Saturday, May 29, 2010

First Raleigh Galloway Run of the Season!

Today was the first Galloway run of the season, and it was fun seeing old running friends and meeting new people! I really enjoy meeting new runners, so this morning was a treat for me! It was bittersweet, though, because I couldn't stay with them. I had my own run/walk intervals to do, so it was a little tough to leave the group behind. I did my first mile before the group started, so I had another 4.5  to do once the groups were given the signal to start out from Raleigh Running Outfitters on Six Forks Road. I followed the same course the rest of the group used, but had to go beyond the turnaround for my extra mileage. Once I started running by myself, it was fun to see the other groups as they passed me after their turnaround (and before I got beyond the turnaround).

As usual, my right foot started hurting at about mile 3. *sigh* I'm beginning to look forward to those orthotics, eventhough they're expensive.

Total for the day: 5.5 miles in 1:43:11

Afterward, a bunch of us met up at Panera Bread down the road. It was especially fun to walk with a fellow Gallowayer, Eric, who is one state away from completing a marathon in all 50 states. He'll be completing that last marathon in Alaska in mid-June! How cool is that?!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tuesday on the Treadmill

I did yesterday's speed workout on the treadmill, and let me tell ya, it's sooo much easier running on the treadmill. That's a good thing, and it's a bad thing. My assignment was to walk a half mile to warm up and another half mile to cool down, with two 1-mile repeats @ 13:00, with a 3-minute rest in between. I would've been hard pressed to hit the 13 minute mark on the roads, but I was able to nail it on the treadmill.  Well, okay, I'll be honest, it was pretty hard to do on the treadmill, and I was relieved to be able to do it! It was a nice confidence booster, to be honest, but I know it's not reality--yet.

Final results:
Walked 0.52 mi in 10:05
Ran 1 mi in 13:09
Ran 1 mi in 13:00
Walked 0.56 mi in 10:06

Monday, May 24, 2010

Running With New Shoe Inserts

I ran at Shelley Lake yesterday morning, and eventhough it was early (around 7 AM), the humidity was pretty thick already! I had the new Sole inserts in, and was hopeful that it would be a good 5 mile run/walk along Shelley Lake and Crabtree Creek. Although I don't usually run with music outside, I had my iPod with me yesterday for a change of pace. Things started out well, but then the right foot pain returned as usual just before mile 3. :( I didn't have any problems with the plantar fasciitis on my left foot, which was a good thing, but the right foot pain was bad enough that I increased my walk breaks, and my running intervals were slower too. Of course, the bottom fell out of the clouds while I was out there, as a big thunderstorm rolled over! *sigh* We've been in need of rain big time, so it's hard to complain too much, but I'd rather it waited til I was in my car!! At the end of the run/walk, it was 5 miles in 1:33:27. Stinky time, but I made it in.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Busy Galloway Weekend

It's been a busy weekend, much of it filled with Jeff Galloway-related events!

George, my better half, is going to be a pace group leader for the Raleigh Galloway group this season, so we were invited to the program director's home Friday night for a party, and Jeff Galloway was there. It was really nice to chat with him and  quite a few others Friday night.

Yesterday morning was our annual Galloway kick-off for the new season, which starts next weekend. It was a great turnout at the art museum auditorium, fun to see "old" friends and meet some new people. Afterward, George and I both participated in the running school taught by Jeff Galloway at Rex Wellness Center in Raleigh. Between the kick-off and the running school, I got a wealth of information, and left with a good bit to process. During a break at the running school, I had Jeff Galloway sign my training log, and one of our classmates took a picture of George and me with  Jeff.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sole Sisters

I finished the book Sole Sisters over lunch today, and I enjoyed it! I am a sucker for running stories, learning what makes runners tick, how they got started, what continues to motivate them to run. I got a lot of that in this book! I especially enjoyed learning more about elite runners like Grete Waitz and Joan Benoit Samuelson in this collection of stories. Since I'm still looking for a running group of my own, it was interesting to hear about how some other running groups got started. Some of the story themes were predicatable (though still interesting to me), like being motivated by divorce or cancer, but still, it's a nice collection of stories about women runners.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Intervals on the Bike

This morning I did intervals on the stationary bike, doing 5.54 miles in 30 minutes. I still had some gas left in the tank at the end, so I think I could've, and probably should've, pushed harder. I was still a little down in the mouth about the pain in both feet, although it was a non-impact workout. Whenever I get injured, I wonder if I'll be able to run again, though I've always been able to return!

