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Showing posts from December, 2009

There's Very Good

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I really wanted to get out there and run today, and I did! It was 46 degrees - a shorts day!

After a two mile warm-up, I ran six fast miles, hoping for goal 1/2 marathon pace (8:20): 8:17, 8:21, 8:22, 8:13, 8:05, 8:04. I ran 8.4 total miles.

The first three hard miles were fun. I'm doing it! This is fun!

The second half was hard. Faster! You can do it! Keep going! That's okay, though. I like hard!

Saw some nice people out there on the Memorial Park loop trail. One runner told me, "HopeYouHaveAHappyNewYear" as he sped by. It sounded like it was a one syllable word, but I got it! And wished him the same!

Photo: Memorial Park loop trail at night

There's Not So Good

After running 8.4 miles, my right ankle started to hurt so I walked home. Do you know how long it takes to walk 0.6 mile with a hurt ankle? Too long!

Elderly people out for their daily walks were speeding by me. I tried not to look pitiful, but I couldn't cover up my slowness. One man looked at me and asked, "Knee or ankle?" and reminded me to ice it when I got home, which I thought was awfully nice.

Now that I'm home, I'm icing and I won't worry about the marathon in 2 1/2 weeks. That's plenty of time for an ankle to heal. (Do you hear that, Ankle?!)

Happy New Year's Eve to you!

Kind of Painful

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There's nothing like a couple of painful runs to make you thankful for the pain-free runs. I had to cut back on my running the last few days because my lower left leg hurt during a couple of recent runs. You know that feeling where it feels like there's a boa constrictor wrapped tightly around your leg?

I had a good seven mile run yesterday and a good five mile run today, except that I might have felt a teeny-tiny pain at the end of today's run, or maybe I'm just a worrier! ; )

Maybe my high mileage caused my trouble. Maybe I should have taken the day off after the 20 miler. Hopefully, running fewer miles now will give my leg a chance to heal. With less than three weeks until the marathon, I'm trying take it easy without taking it too easy.

Photo: Memorial Park trail on Christmas Day.

Christmas Day Geocaching

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On Christmas day, my husband and I and two of our friends went on a treasure hunting hike in Memorial Park - we went geocaching. There's one of our finds. It was hidden in the hole at the bottom of the tree in the photo and covered with pine needles.
After climbing over tree stumps and poison ivy and up hills and around the bayou, we found four geocaches, even finding one that my husband and I were unable to find on a previous trip. With the four of us on the search this time, this cache would be found!
One of the geocaches was filled with European travel maps and postcards and our friend, who was raised in Germany, read aloud in German from one of the brochures. We worked up an appetite with all of that hiking and headed back home for dessert - homemade apple-and-carrot cake and Dewar's taffy
We had a very merry Christmas and I hope that you did, too!

20 Mile Run #3

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Today I ran my third and last 20 miler of the year. It was a humid 70* - one of those days where you're dreaming of a white Christmas.
I did a progressive run where I sped up the farther I ran, after a nine mile easy-paced warm-up! I did run some easy-paced hills and then there was the speedwork to the upcoming water fountains, though. Too bad I couldn't hit any marathon paced miles (8:47).
My average pace was slower than it was for my other 20 milers by about 25 seconds per mile, coming in at a 9:35/mi average today. The bad news: I wanted to stop running and sit on a park bench. The good news: I never did.

8 Mile Tempo Run

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After a two mile warm-up, I ate a gel, got a drink of water and started off down the path for an 8 mile tempo run. Today I didn't start off like I was running a 5K like I did last week. Maybe I'm learning! Tempo miles 1 & 2 - 8:10, 8:16/mile.
In the third tempo mile, a runner was just behind me. I could hear her steps and we ran fast like that for awhile, helping each other, maybe? Then I checked my Garmin and saw that I was running at a 7 something pace. Gasp! Maybe I'm not learning anything after all! I knew I couldn't keep that up for long and wisdom overcame the desire to run fast for a short distance. Or maybe it was exhaustion. Tempo miles 3 & 4 - 7:52, 8:14/mile.
The last four tempo miles were the hardest. Knowing that the first half of my tempo run went well and that I only had about one three mile loop to run around helped - just one loop left! Maybe stopping for a quick drink and a gel helped, too. When I saw a man running backwards who ran right into a…

Gingerbread House

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What a difference the sunshine makes! We had great running weather with temps climbing to the mid-forties. I was comfortable wearing two shirts, pants and gloves.
I ran two miles to the park water fountain and then it was time for the hard work. My goal: to run three marathon paced miles (8:47). Then I ran easy for a mile and ran three marathon paced miles again.
The first time I did this, my Garmin was turned off for two of the three miles - user error I think. I think I did fine, but I know that I hit my goal the second time around. I wish running the marathon paced miles had felt easier, though - like I was out for an easy-paced run.
I ran over to the bridge and did eight one-minute-uphills at 5K effort. I'm glad the goal was to run at 5k effort and not 5k pace! I meant to do more hills, but I ran out of time. I had a great 12.5 mile run! Have a merry weekend!
Photo: My gingerbread GU house masterpiece. You've seen it here first! All the rest are only imitations!

