Monday, August 30, 2010

12 Miles

What a great 12 mile run today! First, I ran 6 easy miles with my dog. The temp today was 80-84*, but it didn't feel as hot as usual to me. I finished 6, dropped my dog off for a much-deserved nap, refilled my fuel belt bottles with blueberry pomegranate Gu Brew and set off down the street towards the park again.

About 7 miles into the run, I was hot and turned on my shuffle to get my mind off the heat, but it was out of power. I guess that's good practice for running through little setbacks. And this little setback is one I've had to get through during a marathon once. I was disappointed, but I finished!

Today's goal was to run the second half faster than the first. I ran the first 6 miles at 10:19/mile and the last 6 miles at 10:02/mile. : ) It's kind of hard to speed up on hot days.

Saturday I tried something new - risotto with roasted chicken, sweet potatoes, pancetta, asparagus, Parmigiano-Reggiano and pine nuts at Brio Tuscan Grille, where my husband and I had never eaten before. I'd never had a dish like this before and had to come home and google it to see just what I'd eaten! I just hope they didn't put too much butter and cheese in it. I try to order healthy food, but what a delicious meal that was, even on Sunday - leftovers are great!

I ran 60 miles last week and this week is a cutback week. The only pain I had last week was minor and only lasted one day - chafing on my ankle from my shoe tongue after I wore short socks. On the day my ankle hurt, I folded the shoe tongue up under the laces so it didn't rub on my ankle. My ankle has since healed and all is well.

I leave you with this thought... One of Josh Cox's tweets reminded me of this... When you run, do you think, I have to run today? Or, I get to run today? Makes a difference!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Drop Off, Buy More

Friday morning's first challenge: find the treadmill. I had cleaned out a few boxes of books. What a mess!

Second goal: run 10 miles. After a warm-up, I set the treadmill dial to 7.3 with the incline at 1% - 8:12/mile pace, about 1/2 marathon pace. OK, maybe that's only my 1/2 marathon pace in my dreams, but let's carry on here... The first minute was spent concentrating on not flying off the back of the TM.

Once I realized that I could stay on the treadmill, I felt better, but I needed to stay the speed for a full ten minutes, three times. There was a lot of  "only four more minutes, only three more minutes, etc." going on in my mind. Obviously, it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be because I did it. : )

Later on, with those books and some clothes that were just taking up space in my closet, I headed over to the Salvation Army. After dropping my stuff off, I went into the store for some more stuff. Is that just insanity?! Maybe, maybe not, but I sure do like my new $7 Levi jeans. : ) 

Monday, August 23, 2010

20 Miles on Gu Brew

No toe cramps after today's run! That's just one of the reasons I liked the blueberry pomegranate Gu Brew I drank today with 245mg. of sodium, 20 mg. of potassium, 13 gm. of carbs in 8 ounces. It tastes like berry-favored water with very little sugar - 4 gm. per cup. I like the fact that it has less sugar than the Gatorade I often drink which has 13 gm. of sugar.

I've gotten used to a minor stomach ache on long, hot runs lately. My stomach felt fine today and on my last 11 mile run when I used lemon lime Gu Brew, too.

The run went better than I expected as far as how I felt, but I wasn't able to run negative splits like I'd hoped. I started out slowly, hoping I was saving my energy for the end, but I just couldn't pick up the pace like I wanted to. I think it's too hot.

We were driving by this church yesterday and stopped to take a picture of the great architecture. I think it's the prettiest building you'll see on the Houston marathon route. On second thought, on race day the fairly plain convention center will look pretty good, too - that's where the finish line will be!

Pre-run: banana bread
During run: 70 oz. of blueberry pomegranate Gu Brew plus more water
Post run: peach smoothie
Temperature: 80-84*, 88-93* heat index
Ave. Pace: 10:49/mi

Friday, August 20, 2010

Gu Electrolyte Brew

 Nachos For Dinner At Tina's Casa

Yesterday I went to REI for the blueberry pomegranate Gu Brew that Happy Trails mentioned on my Zym Tabs post (Thank you!), but they were out of it so I bought some packets of lemon lime Gu Electrolyte Brew to see what Gu Electrolyte Brew tastes like.

I used the lemon lime Gu Electrolyte Brew today. It tastes like lemon-flavored water and I like it. It's not as nearly as sweet as Gatorade, a plus because I've used so much Gatorade this summer that I'm getting tired of sweet drinks. I also used tri-berry Nuun, which tasted kind of sweet compared to the Gu Electrolyte Brew even though I thought Nuun wasn't sweet before today. One more change today: I drank more than usual.

