Friday, April 29, 2011

Good Tempo Run

How do you run a good tempo run? You run when it's cool! 60° worked for me! (Someone asked me if I was cold out there! I wasn't cold, but it was about 15° cooler than usual.) Also, since I didn't run the day before, I was ready for a hard workout.

After a 2 mile warm-up, my goal was to run 6 miles at an 8:23/mile average (my 10K pace + 30 seconds) or less. Midway through, my mind started to wander which slowed me down - I needed to focus to keep the pace. Realizing that I only had part of one more lap around the park to go helped, too.

This run was faster (8:20/mile average), but easier for me, than last week's similar treadmill workout (1 x 2 mi. & 4 x 1 mi.). If only every day was like that! After 6 tempo miles, I ran 2 easy miles to finish my 10 mile run and then I walked for a few minutes.

I ate 3 mountain berry Clif Shot Bloks at mile 4. They tasted good, like gummy bear candy. I cut the packages in half. That makes them easier to carry in my pocket. I recently won 8 packages of Clif Shot Bloks including some new-to-me flavors! Thanks to Clif Bar and RunningWithCharlene for the goodies!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Salt Tablets on 20 Miler

Today I finished my 20 mile run feeling fine. Last week I ran 16 miles and felt sick when I finished.

It was 75° when I started running today and grew warmer, but less humid, but it was the wind that was the best part. I know wind isn't always a runner's friend, but the wind blew over my sweaty skin and cooled me off. Last week was just hot and humid.

Because I sometimes have swollen hands, foot cramps or nausea at the end of long, hot runs, I use drinks and gels with more sodium in the summertime.

Today I used Succeed S Caps salt tablets (340mg sodium) in addition to Gu Brew blueberry pomegranate drink (245mg sodium) and Powerbar strawberry banana gel (200mg sodium). I used salt tabs because I only used the drink and gel last week and then I threw up - a first for me. 

Today I noticed that I felt thirstier than usual towards the end of my run - not a problem, though. I think I drank more water today. I didn't have swollen hands, foot cramps or nausea. 9:47 average pace today - I was slower last week. Today I planned on 18, but felt so good (maybe because of the weather and/or salt tabs) that I ran 20 miles instead!

(On the other hand, here's a Competitor Magazine article stating salt tablets aren't a good idea, that you should just use salt packets.)

Photo: taken on my 20 mile run in Scotland

Friday, April 22, 2011

TM & Sports Drinks

Running on a treadmill makes speedwork on a humid day possible. Having a cold drink beside me with the fan blowing hard - how can I complain? Yesterday I ran 10 miles on the treadmill.
  • Warm-up: 2 miles
  • 2 miles faster and a 4 minute easy-paced run
  • 4 x 1 mile faster with a 4 minute easy-paced run
  • Cool-down
I started conservatively and ran the last three mile repeats at the same pace, a little faster than the first three miles. The fifth mile repeat was hard. And the last one was really hard for me!

I've gotten some free sports food/drinks. I tried some new Gatorade G Series products because they were all free after a rebate. The 01 pre-workout bars tasted terrible and the 03 post-workout drink with a thick consistency wasn't much better. Fortunately, the acai blueberry 02 Perform sports drink tasted good with a light, blueberry flavor.

Have you seen the online ad for a free 20 oz. Powerbar Ironman Perform sports drink? The mixed berry flavor tasted great midway through today's humid 7.6 miler. If I see the ad again, I'll tweet about it. Update: Here's the coupon. You must sign up/register at Powerbar. Good through May 2011 and redeemable at many GNC stores.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Run for Change 5K Race Report

It's a good thing I didn't have a chance to read that caution sign as I headed onto the bike trail during today's Run for Change Radio Run 5K! We started and ended on the flat park path, but mid-race, we ran through the woods. I was flying up and down short hills and around corners on the singletrack bike trail for 1.2 miles. Fun!

Brindley Bike Trail
We were warned about one fork in the trail, but I still took a wrong turn there and had to back track. That's the first time I've ever done that!  Later, I got lost and stopped to ask for directions. I'm used to larger races where you mindlessly follow the runners ahead of you! It worked out alright - I picked up the pace in the third mile. I'll have to check, but it might be the first time I've done that, too!

A Little Hill
It was a very small race and I was the 1st place finisher in my age group (40 years+)! Finish time: 24:44. Mile splits: 7:48, 8:50, 8:04. Average pace: 8:14/mi.

The Brazos River
Before the bike trail was created in the woods, we lived near Sugar Land Memorial Park (30 minutes from Houston) where the race took place. I've seen a lot of wild animals there: a wild hog, a coyote, lots of snakes - even a python! Here's my Python post.

Update: 130 runners and walkers registered. $6,200 was raised through race entries and donations to purchase 310 radios for the Sudanese.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Crazy Cool!

