Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On the Bike

This morning I did a 50-minute bike ride, doing 2 minute speed intervals with 2 minute easy rides for most of it. It was a good workout, one I wasn't accustomed to doing before I started working with Brennan. I think it'll pay off in the long run. I had to do a 10 minute walk on the treadmill while I waiting for the bike to open up. Final tally:

Walked 0.50 mile in 10:12
Rode 9.76 miles in 50:00

I signed up for my next 5K road race earlier this week, the St. Timothy's School Spring Sprint 5K. I'm very excited about this race, since my training has been going well, and I'm continuing to lose weight and stay injury-free. I hope to break 45 minutes in that race.

This is the final week of the "Shape Up Duke" challenge I've been participating in at work. 12 weeks of being part of the "Bookworms" team will end on Sunday! Wow. I've gotten a lot out of being part of this team effort, and we've done well as a group. I'm proud of my teammates!

Speaking of teams, and perhaps because my time as a "Bookworm" team member is coming to an end in a few days, I've created a new team on SparkPeople called Triangle Roadrunners. While I have a group of people I enjoy running with already, I'll be interested to see if any runners from the area where I live are on SparkPeople and find the group. We'll see! :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Back on the Elliptical, Plus Cookie Baking

This morning, I did 3.41 miles in 46 minutes on the elliptical machine, with 30 minutes at a more intense pace. It was a pretty good workout, all in all. I finished with about 10 minutes of stretching.

Yesterday morning, I got a two mile walk in before the rain, thank goodness. At Brennan's suggestion, I walked outside instead of my usual treadmill walk. I could feel the hills, but I'm glad I did it.

Yesterday afternoon, George and I met our covenant group for lunch, then went to Nancy's house for cookie baking. I have been dreading the cookie baking for WEEKS, ever since I started the low-carb diet, because cookies have been a big downfall of mine! I *heart* cookies.

So, why didn't I bow out? Well, every year our covenant group works a dinner shift at a local homeless shelter. We meet early and cook dinner together for the folks who come through the homeless shelter on a Saturday night. Well, starting last year, our covenant group was asked to bake the cookies that we'd serve the people for dessert. Since we have our dinner shift coming up in a couple of weeks, we met yesterday to bake around 400 cookies! Of course, now that I'm eating low carb, and am more conscious of nutrition, I'm asking myself why we're handing out cookies for dessert at the shelter instead of something like granola or fruit. I imagine that cost is a factor, like it is for American families trying to stretch their food budgets stocking up on cheaper, empty-calorie foods. Maybe another mindset at work here is that the people who come to the shelter deserve a "treat" in the cookies we've baked. That's a trap I've fallen into soooo many times---rewarding myself with food that's full of refined flour and sugar, when I could be rewarding my body with something healthy instead.

I guess the answer to the question about why I stayed to help make and bake 400 cookies is that the experience itself was a bonding one with my covenant group. Part of me needs to remember that sometimes, it's not about the food. It's one thing to join people for a meal, though, and harder to make something I can't join the group in tasting. I didn't even lick my fingers! By most accounts, I worked by myself on one recipe and looked pretty intense while I was making 4 batches of Toll House bar cookies. I think I got into "the zone," eager to get 'em done and out of my sight! Everyone else was working in pairs pretty much, but I grabbed one of the recipes, found the ingredients and the bowls and utensils I needed, and just ran with it. Occasionally, I would ask for help in grabbing another two sticks of butter or a greased pan, but otherwise, I was pretty focused on getting the job done. I did enjoy the company and chatter of the people around me in the nice, big kitchen with two convection ovens, but I guess the introvert in me came out, too. I was able to think about whatever I wanted to, rather than having to TALK about the cookies while I was making them. I hope I didn't come across as unsocial or pouty, now that I think about it....Anyway, I'm glad I resisted temptation, as I was down again on the scales this morning! Now I'm down 16 pounds since I started the low carb diet in mid-January. Nicer feeling than even licking cookie dough off my fingers would've been yesterday!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

4-Miler on the American Tobacco Trail

I had a really nice run/walk this morning on the American Tobacco Trail section in Durham! It was a clear, cold March morning, but spring was in the air and on the ground (in the shape of a bunny rabbit hopping across our path!). I met fellow runner/walker buddies Wendy and Michelle, and we started out together. I was in the presence of a couple of speedy ladies, so I soon set my own pace behind them. Part of my workout today included two running segments of 1 mile each, and two more segments of 1/2 mile each, with some walking in between. I ended up finishing 4 miles in 1:07:07, a 16:46 average pace. I'm pretty pleased with this, since it's the first sub-17 average training pace I've had outdoors in several months!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Speedy Tuesday

