Thursday, February 23, 2012

Heart Rate Training Progress

Oh hai there....  Remember me?  I think I used to blog over here.  Once upon a time anyway.  My life has been a bit hectic.  School has gotten super time consuming, and my mileage is creeping up ever so gently (or not gently at all, whichever perspective you want to take.  I'll take #2).  Anyway, tonight I had an easy 5 spot on the schedule and thought to myself, "self?  Why don't you do a heart rate test to see what sort of progress you've made?"  To which I replied, "self, you're a genius.  And might I add, you look dashing today?"  "You may."  And then I admitted myself to the psych ward for carrying on a conversation with myself.  Jk, I talk to myself frequently.

Last time (and only time) I did this HR test was December 15th.  I really didn't know what to expect.  The test was to do 1 mile trying to keep my average HR as close to 140 as possible, then take 90 seconds of rest, than another at 150, and so on until 180.  And then I'm done.  Or I perish.  One of the two.  Last time, luckily for me, I was just done.  My previous results:

Yeah that's right, I busted out spreadsheets for you guys.  (Or I just really love spreadsheets, whatev.)  What I noted about this test was that the first two miles were really REALLY tough.  No matter how slow I went, I couldn't get my HR down to where it was supposed to be, as you can tell by my average HR numbers.

Now tonight my plan was to start at the pace that I ran for the last HR test, and up the speed if necessary after my HR "settled."  I know that my HR is all over the place for the first 5-7 minutes that I run, ALWAYS, we're talking like crazy pants 170-180 sometimes on a 9:30-10 pace run.  It's so weird, and then levels out to 140s-150s without batting an eyelash, you know... if my heart had eyelashes.  Eew, that'd be gross.

Anyway, my results for tonight:

First thing I noticed was how much easier those first two miles were.  And how much more of a "normal" pace they were.  I've had a lot of runs lately that have been in the 140s, and am really starting to dig my legit recovery runs, because ZOMG YOU FEEL LIKE YOU COULD RUN FOREVER.  Ahem, I'm guessing that's the point of that pace.  Derpy derpy derp.  Anyway, beyond those first two miles, I didn't expect too much of a difference because I haven't really been doing any training outside of the 140-155 range, except for the occasional tempo run, or MP miles in a LR.  But I was shocked at how much faster those miles were too.  

And another small spreadsheet for comparison sake in team green glory:

Since I'm a very competitive person (primarily with myself) it really helps to motivate me to keep training to see progress like this.  I like to see proof that what I'm doing is working and making me a better runner.  And since Pfitz really just calls for a lot of general aerobic endurance based running for the first loooooooooooong weeks of the training program, it's hard to convince my feeble mind that I'm getting better.  And don't even get me started on how far off in the future my next race is.  Because I'm not even sure... April?  I might die before then.  Here lies Jerbear.  Someone should've signed her up for a g.d. race already.  Damn that Pfitz character.  And then there'll be an LOL Cat epitaph for me, except it'll be a pug, and it'll say, Meester Pfitzzzz why no racez til 3rd mezocycle?!!? You KEELED HER!

Omg, I'm literally giggling outloud, that was so not funny, but is really funny because I'm really tired, and I feel like it's been a long time since I've written something that could have a sliver of funny to it.  So please enjoy.  And I will enjoy not having to site this blog post with APA citations.  Deal?  Deal.

On to fun things.  Although to be honest, I really think the above data are fun because I'm a dork, this past weekend KK and I headed to Minneapolis for a weekend getaway.  I had a cutback week from running and he had the weekend off from work (rare) without a fishing trip on the schedule (even rarer).  To let you know how rare it is for us to both NOT be busy on a weekend, we've been together for almost 14 months and this is the first time we've gone away on the weekend.  Go us.  We'll stay in this honeymoon stage forever since we see each other 16 seconds a day.

We went up with no real plan, and it was great.  En route to the cities, I played super awesome navigational assistance, aka find all the random things in my car and document them with photos.  Such as:  a peacock feather

and a tiara.

Princess Jerbear.  Duh.

