Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Signed Up For Another Race!

Well, I did it! Last night I registered for the Tobacco Road Half Marathon in March! The race is a local one (in Cary, North Carolina), and a good chunk of the course goes along a section of the American Tobacco Trail in Wake County. One of the biggest plusses for me is that the half marathon has a seven hour time limit! Not that I plan to take seven hours for a half, mind you! It means that the race, which has the same finish line as the full marathon, is walker-friendly! :)

Meanwhile, training at the gym has been going pretty well the past few days, but it's nice to have a race to focus on now. I'm tempted to do some 5Ks now for speed practice (and, truth be told, I love road race mornings!), but I'd be pretty slow right now.

And yes, I am watching the calendar! January 7 is my podiatrist appointment for casting the orthotics! Woohoo!

Friday, December 24, 2010

More Benchmarks Plus Some Running!

I returned to the gym yesterday, and after a 20-minute walk on the treadmill, decided to try my hand at running for just a little bit and see how my right foot and the rest of my body took it. I ran for 5:03 minutes and covered 0.36 miles. Okay, not very far, but it's a start! My foot's okay today, but the rest of my body is slightly sore. After the walking plus running, I was inspired to get back to some work on my core, plus some work with the 7.5 lb dumbbells, as well as some stretching, especially for my quads, hamstrings, and IT bands. I covered a lot of body-ground yesterday, so today's been a nice rest day. :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Setting a New Bar

I went to the gym late this afternoon for a change (since I started my vacation around Noon-woohoo), and decided to start with the ArcTrainer, an elliptical-like contraption that's pretty challenging for me. I surprised myself by staying on there and moving for a whole hour! It was slow, but it was a good workout to me! When the machine cut off at 60 minutes, I'd completed 2.66 miles. Slow, for sure, but now I have a distance to beat! Feeling pretty good about that! :) All in all, a good endurance workout for me.

(It did remind me that I need to work on my speed this winter too.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Back in the Gym

Lately, I've been putting rest days between my workouts, but since we have a chance of inclement weather in the morning, I decided to hit the gym again this morning. Thanks to another stationary bike ride, I have a weekly total of 11.75 miles so far! Okay, so it wasn't as challenging to hit 10 miles for the week as I thought it would be. I am eager to get my base back up, though, partly because I want to be as physically ready for running as I can be. We'll see.

So, tomorrow's a rest day, then I'll have Friday through Sunday to add some miles.

Monday, December 13, 2010

New Goals

Last week's cardio goal was a success, as I was shooting for 10 miles of crosstraining and ended up with 17.94 miles of walking, biking, and ArcTrainer (elliptical thing). Saturday's workout was the best sweat I've worked up since the Outer Banks Half Marathon, and it really felt good.

An artic blast is whipping through my area now, so it's going to challenge my motivation to get to the gym in the mornings, and out for walk breaks in the afternoon. I'm going to shoot for another 10 miles this week, then. Soon, though, I'm going to push for 20 miles of crosstraining as my base.

In other news, I have another appointment with the podiatrist on January 7, this time to be fit for custom orthotics! I'm excited that this is finally going to happen! I'm crossing my fingers that I'll be running again in the next month or so. Running, how I've missed ye!

Friday, December 10, 2010

On My Way Back

It another 30-minute bike ride at the gym this morning, and hit 5.17 miles, helping me get to 10.17 miles of cardio for the week. My goal for the week was to hit 10 miles of cardio for the week, so it feels good to surpass the 10 mile mark with a couple of days to go in the workout week (Monday through Sunday for me). Yes, 10 miles in an hour's worth of biking is pretty easy when you think about it, but part of it, for me, is getting back into the swing of exercise after the half marathon and other things.

Body-wise, my achilles tendon is still a little tender, so I'm going to continue to take it fairly easy, and just work on building my endurance base back up. Speedwork will need to return to my routine soon, maybe after the first of the year.

Monday, December 06, 2010

A New Week

I usually like new beginnings, and Monday always starts the beginning of a new workout week for me. Since Saturday was my birthday, it still feels like a new year for me. Then there's the new work week. :) I'm feeling pretty darn tired this morning from the weekend's festivities, which included my birthday party Saturday night, and the end-of-season Galloway party last night, but am looking forward to the week ahead.

I didn't quite achieve last week's goal of 10 miles of cardio training, but I am down 1.4 pounds since December 1, so I'm pleased enough with that progress. I'm shooting for 10 miles of cardio again this week, in addition to drinking more water!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Does Housework Count?

George and I are getting ready for a party at our place Saturday night, so I've been getting a pretty good workout cleaning the apartment over the past few days! Last night I had a marathon session with a Hoover SteamVac (after vacuuming with a regular vacuum cleaner), and I'm feeling it today! I know that housework isn't a true replacement for cardio and strength training, but it burns off a few calories, I know! :)

In other news, I weighed in yesterday, and my goal is to lose 5 pounds this month of birthday and holiday celebrations. I'll let you know how it goes! I plan to sign up for another half marathon after Christmas, and I want to be ready. Losing weight will help, that's for sure!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Back in the Gym

It felt great to get back into the gym this morning, eventhough it was only for about half an hour. 20 minutes on the bike and a few minutes of strength training were good for the mind as well as the body. While I've got a busy week ahead, I'm shooting for 10 miles of cardio this week, and hope to do at least one more strength training session.

I'm also happy to report that my weight is down a little from yesterday. Glad to see the upward trend going in the opposite direction now!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Light Exercise

I'm still here, but taking it pretty easy these days as far as exercise goes. My right ankle still bothers me a bit, especially first thing in the morning, but at other times too, like when I take the stairs at work or home. I think it's Achilles tendonitis, so I don't feel too bad about taking it easy right now. I did buy a swimming cap and goggles recently at Wal-Mart, so I would be ready for swimming when I'm tired of taking it easy! :)

I have been taking some occasional walks, sometimes with co-workers during the day, and that's been nice. The weather's been pretty temperate during the day here this week, which has been nice.

Truth be known, though, I'm ready for the calorie burn of more intense exercise for the short term, and long term, I'm thinking about walking another half marathon in March. I've got a time to beat! :) Meanwhile, I'm in the middle of a really busy stretch at work and especially at home, so I am enjoying the extra time for other things. I sure do miss the exercise, though, and am looking forward to getting back on the horse soon.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I've been taking some short walks the past couple of days to recover, but am taking it slowly. My legs aren't sore, but my body still feels tired. Also, I have some tendonitis in my right ankle, probably from compensating for the pain in my toes during the half. Not as bad as it could be, but I'm taking it pretty easy for now. I'm eager to get back to the gym, though, so I can keep my endurance up.

Meanwhile, I'm looking at some other half marathons that I can actually walk and finish like the Outer Banks Half. One good possibility locally is the Tobacco Road Half Marathon on March 20, 2011. It's held on the American Tobacco Trail, which I love! Ya know, I was concerned about being goal-less after the Outer Banks Half, but I'm feeling better about things already. Meanwhile, I'm still eyeballing those custom orthotics after the first of the year.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Race Report: 2010 Outer Banks Half Marathon

Yesterday morning, I really surprised myself by finishing the Outer Banks Half Marathon! I signed up for this race back in the spring, before I was diagnosed with the foot issues. As my training progressed (or didn't, rather) I was doubtful that I could do this race. We were invited to stay with some friends in a oceanfront house in Nags Head, since George and I were both registered to run the half marathon. I decided several weeks ago that I would start the race and go as far as my right foot would allow me to walk My crosstraining since then has been less than spectacular, so yesterday morning, I was even less sure that I would finish. The weather forecast was beautiful, though, which helped me get into the right mindset. I decided to try to relax and see what happened. Before the half marathon started, I got to chat with several runners from the Raleigh area, including Pauline, Jeanette, Susan, Linda, Marjorie, Barbara, and of course George and Ashby. (Many thanks to Meri for the drop-off near the start in Nags Head!)

Once the race started, George walked with me for the first two miles, and I really enjoyed his company. He headed off to run at the beginning of Mile 3, and I started listening to music and taking in the surroundings. It wasn't long before I caught up with a combination of walkers who I enjoyed meeting and talking with, including Danny (from the Los Angeles area) and Susan (from Huntersville, NC), who I walked and talked with the most. Danny and Susan were planning to keep around a 20:00 min/mile walking pace, so I decided to see how long I could keep up with them. They were fun to talk to--and to listen to when I felt like being quiet.

Before I knew it, I had passed my first goal at the 3 mile mark, and was quite surprised to hit 6 miles and the half way point without enough discomfort to stop to rest and massage my foot. My next goal was the bridge, which I never made it to in last year's DNF of the Outer Banks Marathon. I wanted to see the bridge so badly this year that I could taste it, so it was good motivation to keep moving at a good (for me) walking pace with Danny and Susan! During this stretch, the front marathoners passed us, and it was a lot of fun to see and cheer them on!