Well, a few minutes ago I decided to call the ortho clinic and see if there was a cancellation, and I was thrilled to be able to go day after tomorrow, instead of waiting until the end of next week! Yay! Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Speedy Tuesday

I went ahead and did my speed workout today, somewhat against my coach's advice. I was hoping to be able to run outside again today, to compare it to last week's outdoor speed workout. (I also love that I've finally figured out how to sync my Garmin to my online training log which makes it sooo much easier to record my runs!) I decided to run on the nearby, softer treadmill, as a compromise. ("Run on softer surfaces this week," she said.)

So, I hit the treadmill for the splits below. My plantar fasciitis bothered me today, and I think I felt a little bit of burning in the ball of my right foot, but I couldn't quite tell if it was a phantom pain because I was looking for it, or a real one.

Walked 0.53 mi in 10:09
Ran 1 mile in 14:06
Ran 1 mile in 13:51
Ran 0.50 mile in 6:17
Ran 0.50 mile in 6:11
Walked 0.51 mile in 9:06

Yep, I wonder how it'll be if I can get my feet feeling right, now that my legs seem to be ITBS-free. (Woohoo!) I received the Spenco gel cushions for the balls of my feet. Actually, I just need it for the right onw (maybe), but I wonder if I should where both for balance the next time I run. Huh. I don't want to get overzealous with the gadgets. Maybe I'll call the podiatrist's office tomorrow and check on possible cancellations! Meanwhile, I am icing my feet as I type!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Good News

This morning I searched through this blog, trying to remember the podiatrist I was recommended last summer before an NCRC series run. Well, I found the post and the link I'd included for the North Carolina Orthopaedic Clinic in Durham, so I called the appointment line this morning and made an appointment for next week! Wish I could get in sooner, but it'll do. The lady I spoke with asked which doctor I wanted to see, and since I wasn't sure, it was an interesting process to whittle it down based on the issues I'm going in for. She finally asked me if I were diabetic, and when I gave a positive reponse, she said I had to see a particular podiatrist. So there. Funny thing is, I think it's the podiatrist that the runner mentioned to me last summer!

Meanwhile, I did a 40-minute elliptical workout this morning, followed by some stretching, core exercises (up to 85 ab crunches on the ball!), and some upper body weightlifting with 5 lb and 10 lb dumbbells.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Yesterday's Run Plus Foot Aches

Yesterday I landed on one of the Raleigh Greenways again, the one between the mall and Shelley Lake. I got an earlier start, around 7:30, but still ended up struggling at the end, for a total of 4.86 miles in 1:30:00. I was hyper-aware of a recurring pain in my right foot, under the toe bride after about 3 miles. It bothered me more yesterday than I remember, though it's been a recurring problem for longer distances since club cross country in college. It doesn't bother me on a daily basis, just after running about 3 miles. After some research today, I think it might be Morton's neuroma. I've ordered a Spenco cushion to try, and if that doesn't work, I'll go see the podiatrist. I think that if I can get this problem (and the pain) cleared up, then my running speed will improve!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Another American Tobacco Trail Run

Well, this morning I returned to the American Tobacco Trail for another run/walk. It was a little warmer this morning than it was on Tuesday, but I was glad not to have to make any unexpected stops during today's run (like I did on Tuesday). I enjoyed the smells and sounds of late spring out there, and even recognized some faces from Tuesday's run.

I finished 3.93 miles in 1:10:01 this morning, faster than last Saturday's pace, but still a slower pace than I ran a few weeks ago. Could the heat be affecting me already? I do need to get out there earlier anyway, which means I need to get to bed earlier!

While I was on the trail, I left a book by Jill McCorkle that I'd registered on Bookcrossing on a bench along the ATT, and by the time I came back by that bench, the book had been taken already! :) I hope someone enjoys it.