First, the crazy... I was looking through my travel photos for a picture to go with today's post when I saw this one of a boy in the air, upside-down, jumping off a wall, beside a steep hill which drops down onto a city street in Inverness, Scotland. This might be a good time to stop to see what your kids are doing. ; )

Then there's the cool... Here's what I was looking for - Dunnottar Castle in Scotland on a chilly day.

Dunnottar Castle
I wasn't actually freezing today, but it was only 60° here in Houston and that made my 15 mile run a really good one. I don't know what I liked best. Maybe it was...
  • All of the regulars on my running route who said, "Hi!"
  • The 60°. Yesterday, sweat dripped down one lip onto the other before I hit the 2 mile mark.
  • My 9:05/mi average for the 15 mile run. Last week, I ran 12 miles in 70° with a 9:41/mi average,  but I wanted to run faster.
This run made me want to run a 5K race this weekend. The current forecast shows that although the next couple of days will be warmer, it might only be about 60° Saturday morning. I like 60°.

And last of all, the crazy cool... There's a new Garmin, the Forerunner 610. Here's an in-depth review. Enter to win one here. I can't tell if it would fit on my small wrist like my 310XT. The Forerunner 405 was too large. Not that I need a new Garmin!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Whole Wheat Bread

After I made bread last week, I was anxious to see if I could make a better loaf - kind of like running marathons! This recipe makes a light and airy loaf. I didn't add nuts and seeds this time, but they were delicious in last week's bread. This recipe's a keeper - one for my recipe page

1 cup warm water (110°F)
1 package active dry yeast
3 tablespoons honey, divided
1-2/3 cups white bread flour
4 tablespoons gluten, divided
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, optional

1.In a large bowl, mix warm water, yeast, and 1-1/2 tablespoons honey. Add white bread flour and 2 tablespoons gluten. Stir to combine. Let sit for 30 minutes.

2.Mix in butter, 1-1/2 tablespoons honey, salt, nuts and seeds. Stir in 2 cups whole wheat flour and 2 tablespoons gluten, gradually. Knead about 10 minutes in the bowl. Spray bowl to keep dough from sticking and turn once to coat the surface of the dough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled: 45 minutes today, but if I'd had more time, I'd try 1 hour.

3.Punch down. Place in greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans, and allow to rise until dough has topped the pans by one inch: 45 minutes today.

4.Bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Or slice with an electric knife and eat it warm like I did!

Thanks to Allrecipes for the original recipe. I'm fairly new to bread making and there's a lot to learn. Suggestions are welcome. Happy baking!

Monday, April 4, 2011

12 Miles in the Heat

Photo of Saturday's 4 Mile Race, I'm in Blue on the Left
Time for a 12 miler! I headed to the park. The first 4 miles, I averaged 10:00/mi and was sure that I wouldn't be running a progression run - we had another hot morning. The next 4 miles, I averaged 9:45 by reminding myself to "Pick it up!" a million times and then headed home for Zoe.

With my speedy dog, we raced down the park path for 3 miles, stopping for a gel and water and then ran a cool-down mile, thankfully. Even my dog didn't mind the slow pace because it was hot. My clothes were drenched like I'd been swimming.

When I checked my Garmin, I was happy to see the mile splits just before my cool down mile: 9:08, 8:46 and 8:49/mile. Lesson learned: don't mentally give up because it's hot. That's hard when you're face is on fire.

I ran home and drank milk, Pure Protein chocolate whey powder and peanut butter blended together. The peanut butter is key. By the way, I bought that new blue shirt at Target for just $10.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

4 Mile Race Report

I ran in the 4 the Park Race today. It was a humid 70+°, but I knew it would be hot before I registered - the race location was just too good for me to pass up. The Memorial Park start was about a mile from my house so for my warm-up I just ran to the start from home. These race pictures were taken on the street where I live.

That's me in the blue shirt on the right.

This was my first 4 mile race. I hardly looked at my Garmin and I ran the race like a 5K, fast from the start and as long as I could. Maybe next time I'll try running it more like a 10K - more evenly paced, but I'm happy to have finished with 4th place in my age group in 32:04.

There was a ton of post-race food. I ate a yummy muffin jam-packed with berries, a Clif Bar pretzel peanut butter bar and a protein bar sample and then some Himalayan Pink Salt Chocolate candy, a slightly salty chocolate.

The Finish Line!
There was much more food that I passed on: fruit crepes, hamburgers, whole pineapples, fruit popsicles, burritos and rice. I picked up some Muscle Milk (tried it, light vanilla creme tastes artificial and too sweet) and orange Zero Vitamin Water (tastes good like orange Gatorade, maybe) and ran home with a bottle in each hand - good for my arm muscles!
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