Getting to the bridge was my favorite part of the course, I think! Before the ascent, Danny and I (Susan had dropped back a bit) decided on a game plan for tackling the bridge, which helped. We hit the 10th Mile Marker while on the bridge, and the view all the way across it exhilarating! Yes, I was still walking it, but the bridge wasn't as difficult as I expected it to be. My foot was bothering me, of course, but I still had energy left in the tank. (I had stopped and had my water bottle refilled at every water stop but the first one, and took a couple of Hammer Gels along the way, and that all helped, I think. )

After we hit the bottom of the bridge, we could see the stoplight where the runners and walkers were making the right turn to head into Manteo. It was a great feeling to know the end was near! I had been worried at the start about being able to finish, so hitting Mile 12, my last goal before the finish, brought a huge sense of relief, and I really enjoyed taking in the sights around me! By now, we were seeing people with finishers medals hanging from their necks, and that was great motivation too. :)

I called George and let him know that I had about a mile to go, and that I was still walking toward the finish line, and he was almost as excited as I was! When we passed Mile Marker 13 and could see the finish line, Danny and I took off and ran across the finish line, a great feeling to finish strong! My foot hurt, but I was done! That finisher's medal never looked so good!

I ended up finishing with a chip time of 4:24:15, and gun time of 4:35:18, 3747th out of 3757 overall, and 258/258 in my age group. Before the race, I told George that finishing before 4:30:00 was my over-the-top goal at a walking pace, no way would I finish by then. There ya go. :-) Kisses and hugs to George for walking with me at the beginning, and my gratitude to Danny and Susan for seeing me to the end!  Official results are here.

George met me at the finish line, and it was great to share war stories with him. We ate at the Full Moon Cafe in Manteo, before heading back to the beach house. The big group enjoyed a great meal together last night, and George and I returned home this afternoon.

I took a few pictures over the weekend, but as usual, I wish I'd taken more. They're stored online here.

Now I'll work on recovery and am looking forward to trying custom orthotics early next year. I'll be back in the gym soon, though! Maybe there will be more half marathon walks in my future!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

New Cardio Machine

I think I may have found a new challenge for me at the gym. It's the Cybex ArcTrainer. It's like the elliptical machine, but to me it's harder! I couldn't stay on it all that long this morning, and I felt pretty uncoordinated on it, to boot. Watch out, ArcTrainer, I'm going to tackle you!

Friday, November 05, 2010

A New Workout Schedule in the Works?

This week, it just so happens that I've only worked out three times since Monday (when I start my workout week). I'll work out tomorrow morning, too, of course. It's a big shift from my usual workout week of 6 trips to the gym or the trails. I've been busy with work after last week's vacation, as well as the start of National Novel Writing Month on Monday (November 1). I must admit that I've made good use of the time I missed my workouts, and have enjoyed getting a variety of things done. Is it the busy time of year? A shift in priorities? Hmmm. Part of what I'm thinking about now is how I can make the most of my workouts, and to maintain a minimum of 3-4 workouts a week.

I walked about 4 miles last Saturday, and my right foot hurt again. :( So, I'm still looking at orthotics after the first of the year, and we'll go from there with the running. You know what I miss? Having a road race that I'm shooting for! At some point, I'll need to look at how I can set other meaningful goals to shoot for.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Back From Vacation

George and I returned from vacation tonight, a few days away where I did lots of walking but only one intentional workout in the hotel gym. I'm pretty tired tonight, but am looking forward to returning to the gym in the morning! More soon!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Getting Back in the Groove

After a low key week last week, and taking Sunday and Monday off from exercise for the GRE (standardized test for graduate school admission), I've enjoyed getting "back into the groove" the past couple of days, with the elliptical machine and some weight training yesterday, and biking and some more weight training (different muscle groups) today. I've included some intervals on the cardio to help get my heart rate up and continue to work on speed. It's made for a good couple of workouts, feeling a little tired afterward without interfering with work for the rest of the day.  :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Have You Tried Water Running?

George is thinking about joining my gym after the running season is over, with the hope that we can train together doing water running, since I've been having such trouble with my foot. I found an interesting article about it in Runner's World, posted back in September 2003. Check out the article, "Head for the Pool."

Would love to know if any of you have ever tried water running to train due to injury or weather!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Looking Up at the Gym

After a call to the employee health office yesterday about my new gym membership (and still not being in the system), I returned to Gold's this morning, and I'm finally "in the system!" :) I have a name and number to call there to set up an appointment for an orientation, and I'll get my key chain swipe card then. Yay!
Heartened, I went to the cardio area and had a good elliptical workout, followed by some hammer and bicep curls. Good way to start a busy Friday!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Low Key Week

This has been a low-key exercise week, with a couple of biking sessions, a walk, and some upper body strength training. I've been a little sore and tired overall, plus I've been studying for Monday's GRE (Graduate Record Exam). Today I'm taking a break from the gym, something normally reserved for Fridays. I'll get back on track soon!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Serendipity Strikes

American Triple-T Finish
Originally uploaded by dukefan86
Yesterday, George and I took a daytrip to Bladen County for my NC Odyssey Project blog, and when we found White Lake, there were some runners going along the side of the road, within traffic cones. We followed the road around, a slow go in part because we didn't want to HIT anyone, but we were also looking for a place to take a picture of the lake. Well, we happened to pass the place on the lake that was the staging area for not just any race, but a triathlon to beat triathlons, at least to me! This triathlon didn't happen on one day, but over THREE! It's the American Triple-T.

Friday: Super Sprint: 250m swim, 7 mile bike, 1 mile run
Saturday: 2 Olympics, an AM and a PM: 1500m swim, 40K bike, 10K run
Sunday: Half Iron: 1.2 mi swim, 56 mile bike ride, 13.1 mile run

Okay, so George had the bright (very bright, seriously) idea that we should park, go into this area and explore (i.e. take pictures of the lake). When we first walked into the area, we didn't have a full understanding of what was going on. We saw the runners, spotted the bike transition area, and numbers on the athlete's arms, so we figured a triathlon, but OMG! For a while, we stood at the finishline and clapped people in, just totally amazed at the athleticism of these people! I was so impressed and inspired!

We didn't go to White Lake to watch this race, but I'm so happy it worked out that way! What a cool way to spend part of a Sunday afternoon!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Walk Report: Triangle Run/Walk for Austism

This morning I decided to take a break from the new gym and walk a 5K race, the Triangle Run/Walk for Autism. I was ready to walk with a bunch of people around, like when I used to be able to run with the group. I got to Moore Square in Raleigh early to register on-site, enjoying the crisp fall air. I didn't see anyone I knew, but it was still a great morning to be outside. I did have doubts as I lined up near the back of the pack before the race, but once the horn went off, I was happy to be there.

It was hard at first, adjusting to just walking this one, but I wanted the practice in walking faster and using my arms to help me move forward. I ended up talking with a mother-daughter pair for most of the race, and that helped the miles go by quickly. We enjoyed talking about the big, old homes we walked by, including the Executive Mansion.

I had some discomfort in my right foot, as expected, but nothing that caused me to stop. I ended up finishing the 5K walk with a chip time of 56:29 and gun time of 57:03, good for 840th place out of 853 overall, and 32/32 in my age group. I'm glad I did this! (My only regret was not taking my camera with me.)

Thursday, October 07, 2010

What's New

My arms are finally sore for the additional strength training I've been doing at the new gym! I was beginning to wonder if I were doing big enough weights. Yep, that's good.

Speaking of the new gym, I've figured out that there's a disparity in the follow-through-ness (I know there's a better word) of the front desk staff there! I've already discovered that the front desk person AKA Brian will answer questions and point things out with a positive attitude. Others have been less responsive. My biggest concern right now is getting my name into their system so I can get a swipe card and not have to sign in every time I go there. Brian gave my name and number to two different staff members after I talked with him a couple days ago, and someone was supposed to give me a call. Nada. So, Brian checked again this morning to see if I was in the system yet (no), and got my name and number again. I just feel like being persistant about this.

Meanwhile, I biked againt this morning, but didn't do any weight training, opting to give my upper body a rest. Since I haven't been running, though, I've noticed I haven't been burning as many calories, and it's making a difference on the scales. I definitely need to reverse that trend!! Tomorrow, though, will probably be a rest day from exercise. I'm thinking about testing my foot with some walking on Saturday.