Today I warmed up for two miles, ran 1/2 a mile hard (a mistake, really) and then ran 2 minutes hard with 3 minutes easy, ten times, which is how many times it took before my legs felt like noodles. Then I ran two miles of rolling hills, slowly, and then two miles home. I felt better than usual and ran the extra 1/4 mile down my street rather than stop to walk at the 11 mile mark. I'd say that's progress! : )

So, whether it was my fuel, the cloudy skies with the breeze or just my day, it was a good one! Hope you have a good one, too!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

10 Good Miles

I warmed up with 2 miles through my neighborhood, stopping to watch an  armadillo scurry through a yard. I find them interesting to watch, but Texas natives would probably compare this to stopping to watch a squirrel or a cat cross the street. ; )

Zoe's big, brown ears perked up when she saw the armadillo, but she stood quietly beside me - quite an improvement over our animal sightings when we moved to this neighborhood a year ago. She wasn't used to seeing squirrels here, there and everywhere and she used to pull hard on the leash, making me dread our going out. I think using a Gentle Leader collar (a halter collar) while running helped both of us.

I came home and ran on the treadmill - 6 hard miles (3 miles at marathon pace, 3 miles at 1/2 marathon pace) and 2 cool-down miles. Mentally, I broke the run down into one mile segments, telling myself that I could run hard for 1 more mile. Not until I finished did I think about the grand total - 10 miles. And when I was done, I felt great!

Pre-run: corn flakes
During: HEB grocery store Quench - tastes like Gatorade
Post-run: yogurt & strawberries
Splits: 10:23, 10:25, 8:45, 8:45, 8:45, 8:32, 8:32, 8:25, 9:34, 9:34/mile

Monday, August 16, 2010

Zym Tabs

During today's 16 miler, I drank GatoradeNuun and berry flavored Zym, an electrolyte tablet that tastes like punch. Unfortunately, it contains the artificial sweetener sucralose, something I didn't notice until after I bought it. The Zym tabs only cost $4 with my $5 Sports Authority coupon.

I started out running 10 easy-paced miles outside. I had high hopes for a long run without stopping to rest - optimism even in the face of 82*, which felt like 90* with 89% humidity at the start.

But in the tenth mile, I needed to lean on a sign to take a breather. I had just raced across the street, hurrying to cross before the light changed and the burst of speed on this hot day nearly did me in! While standing there, I stretched - getting two things taken care of at once.

Once I caught my breath, I ran home. On the treadmill, I ran 4 hard miles - impossible outside, and then finished with 2 easy miles.

Coach Levi's 9 Ways to Get Electrolytes Besides Gatorade

What's your favorite way to consume electrolytes?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Will Run For Cupcakes

Since I follow Sprinkles Cupcakes Bakery on Twitter, I received a free red velvet cupcake just for saying the code words "4 years" when I dropped by today. Fun, huh?! And delicious!

I came across a new book: Run: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel by Matt Fitzgerald. He writes that if you have a problem fading at mile 20 of the marathon, you might want to run back-to-back 20 milers, or a long run with 14-16 miles at marathon goal pace or even a 27-30 mile run before your goal marathon. Fitzgerald ran a marathon three weeks before his goal marathon at 94% effort and PR'ed three weeks later! Sounds great, but those are tough workouts!

And now I hear the rest of my cupcake calling my name! Gotta Run Now!

Do you treat yourself with something special at the end of a training week?

Friday, August 13, 2010

TM, My Friend

I had a great run today! I ran seven easy miles outside and then came home to run two miles on the treadmill. (I find it kind of hard to call any miles that are run outside on a hot summer day easy!) I wanted to finish at a moderate pace and I was pretty sure that speeding up after running seven miles would probably be impossible for me to do outside. In fact, my last mile outside was one of my slowest.

So I hopped on the TM and with the fan blowing cool air and my mind on the music, I actually ran more than I wanted to run - only 0.07 mile over, but it was over. I just forgot about the distance. That's a good run!

Yesterday, I ran seven miles on the treadmill, with 3 x 1 mile hard/3 min easy. The time flew by compared to what it would have been like running outside.

That's a photo of the Harvest Salad I ate recently at the Corner Bakery Cafe. It has chicken, apples and walnuts in it - very good! Speaking of eating, I ate white rice before today's run - a new pre-run breakfast for me. I liked it. The other day, I ate tortillas with Nutella - too sweet to eat at 5:45 AM, even though I really like Nutella. It tastes like nutty chocolate cake frosting!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Zoe's Treats


Here's a video of Zoe with two treats temptingly sitting on her nose, waiting for my husband to give her the go-ahead.

