Friday, February 16, 2018

Focus on Strides

On the way home from our Chicago race, I had Toni pull up her race data for me to look at. As her unofficial coach, I was curious to see how her splits played out, as she said she didn't look at her watch much throughout the race, and just ran by feel.....hard.

While looking at her stats, I noticed that her cadence was 160. Which is the same as mine. This should come as no surprise, since our running form is almost identical. But I also know that ideally your cadence should be closer to 170-180. I recently listened to a podcast by Jason Fitzgerald, who stated that a cadence of 170 on an easy, regular ol' run day is a pretty good goal to shoot for, since on speedier days, you'll be closer to 180.

Since 2017 was spent building a strong running base, I told Toni that 2018 we would make a conscious effort to increase our running cadence. The training programs we follow always have strides and hill strides in them. Anywhere from 2-3 runs a week are supposed to have strides in them. Every day I tell Toni what our workout is. At the start of each run, I tell her to remind me of the strides that we're supposed to do, because we just get talking and I forget about them.

So while we were driving home, I mentioned that we should really try hard to remember to do the strides to help with our turnover and speed. And Toni, while driving, said, "Uh, I have a confession."

Me: Ok, what's that?

Toni: I always remember that we have strides to do, and I purposely don't remind you.

Me: What?!?!?!?

This girl, who can bust her booty for a crazy long time in a half, or ten mile, or whatever race distance she's doing, doesn't like to run a little bit speedy for 100 meters at a time?!?!

So I fired her from stride reminders, and will be taking over in that capacity for all of 2018. Here's to some speedier legs and quicker turnover! No thanks to Toni. :P

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Premonitions While Running

The other day while wrapping up a super challenging tempo run in dramatically dropping temperatures, I started to get really cold. I had gone from doing back to back tempo portions, and while doing my cool down miles the temps were dropping, the winds were picking up, and since I wasn't working as hard as I was during the tempo portions, I was getting chilly. Plus, I misrouted my run and accidentally tacked on an extra half mile to the end of it.

With about a third of a mile remaining in the run, I had a weird panicky thought about how bad it would be if Kyle came home, let out the dog, locked the door behind him and left to go work on a boat. I had left the front door unlocked, because we live in a safe neighborhood. [Please note: I will not be leaving my door unlocked ever again so I don't even worry or think about trying to get in.]

The last five minutes of the run my arms were experiencing their cold discomfort that is still leftover from the New Years Day super cold run. I came up to my front door, went to turn the handle, only to find the door locked. I rang the doorbell and knocked, assuming Kyle was just inside. And then didn't hear any movement. Uh....

Instantly I started to panic. Toni has a spare key, but she lives two miles from me, and I've already ran 8.5 miles, and am on the verge of freezing. I also don't know if Toni is even home, but at least I know her garage code so I could go inside her house if absolutely necessary. Oh, did I mention that my phone died with 2 miles remaining on the run because it was so cold out? Because yes, that also happened.

During this panic I heard the garage door, and I turn to see Kyle backing out of the driveway. I set a PR in sprinting down my driveway, waving my hands in the air wildly (thank goodness I wear the brightest neon clothes in the world) until I got his attention. He apparently had no clue that I was running, and if I had made it home a minute or two later I would've been screwed. Uff da.

Instead of flowers or dinner for Valentine's Day, I asked for a keypad garage door opener. Operation: don't accidentally kill your wife via frostbite.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Spring Half Training Week 2

Monday Planned: General Aerobic + Speed 7 miles 6x12 sec uphill, 6x100
Monday Actual: General Aerobic + Speed 7 miles with a million x 100. First of all, I thought I was supposed to do 8 instead of 6. Oops. And then there are exactly zero hills or even an incline in Tea, so I threw in a few more for good measure. We got 3 or 4 inches of snow, so I was bound to the roads slipping and sliding around. Oh and the wind chill was -10. Uff da!

Tuesday Planned
Tuesday Actual: Sweet sweet rest. More snow!

Wednesday Planned LT 8 miles, 16 min, 12 min with 4 min jogs in between 
Wednesday Actual: Another day, another solo run. Luckily for me, I was off at noon, so I was able to run when the sun was still out. Unluckily for me is that a snowstorm brewed up in my 2 mile cool down, and I spent it running into freezing cold blowing snow (-2 wind-chill). At least I nailed my tempo sections!!

Thursday Planned
Sanford POWER + Recovery 4 Miles 
Thursday Actual: Sanford POWER and going to bed early. So much snow, so much below zero temps again. Good gracious. I did sleep for 11.5 hours so I'll take my award on that front.