Good things I learned from this morning's gym visit included learning where the steam room is in the ladies locker room (though it's broken right now) and the hot tub (which is outdoors, just outside of the indoor pool area). Can't wait to use those things! :)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

New Gym, New Me?

I decided to go ahead and sign up for Gold's Gym through my employer's Occupation Health Office, and went for the first time yesterday morning. (I went back this morning too.) I've done some cardio (but no treadmill) both days, as well as some upper body strength training. I think the strength training "opportunities" there are what I like most so far. My "old" gym's weight machines and dumbbells don't hold a candle to the equipment and space at the new gym. (Who knew there were so many muscle groups from the waist up to work on?!)

I'm also eyeing the class schedule as well as the pool, but haven't tried them yet. Soon, I hope. I'm still getting used the the new routine, including increased strength training (which I think will pay off in the weeks ahead!).

Meanwhile, I'm going to a new-to-me hairstylist this evening! What does that have to do with running and exercise? Not a thing, but with all the troubles I've had with my sore toes and running lately, I'm hoping the haircut will be a nice lift for my spirits.  :)

Clipart from Clipartheaven.com.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Good Walk Plus Workout Today

Since yesterday's "long walk" was cut short, I hit the treadmill at the gym this morning to put my sore toes to the test. The pain hit a little before 2.5 miles, but I pushed on a bit, and finished with 3.4 miles in 60 minutes, a pretty good pace for me. Still, my walking pace is something I need to work on in addition to my endurance.

I decided to take a break from cardio after an hour, so I did some upper body strength training with 5 lb. and 8 lb. dumbbells. It felt really good to work on my arm and shoulder strength, and I hope it'll help me if I decide to go ahead and give the Outer Banks Half Marathon a walking try.

After that, I stretched my quads, glutes, and hamstrings, then finished with 2.02 miles (11:01 minutes) on the recumbent bike. All in all, a good workout for me.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Back On My Own

Well, I made the hard decision to stop being coached for my running. I have mixed feelings, really, because it feels like giving up on running, but also realistic, at least for now. It also has forced me to start looking more seriously into other forms of exercise.

For instance, I looked at the Gold's Gym closest to home last evening, and was impressed by the amount of equipment, especially for strength and core training. There are also some cardio classes I could attend, plus there's a pool! The membership sales guy I talked with was surprisingly unenthusiastic, though. I told him my story--running, injuries, running, half and full marathon, wierd foot bones, and his reply when I finished, was, "Okay." I asked if he could give me a tour, and he said something like, "Okay. This is the weight equipment. Cardio machines. Pool's over there," with some walking in between. Can I look in the ladies' locker room? "It's over there to the left." I see you have a massage therapist, what are the prices? "They're in this brochure somewhere." I swear, he didn't ask me a thing about my goals, wishes, or impressions. Maybe he was on his way out the door when I walked in. He just didn't seem to be into a conversation about his gym. Business must be good.

Anyway, I have printed out the information on my employee discount and enrollment through work. I'll still probably go that route, then cancel my current gym membership if I like Gold's.

I'm continuing to exercise. I cut yesterday's speed workout short due to foot pain. Today I had to sub the elliptical for the assigned bike workout, and cut it short to get into work for a meeting. My workout life seems to be a series of short workouts lately, partly due to my body and partly due to increasing time at work. Interesting.

I'll miss working with my coach, and would love to work with her again if my orthotics work out in the winter!

Monday, September 27, 2010

These Shoes Were Made For Walking

This morning, I walked 2.17 miles in 40:04 minutes on the treadmill, and followed with some upper body dumbbell work, as well as some ab crunches and stretching.

Meanwhile, I'm pondering a phone conversation I had with my running coach last night, where we talked about the possibility of my backing off of running much of any distance for a few months, while I wait to order custom orthotics and my foot has a little R & R time. It makes the Outer Banks Half Marathon seem a little dimmer, but I'm not quite ready to give up hope of walking it, especially if I continue to work on my fitness level and weight loss.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday's Walk

I fell short of my 10 mile goal today due to my fussy foot, deciding to stop at 6.52 miles. I'm discouraged about not being able to get the distance in,  but I was pretty pleased with my overall average pace per mile of 19:29, especially considering the foot discomfort. It was a pretty morning out on the Crabtree Creek Trail, but started getting warm. I was thankful for plenty of water.

Still undecided about what to do about my half marathon in November. *sigh* One week at a time.

1) 19:53

2) 19:19
3) 19:04
4) 19:10
5) 20:00
6) 19:22
0.52) 10:10

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What Do You Listen To?

This morning I hit the treadmill again, and had a decent workout, despite the pesky foot pain in Mile 3.

Walked 0.51 mi in 10 min
Ran 1.55 mi in 24 min
Pit stop here
Ran 1.03 mi in 16:00

Part way through, I decided to steer away from my workout music and return to an audiobook I've been listening to in bits and pieces, a book called Think and Grow Rich, by Napolean Hill. I'm finding the audiobook a nice change of pace from the quick-paced music that encourages me to keep going when the pain in my foot tells me to rest it. Although the book has some Christian overtones that some might disagree with, I'm intrigued by what the power of personal belief can do. Part of running is mental, so it certainly applies in this area of my life! I'm also listening to this book with my work ears as well, especially as I work on my graduate school application. Having something to think about (besides my foot) as I run has been refreshing!

What do you like to listen to when you run? How does it help motivate or refresh you?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This Week's Progress

Rather than the usual Tuesday speed workout, I had an easy assignment yesterday, since I did the Mag Mile on Sunday. I walked a mile to warm up (1.05 mi in 20 min), then ran/walked 2 miles easy (2.01 mi in 34:00). My legs told me this WAS an easy workout, but my right foot started bothering me in Mile 3. *sigh*

Today's assignment was a 50 minute bike workout; I ended up cutting it a little short due to time constraints, but I felt strong doing it. I finished 8:05 miles in 46:18, and average of 5:37 min/mile. That's pretty fast for me, especially over 45 minutes.

I'm scheduled to run again tomorrow, so I'll see how that goes. Saturday's a 10-miler. I haven't hit 10 miles this year due to my foot. Right now my plan is a walk it at a good clip and see how my foot holds up. My coach is very conservative about injuries, so we'll be talking after the walk.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Race Report: 2010 Magnificent Mile

This afternoon was the long awaited (for me) Magnificent Mile Race in Raleigh! It was a clear, warm late summer afternoon, and as usual, I enjoyed seeing several running friends before (as well as after) the race. I just love race days, with the comraderie and anticipation in the air. I also love this race, because they divide the race into three heats: the men's and women's competitive, and the recreational. It's amazing to watch the men's heat, because the frontrunners are so fast, and in the races I typically run, I never get to see the elites at their best. Last year's winner (who was back this year) finished the 2009 race in 4:10. On the road.

Toward the end of the men's heat, the women started lining up, and it was fun to catch up with a couple of runners, Barbara and Ruby, who were nearby. The "gun" went off, and the race started--uphill! This course goes up Hillsborough St., around the State Capitol Complex, and back down Hillsborough St., so luckily, it ends going downhill! Sweet! My goal was to beat last year's time of 13:37. It wasn't until the last stretch, when I was close enough to hear some finish times being called out, that I realized I could come in under 13:00 if I pushed! I dug deep and pushed for the finish line, stopping my Garmin just past the line at 12:58! Yes! I'm still waiting for the official results to make sure they jive with my sub-13:00 on the road.

This evening, I'm feeling suffiently "good and tired," so I feel like I left a lot on the course. I'm also glad to report that my foot was a non-issue at this short distance. I'll update with my official finish time/place when it gets posted.

UPDATE: My official time was 12:58, 180th out of 183 women, and 21/21 in my age group.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Light Week

I just realized I haven't posted since Tuesday! It's been a pretty light training week, which has been a relief in several ways. It's given my right foot a chance to rest, plus I've been uber busy at work. This morning I'll do an easy 30 minutes on the bike at the gym, then come home and get ready to head to campus for the Alabama-Duke football game. I'm excited to be seeing Alabama play football, even if they're probably going to do a number on my Blue Devils. If I can make it afterward, I'll join George's family for Yom Kippur dinner this evening after the game.

Tomorrow's the Magnificent Mile, a 1 mile race in Raleigh. This will be my 3rd year in a row of running this race, and it's one of my favorites. It's a distance my foot can handle, for sure, and I think all that my speed training will show itself for tomorrow's race. My main concern is feeling rested after the busy week at work plus today's activities.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Speed Work-It's Feeling Easier

One thing I noticed about today's speedwork is that it's feeling a little easier in the midst of it, and I'm not feeling as wiped out afterward. It's nice to feel some progress. It has me looking forward to Sunday's Magnificent Mile!