We stayed at one of the nicest hotels I've ever stayed at.  I tend to be that girl that convinces everyone we should stay at the 17 cent/night motel where you run the risk of getting shanked in your sleep, to save money.  Ask my friends when I was in charge of hotel accommodations in Lincoln.  I still think we're lucky to have made it out of there alive.  Back on track, I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a place to stay downtown.  Spendy for my cheapskate self, but fairly cheap as far as downtown options go.  Parking was horrendous, however.  $30/day?  Eat my shorts.  We parked about a half mile away and walked (and still ended up at $12-15/day, uff!).

We ate a lot of great food, and did some monster shopping, and just enjoyed each other's company (for the most part).  Interesting fun fact:  Kyle is NOT Magellan.  Sweet Louisiana, is that kid directionally challenged.  I don't mean to go all gender role controversy here, but it's fairly typical for men to be great with directions and women to not be as great.  Whether that be because it's taught to them or if their brains work differently in that regard, whatever, debate as you wish, I may believe a bit of both.  Anyway, I happen to pride myself on being pretty g.d. good with directions.  As long as I'm not driving.  Oh my goodness, if you want to see Jerbear have a panic attack have her drive somewhere that she's not familiar with while trying to utilize a map.  One thing at a time PLEASE.  Let's just say that a few navigational fights were had throughout the weekend.  Except for the time that we walked out of a bagel shop no more than 5 minutes after walking in it, Kyle started walking in the direction we just came from.  Then I just laughed hysterically because I mean.. come on!  Poor kid.  Someone put him back on a tractor.  Sheesh!  (jk, he's not a farm kid.  i just like to pretend like I'm some big city girl compared to him... except I grew up in the tiniest farm town in SoDak.  Jokes on me I guess!)

We hit up some great outlet malls to the north of the cities, and luckily for us, things were even MORE on sale because of President's Day weekend.  Oh man.  There was a line of about 40 people waiting outside of Coach and I decided I didn't need to go in.  But then Kyle said he'd wait with me... so I did.  And ooops, this sparkly thing just had to come home with me.  72% off?!  Why don't you just pay me to have it?!  No seriously.  You can pay me.  Coach.  My contact info is on the side.

And I may have done some damage at the Nike outlet.  Oops.  Including my possible Brookings Marathon sub 4 outfit.

How adorable is this jacket?!?!

Also, please don't mind the toothpaste spatter on the mirror.  I don't even want to tell you how far down the list of importance cleaning that thing has fallen (hint:  much farther than blogging which seems to happen once a week now).

So I think that's all the recap I have.  I have a big 18 this weekend, and we just got 6-7" of snow, so we'll see how quickly that melts away, I'd really prefer not to spend that long on the treadmill this weekend.  Barf.

Oh and before I forgot, Kyle drug me to Cabela's this weekend.  To be fair, he did have to wait 20 minutes to get in Coach, and THEN had to put up with me looking around with 50 other crazed shoppers, so YEAH I can look at some dead animal mounts and fishing lures for awhile I SUPPOSE.  Anyway, on the way out, I saw this on the wall, and wanted to see if they needed a librarian!

Again guys... my jokes are getting more and more AWESOME.... be concerned.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Puggy Turks says Happy Valentine's Day! 
::snort snort::

I did not get a Valentine's Day pug.  Sniffle.  I didn't expect one, but that doesn't mean I would've turned one down.  The black pug I wanted to go visit at a shelter in the cities this weekend, got adopted this past weekend, according to the rescue's facebook page.  Secretly, I hoped that Kyle had got her for me.  What?  A girl can dream, right?

My running streak ended with today.  Seven days in a row.  I don't know how people do running streaks. Granted, I understand that a lot of people do one milers to count towards the streak but essentially as a rest day, but still.  Might be fun to try someday.  100 consecutive days?  Sounds awesome.  Sounds like something I won't be doing any time soon.  I heart rest days.

Also, I heart all of you!  I hope you have the greatest of great Valentine's days whether you're spending it with your boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, booty call, kitty/pug snuggle bunny, bestie!