I was assigned some speedwork on the treadmill today, and it was challenging, but satisfying at the end! I was to walk 1 mile to warm up, 1/2 mile at 100%, followed by a 3-minute rest, then another 1/2 mile at 100%, then a 1/2 mile walking cooldown. My final numbers were:

Walked 1.02 mi in 21:05 min

Ran 0.50 mi in 5:48 min
Ran 0.50 mi in 5:34 min
Walked 0.65 mi in 12:07 min

It's a little bit hard for me to guage 100%, oddly enough. I wonder if I could've pushed myself a little harder. And on any given day, 100% could be a little bit different, depending on the circumstances. At least I have numbers now, something to compare to down the road.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Volunteer Report: Tobacco Road Marathon

Yesterday, I volunteered at a race for the second time, and it was my first time volunteering at a marathon! It was the Tobacco Road Marathon and Half Marathon, which started and ended in Cary, NC. George and I joined some other Raleigh Galloway runners to help man this water stop, which covered both sides of the trail for both the half and the full marathon. George and I actually took folding chairs for when we had a chance to sit for a minute, but we never did!! We arrived at the water stop around 5:45 AM to help set up, and didn't leave until after 1 PM! Long day on my feet, but I had a fun time working with the other volunteers, so the time went by pretty quickly.

I was surprised by the number of runners I knew (or knew of) in the races, between the Raleigh Galloway training group, church, Web 2.0 (Facebook, Athlinks, Twitter, etc), the North Carolina Roadrunners Club, and other ways. It was so much fun to be able to encourage both friends and strangers out there!

Theoretically, we saw everyone twice, as we were part of both the half and the full course, and our water stop was before AND after BOTH courses' turn-arounds. Sometimes it felt really congested to me, and I wondered if the runners noticed it, or if it was okay for them. Hopefully it was all good.

I saw a barefoot runner, a sock-only runner, and at least one pair of Vibran Five Fingers! Since I just finished the book Born to Run last week, it was interesting to see the barefoot running in action. I enjoyed the book well enough, but don't really buy into the barefoot running thing for myself at this point.

I left the water stop yesterday exhausted, but happy to have been part of something bigger than myself for a morning! I've run so many road races, and been at the back of soooo many packs, that I was glad I stayed  with several other volunteers to cheer, encourage, and offer water to the last walker to pass.

Since then, I've been thinking that I definitely want to do another half marathon, but I think it'll be a while before I'm ready to do a 26.2. I have much, much work to do!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Today's Long Run on the American Tobacco Trail (Durham)

I had a delightful run/walk this morning on the American Tobacco Trail with Jeanette and Janet! What a nice way to say goodbye to winter and hello to spring!

My assignment was to run/walk 4 miles, with two 1-mile running segments, and two .5-mile running segments, with short walk breaks in between. It challenged my endurance, but wasn't out of reach. Having Janet and Jeanette there to chat with helped me keep my pace in check, slow enough to be able to carry on a conversation. It was a beautiful morning out, and once I warmed up, it felt really good!

We ended up going 4.03 miles in 1:08:39, a 17:01 average pace for me, the fastest average pace I've had on an outside training run in, uh, forever! (When I did a 4-miler on the same course last month, my average pace was 18:22!!) My mile splits today were:

1) 17:57
2) 17:18
3) 16:33
4) 16:13

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ahhhh, Rest Day

No, I haven't had a TOTAL rest day, but it was a rest day from exercise and the gym. I used the time this morning to get into work early for some library search committee business. I'm glad it's been a rest day, as my leg muscles are a bit sore and tired. I've come to appreciate the value of days off from exercise. Sometimes it's good to push, as I often feel better after a workout, but sometimes it's even better to let the body rest and recover.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Making Progress

I was back on the treadmill this morning for a run/walk session, 3.6 miles on the board. My longest running segment today was 1.25 miles, not the first time I've run that far since working with Brennan, but the longest I've run at one time in a while. Since I've had a couple of back-to-back races now, I have a pretty good sense for the pace I need to work toward. Of course, this morning's run was on the treadmill, which is much easier for me to run on than the road. I ended up running most of my running segments at around 15:00 (though sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less), but then most of the walking segments were a little slower as I worked to recover from the runs.

I have a rest day tomorrow, and am looking forward to Saturday's 4-miler!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tired Tuesday Run

I had a run/walk on the schedule this morning, so I hit the treadmill at the gym. (It's still dark outside when I leave to do work out.) My assignment was to run the 1 mile segment of my run/walk at a sub-15:00 pace. I decided to try to run all of the running segments (shorter distances) at a sub-15:00 as well. I managed to do that, but my walking segments felt a little slower today because of it. I'm still dragging today, partly because of race recovery, I suppose, as well as the time change. I also had a meeting last might, and didn't get home until about 9:30. *Yawn!* Post-run, my quads are hurting a little, and I could use a nap! :->

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday, Monday!

