Monday, May 30, 2011

Tips for Finishing a Long Run

Hyde Park, London

While I was running, the temperature went from 80° to 88° - and that felt like 93°! I'm getting some good heat training and that's good for the Kona Marathon in 4 weeks.

I ran the first 6 miles easy-paced. I ran the next 6 miles faster, but the last 6 miles were a little hard to finish and I slowed down. I did better than I have in the past when it got hot, though. I knew what to expect, how it feels to run in the heat and not to feel badly when I slowed down.

I tried some tricks during the last 6 miles.
  • I tried to hit a certain pace (until my goal was just to finish).
  • I broke the run down into shorter segments.
  • I ran in a new place for awhile.
  • I tried to stay with runners who were running fast.
  • I saved my music for the later miles.
  • Because of the heat, I stopped to rest and stretch. I used to think that if I stopped, I wouldn't be able to start running again. Now, I know that I can always get going again.

I felt great when I was done - no heat troubles (no cramps or dizziness).

Pre-run: Powerbar Performance Energy bar and 1/2 banana
During run: Powerbar strawberry and tangerine gels (3 total), salt tab (mile 3, 8, 11, 14), lots of water
Post-run: chocolate milk with vanilla bean latte powder

Friday, May 27, 2011

Hills: Revised


I started on the treadmill with a plan to run 3 or 4 one mile hills and revised my plan as I ran since I wanted to do something different from the last time.
  • 1 mile warm-up
  • (1/2 mile at 4%, 4.5% and 5% incline) x 2
  • 1/8 mile at 5.5%, 6%, 6.5% incline
  • 2/3 mile cool-down
  • That's 7 miles total. (I rested after each hill. Rest = 0% incline.)
I cooled off with orange mango Powerbar sports drink which tasted good, but mixed berry is even better.

If you don't like hills, you might like to read 4 Ways to Make Hillwork Fun. Hitting new milestones is one fun part of hillwork: today I set the treadmill at the steepest incline ever. Next time: 7%, if I'm brave!

Later, I was eating giant pancakes and making vacation plans at the Fountainview Cafe with my husband. They call out your number when your food is ready. You know you're eating with a lot of older folks when someone yells out "Bingo!" when their number is called!

Photo: A hill I ran and walked up at Hazelhead Park, Aberdeen, Scotland. Some hills are just that steep!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Next Up: Kona Marathon!


When you run 20 (or 23) miles in training, you need to run a marathon.

When you need to run a marathon, you check race calendars.

When your husband says he needs a vacation, you say, how about Hawaii?

Kona Marathon, here I come! June 26 is race day.

This will be my first vacation to Hawaii. I'm searching online for fun adventures on the Big Island. So far, I've found waterfalls, volcanoes and black and green sand beaches.

Last week, I was wishing it wasn't so hot and humid, but today it just seemed like good preparation for my next marathon. I ran 7 miles with three harder miles thrown in, followed by a nice cold fruit smoothie.

Finding Gratitude at 40 - Need inspiration to run long? Read how one woman celebrated her 40th birthday with a 40 mile run.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I Didn't Lose My Dog Today

Zoe

I ran 16 miles today. 3 vanilla GU gels tasted good and kept me going and water fountains at the park kept me hydrated. Salt tablets kept the cramps away, one every hour.

Wind is my friend on a hot day and the 80° didn't bother me, much. I ran negative splits, from 10:21 to 9:01/mile. Average pace: 9:23 - in the heat!

When I got home, my driveway gate was open and it should always be closed. When I saw the open gate, I ran a 5 minute per mile pace (Kidding, sort of!) to the back yard where I found my dog, Zoe, asleep with her legs up in the air, all comfy.

I don't know if she knew she was free for 2 1/2 hours or if she just likes hanging out in the shady backyard. I also don't know how the gate was opened, but I think we'll turn the security cameras back on now.

And if there happens to be a Bad Guy hanging around...

My very large and scary dog is trained to sneak up on Bad Guys by running towards them with her little red ball like she wants to play. Be very afraid!

