run - done!

Pre-run: banana bread
Post-run: fruit smoothie and banana bread
Shoes: Asics DS Trainer 13

Lots of Birds Today

The temperature was around 80 degrees F this morning. I'm getting in a lot of humid runs lately. Maybe someday I won't worry too much about it, just the way I don't worry too much about running in the rain.

I ran 4.6 miles through my neighborhood and then I got on the treadmill to do my weekly hillwork: 8 x 10 seconds @ 6% incline. It took .6 mile to get that done.

Pre-run: banana bread and 1/2 banana
Post-run: chocolate malted milk
Shoes: Asics Landreth 4
Animal Sightings: rabbit, cardinal, killdeer, duck, heron

Ten Today

The temperature was in the mid-70's F and very humid when I started. It was in the low 80's and very humid when I finished. The goal was to run ten miles at an average 10:00/mi pace unless I felt good enough to turn it into a progression run and speed up in the later miles.

On my back porch, I kept some Gatorade Endurance (more sodium than regular Gatorade) and a wash cloth in an insulated lunch bag with an ice pack in it. Cold is good. That worked well.

The first five miles averaged just under 10:00. After five miles, I felt comfortable enough to speed up. The splits for the last five miles were - 9:44, 9:31, 9:10, 8:53 and 8:40. It was hot, but it wasn't bothering me. That was a fun run!

Pre-run: toast and jam
Post-run: strawberry/banana/pineapple yogurt smoothie and toast
Shoes: Asics Gel Landreth 4

Quiet Five Mile Run

What a nice quiet run I had this morning! Not one car passed me on the road. I saw a couple of friendly neighbors - a runner and a bicyclist and a rabbit, too. It was 71 degrees F when I started - a little warm, but the breeze felt good.

Towards the end of my five mile run (9:58 ave. pace) I ran in the same place that I completely stopped running during my tempo run on Friday. I had actually been running at a good pace on Friday, but I didn't realize it.

It made me wonder if I'll get to the end of my life and look back and think that I didn't need to worry so much in this life - that things weren't as bad as I was afraid they were... That I could have smiled more. Just a thought...

Pre-run: cinnamon oatmeal topped with raisins, pecans and milk
Post-run: chocolate malted milk
Shoes: Mizuno Wave Rider 11

5K Training Plan for Week of 6/7/09

With four weeks to go until the 5K, here's my running plan for this week.

Sunday - Rest
Monday - Easy Run: 5 mi.
Tuesday - Long Run: 10 mi
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - Run: 5 mi. with 8 x 10 sec. hills at 6% incline
Friday - Speedwork: 5 mi. includes 2x1600m in 7:56 (maybe!) w/800m recovery rest
Saturday - Easy Run: 4 mi.

29 miles total

Upcoming Freedom 5K Race

Update: Looking for 2009 Freedom 5K race results and photos? Here's a Gotta Run Now post with helpful websites.

Do you live near Sugar Land, Texas? Are you looking for a race to run on the fourth of July? You could run in the Freedom 5K race.

The race is held at Lost Creek Park and in the nearby neighborhood on a partly shaded course. If you register at Corelli's in Sugar Land on June 27 from 12-2:30, you could get a free lunch. Last year I had pesto pasta.

I ran in the Freedom 5K in '05, '07 and '08 and hope to run in it this year, too.

Tina's Tempo Run

I didn't feel very confident about this run - three tempo miles with no rest between the miles.

After a couple of warm up miles, I started the three tempo miles. In the first tempo mile, I tried not to go too fast (8:29 ave.) and in the second tempo mile, I tried not to go too slow (8:12 ave.).

The third tempo mile was really hard to finish. At the .77 or .93 mark of that mile (I just remember sevens were involved), I just stopped running. I stopped my Garmin. A few seconds passed. How could I not finish such a short distance? I started running again and finished the mile. I don't think I would have stopped if I had known my pace for that mile (8:07 ave.).

To come up with a goal for today, I added 30-40 seconds to my last 5K race pace. So I needed 8:15 - 8:25 ave. today. My three tempo miles averaged 8:16. : )

Pre-run: fig newton cookies
Post-run: chocolate milk
Shoes: Mizuno Wave Rider 11
Total Miles Today: 5.25

Outside & Inside Running

I did some hard-core (or hard core - either one works!) exercises and went for a run. I ran almost five miles outside (9:35 ave.).

Then I did some hillwork on the treadmill. It took me half a mile to get in 8 x 10 seconds at 6% incline.

It was about 70 degrees and there was a light breeze which helped to cool me down a little, especially when I was outside stretching after my run.

Pre-exercise: apple
Post-exercise: peanut butter and honey sandwich
Shoes: Asics Gel Landreth 4

Happy National Running Day!

By happy coincidence, it is also the second anniversary of my Gotta Run Now blog. So, of course, I had to run today. : ) I ran four miles (9:36 ave). It was a hot 74 degrees and humid, but I'm glad I did it. Celebrate the holiday! Go for a run!

~Gotta Run Now

Almost Perfect Nine Mile Run

I waited until after my run to check the temperature today so that I wouldn't know just how hot it was - 75 degrees. It really didn't feel too bad with the light breeze.

I ran nine miles this morning. In my seventh mile, I got chased down the road by a pit bull who only wanted to run and jump and not bite me. I found that out after he ran up to me and didn't kill me. Still, I didn't want to get scratched on my bare legs so I sprinted away. My average pace for today: 9:41.

I drank Gatorade Endurance every two miles just because I have it leftover from my Seattle marathon training (it was on the race course). I felt great today - a good run. (Oh, except for the dog, but I've almost forgotten that already!)

(A bit of dog history: a couple of years ago, a German Shepherd jumped on me and scratched my face while I was out running. It happened much like today's incident, but of course, everything turned out alright today.)

78 Degree Run

I checked the temperature online before I went for my run this morning: 66 degrees. Running felt easier today. The wind blowing on my sweaty skin felt cool. I was surprised that the almost 70 degree temperature didn't drag me down. And at least it wasn't 70 degrees! I had a great five mile run.

Then I got home and checked the temperature. Then I checked it in a different place just to be sure: 78 degrees. I was practically broiling out there and I didn't even know it!