Biked 1.36 mi in 10 min (warm up--biked the warm up because all 5 treadmills were taken)
Ran .25 mi in 3:02
Ran .25 mi in 3:01
Ran .25 mi in 3:01
Ran .25 mi in 3:02
Ran .25 mi in 3:02
Ran .25 mi in 2:59
Walked .10 in 2:00 to cool down

Monday, September 13, 2010

A New Workout Week, and Maybe a New Attitude

This morning's workout assignment was an easy 30 minutes (2.12 mi) on the elliptical machine, so I followed it with some ab crunches (75 today!) and obliques (3 sets on each side instead of 2), plus some upper body strength training with dumbbells.

While I'm feeling a bit in limbo with my running, I have this gut feeling that I can work on getting stronger without using my right foot, right?! There are many things I CAN actually do to become a better athlete, while I rest and ice the toes and see if the orthotics will eventually help. One of the things I continue to work on is my weight loss, and that'll help too, I know.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Race Report: 2010 Mebane on the Move 5K

George and Bert
This morning I did the Mebane on the Move 5K in Mebane, NC. George and I got there about 7 AM, and soon saw our friend Bert from the Raleigh Galloway Training Group. Bert was running his first 10K, and George was shooting for a 10K PR this morning. It was a slightly cool, overcast morning, pretty darn perfect race weather.

The three of us were busy chatting through the race announcements, so we were surprised to see the runners surging forward! I also missed the fact that there wasn't a timing mat at the front. I wish I'd scoped this out ahead of time, as I would've positioned myself a little better.

The running crowd thinned out pretty quickly, but Bert and I were run/walking in the same area for quite a while. I was a little tense in the first mile, but started to relax at the beginning of Mile 2. Unfortunately, my right toes started hurting so after, around my Garmin's 1.1 mile mark. I started taking walk breaks more frequently in hopes that it would help, but the pain was persistant throughout the rest of the race. Needless to say, I'm pretty discouraged by this!

Highlights of the race were seeing a college classmate volunteering on the course, a finished runner in a polka dotted headband hopping out of the crowd to run the last part of the race with me--just for encouragement, and then doing the same for our friend Bert (along with George).

Afterward, George, Bert, and I drove to Panera Bread in Durham and enjoyed a post-race meal. Their Greek salad is my usual post-Saturday-run meal, and it (and the company) lifted my spirits a bit.

I am surprised that my toes continue to give me this much pain, in what seems like shorter and shorter distances. I iced and ibuprofened both last night and this morning before the race, and even soaked my feet in epsom saltwater last night. I may have to wait until I can get the custom orthotics before seeing some improvement.

I'm still waiting on the official (gun only) time, but my Garmin (started at the start line, not when the runners started) says 49:48 for 3:12 miles.

1) 15:58
2) 16:03
3) 16:13
.12) 1:33

I would definitely recommend this race, especially if you like small local races. Mebane is a cute little town, really, and the volunteers were very friendly and helpful.  (The course had a number of turns through neighborhoods, but there were plenty of course monitors to keep me going in the right  direction.) The race director was very gracious is changing my registration from the 10K to the 5K earlier this week, which turned out to be a lifesaver for me today.

UPDATE: Apparently there WAS start line timing, just didn't see it. Results are in: chip time was 49:45, gun time was 50:30. I finished 156th out of 160 runners overall, and 17/17 in the women's 40-49 age group.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tomorrow Morning's 5K

Well, here I am, on the eve of another race, the Mebane on the Move 5K. It's been several months since I've done a race, but given the number of road races I've done over the years, I'm surprisingly excited about this one. My speed training has been going pretty well, and I got a pretty good night's sleep last night. (I need to follow it with another one tonight!)

My right toes are feeling okay, perhaps a slight, dull ache this morning, so I will do ibuprofen today, and ice this evening and again tomorrow morning.

I'm hoping to beat my Run for the Oaks 5K chip time of 46:53. Can I hit or break a 15:00 average for 3 miles on the road? I'll let you know tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Back to Basics

I had a 40-minute, high cadence ride on the stationary bike today, and it felt surprisingly good! I completed 7.2 miles, which turns out to be a pretty zippy pace for me, especially over 40 minutes. Afterward, I took the time to stretch, and for the second time this week, did some upper body strength training with the dumbbells at the gym. I can tell I'm getting close to needing more reps and/or higher weights. I just need to be more consistent about doing the strength training.

Meanwhile, I got permission to transfer my weekend race registration from the 10K to the accompanying 5K. I'm feeling a mix of relief and disappointment in this. Since I did the 10K on this course last year, I've been really looking forward to going for a PR, but with the foot pain I've been experiencing, I've been dreading the distance this weekend! So, when I think about doing the 5K (everything else aside), I feel relieved, and have been looking at my most recent 5K times with a hope that I can have a 5K PR for this year, at least!

I feel, in some ways, like my training is going backwards, at least in terms of distance. So, I'm looking at how I can work my attitude, as well as some crosstraining, like the upper body weight training I've done this week. Another thing I'm mulling over is taking up a martial art. I wonder if any particular martial arts are a good match with running. Anyone know?

Monday, September 06, 2010

Getting My Mojo Back

Today was a work holiday for me, so I enjoyed sleeping in a bit and puttering around our apartment before I went to the gym. Today's 30-minute elliptical assignment turned into 35:03 minutes (2.54 miles), followed by some good stretching and, for the first time in a while, so upper body strength work. It felt really good to not feel rushed, and to be able to get to everything I wanted to. I also picked a diferent playlist on my iPod, and it was refreshing to be able to listen to some different music for a change. So many songs on my workout playlist mention running, or are songs I associate with running, so it was just nice to take a break from that. Don't worry, I'm not giving up on running! I'm just getting recharged! :)

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Another Short Long Run

Today's 10 miler was, well, a 4 miler in the end. I did get off the treadmill and onto the trails, this morning on the Crabtree Creek Greenway. It was a beautiful morning, the prettiest (=coolest) I can remember for a while. I tried a 1:1 run/walk ratio to see if that would help the foot pain, but no. Ahhh. I reluctantly decided to call it quits at 4 miles. Glad I got outside, but continue to be bummed by the foot.

4 miles in 1:15:01
1) 19:15
2) 18:39
3) 18:24
4) 18:42

Afterward, I went to the gym and spent 40 minutes on the elliptical machine (2.8 miles). *sigh*

Next weekend, I have a 10K race scheduled. I've emailed the race director to see if I can switch to the 5K. I am getting tired of hitting pain on every run over three miles, and am looking to put some fun back in the process. I really enjoy race days, despite my slowness, and 5Ks are (relatively) quick and (mostly) painless for me. My foot and my mental game could use a respite, I think.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Pretty Good Run

On the treadmill...

Walked 0.51 mi. in 15:47 to warm up
Ran 1 mi. in 15:47, had to stop here for a pit stop (rats!)
Ran 1.5 mi in 23:39

My foot didn't start hurting until the last half a mile, and the pace (the assignment was to stay around 16:00) felt pretty easy.

I have another 10 miler on tap for Saturday. Hope I can pull this one off!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Minor Victory: Workout Complete!

I was determined to finished today's speed workout, since I had to cut the last two run/walk workouts short. It feels pretty darn good mentally to have a complete workout under my belt, though my foot did hurt today! I kinda feel like I beat the pain, at least for today!

Before I left for the gym, I iced my foot and took some aspirin. The ice felt good at the time, but I'm not sure it helped.
-Walked 0.53 mi in 10:07
-Ran 0.51 mi in 8:05
-Ran/walked 2.42 mi in 33 min. (4*0.50 mi in 6:30ish, with a 2 min. walk between each interval)-my right toe bridge started hurting in the 1st mile here.
-Walked 0.27 mi to cool down

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Long Run Was a Bust

Yesterday's long run/walk on the American Tobacco Trail was supposed to be a 10 miler, but the pain in my right toe bridge starting coming on in the first mile. Yikes! I tried more walking, but once I started running again, the pain eventually became pretty sharp. I stopped at 5.31 miles (1:47:24), and drove to the gym, in hopes of giving my foot a rest, with a plan of getting more miles in. I walked 1.42 miles in 25 minutes, and decided to give my foot a rest and call it a day, exercise-wise.

