Friday, August 18, 2017

Counting Down Life

I have always been someone who looks ahead to the NEXT BIG THING. The next race, the next vacation, the next time I get to hang with _____, etc, etc. It's not uncommon for me to have had a daily countdown for marathon race day, or a big vacation I'm excited for. And I know I'm not the only one, it's exciting to look ahead to the future.

Last year when my mom was sick, we knew she had limited time. Most pancreatic cancer patients have 3.3 months from diagnosis to the time they pass. And it completely flipped my perspective. The instant my brain would start looking forward to "X" in the future, I would get really upset thinking that there was a strong chance that my mom might not make it to that period. I would be almost inconsolable.

Going back to yoga teacher training, one of the most profound pieces of information shared with me is:
If you're depressed, you're living in the past. And if you're anxious you're living in the future, and the only way to truly be at peace is by living in this exact moment.

Anytime I started to panic about that point in the future that my mom wouldn't be there, I would mindfully reel myself in telling myself that she was here, right now, in this moment, and I would call her. We had a LOT of conversations about what we were making for dinner in the last six months of her life. We had pretty much run out of things to talk about we were talking so much, but it really helped keep me in the present moment and out of the panic of anxiety.

Since my mom passed, it's been incredibly hard. And now my brain is conditioned to picking up the phone and calling her when I'm upset, and I can't do that anymore, but I so appreciate the experience that has taught me to live in this day in this moment, not spending my days counting down to the next big thing, but truly making the best of the current moment.

I also somewhat recently realized that all of that counting down I was doing, is almost wishing each day gone until that next big thing, wishing away life in the every day mundane. Life is too precious for that. I'm not sure where I was going with all of this, other than I felt I needed to write it down, and it's something I think about daily. I think we'd all be a little happier if we spent more time in the here and now.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Picking Up the Pace

I've been doing heart rate training on and off, mostly on since around 2012. My running hasn't been the strongest over the past 5 years, but I have been running with the most consistency I have in years over the last two years, and I've been doing heart rate training the whole time.

For anyone who starts doing heart rate training, you know that you have to slow waaaaaay down when you start it. And when you're not really in great shape to start, you have to slow down even more to keep your heart rate in the correct zone. Typically for me I slow down like crazy over the summer months because it's really hard to keep your heart rate where you want it when it's incredibly hot and humid out.

A couple of weeks ago, I was logging a run in my log and noticed how low my heart rate was. So I started to look back over the past few weeks of runs, and was a little shocked to notice that my heart rate was significantly lower than it should be for the types of runs I was doing. Typically my general aerobic pace is around 10:35-10:50, and recovery range is 11:00 pace, we haven't delved into speed work yet this session.

So our runs have been in the 10:30-10:45 pace per usual, but my heart rate data has been reflecting recovery rates. Wait. What?? I looked over the majority of the summer's data, and that has been the trend for a couple of months. I was shocked! I knew I had gained fitness this spring training for the Brookings half, but assumed that those paces would just stay the same with that improved fitness and the onset of all the heat and humidity, but they've leveled off even more!

It's been a long time since I've seen such a clear cut sign of my fitness improving, and I'm beyond excited. I texted Toni and let her know that I thought we might have to pick up the pace a little bit on our runs, but that I was nervous, as I tend to break when I speed up. So we'll be mindful of it, and I'll continue on the full on recovery train after runs with epsom baths, and foam rolling/sticking, massages, yoga, etc.

I can't wait to see what this translates to in the fall when it's actually COLD OUTSIDE!!! Omgggggggg!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Twin Cities 10 Training Week 5

Week of August 7-13

Monday Planned: General Aerobic 7 miles with 10x100m strides
Monday Actual: Because, my long run got pushed to Sunday, we flip-flopped our workouts for Monday and Tuesday. I didn't quite have enough time to get in the General Aerobic 5 miles, plus I didn't hit 36 miles in the previous week as planned due to my IT band, so I opted to shave a mile here and there from my plan so I didn't break.

Toni and I got in a beautifully sweaty 4 miles before I taught a 60 minute yoga class.

Tuesday Planned
General Aerobic 5 miles
Tuesday Actual: Toni and I met before the group run to do 4 miles with 10x100 strides. We joined Sarah back at the studio for another 3 to knock out 7 for the day! Followed by a 30 minute yoga class.

Wednesday PlannedGeneral Aerobic 4 milesWednesday Actual: Again we cut out one mile of the plan. It was a beautiful night for a run. I tried to take it easy, knowing we had a tough workout on Thursday but we get so carried away running and talking that it's hard!

Thursday Planned
Lactate Threshold 8 miles with 16 minutes, 12 minutes, and 8 minutes at LT with 4 minute jogs in between Thursday ActualLactate Threshold 8 miles with 16 minutes, 12 minutes, and 8 minutes at LT with 4 minute jogs in between! Wahoo! We started with a one mile warm up, followed by the workout and two miles cool down. It was hard but doable.

