Monday, May 13, 2013

Race Report: Cox Rhode Race 1/2 Marathon

This was my 15th 1/2 marathon, and I think I've finally figured out how to actually run a race of this length.  Yeah, I guess I'm a bit slow (runningwise and mentally).  This was (sorry to shout) THE BEST RACE EVER!  I slowed myself down, took nutrition and water regularly, and got a PR with little-to-no pain!

Honestly, around Mile 11 I couldn't help thinking, this race is going really fast, but I don't want to stop running, I feel fantastic!  Words cannot express how totally jacked I am about this race.  Running has been so hard the past year, and I haven't felt like I've made any progress.  Every time I run a race, I've just been dreading it, then I phone it in and I'm mad at myself afterward.  It hasn't been fun, it has felt like work.  This race, I didn't get hung up on things, I actually got a decent night's sleep, probably because I told myself not to get so worked up, and I just showed up to do my best.

Horrifying, but tastey
I've been trying, in regular life, to just stop overthinking things and making myself crazy, and maybe that works for running too.

To prepare for this race I:
  • Never ran more than six miles in a training run
  • Didn't really run much at all--only 14 miles for the whole month of May
  •  Had a blue icee and a few beers the night before

What worked in this race:
  • The weather.  There was no wind, and it was high humidity.  The humidity was a bit gross, but the light rain overnight and mid race sprinkles tempered all the allergens in the air, and my breathing was easy.
  • The damp in the air also kept things cool.  Yes, I was soaked by the end, but every now and then there was a light breeze which kept everything comfortable.
  • I brought three shotbloks, and took them at miles 4, 6.5 and 9 along with a small amount of water.  Since it was so humid, I didn't really need to drink much, which gave my stomach a break.
  • Beer and a light dinner the night before.  I've really noticed that when I have a couple beers but don't eat much after 6pm, my run is almost always awesome the next day. Food upsets my stomach, but beer calms it down, and I guess it's carb loading?  I'm sure my tummy is just a weird one.
I kept thinking about the run that I went on with friends a couple months ago.  We ran slower than I think I ever have, and I felt great afterward.  Running to meet them in the park, I was pushing the pace and really wondering if I'd have the energy to actually run once I met them, but then we started moving so slowly, it was just easy.  I tried to remember that feeling and replicate it in the race.  I wanted to be at a pace where I actually felt like I could just run forever instead of willing the whole thing to be over--and I did it.

Never before have I not walked a in a 1/2 marathon--sad, but true.  This time, I walked while eating shotbloks and drinking water, just to keep my tummy happier, but that's it!
Splits from this race, which are far, far more consistent than my splits from the Ocean's Run in March:
So, I've got a new plan, a new 1/2 marathon PR and I'm no longer dreading my 1/2 marathon in July!  Well, a little bit because it's July and it's a hilly course, but I can totally handle it!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Weekly Workouts: April 7-13

Race day dawned cold and windy.  It was a tough race--really tough.  It's funny because I always get cocky since 10k is basically a distance I run twice a week, but the hills, oh the hills!  Full race report coming soon, but though I'm glad I did it, it still kicked my ass.

Usual Monday morning yoga + cleaning the yoga studio.  My back was super sore from shivering my way through Sunday's 10k, so the hot room felt extra nice.

Biked to work and back--4 miles, and then went to a 7pm Barre class.  It is amazing how much your muscles can burn with just 2 pound weights. I was dripping, but it felt really good.  Also, when I was biking home, the road was all clogged up with bus and car traffic--but not for me.  I just scoot, scoot, scoot along the side of the road and make it home faster than if I drove #winning.
Not me, but this is how it feels
I set out for a 4 mile run before work, but cut it short at 2.25 miles.  I don't know if I ate something I shouldn't have yesterday, of if it's just the curse of womanhood, but I had a side stitch I couldn't outrun and my legs just felt heavy.  That could be from the brutal Barre class though.  Either way, I know when to say stop, so I stopped and I don't regret it at all.  I followed that with an after work yoga class to steam out those muscle cramps.

Four miles in the morning with no watch on.  I'm trying to take it easy with the running because of that stupid knee ache, but I'll get back into it again next week with more vigor. Biked to work and back 4 miles.

Rest day

Four miles in the morning and then off to work.  I need to go for longer runs, but I just haven't had the time this week!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Weekly Workouts March 31-April 6

Sunday:  Long run day, but it was a short one.  Even though it was quite lovely out, I didn't want to take too many chances with this stupid, achy knee, so I stuck to the treadmill.  Four miles, easy pace while watching Weeds.
Exercising is always easier when you envy the body of the woman on the tv.  Seriously, Mary Louise Parker is almost 50!  What the hell?!?

Three mile run followed by the usual Monday morning yoga.

I planned a kettlebell workout with the handsome Bob Harper for before work, but like I tend to do on Tuesdays, I overslept.  I need to do more squats!  Bob makes me do squats.  I also wanted to do 7pm Barre class, but apparently there is no 7pm class this week *fist shake*, rode my bike to work and back, 4 miles--wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I planned on a 4 mile run before work, but it has gotten cold again, y'all. I'll take Wednesday as a rest day instead.