So, I met up with some Raleigh Galloway friends at Panera. We often meet at the nearest Panera after a run. While they are known for the bready things, it's a place that pleases everyone. I often get the Greek Salad; yesterday's had some grilled chicken atop. Yum!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hill Work on the Treadmill

Today's run/walk assignment on the treadmill was since incline work, including 1 mile at 1%, another at 2%, and the last running mile at 2.5%, with some warm-up, walk breaks, and cool-down factored in. All told, I was supposed to "travel" 4.25 miles on the treadmill. The incline, I think, really did a number on my achy right toe bridge, and I ended up calling it a workout at 3.75 miles in 60:35 minutes. I felt a little bit wimpy for stopping, but I decided to do it anyway. I took some aspirin when I got home, and my toes felt better. :)

I'm still saving for custom orthotics, but that's been a little more challenging than I expected. At worst, come January, I'll have a fresh pot of pre-tax money on my HSA card through work, and can get the custom orthotics then. Of course, that will be after my half marathon. Then there's the concern, that even with the high cost, that they won't alleviate the toe bridge pain.

Another option I'm considering is that perhaps I should stick to shorter distances, and just work on getting faster on the 5K and neighboring distances, after I've completed the half marathon I've signed up for. I definitely don't want to throw in the towel on running, but I'm definitely frustrated by the physical pain it's causing.

Clipart from http://www.cksinfo.com/people/bodyparts/legs/index.html

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Speed and Endurance

Yesterday's speed workout was one of the most challenging I can remember. I felt tired, and wanted to cut it short, but it felt important to finish. In a mental way, and a physical one too, really, I feel like I'm banking tough workouts now for a payoff sometime down the road.

Ran 1 mile easy in16:08 to warm up
Ran 1.5 miles in 20:03
Ran .25 mile in 3:03
Ran .25 mile in 3:02
Ran .25 mile in 3:01
Ran .25 mile in 3:01
Walked .50 mile in 9:07

I was pretty wiped out afterward, but it was on to the day's work, which included my niece moving into her dorm as a freshman at the university where I work! (I didn't have to help her move in, though.) Even though I was pretty tired at work after that workout, I enjoyed the energy from the students, fresh-faced and excited about the new beginning. :)

I went to bed really early last night, so this morning I felt a little more rested, but still pretty tired. Luckily, I had a bike workout on the schedule, but was surprised to see it was a 50-minute ride at high cadence. I duked it out for the whole 50 minutes, good endurance practice for me, but I sucked at the high cadence part this morning. I was able to go faster some of the time, but had a hard time maintaining it. I finished the 50 minute ride with 7.9 miles. It feels pretty good to have completed it, but I'm already hoping for another early bedtime tonight!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Short Workout,and a Blogger Meeting!

I did a short recovery workout this morning. It was supposed to be a 30-40 minute bike ride, but the stationary bike I like at the gym was taken. Since I didn't have time to wait, I just hopped on the treadmill and had a slowpoke walk, 1.55 miles in 30 minutes.

Later this morning, I got to meet Christina, runner extraordinaire and blogger of Lazy Bones Running, in the flesh! She's in the area on business, and she and her boyfriend came to town a little early to explore. It was so much fun to meet them both! After following Christina's blog for quite a while, and hearing her voice on a couple of podcast episodes, it was so cool to meet her in person! We had a yummy brunch at Guglehupf, then did a driving tour of the Duke campus and a walking tour of the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Thanks, George, for taking this picture of the three of us:

Christina, John, and Lesley

Since I see the campus all work-week long, it was rather nice to see it through fresh eyes, and Christina and John were great company!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

First '10 10 Miler in the Books

I finished my first 10 mile run/walk of the year, and while it wasn't pretty, it's done. I ended up walking more than usual, thanks to the right toe issues, and I wonder if that's why the distance seemed especially long today. Probably. I finished 10 miles in 3:13:02.

I've already taken a nap this afternoon, and am still pretty tired. I think I'm going to go read a good book and try to fill my mind with something else. I'm tired of pouting about this run. It's done. Time to move on. But note to self: try to get more sleep in the week ahead.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Little Bit Longer

This morning, I ran a whole two and a half miles without a walk break! It surprised me a little bit that I could do it, even with the "help" of the treadmill.

Walked 0.50 mi. in 10:15 (warmup)
Ran 2.5 mi. in 37:39
Walked 0.52 mi. in 10:00

I am pretty tired now, both from the workout and in general. I definitely need to work on getting more quality rest.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Speed Workout That Felt Long!

Today's speed workout on the treadmill must have been a good one, because it was hard today, and felt like it took forever to finish. I know that workouts like this will help in the long run (pardon the pun!), but this morning wasn't pleasant! Glad I stuck it out (though I considered making it shorter on more than one occasion)!

I'm hoping that all this speedwork and such will pay off on my next race, a 10K coming up on September 11. Still a little while longer to train, but it's less than a month away now! :)

Walked .51 mi, 10:04 min

Ran .51 mi, 8:00 min
Ran 1 mi, 14:03 min
Ran .51 mi, 6:05 min
Ran .50 mi, 6:44 min (didn't pay good attention to pacing on this interval)
Ran .25 mi, 3:05 min
Ran .25 mi,  3:04 min
Walked .28 mi, 5:04 min

Saturday, August 14, 2010

8 Miles on the Raleigh Greenway

Today's assignment was 8 big ones, and I'd been wondering how it would go. I was a little late getting started, because I took some time to roll my feet over a frozen water bottle I keep in the freezer.

I decided to run on my own on the Crabtree Creek and Shelley Lake trails this morning, rather than starting with the Galloway group, but was delighted to run into my Galloway pace group near the end of Mile 2! I ran/walked 1:1s with them for about 4 miles, and I think that hanging with them helped my pace a bit. My right toe bridge started hurting as usual, though a little later today, so I had to slow down a bit. They were doing 10 miles today, and since I only had 8 to do, I turned back toward my car at one point, while they went on.

The weather was overcast this morning, but still pretty humid, I thought. Still, it was a nice morning for a run outside!
I feel a little better about my run today. No mile splits above 18:59 (yay!), and more mile splits below 18:00. My average pace today was 18:11, a nice improvement over last week's 18:39 average pace. Was the improvement a fluke? Stay tuned for next weekend's long run!

1) 18:42
2) 17:59
3) 18:09
4) 18:58
5) 17:46
6) 17:39
7) 18:52
8) 17:26
.03) 0:32

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Two Mile Milestone

Today I ran for two miles straight without walk breaks! Yay! Okay, it was on the treadmill, which made it easier, but still, it's a nice milestone. Now I have a 5K without walk breaks in my sights.

Walked .58 mi in 11:48 to warm up
Ran 2 miles in 30:06
Walked 0.54 mi in 10:03 to cool down

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Making Speed Progress (and in other ways too!)

I had another mile speed test, and despite a poor night's sleep last night, it went pretty well! Nice to see some progress, that's for sure! In fact, I think that's why I've been rather grumpy and negative about my workouts the past couple of days. I'm frustrated about my slow speed (especially on the weekends), as well as the pain in my right toes (which only happens when I run!). Here's this hobby, this sport that I enjoy, and it's causing me some stress and pain. *6!^$#@#

I need to keep the big picture in mind, though. This isn't reading, or stamp collecting, or another hobby that is more sendentary. It's a hobby that makes me want to push myself to get better, both physically and mentally. It's also become a very social hobby for me, which is one of the best (and very motivating) reasons to keep at it.

Good news is that the grumpies are starting to lift a bit. I need to remember to do other things besides running to balance out my free time a bit, in part to give my body and my mind a rest.

So, here are the numbers:

Walked 0.52 mi in 10:08
Ran 1 mile in 15:03
Ran 1 mile in 11:58 (Mile Test)
Ran 1 mile in 13:58

Monday, August 09, 2010

Yesterday's Raspberry

Yesterday's workout got a raspberry, but I was glad I did it once it was over! (I was also glad it was over!) My assignment was a 60-minute ride on the stationary bike at the gym. I was dragging yesterday, so I didn't get to the gym until early afternoon. (My normal workout schedule is early morning, pre-work.) Saturday's running grumpiness was creeping back into my workout, and then I had to ride on the "icky" stationary bike, since someone else was using "mine." It was interesting, though...once I hit the 15:00 mark, the ride got much easier mentally. I knew I could finish it once I got a quarter of the way there. Funny how that works, those little benchmarks in our heads. When I'm running, the current mile seems more doable once I've covered four tenths of that mile--"downhill from there."

Anyway, I ended up riding 10.2 miles in 60 minutes.

After I got home from the workout, I decided to call a nearby Foot Solutions store to find out their hours. As it happens, they were open yesterday because of North Carolina's tax-free back-to-school shopping weekend. I called at 4:20 PM, and was at the store 20 minutes later! They were closing at 5:00, but the lady stayed open longer to evaluate my feet. The consulation was very interesting, and included some computerized measurements of my gait. I explained the issues with my right toes and the pain after 2-3 miles, and she agreed that custom made orthotics may well be the way to go ($400 a pop there, expensive whether I get them at Foot Solutions or through the podiatrist!!). So, we're going to try a special toe pad first, which I should be able to pick up later this week (hopefully before Saturday's long run!). It felt good to make some progress on having my right toe bridge feel better during my runs.