Well, tomorrow's a rest day, and then I'm back on the trail on Saturday. Since I've had two runs in a row on the American Tobacco Trail, I'll probably try someplace different this weekend.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Speed and Strength

I've had a couple good workouts yesterday and today!

Yesterday was my first speed workout outdoors. Coach Brennan has encouraged me to get outside to run more often, as time and weather permit. So I headed for the American Tobacco Trail yesterday to do this week's speed workout, and that was tough! My outdoor times were a good bit slower than my treadmill times, I had to stop to retie my shoelaces and make a couple of pit stops, and that threw me off course a little bit too. Part of it, though, will be getting used to dealing with outdoor running AND speed at the same time. I think I've kinda gotten used to running slowly outdoors, and I need to change my way of thinking as well as my legs!

Running intervals were 1 mile and four half miles (sometimes referred to as Yassos, though the distance may vary a little--I think official Yassos are 800m), with some walking before and after, plus a little in between. I was experimenting with resting for three minutes in between, vs. walking for about three minutes in between. Splites are below:

Walked 0.53 mi in 10:10
Ran 1 mi in 14:42
Walked 0.12 mi in 3:00
Ran 0.50 mi in 7:30
Ran 0.50 mi in 7:26
Ran 0.50 mi in 7:22
Walked 0.10 mi in 2:30
Ran 0.50 mi in 7:27
Walked 0.58 mi in 11:01

This course isn't as flat as I would've liked for doing speedwork, but I think it's good to practice on it anyway. And it's probably the flattest running trail I know at the moment. It does cross over several streets, so I was a little tentative at the crosswalks. I was pretty tired when I got done, but not as tired as I've been after a treadmill speed workout. Having a little gas in the tank afterwards tells me something. The thing is, I did have to go work a full day afterward.

By the way, my best race pace of the year so far is around around 15:00 m/m of run/walking, so I'm glad I got to practice that pace a little bit, and even better it on some of the running.

Now, TODAY'S workout was a little more speedwork, but this time it was interval training on the bike at the gym. (Ahhh, air conditioning!) Unfortunately, I only got about 4 hours of sleep last night, so I had some trouble counting the intervals this morning. But, I managed to finish the workout anyway, logging 8.35 miles on the bike in 45:06 minutes. Nice cardio for me.

Afterwards, I stretched, then worked on core and strength training again. One of the core exercises I did was 80 ab crunches on the stability ball--yay! No abs of steel yet--there's still plenty of padding! Working on it, though. I also returned to the dumbbells and did some upper body work with the 5lb and 10lb weights. Yes, I'm a wimp, but I'm working on that as well! :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Who Do You Run With?

I got hit with a new mantra this morning: "Who do you run with?" Wierd, I know, but it's been on my mind on and off over the past couple of years, and lately, the whole concept of running alone vs. being able to run with others (i.e. keeping UP with others!) has really been weighing on my mind lately! Right now, the answer to the question is, "Not much of anyone." George ran/walked with me last Saturday, but not without some remarks like, "I need to slow down today anyway because it's hot!" and "I need to practice running slower anyway." Sheesh! (Yes, he got a couple of dirty looks!!)

Add to that the fact that the new season for the local Galloway training group is about to start up, and George has agreed to be one of the leaders of the 14:00/15:00 pace group. I haven't decided what to do about my own participation in the new running season yet. It's a tough call. I've joined the group for the past two years, and have had difficulty keeping up with the slowest pace group (the 14:00/15:00 group that George is going to lead) part of the way through each season. Looking at everyone's backends got old after a while, but even with my slowness for two years running, I've managed to complete a half marathon and a full marathon, AND meet a ton of interesting people along the way!

Meanwhile, my performance in last year's season inspired me to hire a running coach, who I've been working with since December, soon after the Galloway season finished. We've been working on building my base pretty slowly, and she's introduced speedwork and strength training to my regimen. She does have me do the run/walk/run like the Galloway program does, but I'm doing my intervals by varied distances rather than a set time for run/walk, like 1:1 or 2:1, and it seems to be working for me so far.