Friday Planned: GA 4 Miles
Friday Actual: Toni and I chatted Thursday before bed to determine our threshold for Friday morning, as the forecast was super cold yet again. We discussed -10, we discussed -13, and we landed on -12, because -13 would be unlucky, naturally. I woke up, checked 3 weather apps, all said -14.  I texted Toni, "-14 gnight". and went back to bed. And then my stomach was angry all afternoon when it was actually nice enough to run. Grumble.

Saturday PlannedRest
Saturday Actual: Rest.

Sunday PlannedEndurance 11 mile
Sunday Actual: 11 miles through the snow packed and slick roads. We ran every road in Tea, some twice. I had some random aches and pains all over my legs during the run. I think my legs are sick of running on winter this week. Spring, where are you!?!

Total Mileage Planned: 34 miles
Total Mileage Actual:  26.64 miles. I'm a little bummed to be short on mileage, but this week was tough with the extreme cold and the non-stop snow. The fact that I hit 3/3 on my key workout/runs for the week should earn me an A+/gold star.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Weekly Reads: At the Edge of the Universe

I'm on a roll with the weird-o books, and I'm not going to apologize for it. Shaun Hutchinson always writes weird books, and I always read them, and I always love them, and At the Edge of the Universe is no different. It's hard to even talk much about the book without giving much away about it. I will say that the size of the book is misleading. I think it's almost 500 pages, but it reads like it's 250-300, so it's a super fast read.

My rating: 4.5 stars

Summary from goodreads:

Tommy and Ozzie have been best friends since second grade, and boyfriends since eighth. They spent countless days dreaming of escaping their small town—and then Tommy vanished.

More accurately, he ceased to exist, erased from the minds and memories of everyone who knew him. Everyone except Ozzie.

Ozzie doesn’t know how to navigate life without Tommy, and soon suspects that something else is going on: that the universe is shrinking.

When Ozzie is paired up with new student Calvin on a physics project, he begins to wonder if Calvin could somehow be involved. But the more time they spend together, the harder it is for him to deny the feelings developing between them, even if he still loves Tommy.

But Ozzie knows there isn’t much time left to find Tommy–that once the door closes, it can’t be opened again. And he’s determined to keep it open as long as possible.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Obsession: Riverdale

To say that I'm obsessed with Riverdale, is an understatement. I had heard a few people talk about the TV show, so one weekend when I was home alone and didn't have anything to do, I started to watch it. It immediately reminded me of Gossip Girl with a mystery twist. I LOVE IT.

And then as watched further I became obsessed with Jughead. Before declaring my love, I had to check his IMDB page to make sure he was over the age of 18. Uff da. And then I discovered he was the kid in Big Daddy (along with his twin brother) and of course any true millennial that I recount this tale to is like, "yeah! It's the suite life of Zac and Cody brothers" and I'm like, huh?

But anyway, I went through season one at an alarming rate. And if I'm having a bad day, I go through Cole Sprouse fan pages on instagram, and I instantly feel better. So if you're looking for a new series to start, get on it. You won't regret it.

Friday, February 9, 2018

605 Racing Team

Last fall the running store I teach yoga at and run with announced a racing team! I was just getting back to running and really wanted to apply but I know myself enough to know that sometimes when I get really excited about running again, sometimes I get hurt. I really wanted to apply, but I was hesitant.

Shortly after the Ocean View half marathon, they again posted applications for positions! I actually applied while still on vacation in Massachusetts. Ha. V. excited. #understatement

I had an interview late in the fall, and got the inside details on the spring 605 Half Marathon. I don't know what was harder to keep a secret, the half or being on the team?!

We had our first event as a team the weekend after the F^3 Lake Half Marathon--Saturday group run followed by breakfast. Since I was on a recovery week, I did 5 miles with my friend Melissa (Toni was out of town, yes I was sad, yes my replacement running buddy showed up wearing the same thing as me--unplanned, but no we didn't take pics because I didn't want to make Toni feel worse for not being able to attend).

The doughnuts were legit. Even though I had told my buddy on the run that I was going to try to cut way back on sugar to see if my stomach would feel better. I immediately forgot that topic once confronted with a fruity pebbles doughnut, cream filled, natch.

I love that the race is filled with regular age group winners, middle of the packers, as well as those that bring up the sexy pace (what our women's running group refers to when we talk about slower paces). The group is so representative of all runners, and I love that. 

605 Running Co. stands out in being so incredibly inclusive to all runners, not just those that are breaking the tape at local races. I can't even express how much I appreciate that.

I can't wait to see what our racing tops look like for 2018! And to wear it for a PR or two.... ;)

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Race Report: Frostbite 4

I love late race starts. I love sleeping in, even though sleeping in meant 6:30am, followed by a turn off the alarm and reset for 7:30am. Still felt great. I got out of bed, tried to figure out what to wear, and even had time to use my neti pot to flush my overloaded sinuses. Too much of a visual picture there? Sorry. THERE WERE BOOGERS EVERYWHERE! Too graphic? sorry.