This morning, I was back on track, at least in terms of an early morning workout. I felt pretty tired, and was eyeing the shorter end of my 30-40 minutes elliptical assignment. when I first started. By the time I hit 30 minutes, though, I was good for another 10.  2.82 miles in 40:03 minutes, before it was all over.

Image above from http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?picture=raspberry-background&image=3424

Saturday, August 07, 2010

A Grumpy Run

Today's long run was on the American Tobacco Trail from the White Oak entrance, one of my all-time favorite places to run now, but it was a "grumpy" run! Actually, I was the grumpy one, not sure why, but I just couldn't shake "grumpy" loose this morning. Ah, well, at least I finished. It marked the end of this recovery week, so it was a pretty short one, 6.5 miles in 2:01:09.

I tried run/walking 1:00/1:00 for most of today's run for a change of pace. As usual, I started to fade in Mile 3 when my right toe bridge started hurting. *sigh*

Mile splits:
1) 18:23
2) 18:10
3) 18:34
4) 19:01
5) 19:00
6) 18:34
.50) 9:26

Image from www.flickr.com/photos/travelpig/33313158/

Friday, August 06, 2010

Another Run/Walk in the Books

Last evening's plans to run outside after work were thwarted by a thunderstorm! So, it was back inside on the treadmill for a 3-mile run/walk. The assignment was to walk .5 to warm up, then run/walk 2 miles doing a 4:1 minute run/walk ratio, with 6*2:00 pick-ups, then walk another .5 mile to cool down. (You see where this would've been easier outside?!)  It was a little awkward on the treadmill, but I finished up 3.03 miles in 47:01 minutes. I was surprised that I survived doing the pick-ups on the treadmill--they're a little easier outside!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Back in the Gym Today

After yesterday's outside walk, I was back in the gym this morning for a 50-minute bike ride, plain and simple. 8.51 miles in 50 minutes, and that was it (well, that and a good stretch). 50 minutes is a little longer than I usually go on the bike actually, so it was a little bit of endurance work. My legs are still appreciating the recovery week. I'll do a little bit of runing tomorrow, rest on Friday, then run/walk 6 miles on Saturday.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Recovery Week

I'm enjoying this recovery week, I must admit. I've been a little tired lately, the kind of weariness that feels like it's coming from pushing myself in the heat. So, yesterday I did an elliptical workout (2.9 miles in 40 minutes) and a little bit of upper body strength training. This morning's assignment was a 2-mile walk, so I went to a nearby neighborhood and completed 2.05 miles in 40:07 minutes. I pushed a little bit to get my average pace under 20:00, and ended up with  19:34 average pace, okay for a recovery week. My walking pace is something I need to continue to work on, especially outside and away from the assistance of the treadmill's belt and gym air conditioning.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Some Calf Exercises to Check Out

One of the runners in my pace group was having Achilles tendon issues yesterday, and as it happens, one of the running blogs I follow and checked this morning, RunnerDude's Blog, had a new post about calf exercises, which can help with Achilles tendon issues! My running coach prescribed calf raises to me early on, and of all the exercises she's told me to do, calf raises have been the most neglected. In the YouTube video below, RunnerDude demos several good calf exercises and stretches. The video moves quickly and has some good background music. Check it out!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

This Year's Long Run/Walk Distance Record

I ran/walked on the Crabtree Creek and Shelley Lake trails in Raleigh this morning, and since last weekend's run was so hot and humid, I started at 5:45 AM instead of 6:30. Fortunately, the temperatures were a little cooler this morning, so the cooler temps combined with the earlier start made for a much for comfortable run this morning! I used the same system of trails that my local Galloway program ran on this morning, and it was fun seeing so many people I know out on the trails. The encouragement both ways was a lot of fun! Since I started early and kept going, I ran/walked most of my miles on my own, but rejoined my old pace group for a couple of miles toward the end, and did a 1:1 run/walk ratio. Nice change of pace there. I ended up with 9.61 miles in 3:00:01, a little longer than I was supposed to go (9 mile assignment for the day), but I felt good enough that I decided to go for three hours of forward motion on my feet. My average pace, while still slower than I want it to be, was 9 seconds faster this week than last week. That's heading in the right direction, thank goodness. *Breathing a sigh of relief!*

It felt good to run in new shoes, the Brooks Dyad 6 model, but my right toes are still hurting after about 3 miles. *sigh*

On the weight loss front, I'm down 4.4 pounds for month of July--yay!

Mile splits:

[Picture of Shelley Lake by David Wehrs on Flickr.]

Friday, July 30, 2010

Spring Cleaning and Thoughts on Blogging

Today's my usual weekly rest day from exercise, so I've been doing a little spring cleaning on my blog here. Nothing much notable to the average reader, mostly just checking blogs in my blog roll, links in my fitness-related list, things like that. I've added some blogs to my list this week, and deleted a few today that haven't been updated in a number of months. It's made me a little pensive about blogging runners I've connected with over the past few years, and how people come and go in the blogosphere, as well as in the running world. I must say that I enjoy the way the blogs help connect runners throughout the world. I've often delighted in coming across cool running blog posts of strangers in other cities or countries, and leaving a comment of congratulations or encouragement there. Of course, part of it is payback for the random running bloggers who have stumbled upon my blog and left a nice note. Have you ever done that?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

More Treadmill Time

This morning's run included some endurance work. After warm-up, my assignment was to run 1.75 miles without stopping, then 2*3:00 running/0:30 walking, and a quarter mile of walking to cool down. Since I was on the treadmill (as usual during the week), I decided to push the pace a little bit. This wasn't a speed workout, but I decided to start making the Tuesday speediness count for something. It worked out pretty well, with a sub-15:00 avg. pace after warm-up. It was just fast enough so that I felt just a little stretch, but not too much. (I still had a full day's work ahead of me!)

The numbers:
Just walked 0.52 mi, 10:00
Ran/walked 2.51 mi in 37:08 (14:47 avg. pace)

Afterward, I stretched my IT bands, quads, and hamstrings, then did some core work and upper body work with the dumbbells. I was going to use the 10 lb. weights, but the personal trainer had swiped them to work with a client. I was a little disappointed, as I was determined to work my way up from the 5 lb. weights, starting today. Oddly enough, the smallest dumbbells left on the rack were huge, like 25 pounds or something! I saw some smaller, beat-up looking ones on the side, so I went to investigate. I picked up one 8 pounder, found the matching 8 pound dumbbell, and decided to use those instead. I'm glad I did, because my biceps are plenty sore this evening! Yep, it'll be 8s for the biceps for a while!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tired From Yesterday's Speed Workout

This morning's assignment was 30-35 min. on the bike, easy resistance but high cadence. My legs were so tired from yesterday's speedwork, followed by time at the mall right after work, so I wasn't very speedy this morning. I finished with 5.82 miles in 35:02, about 6 min. miles. Ah, well!

Yesterday's speedwork of mile repeats went well enough, as I hit my goal times. Both miles were supposed to be sub-13:00.

Walked 0.50 mile in 9:20
Ran 0.50 mile easy in 7:38
Ran 1 mile in 12:48 (3:00 minute rest afterward)
Ran 1 mile in 12:45 (yay for a negative split!)
Walked 0.28 mile to cool down

Afterward, I thought, "Eh, no big deal, really." But my legs (and body) are tired today! I hope I'll be able to get to bed early tonight.

Monday, July 26, 2010

New Races on the Schedule!

Last night, I finally committed to three races by actually registering and paying for them. I'm excited about all three of them, and am happy to have something more concrete to focus on!

First up will be the Mebane on the Move 10K in Mebane, North Carolina. I ran this race in 2009, so I'm looking to beat last year's time on this course. Mebane is a small city between Durham and Burlington, so the field isn't as big as others. Interestingly enough, I saw an interesting mix of people I know at last year's race, including a fellow runner and Facebooker (we met for the first time at MOTM, but were on the lookout for each other), the current president of the North Carolina Road Runners Club, and a college classmate.

After last year's race, I drove back to Durham and completed 14 additional miles to make it a 20-day as part of my marathon training. I'm relieved to say I won't be doing THAT this year, so I'll be able to give a little more to the 10K race!

I've also signed up for the Magnificent Mile, which will be in Raleigh, North Carolina. This will be my third time to run this race, and I'm looking forward to this one too. Last year, this race came the day RIGHT AFTER the Mebane on the Move 10K (+14 additional miles), but I was determined to run the "Mag Mile" anyway. This year, the Mebane on the Move 10K and the Magnificent Mile are 8 days apart, plenty of time to recover from one and race the other! Yay! I'm looking forward to beating last year's time, but I'm not sure if I'll be ready to beat my 2008 time. We'll see!