Six lovely miles before work.  Not a fast run, but a good one, and my knee felt a little off at the beginning, but fine once I got going.   I kept thinking I should do some hill work, in anticipation of the race on Sunday, but then I panicked thinking that I shouldn't tire my legs out!  What to do?!!?  It's just a 10k, so it doesn't really matter, but maybe that's the wrong attitude to have.  I'm no good at this mental game stuff.

Lazy day off, but I did manage to get to yoga.

Four mile run before work followed by four mile bike ride to work and back.  It has been so windy lately!  My bike ride to work is mostly uphill, but this time it was uphill and into the wind--feeling the burn.

Weekly Stats:
17 miles
0 cross train
2 yoga

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Weekly Workouts: March 24-30

What an adorable sloth fest
After last week's sloth fest, I'm officially ready to get back to it.  It's funny how, even for someone who loves running, the longer you don't do it, the harder it is to convince yourself to get back out there.  Thankfully, Sunday was sunny and warm(ish), which made it much easier.

Longish run.  Since I barely ran last week and I had to work today, I didn't want to do a crazy long run.  I did six miles at an easy pace, and it felt good.  My left knee got a bit achy toward the end, which makes me a bit nervous, but I iced it right away afterward.

Usual Bikram yoga class.  I was going to run four miles beforehand, but my tummy felt funny from my Sunday run. Listen to me already making excuses! No, no, this week, I'm getting back on track--perhaps a bit more slowly than usual.

Due to car-sharing issues, I wasn't able to got to barre class after work, so I did my zWOD #58 again in the morning, and then walked to work and back--four miles.

Four mile run before work.  It was one of those runs where I didn't wear a watch because I didn't want to feel tempted to push myself, but then I felt like I was running so fast I wanted to know if I actually was running fast, or if it just felt that way.  Now I'll never know, sigh.

Another lazy morning.  My tummy felt off, and I had too much wine Wednesday night, so I didn't want to go for a run.  This is the time when I need to admit that work is officially getting to me.  I've had a whole host of new responsibilities heaped on me and there has been a lot of professional/personal drama going on at work that is just taking a toll.  It's affecting my sleep and my running, and that it highly annoying.  I need to learn how to leave work at work.

Four mile run before work.  It was a decent run, but my left knee has been hurting off and on.  I'm going to be better about icing it, and try to not overdo it mileagewise.  After that, I pedaled to work on my sweet new ride!
I love my new bike, and I love that it's finally warm enough to ride it without fear of frozen face.

Group run!  I have the Jamestown Bridge 10k coming up in one week, so I did a group run with some one my buddies who are also doing the race.  I ran 2.5 miles to meet them at the park, then we did a four mile run followed by a couple hill repeats.  It was actually nice to slow down and have a bit of conversation while running, plus, it was just nice to see friends I haven't bumped into in a while.  Race next week!! Woot!!

Weekly Totals:
16.5 miles
1 Bikram yoga
1 Cross train

This week's Power Song is Sexy Boy by Hard Kaur & DJ Rekha

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekly Workouts: March 17-23

This week included the first day of spring, but also the laziest week I've had in a long time.  I think I needed it and it seemed like the universe was arranging itself to drive that point home.  Since my next race is only a 10k and not until April 7, I should take it east when I have the chance, right? Yes.

Supposed to be my long run day and I had 11 miles on the schedule, but I've just been feeling run-down and sluggish.  I managed 4.5 at a 9:13 pace, but my tummy was feeling off, so I packed it in early.  Doing a shorter run though gave me time to go to yoga, so that's something.

The usual Monday morning yoga class.  I also wanted to do my usual 4 miles before yoga, but it was 20 degrees out, and I talked myself out of it.  I just can't take it with this cold anymore.  Also, my back was sore and my tummy upset, wah, wah, wah.

Walked to work, two miles in slush and sogginess, then planned on going to evening Barre class, but the studio lost power.  I could have worked out at home, but I read a book instead and have no regrets.

Nothing.  Not a thing.  We got another dumping of snow, it's cold and wet and everyone is cranky--myself included. I planned to run before work, but just can't take the treadmill first thing in the morning.  Dinner plans with a friend after work means that today is an unofficial rest day.  This week is just going to be a light week, and that's fine with me.

What an excellent morning for a run!  We had lousy weather at the beginning of the week, but thankfully most of the snow melted and Thursday dawned with a delightful 32 degrees and sunny.  I bundled up and headed outside for the first time in more than a week. Five miles 9:03/mile pace--just a good run.  I pushed myself, but not crazy-like and just came home feeling fantastic.  I love you, endorphins!!  Defrosted with a Bikram class afterward.

Mandatory staff meeting means I have to come to work on my day off.  Sure, I get comp time and bagels for breakfast, but it's still annoying.  I did a zWOD before the meeting:

And, as usual, it was brutal.  I need to work up to regular pushups because doing modified pushups and modified burpees is killing my knees!