My Monday morning workout assignment was 45 minutes on the treadmill, with 30 minutes of it at a more intense pace. Ahh, it was a little harder than it should've been, I think! I'm still a little tired from Saturday's race, perhaps, and also a little groggy from the time change. But I'm glad I did it! 3.36 miles in 45 minutes, it's in the books now.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Race Report: 2010 Run for the Oaks 5K

Yesterday, I completed my fourth 5K of 2010, the Run for the Oaks in Raleigh, NC, and I'm excited to report that it was my best 5K time of 2010! I crossed the finish line with a gun time of 46:51 and a chip time of 46:35.

The weather was overcast and in the 50s, so it was great weather for the start of the race! (There had been a decent chance of rain 10 days out, and even earlier in the week.)  I met up with work colleagues Samantha and Karen, and we signed up together as a team in this race, which was the first in the Eastern Carolina Corporate Cup Road Race Series for this year. (I tried to organize a Duke team for last year's Run for the Oaks, but it didn't work out at the last minute, as we ended up being one person short of an official team.)  This was Karen's first race ever, so I was happy that she was willing to be part of our team too!

I was a little tired from the start, and I think it was partly because I hadn't slept well Wednesday and Thursday nights. I went to bed early Friday night, and had one of those sleeps that had me feeling kinda groggy and hung over (eventhough I hadn't had any alcohol) when I woke up with a start when the alarm clock went off yesterday morning.

It was a great morning to be out on the streets of Raleigh, though, and I had hopes of getting a PR for this year from the start of the race. The first mile felt pretty good, but I sagged a little in the second mile, and I became aware of the cop car iddling not far behind. Somewhere along the way, I caught up with teammate Karen, and I thought about what I'd tell her if she worried about the cop car. "Don't worry about it!!" So, we both forged ahead, doing our own running and walking patterns as we needed to. I was glad that Karen and I were near each other for encouragement and comraderie, eventhough we were going at our own pace. (She was actually ahead of me for most of the race!) There were a few other run/walkers around us, in fact, so it was all good. Nobody asked us to move off of the city strees and onto to the sidewalks, even! :-) I was able to pick up the speed a bit in the last mile of the course, and the last turn in the course revealed the finish line a couple of tenths of a mile ahead, with a nice downhill in. Karen and I decided to cross the finish line together, and Samantha was already there to cheer us in! (Congrats to both Samantha AND Karen!)

My mile splits were:
1) 14:26
2) 15:45
3) 14:55

I wonder if I went out too fast in the first mile, probably by a bit. Otherwise, it was a decent race for me, and I was happy to find out at home that I beat my 5K time from last September's Anna's Angels 5K, to boot, in addition to getting a 2010 PR. My next goal will be to pull in a sub-45 min. 5K, as I pull my race times on down.

I enjoyed hanging out with Samantha and Karen a bit after the race. I also chatted with Shannon and Tracey, local runners from the SparkPeople website, as well as some folks I know from the Raleigh Galloway training group. Samantha had to head home, so Karen and I stayed for the awards ceremony, to see if our team placed. (I'd noted only two other Women's Open teams when we registered, so I thought we'd have a chance of getting some sort of prize! It turns out that we did! Our team got the 3rd place plaque for the division! Okay, so it was a "showing up" prize, since only three teams signed up for our division, but after last year's unsuccessful bid at putting a corporate team together, I was grateful to have enough runners show up for a team this year, and I was pretty darn pleased for the three of us! We did better than just "show up" for this race, we had fun too!

Since Samantha needed to head home, Karen and I got someone to take a picture of us with our plaque:

This was the fifth race in this spring's Second Empire Grand Prix Series. I'm looking forward to competing in the next two 5K races in the series! I don't think I'll be ready for the half marathon at the series' end, but finishing seven out of the eight races will allow me to attend the series-end awards luncheon at series-sponsoring Second Empire Restaurant, which I hear is quite nice!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Today--Rest Day, Tomorrow--Run for the Oaks 5K!

Today's my weekly rest day (by order of my orthopaedist and scheduled by my running coach)! It feels wierd, but I enjoyed staying in bed a little longer this morning!

I have another 5K tomorrow, the Run for the Oaks 5K.I'm really looking forward to it! For one, there's a corporate team challenge component to it, so I'll be joined by a couple of colleagues from Duke! I tried to organize a team last year, but one of the three of us didn't show up at the last minute, so we didn't have enough to form an official team. So far, the team thing looks like a go for tomorrow morning, and I'm excited about that! Samantha and Karen will be joining me, and it's going to be Karen's first 5K--yay!