I picked up Toni at 9am and we headed south. We got to Beresford around 9:30am and it was then that I realized we had 90 minutes until the race started. Ha. Oops. We hung out inside the school, catching up with friends until about 10:15 and then we headed up to do a warm up. As soon as we stepped outside, the wind had picked up and it had started to sleet/snow. WHAT. IS. THIS. Luckily within a couple of minutes, it stopped. We did a two mile shake out with a few strides thrown in. We determined it was warmer than we thought it'd be, and were thrilled we opted for capris instead of running pants.

We had time to snag a picture with the SFWR crew and our favorite speedy elite runner Bensane.

Before too long it was time to board the buses to be bussed out to the race start. They have 3 race courses for this event and pick the one that is most with the wind. There wasn't much wind, but we were bussed out to the south.

One of my running friends said she thought she'd be around 8 pace, so I thought I'd keep her in my sights. Another running friend ran exactly the pace I wanted to last year, so I'd hoped to stick with her as well. The race started, and we were off!

I got out a little too hard, probably but wanted to get ahead of the clumps of people. I felt good, but was a little startled when I glanced at my watch and it said 7:41. Ooooooh, that's too fast. I didn't consciously slow down, but I must've or my watch finally caught up to me, because I settled around an 8:22 pace. Perfect.

Once I settled in, I realized that I was feeling good and I wanted to push the pace a little bit. I went by a few of my running friends, and luckily the gal I was hoping to follow based on last year, leap frogged back in front of me. I was really pleased when mile 1 clicked off on my watch.

Mile 1 8:11

Typically I slow way down in mile 2 of a faster race because I've gone out too hard, but I kept pushing. And I was pleasantly surprised when I was feeling pretty good still. We came up on the halfway, and I did some quick math to determine that I wanted to be at or under 16:30 to shoot for that sub 33 that had become my new goal time. And then in all the math calculations, I forgot to actually look at my race time when I hit mile 2. Lolz.

Mile 2 8:10

Who is this consistent runner? Because it's surely not me.

Ok, mile 3 will hurt. It always does. During the warm up miles, Toni and I were talking about the mile. Back when I was a miler I would always go out too hard on lap one, lap two I would suffer dearly because I went out too hard, lap three I would work to make up what I lost in lap two, but the split would be basically be the same as the second because my legs were fatigued AF and then lap four I would kick it in because I was a sprinter at heart, and it's easy for my brain to think about running super hard for just a shorter period of time. I tried to embrace the hurt, knowing it was going to be hard. I was running pretty solo at this point, but thought if I could pick up the pace in this mile, I could maybe put myself in a position to out kick some of the folks in the pack of runners in front of me.

Mile 3 8:06

I started getting really hot during the final mile. The sun came out in full force shortly after the race started. For a minute I contemplated shedding the shirt because I was so warm, but I knew I couldn't finanagle my bib off in time. I wanted to drop the pace to sub 8, I was tired and hot but that's all the more reason to get it over with fast, right? The two peeks I had was at 7:48 and 7:54 pace. Uff da.

I started to get really tired with about a half mile to go. That group that I had hoped to kick and catch up to? Well they also had a kick and pulled away even further. There was a small group of two mile run/walkers that I had caught up to, so I tried to focus on them. With about .35 to go I really tried to kick to finish strong.

Mile 4 8:03 pace (my watch read 3.98, so my last split was 7:51 for an 8:03 pace, others had 3.99 or 4.0 so maybe I just killed the tangents for once in my life!)

Official time: 32:20 for 8:05 pace.
Average HR 170, Max HR 180.

Race Result

87 / 245 (35.5%)
7 / 42 (16.7%)
30 / 143 (21%)

My A goal for this race was 8:19 pace. 8:19. That's almost 15 seconds slower than I ran. To say that I'm ecstatic with my performance is an understatement. After a really rough half, where I felt like death, it really made me question my fitness and my training, and all of the not so fun thoughts that go through your brain on a bad day. This race day proved that I've been working my butt off this past year, and that I've made significant progress, and that there's still speed in these ol' legs. In October I ran a 5k in 8:11 pace, and I ran a mile farther, faster at this race. If that doesn't show progress, I don't know what will (again, saying that 100% to my brain that sometimes has doubts :P).

Toni ran a really strong race, and had time to snag some stellar finishing pictures of me. What a BRF!

After the race, we got in a one mile cool down, that felt hard. I looked down at my watch, and expected it to be at a quarter mile and it was at .08. I thought for sure my Garmin was wrong. Nope. Just had felt like forever. Uff. After the run, we went to the after party at the Bridges for free chili and chicken noodle soup. This race is great! I would highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't done it!