On a side-note...

Lose vs. Loose - Just because.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Progression Run

Along My Running Route

Progression runs give you a pace goal to reach which gets faster during your run and that's a fun challenge.

I divided the run into three parts and the plan was to run the first part 30 seconds per mile slower than usual, the second part at the usual pace, and the third part faster, approaching marathon pace.

Here are my pace goals, followed by my actual pace:
  • Average for miles 1-3: 10:00/10:05
  • Average for miles 4-6: 9:30/9:16
  • Average for miles 7-9: 9:00/8:47
It was a humid 79° and I pushed hard into the wind. Seeing that I was meeting my goals during the middle part of my run gave me confidence for the rest of the run.

Garmins are great. I need mine to check my pace and distance, too, but one runner probably lost the Texas state record because he paid too much attention to his watch. At least he won the race. I hope he feels that way, too.

The talk of the town is the big competition taking place just north of Houston tomorrow: the Texas Ironman (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a marathon). I can't imagine!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Speed on the Knee


My knee is holding up well. I fell Monday and scraped it, but I was able to run easy on it yesterday and it didn't feel too uncomfortable today when I ran to Memorial Park.

Today I warmed up, then ran a 7:56 mile and 8 x .25  mile with 1 minute rests (8:21/mile, 8:02, 8:25, 8:16, 8:32, 8:28, 7:41, 7:56). I finished with a cool-down run.

Next time, I'll try to keep my pace at 8:00/mile or better, but at least I sped up towards the end. There's just something about knowing that you're almost finished.

I stopped at a water fountain and a runner asked me about my knee and told me about his last fall over a short tree stump. The only fun thing about falling is getting to talk about it. Plus, my husband says it makes me look tough!

Links:

Always Ready to Race (Running Times) - I don't know when my next race will be, but I want to be ready.

Talking Dog YouTube Video - Makes me laugh every time.

Photo: 3 swans swimming during my run in Stavanger, Norway last March.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Longest Training Run!


Today I ran 23 miles! I hadn't planned on running so far, but I felt great, my pace was looking good in the later miles and I knew we probably wouldn't have great weather much longer (65° when I began) so I wanted to take advantage of it.

I ate 4 vanilla Gu gels and took a salt tablet every hour to keep away the stomach cramps. I ran on the 3 mile loop at Houston's Memorial Park and on the side path beside that main path when I could because I like to run on the soft pine needles. The hardest miles were the first 3, but I just needed to warm-up. It was a great run until...

.... the 22.3 mile mark when I went splat on the gravel/dirt path! As I fell, I remembered not to only fall on my knee. My head, hands, right shoulder and right knee hit the ground first. Spreading out the misery is good for your running knees, but hitting my head wasn't really in the plan!

I stood up, dusted myself off and leaned on a tree a minute. I had gravel in my hair and a bloody shoulder and knee. Really, the only bad part was my stinging knee, but even with that, I was able to run the .7 mile home, knowing that the sooner I made it home, the sooner I could wash the gravel off of my knee.

This was my third running fall. My first was on an uneven sidewalk and the second one was on the same park path when I tripped on a rock. Maybe that's what I did today.

Before today, my longest training run was 22 miles. Because the weather was so nice, I was able to run at a 9:09/mile average just like I did during my 22 mile run last December. Great 23 mile run today - except for the "flying though the air and hitting the ground" part. I'll try to leave that part out next time!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Speedwork & Hills


Today's run included speedwork - 7 x 800 meter intervals. To race fast, I need to train fast so I'm happy to get in some speedwork. It was hard, but I'm glad I did it. Besides, it makes 10 miles go by fast! It was cooler than usual, but still a little warm so I took a couple of salt tablets and I ate a vanilla GU gel, too. No cramps today. : )

Wednesday, I did hillwork on my treadmill since hills are hard to come by here in Houston. I ran 4 x 1 mile hills at a 4% incline. It was hard for me, but I'm not an experienced hill climber! Working on it! (9 miles total that day.)