Nothing, a whole lot of nothing.

Weekly Totals:
9.5 Miles
3 Bikram Classes
1 Cross-Training

This week's power songs: Evacuate the Dancefloor by Cascada.  
The video is pretty ridiculous, as are the lyrics, but it really works!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Running Shoes Are Expensive

Everyone always says, and I've said it myself too-- Running is so low-maintenance, all you need is shoes and a sidewalk!

This is true-ish.  Yes, you don't need equipment, but I still manage to spend a ton of money on running stuff every year.  Every time I buy something, I think Ok, I've got all the running shirts I need, I'm set!  That never seems to be the case, plus, sometimes you just want new things.

In the case of running shoes, it's not as much of a want as it is a need.  I replace my shoes about every six months or so.  I mark when I start a new pair of shoes in my training log, and then eventually when they break down, I can just feel it.  My calves get really tight, running overall is just harder, and then I check my log and sure enough, the shoes are done for. 

So, two pairs of $100 shoes every year obviously adds up, moneywise and having tons of shoes in your house-wise.  Digression: My dad saved all of his old running shoes.  He would tie the laces together and throw them over the beams in the unfinished garage ceiling.  It looked like some kind of bizarre shoe forest, and I never knew that it wasn't normal until I asked a friend where all her dads old running shoes were and she looked at me like I was bonkers.
I couldn't find a picture online--perhaps my dad is the only one who did/does this?
I don't keep my old shoes--except my most-recent old pair (just in case), but I do hoard new shoes.  The way that I've found to get around going broke buying running shoes is by strategically hoarding and knowing when to buy.

For instance, I wear Nike + Moto shoes, I have for about seven years now.  I don't particularly like Nike as a company, but I tested a few shoes before settling on these, and they have worked well for me over the years.  One of the things that's annoying about Nike, is that they discontinue shoes every year.  Even if shoes are wildly popular, they change then annually, kind of like a car.  I started wearing the Moto + 4 and now I'm on the Moto + 8.  However, at least with Nike, you can use their fickleness (and the fact that they're trying to dupe you into buying new shoes all the time) to your advantage.
My current kicks

Every couple years, I wait for the new Nike + Moto shoes to come out.  When that happens, I buy as many pairs of the older model as I can find.  These are usually discounted by at least 30%, and sometimes I've found them for up to 50% off.  I buy as many as I can find, and then I have a shoe stash for the next few years.

Doing it this way also eliminates the Oh my god, my shoes are breaking down and I need to find a new pair because the ones that I love are discontinued but I have a race coming up! Panic.  That is truly the worst feeling in the world, and before I started shoe-hoarding, I went through it a lot.

The downside to this is that you never really try anything new.  There are tons of shoes out there that I'd like to try, but I just can't justify spending the money when my shoe needs are already met.  Other running bloggers rave about Brooks and Mizuno, but I just don't want to take the chance.

Admittedly, I have never gone to a running store and been properly fitted, but trial and error count for something, and I've got a pretty good system.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Weekly Workouts: March 10-16

I look exactly like this now-naturally
This week I had my first 1/2 marathon of the season and also my first Barre class!

Ocean's Run 1/2 marathon. Full race report here, but despite the cold and the wind, it was a good race!

Rest day.  I had to skip my morning yoga because I had a doctor's appointment, but since my knees were a bit sore after the race, I tried to take it easy.

I had hoped to wake up early and do some kettlebells with Bob Harper, but naturally, I overslept, and for once I'm going to say that that was a good thing.  That night, I went to my first ever Barre class with a friend and my muscles were screaming.  I'm always reminded that I don't do enough strength training, but I kept up pretty well.  It's odd though, even though I barely broke a sweat, I feel like it was a good workout.  This might become a regular thing.

Woke up strangely not sore after that Barre class though I suspect I'll be feeling it Thursday.  Four mile run before work and Bikram class afterward.  The forecast is calling for 50 degrees today!! Spring has officially arrived (though I'm trying to not get my hopes up too high).

Treadmill time.Seven miles while watching Biggest Loser, which is almost done for the season!  What am I going to watch on my Thursday treadmill run after it's over!!?  I guess I could just run outside instead, but I really am not minding these longer TM runs.  What has happened to me?  Maybe I'm just sick of my running mix on my ipod... music suggestions welcome.

I was a lazy girl this morning and slept in and did not do my cross-training.  I'll squeeze it in tomorrow instead. I also planned to go to yoga, but skipped that.  For some reason, going to yoga on Friday night is so much harder than every other night.  I guess it's the end of the week and I'm tired, but I had myself talked out of it at 10am--a new record.

Mid-day Bikam class that I planned to follow up with five easy miles, but I just wasn't feeling it.  I waaaay overslept this morning, so I'm thinking my body just wants a little rest.  Plus, I want to save my legs for my long run tomorrow.

Weekly Stats:
24.1 Miles
2 Yoga Classes
1 Cross training