So, with my new running program, I wonder how...and if... I could merge it with the upcoming Galloway season. It probably comes closet to meeting my training pace needs (I think!), as there aren't any other local running groups at my current pace, that I know of. But, I wonder if I could get away with running and walking my distance intervals while their timers are going off every minute. I don't know.

Meanwhile, I had another gym workout this morning, and I was pretty inspired. I did 10:08 minutes of walking (0.56 miles) on the treadmill, and followed it with 40:01 minutes (3.12 miles) on the elliptical machine. Afterward, I did some good stretching, then I did some core work (including 60 ab crunches on the exercise ball!) and some upper body strength training. I went up to 10 lb. dumbbells this morning, and by the time I got to the shoulder presses  with those 10 pounders, my form was pretty sloppy. I need to keep working on all of that.

Who do I run with? Not much of anyone right now, whether in training or in road races. While I have had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with some really nice back-of-the-packers over the past few years, I'm looking forward to seeing where my training (and my new mantra!) will take me.

Saturday's Run

I'm a bit delayed in posting, but I did have a pretty good run on Saturday, all things considered. George and I stayed up waaayyyy too late on Friday night, so we didn't get started on our run until 8:30 Saturday morning, and it was already starting to get warm! :( For a change of pace, we ran the Crabtree Valley and Crabtree Creek trails together, then George went out and ran some more. I finished with 3.85 miles in 1:10:01, averaging a little over 18 minutes/mile doing run/walk. Not my best effort, but it was good to get back to running after taking a few days off to rest and crosstrain a little. It was a good reminder, too, that I really need to get to bed at a decent hour the night before a long run, AND that I need to start running earlier on Saturday mornings!!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Another Lowkey Workout

This morning I did 2.2 easy miles in 30:11 minutes on the elliptical machine, and decided to follow it with .55 mile in 10 minutes on the elliptical (with a 1% grade). It's nice to have a "rest" week, but I'm beginning to look forward to ramping things back up!

Meanwhile, I enjoyed participating in the Runners Roundtable podcast last night! It was an interesting topic about road race medical tents, and how to avoid them as a runner. It was good to chat with Mike and Albert, and Steve Walker/Runner joined us as well.

In other, more mundane, news, I ordered some new running shorts from Champion today. I recently tried a more inexpensive pair from Lands End, a company I really like, but I just like the Champion shorts better right now.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Back on...the treadmill...again

After taking a rest day yesterday (following Sunday's Record Heat Walk 5K), I had an easy workout this morning, 30 minutes of walking on the treadmill, which turned into 1.55 miles. I followed it with some stretching, core work, and upper body strength training with free weights. It was a pretty decent workout, and I'm finding I'm enjoying this "power down" week, which my coach planned for me. When I think about it, 8 races since mid-January is a pretty busy schedule. I'm glad to be shifting away from racing for a few weeks, as I build my endurance a bit.

On the medical front, I returned to the orthopaedist this morning for a follow-up to knee and IT band pain. She was pleased with my progress so far, as well as running plans for the summer and fall, so she released me! Yay! Don't get me wrong, I really like this orthopaedist, but I'm relieved to be getting stronger, while making better training and racing decisions. (Okay, Brennan has helped a lot with that!)

Monday, May 03, 2010

Running Communities

On this post-5K rest day (from exercise, but not from work and other duties), I've been pondering the concept of running communities, and what "running community" means to different people. I've suprised myself in my own journey from a preference to running alone to a yearning to be part of a running community.
I've found that running community in a few ways over the past few years. First, I started a blog about my new exercise and running efforts a few years ago, and have enjoyed becoming part of the blogging community, especially when the subjects are running and weight loss. I've learned a lot from and been inspired by others in the blogosphere, and have been amazed at how fellow bloggers reach out to encourage and inform each other. Like in many arenas, bloggers come and go, but several of my favorites are still around, and it's fun discovering new running blogs out there. I'm intrigued by blogs that have a lot of visitors and comments, and how individual bloggers foster that. I think it's a combination of blog post content, commenting on other blogs, and some self-promotion, all factor into a well-visited blog.

Another running community I've stumbled into is the running podcast community. I've listened to a number of running podcast over the past few years, and have commented on occasion when an episode has been especially helpful. Now, I find myself getting ready to co-host my fourth episode of The Runners Roundtable tomorrow night! I've thought about producing a podcast of my own, but find that co-hosting every once in a while is a lot of fun.