And just for fun, let's share some best and worst Valentine's Day memories!  In high school, it was customary to put balloons in lockers of the person you liked/were dating, whatever.  My high school boyfriend was a super nice guy.  I think one Valentine's Day I had enough helium balloons at the end of the day to carry my 100 pound scrawny frame to my house a few blocks away.  Wheeeeeee!

Last year, being the romantic gal that I am, I gave Kyle the Ninja Star Death Flu.  Needless to say, I spent Valentine's Day all by my lonesome, and he spent it with the bathroom.  Sorry KP!

Now your turn!

Monday, February 13, 2012

An Unintentional Running Streak

Well after my running meltdown, I vowed to follow my carefully constructed training program, as I thought/knew that was part of my impending burn out issue.  "You have to stop taking an unplanned rest day on Mondays you ding dong!  You're ruining everything!!!!" my inner dramatic exclaimed.  And for one week, it worked.  And last week.... not so much.

I woke up at 8, intending to get my 10 miler in before work at 11.  I then convinced myself I'd much rather run it after work, at 8.  And then it was cold.  And I got lazy.  BAD JERBEAR.  Somehow I still managed to get things together for the week.  I did lose a measly 2 miles of my weekly total, but overall I'm pretty happy with my ability to absorb ten miles in to an already packed weekly schedule.

Somehow, this schedule "flexibility" created an unintentional running streak.  While finishing up my long run Saturday I started counting how many consecutive days I had run, and when my next rest day was.  Uff!

Now this type of schedule for Broken Running Barbie sounds idiotic, and it is, but I'm actually pretty darn happy with my ability to play this week of training smart, even if I did run 6 days in a row (and still going, oy!).

Tuesday I had 5 miles on deck.  My legs were super rested since they had Monday off and a slow poke recovery run on Sunday.  They felt like FLYYYYING.  However, I knew I had a 9 miler w/tempo miles 10 hours later.  Forgive me for not remembering the running book I read this in, but it essentially stated that the key to really upping your mileage without your legs falling off (I may be paraphrasing here) is to be super conscious of your heart rate.  This is how elite runners who are rocking 80-100 mile weeks don't die.  (again paraphrasing).  This was the book that discussed the hard-easy principle in great length, I'm sorry I can't think of the title, but feel free to mention it in the comments and I'll edit it. Anyway, each hard day should be sandwiched by easy days.  And on and off for the rest of the schedule.

So yeah, 5 miles with an average HR of 145 and pace of 9:39.  Because my legs and heart were so recovered, this is actually a pretty fast pace for that kind of HR.  Exciting stuff.

10 short hours later I knocked out 9 miles with 5 at tempo pace.  Tempo runs I've been doing by starting at the low end of my tempo pace and finishing at the high end of it.  I did 9 miles in 8:53 pace and my tempo miles were 8:27, 8:20, 8:14, 8:09, 7:59 avg pace 8:13.

The next day I had a quick recovery run with Kyle in between class and work.  I kept having to remind him this was my recovery run, because we were cruising on mile one.  Uff da.

Friday (based on the hard-easy principle) should've been a hard day, but I had my long run the next day, so I took it slow, again.  6 miles at 9:46 pace.

And then the big kahuna Saturday:  16 miles with 10 at marathon pace.  I survived.  On a treadmill.  I drank 1 1/2 waterbottles (the size that fit on your bike) of water, and one of nuun.  I sweated through my shirt and shorts.  P.S.  There's a science as to what to wear to the gym for long runs.  I'll share it if you ask real nicely.  Unless you're one of those people that can run for hours and not break a sweat.  In that case, I hate you.  I watched a marathon on the Food Network of people that can't cook.  It was entertaining.  I got tiiiiiired the last couple of miles.  It's been awhile since 2 miles has felt like forever.

I did 16 miles with an average pace of 9:12.  The first 6 miles were easy then I did 4 at 9:05, 3 at 8:57, and the last 3 were 8:39-8:53.  However, I think the 8:39 was a fluke/user error.  I had to refill my water bottle and I must not have restarted my garmin right away.  I think the fastest I had the treadmill at was 8:50.

And then another slooooooooow 4 miles of recovery yesterday.

And that, my friends, is how I bump up my mileage without a leg falling off (knocking on wood heavily here).  I've also been besties with my foam roller.