I Love Lucy Show

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I met my husband for lunch at Cane's fast food restaurant. When I arrived, he had our food at the table.

The last time we were there, they gave our lunch to the guy who came in after us, who had the same name as my husband. So today he came up with a unique name for himself - Fred Mertz.
My husband sat down and waited for our food. After awhile, he heard them call out Fred Martinez a few times. Finally, he walked up to the counter and found out that they had written Fred Mertz on the receipt, but they were still calling my husband Fred Martinez! I'm just glad that I got my lunch!
But what about today's run? I splashed through the puddles in my neighborhood and the park for 6 rainy miles of puddlework. I wore shorts, but halfway through, my legs were starting to feel numb. Yesterday we had the same temp and shorts were fine, but I ran faster yesterday and it wasn't raining. Today I was a nearly freezing (40* out there), muddy runner. Next time - pants!
~Ethel Mertz ; )

18 & 9-1-1

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Today when I was in the last half mile of my 18 mile run, my cell phone rang. Was that the police officer calling me back? Maybe I better back up a bit...
I ran two miles, got a drink at the park water fountain and crossed the street when someone back on the other side of the street yelled out to me, asking if I had a phone.
I looked over to see a small crowd looking at me, standing beside some cars. The lady told me that they had been in an accident, ran out of gas and didn't have a phone. Would I call the police for them?
I called and then I ran up and down the hills, pushing hard. And then my phone rang. I tried not to sound out of breath. The police officer needed more directions because he couldn't find the car from just the cross-streets. I wondered if I'd been tricked and if they'd driven off. How much trouble would I be in for a false alarm? I'm usually not a trouble-maker!
When I ran back to the street where the people-in-distress had been, I was happy to see…

Gingerbread Gu Run

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During my two mile warm-up, I worried that I wouldn't be able to find any speed in my legs today. Last night I taste tested 15 - 20 desserts - part of my job as dessert judge at a church party. Somebody had to do it! ; ) Last week I ran 63 miles, more than ever... Seemed like good reasons for sluggish legs.
After running two warm-up miles, I stopped to eat a vanilla gingerbread Gu. It tasted like cinnamon and pumpkin to me, but it's been awhile since I've eaten gingerbread. I'm glad that I have five more. Update: I ate another gel. It does taste like gingerbread, but because it's a gel (more like a pudding consistency), it reminds me of pumpkin pie rather than a gingerbread cookie. A nice change from the usual flavors!
Okay, tempo run time... In the first mile, I reminded myself that the first one always feels hard and the second one did go a little smoother. Pace for tempo miles 1 & 2: 8:03, 8:06.
I got a quick drink and started off again. I tried to stay close b…

My 1st 5 Marathons

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Years ago, I read about a woman who ran a marathon and I thought, Wow! I wonder if I could run one of those someday, too? Finally, I did run my first marathon in '06. I had one goal - to finish! I finished in 5:07. I was a marathoner!

In '07, I ran my second marathon hoping to beat 5:07. Did it! 4:58 finish! (Pre-blogging days so there aren't any posts to link to.)

Then in January '08, I got a 3:54 finish! Maybe because...
I ran more miles (1739 in '07 vs. 1442 in '06). My weekly highs got up to 55, averaging about 40-50 (vs. 30-40 in '06).I ran three 20 milers (vs. 2 in 2006).I started doing some speedwork in '07.Then I ran two more marathons. When I ran the hilly Seattle '08 marathon, I had high hopes for a 3:50. Instead I came away with a 4:10 finish. A good time, but no PR or BQ. Still, I did have a great family vacation.The Houston '09 marathon was only seven weeks later. I had foot trouble so, just like the first one, I was happy just to fini…

Christmas Time

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Last night my husband and I went to Rice University for a music concert and enjoyed seeing wonderful displays of Christmas lights on the way home. Then today I ate peppermint bark cheesecake - the best cheesecake I've ever had - and watched some costumed children ice skating at the Galleria mall. We're enjoying some of the special things that are only around at Christmas time.
I ran 12 miles yesterday and I ran 7.5 miles today. I heard one person describe the weather as a mess, but I liked it - almost 50 with a drizzle. I wasn't too hot or too cold, but just right and I was wearing shorts!
It's great to be surrounded by runners when I first start out running down my street. When I'm alone, my thoughts tend to be, I'll warm up soon, I hope, but not today. There was a group of maybe 100 runners all coming towards me within about three blocks, many of them greeting me - a happy way to start my day.
About posting miles and pace on my blog... I know that I like rea…

Hills & Stress Fractures

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First off, no, I don't have a stress fracture. I'm just going to write about it. There! Didn't want to worry anybody! After warming up with a couple of easy miles, I headed over to the new hill area - a bridge with hills on both sides. I started out easy and progressed to the "I think I'm going to blow up stage" after a few minutes. One word kept coming to my mind on the uphill part: burst, burst, burst! That's what I thought my lungs would do! I sprinkled in some easy-paced, flat sections, too. A girl's got to breathe, ya know!