I ran 6 miles with 6 x 20-30 second hills today. Running hills was a nice break from what might have been just a a monotonous slow run. My bruises on my legs had been hurting when I run, but not today. Now I have no pain from Saturday's bike fall when I run. : )

The 87% humidity really slowed me down, though. I'm looking forward to cooler temperatures in a couple of months, hopefully sooner. Can't wait to see some faster speed on my Garmin then!

Monday, August 9, 2010

First Crash & 13 Miles

Saturday, my bike ride started off with my first bike crash. My tire hit a root, sending me off the trail, banging my stomach into my handlebars and knocking the wind out of me. Once I caught my breath and checked out my scratches, my husband and I continued on slowly - the roots looked especially menacing and the hills looked steeper!

At home, my husband tried to cheer me up, something about how nice it is to have your first fall over with, but my stomach hurt and I was wondering if the fall was going to keep me from running. Sunday, I had pretty blue and purple bruises on my legs and arm, but my stomach felt surprisingly better and I ran 6 miles.

And that brings us to Monday, today - a 13 mile run. The temperature was 80-85 and, of course, it was humid. I drank Gatorade and Nuun every 1.5 - 2 miles and stopped to walk a few times and even sit or stretch without much guilt.

I did two miles of speedwork: 90 seconds fast and 90 seconds slow. And by fast, I only mean faster than my easy pace, with a good effort. The speedwork made those two miles go by quickly.

Later in the run, I was tired so I focused on my arms for a change. If I kept pumping my arms, I knew the rest of me would follow.

Tried a new food this week: South African Cara Cara oranges. I was surprised at the color - reddish. They taste like a regular orange to me, one of my favorite fruits lately.

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door," he used to say. "You step into the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." - J.R.R. Tolkien

Friday, August 6, 2010

10 Miles

Backyard Cardinal
I made a new runner friend as I trudged up a hill at the beginning of today's run. She was in her tenth mile of a 15 miler in preparation for the Chicago marathon. Talking made the time go by quickly, but I think we sped up for some crazy reason and when she left the park, I felt a bit worn out.

So I took my one and only Gu gel at mile 2.5 even though I'd planned to take it at mile 4 or 5. I don't know what I was thinking when I thought I might be okay just eating one Gu gel and drinking lots of water today, but it was too hot for that so I ran home to get some Gatorade. Live and learn!

I ran 50.4 miles this week. During the last mile, there was one happy thought running through my mind: this is my 50th mile (for the week). This is my 50th mile!

Whatever your total is this week, I hope you met your goals, too!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Toe Cramps

 Lately I've been getting toe cramps after long runs so I did a little googling. Toe cramps may be caused by low calcium, potassium, sodium or even dehydration. If I'd had a cup with me, it might have helped to drink some Gatorade rather than just to rely on gels and water. Also, pulling your toes towards you or standing on a cold floor may lessen the pain. My toes usually feel inflexible during a cramp, but I'll try flexing them.

 Rather than post photos of toes, here are some lunchtime photos - better than toes! Yesterday my husband and I had a very good lunch at Zoe's. My husband had chicken kabobs and I had grilled chicken and coleslaw in a pita. Then we shared a yummy chocolate chip cookie that was too big to finish.

I ran about 6 miles yesterday and today is a running rest day for me. Whether it's a running day or a much-deserved rest day for you, have a good one!

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Last Mile

There were some tough miles today, but that doesn't make the whole 18 mile run bad. In fact, most of it was great.

The temperature felt comfortable for the first 10 or 12 miles. I was covered in sweat, but there was a cool breeze that swept over me when I ran, cooling me. I just couldn't believe how good I felt out there on a summer day in Houston.

But in the last three miles, I got hot and slowed down. It seemed like I'd never finish. I ran over a bridge (hill) and sped across the street to beat the light and then my stomach felt sick - time for a walk break.

And then came the last and hardest mile. No matter what the pace, I really wanted to run the whole mile and I also really, really wanted to stop running, too! I ran the entire 18th mile - slower than I would have liked, but I ran the whole way. It was like the later miles in a marathon when I really want to stop.

After the run, I had some terrible toe cramps. If they'd been one degree worse, I would have cried like a baby! I'll google toe cramps and see how I can prevent them.

So most of the run went well and I surprised myself - running through that last mile when I wanted to stop so badly.

Temperature: a humid 80*
Average Pace: 9:55/mile
Pre-run: granola
During: Gingerbread and Vanilla Gu gel every 5 miles and lots of water
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