Friday Planned: Sanford POWER
Friday Actual
Sanford POWER. I was shocked at how great my body felt the day after a lot of miles, and the lift felt great. I even hit 170 on deadlifts. Woop!

Saturday PlannedRecovery 4 miles
Saturday Actual
Recovery 4 miles, gloriously slow and chill miles. We have a long run with workout tomorrow, so we took it suuuuuuper easy. 

Sunday Planned: Endurance 11 miles, including 605 race series 8 mile
Sunday ActualEndurance 11 miles, including 605 race series 8 mile. Picked up the pace during miles 7-11, finishing at lactate threshold pace. Race report to come!

Total Mileage Planned: 39 miles

Total Mileage Actual:  37.1 miles

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Weekly Reads: The Unlikelies

The Unlikelies is a teen book that came out earlier this summer that I kept hearing/reading about in all sorts of book publications. I loved the cover, so I put it on hold. I expected it to be a lighter, fluffier read based on the delicious looking covers, but guess what, WE'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO JUDGE BOOKS BY THEIR COVERS, REMEMBER?! So this one was not a light and fluffy read, but it was still one I flew through and could not put down. Definitely check it out.

My rating: 4 stars.

Summary from Goodreads:

One good deed will change everything.

Sadie is not excited for the summer before her senior year. It will be her first without her college-bound best friend and (now ex-)boyfriend by her side, so Sadie braces herself for a long, lonely, and boring season working at a farm stand in the Hamptons. But things take an unexpected turn when Sadie steps in to help rescue a baby in peril and footage of her impromptu good deed goes viral.

As she’s recovering from “the incident” and adjusting to her Internet fame, Sadie receives an invitation to a lunch honoring teem homegrown heroes. The five honorees instantly connect and soon decide to spend their time together righting local wrongs. Sadie and her new friends embark on escalating acts of vigilante Good Samaritanism, but might be in over her heads when they try to help a heroin-addicted friend. Are good intentions enough to hold unlikely friendships—and an even unlikelier new romance—together?

Monday, August 14, 2017

605 Series 8 Mile Race Report

This past Sunday was the second race in the 605 Series. We had 11 on the schedule, so we signed up to do it as part of our long run. We got there super early, about an hour before the race which was great because I needed to use the restroom and Toni had an issue with not having a bib or packet at packet pick up. Before too long we were off on our "warm up" aka 3 miles. And I felt like crap. My stomach felt terrible, my legs felt super duper heavy, and my breathing felt super labored. Oh boy, this is going to be fun.

About a mile in I realized I needed to use the bathroom again, so we made a stop at the halfway point. Side note: I really need to stop eating pizza before long run/races. I love it so so much, but my stomach really hates the gluten. It's too bad, really. After that bathroom stop I felt much better, and my legs warmed up and didn't feel like lead anymore. We finished up our 3 miles and then met up with the group running the 8 miler.

We found out we were doing two double loops, which is different from last year, and really not my preference. I much prefer an out and back or even a double loop/butterfly sort of situation, but oh well. I took a GU shortly before we started. Right before we started,  my stomach started to get race day nervous which is silly because we weren't racing. And it knows that. Chill out stomach. We passed right by a bathroom early on but I chose to keep going thinking my stomach would settle down. We were going way too fast off the bat, so we had to focus to keep at our 10:30 long run pace.

Eventually we settled in and had a nice little pack of runners right with us, all getting their long runs in as well. YAY! Team work makes the dream work.

1. 10:22
2. 10:25

During the race, I told Toni that the plan was 3 miles at long run pace, 2 miles around 10 pace, and then we'd cut down the last 3 miles--9:40s, 9:20s, 9s. Now that I'm looking back at my race plan, apparently we were supposed to go more aggressively than that. Oops. Fail on my part.

I debated stopping to use a bathroom in this stretch but felt like I could keep going, and the bathroom was quite a ways off of the trail. We ran up on one of my co-worker's daughter and chatted with her for a couple of miles as well.

3. 10:20

Once it was time to pick up the pace a bit, I kind of felt like a jerk, because we started passing people who had passed us to start. Normally I get a burst of energy passing people in races, but since I knew a bunch of people were doing this as a long run, and I knew most of them, I felt way less competitive about it, and more of a jerk. Ha. During mile 4, I finally snagged a bathroom stop, and was quickly in and out while Toni refilled our water bottles. She's the best. I took another GU around the 4 mile mark (7 miles overall).

4. 10:04
5. 9:50

I could hardly believe it when we were down to our last 3 miles. They had gone SO FAST. But honestly any time I run with Toni the miles fly by, but there were so many more people and everyone was cheering and high fiving as we went along. It was awesome. We were picking up the pace, but it didn't feel as hard as I thought it would, which was a good sign!

6. 9:38
7. 9:17

Based on our tempo run earlier this week, where we ran 16, 12, and 8 minute stretches at tempo pace, and it was HARD, I was really worried about running the last 3 down to tempo pace. 27 minutes of tempo seems way harder than three shorter sets with a jogging break in between, ALSO doing it at the end of an 11 miler seems EXTRA HARD. But we kept chatting and talking through it like it was NBD.