Then I ran on the flat loop to recover. The thought of too many more hills made me feel a little nauseous so I made a bargain - just do a few. I ran fast up the hill and there was that word again: burst! I think I'm going to burst! But it was over quickly because the hill wasn't very steep. Someday I'll post a picture of these "mountains" I'm running on and you and I can both share a good laugh!Why, oh …

Shorts Weather!

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Please don't hate me, but today I ran in shorts and a sleeveless shirt under sunny skies! The temperature was around 50 degrees. I was chilly at first - the kind of chilly where you keep telling yourself how smart you are for wearing shorts and you so hope that you will be thankful two hours later. I was!
I ran 16 miles with hills added in for fun. After a warm-up, I ran 3/4 mile up and down an over/under pass. The change from the mostly flat trail was nice.
I did a little more hillwork. There's a hill on the mostly flat trail and every time I came to it (every three miles), I sped up. The first time, a speedy runner raced up it and I tried to run as fast as he did. My 'current pace' at the top of the hill was 7:35! Zoom! The next two times I ran up it alone and my 'current pace' was only 8:00. Wanted: hill racers!

I ran behind a blind runner with a guide towards the end of the run. They have to stop a lot because they have to be especially careful when they pass …

BSIM & Hills

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I signed up for the Big Sur International Marathon last night! We're going to a family reunion in CA the day before the BSIM.
Great timing!

So today when I was running on the Memorial Park trail, I crossed the street to a new hilly path (too bad it's concrete) and ran up and down the hill slowly. Have you heard about all of the hills at the BSIM? I'll go back later this week to run up and down the hill faster.

My hillwork plan is simple... Run hills at least once a week. Increase the number of hills I run up and the length of the hill as my training continues. How do you do hillwork?

Today's workout: 8 easy miles followed by weight work
Photo: runner on the snowy trail in Houston last Friday
Just came across this article on hills: Active.com

Snow Pic #2

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Here's another snowy photo taken Friday beside the running trail. It was fun to run in the snow Friday, but I was glad that the temperature was up in the mid-fifties today. Hello, Shorts!

I ran 12 miles with 7 hard. My goal for the 7 miles was 8:20 (1/2 marathon goal pace). When I ran slower than 8:20, I changed the goal to 8:30. Then I had a good mile so I went back to trying for 8:20. My 7 mile average pace was 8:24. I was glad when that was over!

Here's hoping you meet your speed goals this week!

Snow Run!

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I ran ten miles in the snow today! Afterwards, I was out shopping and saw nearly everyone in Houston out taking pictures of the snow. This is only the third time in the last dozen years or so that it has snowed. Here's a photo of the trail I ran on today.

Today's plan - warm-up, 1 mile at 8:15, drink stop, 2 miles at 8:15, slow jog rest, and 1 mile at 8:15 before a cool-down.

During my warm-up, the snow began to fall. I wanted to say something about it to someone, but the first people I saw were deep in thought. Finally, a runner said something about it to me! Unfortunately, my first words to him were slurred. My lips were numb from the cold! (About 35* with a feels like temp of 27*.)

I only missed my goal for mile 1 by two seconds and then I took a break. When I started my hard two mile part, I had trouble with my new Garmin - it was including that four minute stop where I blew my nose, ate a gel and got a drink with this supposedly fast part of my run!

I just wanted to quit when…

BQ Questions

I've got two questions for you.

The 2010 Boston marathon is full. Wah! Wah! OK, I'm over it! ; )

I'm 44 and will turn 45 next October. The qualifying time for a 44yo woman is 3:50 and for a 45yo is 4:00.

The qualifying results you get from late September (for example: 2009) until the next year around November (for example: 2010) or whenever the marathon fills up will be good for the next Boston marathon (for example: 2011) and the next (2012). Am I right on this part?

When I turn 45 in 2010, even if I qualified when I was 44 (like in January '10 at the Houston marathon), I only need to qualify with a 4 hour time to run in 2011 or 2012. Am I right on this? 'Cause when I cross the finish line, I want to know if I BQ'ed and I might not make it in 3:50. I've read the FAQ page at the Boston marathon site and it looks like I've got it right.

I'm still trying for 3:50. I'm not giving up!

20 Chilly Miles

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The short story: I ran a 20 mile progression run (ran faster in the later miles) mostly on a three mile loop in 45 - 50 degrees (felt like 40 - 43). Have I mentioned the cold wind yet?

And the long story...

Last night, the weatherman said it might actually snow on Friday (long run day) so I decided to run 20 miles today.

I wore my Spibelt which held three gels, my phone and two tissues and was comfortable around my waist.

At mile 14.4 I wanted to quit, for not really the first time, but it was the worst time. It was cold and windy and sometimes I was even hot. I was tired of running. I ate my gel early and got a drink. Okay, why am I doing this?I want to! And I am not giving up! Ok, pity party over and done with!

Just then a speedster ran by. See? Just do what she's doing!

And then I realized that I was on my way home. There's something wonderful about knowing that you've almost finished running 20 miles. I ran the last five miles the fastest of all. Hello 8:43-9:03 pace! I felt…