My third race is the Outer Banks Half Marathon, which will begin in Nags Head, North Carolina, and finish in Manteo. This will be my second half marathon, and first time doing this race. I tried the Outer Banks Marathon last year, but was DNF. I'm training for a half marathon PR, and am hopeful that I'll be thinner and in better shape by mid-November.

I'm feeling pretty optimistic about seeing some improvements in time, as long as I keep training and working on my weight. Stay tuned! :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The End of Another Running Week

I had a good workout this morning, a ride on the stationary bike (8.1 miles in 45:01 min) followed by some stretching and core work, as well as some upper body strength training. I'm kinda tired, and my biceps are  a little sore, but it's all the "good" kind of tired and sore. Know what I mean? It's just the right amount of "tired and sore" to get me into bed at a decent time tonight, not a bad idea anyway since tomorrow's the beginning of another work week.

In a week that included my normal 3 days of running, 3 days of crosstraining, and a rest day, I run/walked 16.53 miles this week, my highest weekly run/walk total of the year. On one hand, it doesn't sound like very much, especially compared to many other runners I know. But on the other hand, I'm just tired and sore enough that I feel like I gave it a decent amount of effort this week, especially considering the summer heat here in North Carolina.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

All Pacing Bets Were Off Today!

This morning's 9 miler was another one on the American Tobacco Trail in Apex, an area of the trail I really enjoy! I decided not to worry about my pace today, though on this side of it, I wish I'd gone faster. It was pretty warm (high 80s early this morning, I'd bet, and pretty darn humid!), though, so I'm just going to try not to worry about it! Interesting to note that my fastest mile was my last one, which tells me I had some gas left in the tank, though not much sweat left! :) I have another 9 miler next weekend, so it'll be interesting to compare.

I saw my first ATT snake today, a big, long, black one. I wonder what kind it was! It helped with my pace for a few yards! :)

I used my new pink iPod Shuffle this morning and enjoyed it a lot! I don't know yet how to find a particular playlist on it, so I just listened to the "All" list today. I added some new-to-my-iPod-library songs last night (transferred from an old iPod that has almost died), and those were fun to listen to today. It was also nice not to have to carry or wear my bigger iTouch this morning, especially since I was out there so long.



Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hill Work on the Treadmill

Today's workout was a 4 mile run/walk, with three miles on incline running on the treadmill and a mile's worth of walking, broken up into quarters. The first running mile was at 2% incline, Mile 2 was at 1%, and Mile 3 was at 2.5%. It wasn't as bad as I expected, during or after. I'm tired now, but not as much as I expected. Total run/walk miles today: 4.03 in 63:01. I'll take it.

I enjoyed co-hosting the Runners Roundtable Podcast earlier this week! It was about Dick Beardsley's running camp. One thing I learned from the two campers who were part of the show was the importance of core work to running. That's one of the big things they took away from the running camp (which sounds like a blast, by the way!). I've been a little slack with the core work on a regular basis, but it sounds like it's something that deserves to become a permanent addition to my weekly workout plan.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

You Know What Tuesday is....

...another speed workout. It went pretty well today, I think, though I'm definitely tired!

Ran/walked 1 mi at 16:31 doing a 2:1 run/walk ratio  to warm up.

Ran 1 mi at 12:52 (Assignment was a 13:00 min. mile)
Ran 0.75 mi in 9:38 (Assignment was 8:00-8:30)
Ran 0.50 mi in 6:06 (Assignment was 6:00)
Ran 0.25 mi in 3:03 (Assignment was 3:00)
Walked 0.35 mi in 7:07 cool down

In other news, I'll be a co-host for the Runners Roundtable Podcast this evening with Mike and Albert. We'll start talking about Dick Beardsley's Running Camp at 6:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time. With work in between, it's turning into a pretty busy day! :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Another Long Run/Walk in the Books

Yesterday, I had another 8 miler on tap, after last week's "rest" week. I hoped to hit something close to an 18:00 average pace, so I returned to the relatively flat and shady American Tobacco Trail's White Oak trailhead for the second time. On this outing, I decided to turn right instead of left, and off I went. I started out hitting my target pace, but perhaps it was a little too fast, especially Mile 2. I started out the run/walk with music in my ears, and that might've had something to do with the faster pace at the start too.

I had the usual pain in my right toes, but it came a little later yesterday. Perhaps it was because I ran into a couple of fun acquaintances from the Galloway running group and stopped to chat for a couple of minutes, giving me a chance to wiggle the toes a bit before resuming the run. I ran out of water in the last mile, which tells me I need to take more next weekend, even if it means making sure I pass my car while I'm out.

I ended up finishing 8 miles in 2:26:48, about the same pace as my last 8 (okay, 8.18) miler two weeks ago, I was a little discouraged by that, hoping I'd see some pace improvement this week. I remembered a recent comment by Johann, though, and decided to compare similar workouts for some clues. I was surprised to see that yesterday's run/walk had an additional 1100 feet of ascent over the last 8+ miler that I did on the same trail, but in the opposite direction. Hmmm, a little extra "hill work" was good for me, I think, even if I didn't speed up for it.

I was also pretty pleased by the three sub-18:00 mile splits below, the most I've had in some time. Although my coach hasn't given me any pace goals for my long runs yet, I'm eager to see some improvement without overdoing it.


I found the photo above on Flickr of the White Oake section of the American Tobacco Trail where I've been running, though taken in the fall, I think. It's such a nice place to run! Just wish it didn't take me 30 minutes to get to this particular trailhead.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Working on Endurance

This morning I had a 3 mile run/walk that included running 1.5 miles straight without walking! Knew I could do it, and now I'm glad it's done. I'm looking forward to increasing my running distance in the months ahead! I finished 3.2 miles, actually, in 50:00.

I'm looking forward to another 8-miler on Saturday, especially since my weight loss is back on track. Every little bit helps, especially in this hot weather we're having!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Speedwork Tuesday (Mile Test)

Today's speedwork assignment included a mile test to check on my speed. Like the whimp that I am (sometimes!), I opted for the treadmill. The last mile test on a treadmill ended in a 13:18 back on March 13. The last mile test I did outside was last month, a downhill course, where I clocked in the neighborhood of 13:45.

Today's workout:

Walked 0.50 mi in 10:11 (warm-up)
Ran 1 mi in 15:23 (target was 15:00-16:00, easy)
Ran 1 mi in 12:29 (was supposed to be @ 100%, but I still had energy in the tank at the end)
Walked 1 .15 mi in 20:09 to cool down

Eh, pretty good, but I could've gone faster. Safely? Dunno, but I could've. I was just shooting for a sub-13:00! :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Comparisions: Good or Bad?

I've been thinking a lot about comparisions lately. Runners, as a group, do this a lot, with the desire to set PRs at distances or on particular courses. We compare our times on races, and we also compare ourselves against each other. It's part of the competitive nature of sports that have a measure (like time or score) attached to it. Numbers talk.

One of the interesting things about running, though, especially for those of us at or near the back of the back, known in some circles as Pengiuns, is that even when I'm encouraged to "run against myself," it's hard not to compare myself to others, and sometimes it's discouraging! I've heard other "Penguins" feel this way too.

That being said, I love running, and I want to improve. I've been thinking lately, though, where's the line between "healthy hobby" and "this is work, like another job!" My improvements this year have been imcremental at best, sometimes nonexistant thanks to  injuries, a hilly course, or a hotter-than-usual day. Sometimes, after my long runs, I think I should've pushed the pace a little harder. While I'm out there on Saturday mornings, though, I'm thinking, "This is my time to exercise and relax, darn it!" I don't worry much about my long run pace until after I've gotten home and hooked up my Garmin to the computer.

So, I've been thinking about things I can do to take things up a notch for improvement. The heat of the summer might not be the best time to compare times, but I do have last summer's times and distances to compare. My coach has me building my long run mileage up a little more slowly than I did last summer, so maybe it is a good time for me to working on pacing a little bit. I asked my coach about long run pacing, and she said not to worry about it. Easier said than done! :)

In my quest to get faster, I'm working on my weight, and have bought some new songs for my iPod. Now, I think I'll come up with a list of mantras. My training schedule is one thing that's pretty set, thanks to the running coach, who I'm happy with. She does leave the upper body weight training up to me, though, and I haven't done a good job of being consistent with that.