I made Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies today. (I decreased the sugar from 3/4 cup to 2/3 and didn't miss it.) They were good, but my favorite oatmeal cookies have raisins and cinnamon in them so after eating one, I made some special cookies for myself with my favorite ingredients!

Photo: Taken on my run in Europe along the Dee River in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hot 16 Miles


I hope that running on hot days makes you strong, able to leap tall buildings, or at least run the last few miles of a marathon with more confidence. During today's 16 mile run, the temperature rose from 77° to 85°. Seeing other runners stop to walk or stretch made me feel better, knowing I wasn't the only one needing a break.

I used salt tablets again today, taking one at the start and two more later, but I wish I'd brought more. I think they helped when I had a stomach cramp. Other than minor cramps, I didn't have any other problems. : )

I saw some Navy Seal training on TV this weekend. They shook and grimaced while struggling to hold a heavy log above their heads. I thought about that when I felt tired knowing that a 16 mile run was nothing compared to their training. 

After my run and a great Mexican lunch at El Tiempo (where I had my first ever green rice!), my husband and I visited Houston's pretty Glenwood Cemetery for the first time. With it's winding roads, shade trees and many statues, it's worth a visit if you live nearby. You can pick up a flyer with descriptions of some famous Texans buried there.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

10K Donut Run

It was sort of a donut run, that is! I ran through the Lone Star Stampede 10K finish line and after a high-five from another runner, I wwas handed Honey Milk and a maple donut.

I felt great after that short snack break. Since I still needed to run back home, I didn't stay to see the results and took off running again - back home. Before the race, I ran to the start from home, about 2 1/2 miles. Kind of fun to run races close to home!

Finish Time by Garmin: 48:01
Course Length by Garmin: 5.9 miles
Weather: 70°, warm, but mostly shady route

This was my second 10K and I finished with exactly a one minute PR, according to my Garmin. I don't know if the race course was actually short or not. I hope not.

Something I've noticed is that the more races I do, the less nervous I am while standing at the start and the more I learn about pacing myself and not going out too fast. One nice perk of racing a 10K is that I didn't feel like I had to run quite so fast as I do for a 5K. One bad thing about running this 10K was seeing all of the 5Kers finish while we 10Kers had to run the course a second time. Maybe that's why my 4th mile was the slowest!

Update: The race results are up!
Chip time: 47:56
Age group (40-49): 3rd out of 35
Overall: 82 out of 375

Update on the length of the race: Since this was a certified course, maybe racing close to tall buildings caused my Garmin to have trouble with satellites, correcting in a straight line when we didn't actually run in a straight line, making it look like a short course.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ladder Workout


I planned to do some speedwork today, but not quite the workout that I accidentally chose on my Garmin. I chose workout 000 instead of 001 -  an easy mix-up, right?!

It didn't take me long to figure out that I was doing a different workout, but rather than stop to fiddle with my Garmin, I tried the ladder: (.50mi, .36mi, .25mi, .13mi at 5K pace with 1 minute rests) x 2 with a 4 minute rest. Plus, I ran a warm-up and cool-down (2.3 miles each), giving me an 8 mile run total.

This workout went by quickly. I liked the changes in distance and frequent rests. I liked the 52° start, too. This is great weather for Houston in May - so cool! I'm getting spoiled!

The photo is of my yummy Beck's chicken sandwich and sweet potato fries (fries were free with coupon from a race packet!). I like eating there, sitting beneath the 400 year old shade trees. Sometimes I make sweet potato fries (recipe) at home, but I usually go the quicker route and microwave the potato and top it with cinnamon, walnuts and plain yogurt.

Did you see the video of Amy McDonaugh winning the Flying Pig Marathon (the video is fun to see - she's so happy!) and the Gretchen Reynolds' article about sugar and exercise? Bike riders did best if their sports drink contained both glucose and fructose and other info there, too. (This is the second time you've heard about this if you follow me on twitter.)