To reward myself for the week, I got to see Channing Tatum, shirtless, a decent amount of times in The Vow last night.   Mmmm, thanks Chan!

And here's a fun/dorky picture of myself modeling my favorite shirt that says: Pugs Not Drugs.  Also, I look like I need a nap!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Quick Life Catch Up + Effortless Long Run

Well after my meltdown from last week, I appear to be back on track.  Luckily the Super Bowl didn't interfere with any running or studying plans because football has been over for about 3 weeks now.  Bring on the pre-season.  I hit 40 miles last week for the first time since the end of October, and I feel pretty good.

Saturday I had the most effortless long run of 15 miles.  FYI Runs over 10 miles are never "effortless" in my book, but this one was.  I swear, I'd only been running for a couple of minutes when I hit mile 5, and only a couple of minutes later I was at the halfway point.  I was also super shocked at the pace I was hitting for a controlled HR run.  I averaged a pace of 9:21 for the run, which isn't too far off from sub 4 pace.  And all but mile 15 were comfortably in my long run HR range.... yippee!  Mile 15 I just wanted to be home washing the salt off my face.

Since I took such a blog hiatus, there are some random things I didn't have a chance to share with you.

A week or so ago, I did a quick little run in between work and class, thus I was still wearing my heart rate monitor during class.  At one point, I looked down at my watch and saw the lowest resting heart rate I've ever seen for myself:  45.  Am I alive?!?!?!  When I was checking my heart rate regularly last spring, my rhr averaged around 55, and only once dipped under 50.  Jeepers.

We have had the most amazing weather ever.  Yes, there have been a couple of icy days, and way too windy to run outside without getting major windburn, but I've only wore my "winter" running coat twice. It's insane.  Me and my light wind breaker are doing some work out there.  And half the time I end up taking off my windbreaker and tying it around my waist.  Can I please have a 30-40 degree marathon day?  kthxbai.

I took none of your advice on the hairz suggestions, and ended up going dark.  This picture doesn't really do it justice but it's a couple of colors or rich dark chocolatey brown with a couple of caramely gold highlights (anyone else hungry after that description, geez louise!)  Here I am with my "birthday margarita" that looks like a root beer float.  I realized that Kyle had never taken me out for my birthday dinner, so best believe I got another night of mexican out of him. :)

And in random photos, on my impromptu tempo run last week, I looked down and saw blood flowing down my calve.  Cute.  When I got home I saw two gashes on my calve, and blood on the side of my other shoe.  That's probably a bad sign for your form if you're kicking your calves to the point of bleeding, no?

Kyle had his work Christmas party (yes in January) and I attempted to look cute.  I really tried to channel my inner Zooey with the high waisted dress (that you can't see) and tights.  Didn't hurt that my coat and clutch were flawless together.  [awesome lighting courtesy of my apartment hallway, blurry photo courtesy of Kyle's inability to use his iPhone camera.]

I came home from work to find this beautiful necklace from Jenn, with the sweetest card ever.
This is my ZOMG IT'S SO PRETTY smile.

Turks was missing.  Then he was found.  I hope this isn't any indication of what kind of pug mom I'll be.  Psssst.... Turks may be getting a brother or sister soon-ish (of the pug variety, not the human child variety, obvs).

And I got a marriage proposal via latte foam.  At least that's what I'm assuming it was.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Clarification + Obsession

So a lot of people have been confused after I posted my last blog.  To clarify:  I did not get a new job.  The new job celebration beers were for a co-worker.  Apparently I need to re-visit 5th grade english to figure out how to word that properly to stifle the confusion.  My bad guys.

And now more importantly:

I'm obsessed.  Real bad.  I started watching season 1 last weekend.  Last night I rushed home from work, through on my pjs, and plopped down with the goal to dominate the rest of season one (like 7-8 episodes).  Winner winner chicken dinner.

Bets on if my long run will be pushed back until season 2 has been finished?  It's currently 9:30 and I'm on episode 3 of 12.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Blogging Absence Explained + January in Review

Alright, runner confession time:  I had a MAJOR breakdown last week.  There have been several occasions over the past few weeks that I've asked Kyle if it'd be cool if I quit running (not sure why I'm asking him since he has zero say in my decision making, but whatevs) and he'd always reply that I was just having a bad day, and that I'd HATE myself if I stopped running.  Meaning, "omgj I wouldn't be able to stand you if you stopped running".