What are some things you've done that have resulted in improvements in running?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Today's Humid Long Run/Walk

Eventhough this is a recovery week for me, I had pretty high hopes for today's 6 miler. I decided to join the Galloway group on the Durham end of the American Tobacco Trail this morning, eventhough I'd be running a shorter distance (6 miles), as well as my own run/walk ratio. Eventhough the temps were a bit cooler, it was as humid as I've "seen" it this summer. By the time I'd finished, I was soaked with sweat!

I ran/walked with the group for the first 3 miles, then turned around to head back "home." I was hoping to average sub-18:00 today, but it was a struggle, thanks in part to the humidity. Still, I wish that I were tougher on days like today. Could I have pushed myself a little harder? Probably so. *sigh* I ended up finishing 6 miles in 1:48:26, for an average 18:05 pace, so close and yet so far from my sub-18:00 goal!

When I got home and synced my Garmin, I started looking back at my times, as well as my weight, from a year ago. A year ago today, I did 12.5 miles at an 18:14 avg. pace, and weighed about 10 pounds less. I thinking that if I can take that 10 pounds off this summer, that will help a lot! It's part of what I'm working on with my 100-Day Challenge. In fact, I'm planning to run my next race, the Mebane on the Move 10K, on September 11. Two months, ten pounds? Doable, I think.

Miles splits today:

1) 18:03
2) 18:09
3) 17:15 (yay!)
4) 18:27
5) 17:58
6) 18:33

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Fad Diets Gone Organic

Over the long weekend, I caught up on some of my favorite podcasts, including Fat 2 Fit Radio. One of the episodes I listened to mentioned Kirstie Alley's new show, "Kirstie Alley's Big Life," as well as her website. Her show didn't get a favorable review on this podcast, and since I don't get A&E at home, I can't check it out to tell for myself. I was surprised by Alley's website, though, which isn't about her career at all, but about a line of organic weight loss products called Organic Liaison, which she endorses and uses (I guess!). It seems like she's hung up her acting career, and that this is her version of making money on late-night infomercials. I hope she is able to show the skeptical likes of me what-for by losing a lot of weight and keeping it off with her program. I guess I'm not surprised that there's a diet out there that uses the word "organic" in its name now. I don't know anyone who's tried this Organic Liaison, do you?

Recovery Week In Progress

I've been low key about blogging this week, since this is a recovery week on my schedule.

Monday: 2.91 miles on the elliptical machine in 40:05 minutes
Tuesday: Walked .50 mi in 10:01 min to warm up, then ran/walked 3.11 miles in 50:07 min on the treadmill
Wednesday: 5.69 mi in 35:00 min on the bike
Today: Walked 3 mi in 55:03 min

Tomorrow's my usual rest day, and Saturday I'll run/walk 6 miles. Some recovery weeks, I'm pushing the envelope, but this week I've enjoyed taking it down a notch for a few days. I have tried some different metatarsal pads over the past week, and the right toe pain is approaching sooner than without them. I was hoping for the opposite reaction! Ah, well.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Sunday Workout and 100 Day Challenge Update

I enjoyed the gym this morning. There were more people there than I expected, considering it was a holiday, but I was a little later than usual (after sleeping in and puttering). Did 8.03 miles in 45:02 min on the bike, then 1.62 miles in 30:03 min on the treadmill. Had a nice, long stretch afterward to give my IT bands some TLC, then did 60 ab crunches on the ball. I usually feel pretty hurried at the gym, so it was nice to feel like I could take my time.

Nine days into my 100 Day Challenge, things are going pretty well. Today is my 9th day, and I've lost 2 pounds, walked 126,861 steps (an average of a little over 14,000 steps per day, thanks to a couple of long runs), and drunk the requisite water for 8 of 9 days. I've been hoping for a faster rate of weight loss, but I need to remember just to stay the course. On the other hand, I'm pleased with my walking steps, especially in the summer heat.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Nice 8+ Miler Today

This morning, I decided to shake things up a bit and run a different section of the American Tobacco Trail, and I was glad I did! It was a bit of a hike to drive to the White Oak trail entrance in Apex, but it turned out to be a very nice run, all in all. My assignment for today was to run 8 miles, and I was looking for something flat, since my right IT band has been bothering me. The Raleigh Galloway group was running another hilly course this morning, so while I missed the group run, I enjoyed striking out on my own! The course I ran/walked today was mostly hard-packed dirt, very well shaded (lots of big, tall trees!), and no big hills. The grade going out was slightly downhill in parts, so uphill heading back toward my car, but it didn't bother me most of the time. I ended up doing 8.18 miles in 2:30:01, a distance record for me this calendar year. My average pace, 18:20, was 8 seconds per mile faster than Thursday's 4-miler, and 1:21 min. per mile faster than last week's 7-miler (though not a fair comparision, really, since last week's course was hilly!). It's nice to see some improvement in my long run speed, though I should credit this morning's cooler, less humid temperatures as a help as well. So many variables to consider! Still, I'll take a decent run/walk when it comes.

My IT band did okay today, but my right toes still started hurting just before 3 miles. I did try some new metatarsal pads this morning, and they really didn't help. *sigh* I did discover, though, that when I stopped and wiggled my right toes for a minute or two, that helped my toes feel better.

Mile splits:

1) 18:24
2) 17:39
3) 17:44
4) 18:36
5) 18:49
6) 18:36
7) 18:55 (more walking)
8) 18:14
.18) 3:04

Friday, July 02, 2010

Still Out There

I just realized it's been a few days since my last post here! I'm still running and working out, but have toned things down a bit to nip IT band issues (right leg) in the bud. I had a nice 4 miler outdoors yesterday, as I've taken yesterday and today off from work. Monday is a university holiday in honor of Sunday's July 4th holiday, so I'm enjoying an extra-extra long weekend! I helped my department finish the 2010 fiscal year (which ended June 30), so I'm enjoying some R & R.

I plan to post about tomorrow's long run later this weekend.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Another Mileage Milestone

Yesterday's long run/walk was a tough one, the hardest of the season for me. I finished 7.02 miles in 2:18:11, and finished is the operative word here. The 19:41 average pace is one many walkers can beat. It was a warm and humid morning, though, and speaking of walking, most of the last mile and a half was uphill. I walked most of that. It was my highest long run/walk/walk mileage of the year, though, so I guess that counts for something. Also, I've finished the running week with 14.58 run/walk miles, a 2010 high as well.

Part of my problem yesterday was that I tried some metatarsal pads yesterday. I went back to the podiatrist on Friday, and he gave me some to try before considering custom made orthotics ($400-500 not covered by my health insurance) or surgery to shorten the metatarsal bones (yikes!). I must have misplaced (not lost, incorrectly placed) the metatarsal pads, as my right toes started hurting around Mile 2, instead of the usual Mile 3). Eventually, I sat down on a bench, pulled my shoe off and detached the pad from my sole insert. The sticky on the bottom of the pad was gone then, so I tossed it, put my shoe back on, and continued. *sigh*

Meanwhile, I've started another 100-Day Challenge. I did this last year with some success. It's time to refocus on my weight loss, so I'm doing it again. The scoop is that I've created a spreadsheet on Google Docs, and I'm going to track my weight, pedometer steps, and whether or not I've drunk 64 ounces of water on each day. My goals will be to lose weight (of course!), walk at least 10,000 steps daily, and drink at least  8 cups of water each day.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Yesteray's Run on the Incline

Yesterday's running assignment was 4 miles of run/walk, with 3 of them running. I opted for the treadmill again, as I continue to be a wuss in the heat, at least during the work week. (I'll run outside tomorrow morning.) 2 of the running miles were at a 2% incline, and 1 running mile (the middle one) was at a 1% incline. I had quarter mile walk breaks at the beginning, end, and between each mile. Let me tell ya, that was a pretty tough workout for me, tougher than I thought it would be! I finished 4.02 miles in 63 minutes, a few minutes faster than my long run pace.

The treadmill picture is from http://www.fotosearch.com/clip-art/treadmill.html Since I work in for a university library, and use the treadmill a lot, maybe this should be my unofficial logo. What do you think?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thank Goodness for Air Conditioning!

Okay, I've been a wuss this week, at least when it comes to the heat and working out. Granted, two out of three workout assignments this week have been on gym equipment, so I have an easy out!

3.02 miles in 41 minutes on the elliptical, plus some core stuff

Walked 0.21 mi in 4:07
Ran 0.54 mi easy in 8:00
Ran 1 mi in12:47
Ran 1 mi in12:42
Ran 0.50 mi in 6:04
Ran 0.50 mi in 6:01
Walked 0.27 in 5:07

I rested 3 minutes between each interval. The miles were supposed to be sub-13, so I was happy to nail that. My half miles were supposed to be sub-6, not quite there.

Recovery bike ride, 6.23 miles in 42:00. I'm a bit tired this morning.


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