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.


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