I'll write up a race report this weekend and let you know how we did.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Recover and Rest and Rain

This has been an unusual exercising week for me, as I'm recovering from last Saturday's 10K and taking it easy for this coming Saturday's 5K road race, but I've still had some pretty challenging workouts. Monday's workout was easy enough, a light workout on the elliptical. Yesterday was my only training run of the week, but I did intervals, including a couple of sub-14:00 segments. Today, I did intervals on the recumbent bike. My legs are definitely feeling it, but it's a good feeling, ya know? Speed is something I definitely need to work on, so it feels good to be practicing that.

Saturday's forecast is calling for rain, but who cares?! I'm hoping for a 2010 5K PR.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Race Report: 2010 WakeMed Distance Festival 10K

Yesterday was my first 10K since the fall, so I was both excited and nervous about it! My main goal was to finish feeling decent in 1:45:00, since I had some recent knee troubles that slowed down my training, and I have another race (the Run for the Oaks 5K) next weekend.

It was a beautiful, crisp morning for the race! I started out wearing gloves, but ended up taking them off part way through the race, and was good in short sleeves. It was that nice of a late winter morning!

As others had warned, the course was rolling hills, some of them more rolling than others! According to my strategy for this race, I started out doing a 1:1 run/walk ratio, taking the downhills for a longer run. Pretty soon into the race, I was asked (very nicely!) to get on the sidewalk by one of the policemen, and I complied. I focused on not getting worried about being last, since I still had some people in sight, and the traffic cones were still in place to mark the way.

Well, in the 2nd-3rd mile, they started taking the traffic cones up, so I started to panic just a little! I had to slow down a couple of times to ask policemen at the street corners what the next turn would be, just in case I lost sight of the other racers as well as the cone-pick-up truck. After that, I tried to speed up a little to make up some time. But once I turned into the neighborhoods, the cones were still there, as well as an out-and-back water stop with some wildy enthusiastic and very funny volunteer teens! (The 1st water stop kids were packing up as I passed them, and no one offered me anything. I was a little thirsty then, but was in decent enough shape that I decided to let that slide off my back. The next water stop was worth the wait--they were great!) So, it was nice to relax a little through the neighborhoods! In addition to the course monitors and fun water stops, there was a course sweeper on a bike, who was very encouraging as well as helpful.

So anyway, my race plan from my coach was to do 1:1s for the first half of the race, then walk quickly for the second half of the race. I felt like this was going to take me forever, and told her so! She gave me the idea to run the downhills to make up some time, and to otherwise see how I felt during the race. She encouraged me to take it all conservatively for the sake of the knee, and to listen to my body. I probably ran a little more than was called for, but my knee only fussed at me a couple of times. Walking helped with that.

Within the last mile, my friend Stephanie showed up to walk/run the last part with me! She had already finished the race under her goal (congrats, Steph!), and she still had the energy to come join me for the last part of my race! Thanks, Steph! At the finish line, I ended up meeting up with a new buddy from Sparkpeople, Sharon from Raleigh, and it was a lot of fun talking with her too!

I ended up crossing the finish line at 1:40:58 (no chip time here), four minutes under my goal, and just a couple of minutes over my 10K time from the fall! I passed another racer at the last water stop, so I finished 256/257, a couple of minutes ahead of the last person. I'm still waiting for the updated points standings for the Second Empire Grand Prix Series.

Mile splits were:

1) 16:04
2) 16:17
3) 16:26
4) 16:03
5) 16:44
6) 15:37 (woohoo!)
.26) 13:54 for the last 3:39 minutes (a pretty good kick at the end)

All in all, I'm feeling good about the experience, and am looking forward to other 10Ks down the road!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Easy Pre-race Workout

This morning, after enjoying a day off from the gym yesterday, I hopped on the recumbent bike for 5.2 miles in 31 minutes, then I walked an easy 1.01 miles in 21:05 minutes on the treadmill. I'm thankful for yesterday's day off, as my legs really needed the rest. Tomorrow--my first 10K of 2010! I'm excited and a little nervous about it.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Getting A Little Faster

This morning I had another run/walk on tap, a 3-miler with shorter walk breaks. I was kind of amazed to find out after my workout that my 3.07 miles in 50 mintes (on the treadmill) turned out to be a 16:17 min/mile average pace. That's pretty zippy for a training run of mine! I must admit, though, that my legs have been feeling pretty tired ever since. I'm glad tomorrow is a rest day!

Monday, March 01, 2010

A Run to Start the Month

I had another run this morning, and though I forgot my little pink runner's strap to wear under my left knee, the run/walk went fine! Part of the assignment was to run a mile without stopping in under 16 minutes, and I was able to do that without any knee pain--yay! The total for the run/walk was 3 miles in 50:04, a 16:41 pace. Not bad for me! :) (Of course, being on the treadmill helped!)


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