It all came to a head on Thursday night when I went out for a run.  I ran for about 2-3 minutes before I got a shooting pain in the back of my knee.  I turned around and headed for home.  Frustrated beyond belief.  I know I'm a runner who's prone to injury.  I try to train so so so smart.  I have been spending so much time on my foam roller, I'm sure Kyle is getting jealous.  I'm icing and stretching, and I was frustrated, to say the least.

I decided I didn't want to run on Friday.  Friday night after a couple of "congrats on your new job!" beers with some co-workers, I decided I was fed up.  I sent a couple of "woe is me" emails to Jenn and Jason (uhh thanks again for listening to me whiiiiiiiiine) about my new plan.

Screw the marathon.

To say that I was overwhelmed, is an understatement.

I felt burnt out from marathon training... already.

I felt like there weren't enough hours in the day to work, be a star student, and train for a marathon.

I was scared that I was going to put in this much time and effort and could still possibly fail or get hurt and not make my goal.

After ranting and raving via multiple email exchanges, I decided I would give myself a couple of weeks to make a decision, and I would take as many rest days as I needed to get my mojo back.  Once I reviewed my training program, I realized I was on week 6 of consecutive mileage increases.  I was only in week 3 of marathon training, but I had forgot I was building up my mileage leading up to training.  Mama needs a cutback week!

I also realized that with my work and school schedule being as packed as they are, I need to stop trying to switch around my running schedule.  I'd been sleeping in Monday mornings instead of doing my runs, forcing me to try to "fit in" 6-10 miles elsewhere in my schedule.  Attention Jeri:  you created this schedule with every little factor in mind, please abide by it.

When I get overwhelmed, I shut down.  And I realize now, after taking some time to reflect on it, that's what I did.  I couldn't shut down on school or work or Kyle (ok, I probably tried with Kyle, and then he pretended to be a pug, and I laughed and snapped out of it, we're weird like that), but I could shut down running.

Monday I was sorta coming out of my funk when we had the most beautiful day ever.  I had planned to take it off, and likely Tuesday as well, but I thought... why not?  And magically my sparkle running pants are back.

I adjusted my schedule slightly so my mileage this week isn't too much, and I should be back on track.  Just a minor derailment.  This week has been great.  Seven miles Monday, 3.5 in between work and class on Tuesday, 7 Wednesday night, and a crazy speedy 3.5 tonight in between work and class.  I no longer feel overwhelmed and I'm glad I got this "freak out" out of the way early on in training.  I have a long way to go, but I plan to do whatever is necessary to make sure I'm prepared (and that I don't lose my sanity in the process).

It always helps to remind myself that I don't have to run, I get to.

January in Review

Total Miles:  121.9 up from 61 last month (79.2 in January 2011. First time ever cracking 100 in January.  One month down, 11 to go!).
Total Time: 19:34:50 up from 9:46:53.  Just ten hours, no biggie.
Total Runs: 19
Highest weekly mileage: 1/16-1/22 36.1 Mi 5:48:44
I was supposed to hit 40 last week, but I was busy having a temper tantrum and all...

Favorite run: Ugh any of the runs I did in shorts.  Seriously.  Most freakish winter ever.  And I'm not complaining.
Most hardcore run: I think my half marathon on the treadmill with MP miles is up there.  Oh... I didn't blog about that eh?  Well.... I ran 13.1 miles, 5 easy, 8 at MP (roughly) and almost went sub 2.  Nbd (casually brushes dirt off her shoulders).  ;)
Favorite race:  zero.
Bike Miles: 0
Favorite Jams: I enjoyed listening to audiobooks for a few runs.  Other than that my iPod keeps dying and I forget to charge it, so I've had a lot of solo runs.  Which means that I sing a song, in my head, on repeat, for the WHOLE run.  But it's not even the whole song, it's just a few lines... over... and over... and over... for 68 minutes.  GAH!