Facebook and Twitter have also contributed to making the running community a Web2.0 affair. I must admit that I've Facebook/Twitter friends with a number of runners across the country and world whom I've never met, but it's fun to offer and receive encouragement and advice with them, nonetheless.

There is definitely a local running community in my area, and taking part in it has been interesting, for sure! In the first few races I participated in, I was pretty oblicious to it, but as I entered more races, I began to see familiar faces. I also noticed that it got easier to strike up conversations with other runners, whether before or after the race, and sometimes even out on the road. Not everyone's a chatterer, but some folks are, and now, rarely a race goes by that I don't see someone I know.

Part of what's helped with that is that I've joined the Raleigh Galloway group for two years in a row, and have met a lot of area runners that way. In fact, the social aspect is what I've enjoyed the most! On most Saturdays during the training season, people meet afterward for breakfast, and that's a great time to share advice and encouragement about a wide range of things, including area marathons and halfs. I'm also a member of one of the local running clubs, the North Carolina Roadrunners Club, and have just started attending quarterly meetings in the last six months or so. That's been a good way to get to know some other runners too. I've also volunteered at a couple of races, and have gotten a lot out of cheering other runners and walkers on. I've come away inspired each time I've volunteered. Sometimes I think it's easier to race than to volunteer!

One thing that's been bugging me lately, though, is the lack of a running community for us slow, back-of-the-pack, want-to-improve runners and run/walkers. It's often (though not always) lonely at the back of races, where water stops are often out of supplies or closed down altogether, and/or I'm asked to get off the road and finish on the sidewalk. I have hired a running coach to help with the speed and all, and progress is slow but steady there. But I'm wondering if there are other slower runners out there like me, who don't know I'm out there plugging along and wishing I could encourage others to join me! I actually tried to start a little running group of my own during the winter and early spring months, but I found that to be a bit challenging. It's a numbers game, I think, since a lot of us runners lead busy lives, by nature. Have you noticed that? Many runners seem to have a lot going in, like it's in our nature. I do wonder, though, how I could find and bring out the local runners who aren't getting out there because they think, "I'm too slow!" I've been thinking about this more and more, as the new Raleigh Galloway season gets close, and I'm running my own run/walk intervals based on distance (my running coach's plan) instead of by time (Jeff Galloway's plan). I'm not sure that I'll really fit into a group this year, so I may take that $99 and spend it on something else. Still, I'm eager for that Saturday morning community of runners--I think that's part of what draws me to road races. As I focus now on longer distances in hopes of doing a fall half marathon, I think about how group runs are pretty motivating. They get me out of bed really early, and keep me going in the heat and weariness of long summer miles. What to do?

What are YOUR thoughts on running communities?

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Race Report: 2010 Second Empire 5K Classic

I ran my first afternoon race this afternoon, the Second Empire 5K Classic. It was a 2:00 PM race, pretty unusual for this area. Also unusual were the temperatures in the low 90s, a high for this day in the Triangle!

I enjoyed chatting a bit before the race, seeing some other runners and walkers who have been running the Second Empire Grand Prix Series like I have. It was nice knowing what the course would be like, but there were still a few hills in there. Still, it's fun to run in downtown Raleigh, which includes the State Capitol area. The course also took us past St. Mary's School, my high school alma mater, and NC State's Bell Tower. The two water stops on this course were well-stocked, and the second one even had someone with a hose spraying water on people as they wanted it. Very nice!

I ended up walking more than I expected due to the heat, but Brennan and others had told me to take it easy today, and I did. At the end, my Garmin said I'd gone 3.16 miles in 53:14. I'm still waiting for official results. I was a bit disappointed in my results, but relieved to have finished the race.

Mile splits:
.16)14:50 pace

I met George for a late lunch afterward, then stopped by the gym to ride the stationary bike indoors to "cool down" and maybe prevent some potential soreness. The coming week will be an easy exercising week for me. I'm looking forward to the rest, but part of me is ready to get back in the saddle so I can improve on the last couple of 5K races I've done!!


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