The final mile I wanted to get as close to 9 or under as possible, while not all out sprint/racing it. A gal that had been right on our heels for a few miles prior to the finish flew by us during the final mile, and I really really really wanted to chase her, so I had to remind myself over and over that this wasn't a race. Dang competitive brain in there. We kept to our plan of comfortably hard and then really strides out the final little turn/stretch. I told Toni to go ahead and that I'd chase her.

8. 8:50

I finished in 1:19:22 for a pace of 9:55.

It was a great run, and I would highly recommend the 605 Series to any runner that wants to race or do a supported long run for their summer training!

Friday, August 11, 2017

605 Series 8 Mile Race Goals

I was hesitant to sign up for the 605 Race Series, because I knew I wouldn't race any of the distances other than the 4 mile. Toni convinced me that we'd do the 8 mile and 12 mile as our training runs together, and our finishing time would be NBD. Thank goodness for Toni, right?

Sunday's 8 mile will be a part of our 11 mile long run for the day. According to the Pfitz plan we're following, we're supposed to increase our long run pace, finishing the last 3 miles near Lactate Threshold pace. Uff da! Our LT pace lately has been between 9-9:20. Our long run pace has been creepily 10:39 almost every week no matter the distance or temperature/humidity or if I'm running with Toni or solo. So weird.

Our plan:

To run 3 miles at our regular pace before the race, with minimal time between those miles and the gun start. I think we'll continue another 2-3 miles at our regular long run pace, with another 2 around 9:30-10 pace, and the final three around, or slightly above 9 minute pace.

Last year I ran the race in 1:16:03, a pace of 9:49. Apparently my race plan was similar last year (I had to look up my race report to be sure): race plan 2 @10:30, 2 @ 10, 2 @ 9:30 2 @ 9-9:15.

I would love for my time/pace to be faster than last year's especially as it's at the end of an 11 miler, but we'll see! Since it's more of a workout vs. a race like last year's was, I'm just excited to get out and run with a bunch of 605 runner friends!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Recovery + Injury Prevention

My running has been going really well for the past year and a half, and I have a ton of things to attribute my health to. I've really been focusing on recovery. I've started tracking my recovery in my training log, as a reminder of how important of a component it is to my training.

My favorite recovery practices are:

  • Epsom baths: At least 2 times a week, I am taking an epsom bath for 20-30 minutes. Sometimes this is after a run, sometimes it's a true rest day, or other times it's when work has been crazy and I need just some quiet moments to chill. I'm obsessed with the Dr Teals Lavender Epsom Salt . Lately I've been adding the Dr. Teal's Lavender Bubble Bath which takes it to an awesome level. I do need to drink a ton of water after doing it, as epsom bath's can be dehydrating.
  • Hydration: Speaking of drinking all of the water, I've really been upping my water intake this summer. When it's hot out, I sweat like crazy, so I know I need to drink a ton of water to replace everything I've lost. It's been helping to flush out some of the soreness in my legs.
  • Compression socks: I've been a firm believer in compression socks for years, so I've been wearing them a lot in the evenings and after runs. I've even contemplated wearing them to work with knee-length dresses, but I think I might get weird looks. Kyle just loves when we go out to lunch and I refuse to take them off. 
  • Massages: I started doing monthly massages this past spring, and I think it's really helping! I look forward to massage day so much! I would really like to do 2 massages a month but that's just not in the cards money wise. It's moments like this that I wish I was a sponsored runner. :P

In addition to recovery work, I've been focusing on injury prevention as well!

Injury prevention practices:

  • Glute activation drills: I'm doing these before EVERY run. Whether it's a see-saw lift, or clam shells, or a standing banded leg lift, I'm doing *something* to get my booty woke up and ready to run. And it's truly making all the difference. Sometimes when my legs feel super heavy on a run, I will stop and do some quick leg lifts to invite the booty to the party. I got a pair of resistance bands for Christmas that were just okay, but I recently ordered this set, which is what we use at POWER and they're amazing.
  • Sanford POWER: This is one of the #1 things that has kept me injury free, and I know I've bragged about it a million times, but I'm going to keep doing it. I LOVE POWER. It's functional strength-training specifically for runners. My runs after POWER are always rockin' because my form is so spot on after a 60 minute session. 
  • Foam rolling/stick: This is probably my least favorite practice. I know I need it, but I don't love it. And my runs the day after doing it usually feel junky, but I still do it. 
  • Core work: Somewhere during the time of doing all the yoga during teacher training, I stopped doing core work. I thought I was getting plenty during yoga, right? Wrong. But now I'm getting back to it. I know that my posture is the first thing to go when I'm tired on a long long run or a race, so I'm hoping that more core work will lead to better form when races and runs get really tough and tiring. Not quite Operation: Alba Abs of days past, but I also wouldn't mind being able to shed the shirt on some really toasty runs without fear of being judged.

**I've included a couple of affiliate links to Amazon for specific products that I have been buying, using, and loving. If you purchase from the links, I get a few pennies back!