Monday, October 26, 2009

Oh, the horror!

It was a dark and stormy night... Yes, it's Halloween week and that's how this story appropriately goes, so why not stick with the theme.

Like a new admittee to the Bellevue psych ward, it was agreed this evening that I am crazy. About 5 pm, my training partner called and said, "I'm not running!" I was surprised and asked, "Why not?"

She replied, "Have you been outside? It's raining, and not that light rain stuff, and it's a cold rain."

I was extra nonchalant. I'd been on 4 months of mental-toughness-and-running-confidence-building training workouts. I'd run in rain a handful of times the last month and a half. No biggie.

6:30 to 7 pm, my husband starts in. "Are you sure you are going out in this?" "Oh, yeah, I'll be fine. I've been running in rain. Plus, it could be like this on a race day - better get used to it."

But it was pouring rain, and hard-blowing wind, all coming in from the North, and it said 46 degree wind chill but there's no way that accounts for how freakishly icy that rain was.

Stepped outside, and, yeah, discovered immediately that cold cold rain. I headed south from the house, not thinking about how this was the easiest direction because of how the rain and wind was coming down. It's just that we're on the north side of an isolated neighborhood so I always head south. My goal was to do 2-3 miles, since it wasn't fun weather. I went one mile south on the main road of the neighborhood, and I'm sure everyone in their cars thought I was crazy. Since I knew I wasn't doing too many miles, I tried to move fast. Finished mile one in 10:33.

I turned around to head north and WHOOSH! Almost took my breath away and I had to look down to keep that icy rain out of my eyes. Miserable. I forced a new goal on myself. Mentally kicking and screaming, I made myself the deal that if I could do the second mile no slower than the time of the first mile plus 15 seconds, I would stop at two miles, otherwise I needed to do a third mile. Heading that mile back north was just horrible. And with every single neighborhood street intersection, I seemed to manage to leap right into the deep puddle hidden there off the curb. Normally my neighborhood is kinda dark anyway, and the street lights give just enough light that I can run, but tonight those puddles were invisible. I was hitting so many of these puddles, soaking myself up to my ankles, that I started laughing each time I hit one, try as I might to avoid them and visually seek them out ahead of time. My legs each felt like I was carrying an extra 100 pounds in my shoes, with the amount of water I was now transporting with them!

About a quarter mile out and I was becoming an obsessed Garmin watcher because my time was not looking good. It was looking like I might have to do that dreaded third mile. I kicked it into high gear and finished mile two in 10:44. 11 seconds slower than the first mile - yes!

Yes, today was "only" two miles to most distance runners, but I felt as proud of the accomplishment of this mentally tough run as I would running a half marathon most days. And while it was 2 miles at 10:38 pace, that was given some nasty weather conditions, and on evaluation at the finish, I felt like it was easily the physical equivalent today of another few miles at my slower goal race pace of 11:30, so it was a good confidence booster. Although I don't feel the need to do this sort of run again for a while, so if the weather could clear up please, yeah, I'd really appreciate it!

Happy Running!

Friday, October 23, 2009

An Upsetting Article in the New York Times

I was really bothered by this article. It brings up the whole "intimidation factor" new runners, slow runners, and walkers have to deal with from some in the sport. I think everyone deserves to celebrate every moment they are getting and staying active and healthy, and that's the spirit and vision behind Heels and Hills, an organization near and dear to be heart.

Read the article here, titled "Plodders Have a Place, But Is It in a Marathon?"

You can read all the comments Heels and Hills fans have had about this article, here on our fan page on Facebook...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A few days on and now a few days off...

After spending two weeks in the dregs of race preparations and then sick with a horrible cold, I started running again last Monday.

I set my new plan on increasing my weekly mileage some and not so much focus on speed. I felt like my body just needed more miles if I'm going to improve my half marathon time.

So the next three days went like this...
Monday - 2 miles. Avg pace 10:53. Splits: 10:47, 10:59.
Tuesday - 3 miles. Avg pace 10:42. Splits: 10:23, 10:45, 10:57
Wednesday - 4 miles. Avg pace 11:19. Splits: 11:10, 11:17, 11:25, 11:26

Thursday I relapsed back into feeling awfully sick. So I haven't been able to run again. I didn't get a long run in this weekend, so that's a little upsetting. I'm going to wait until I'm feeling good again before I run. I don't want to start back again too early and not give my body the time it needs to rest.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Finally Back After Two Weeks Off

Last run was the one where I achieved my New Year's Resolution of 32 minutes in a 5K. It was also almost two weeks ago. Back on September 22.

I spent the rest of that week neck deep in preparations for the Heels and Hills and Him Half Marathon. And it was a ton of fun to put on this inaugural race on Sept. 27, but a lot of work. I came home from that race completely drained, which is probably why I couldn't tell I was getting sick until it hit me like a freight train the day after the race. Probably also a big reason why the recovery for a bad cold was so long.

Tonight was my first run back. I'm not one of those that itches and tweaks out if I don't run every single day - I don't know if I think my body could take that anyway. I've been doing well to try to do 3 days a week the past 4 months or so. But mid-Saturday, I did finally start to have that itch to want to run. Probably because I had a planned half marathon on October 25.

But I waited until tonight and I'm so glad I did. No sniffles during the run, lungs felt good, a little bit of a cough afterward for a couple minutes, but that was it. 2 miles at a good pace (average 10:53) - mile 1 in 10:47, mile 2 in 10:59.

The main point though - I'm VERY glad I waited to go on this first run back. I see too many Type A runners that get back to it too soon and end up with their sickness limping along for another couple weeks.

Next up - figure out what I'm going to do between now and October 25 and decide if I will indeed do the half marathon race on October 25. I still would like to see if I can PR my half marathon time (2:42) and break 2 1/2 by the end of the year. So how best do I spend my running time to get there? Add to that the extra work of the next 3 weeks of timing 3 races, one each weekend. And then cheering stations for Heels and Hills being planned at events the two following weekends.