Monday, March 26, 2012

Half the Distance, Twice the Fun

It is no secret that I've struggled with my motivation, sanity, and burn out for 26.2 the last few months.  Somewhere along the way I became the queen bee bipolar runner--10 days of glorious unicorns and glitter running, followed by 5-7 days of not wanting to run. Ever. Again.

I tried every trick in the book.  Giving myself some time off.  Focusing on how great the weather was.  Taking pride in breaking highest mileage weeks.  Emailing my favorite running gals for motivation and mutual bragging.

Last Saturday after some St. Patrick's Day celebrating, I decided:  I don't want to run a marathon this spring.  At all.

I have a list of reasons about 6 blog posts long, but I won't bore you with those.  I know it's the right decision.  I've been training for a marathon almost non-stop for the last 2+ years, if that's not a recipe for burn out, I'm not sure what is.

Last Sunday morning I woke up and still wanted to bag it, so I emailed the race director and the switcheroo was made!  When I got my confirmation email back from him, I felt a huge wave of relief.  Ok then, I guess that was the right call.

I spent a good chunk of Saturday night scouring the web for some tough half training programs, and I think I came up with something challenging but not too ZOMG scary, with enough flexibility to fit the rest of my crazy school schedule this semester.  AND since I won't be crippled for 4-6 weeks post-marathon per usual, I can actually race before it gets a trillion degrees out.  Oh how I've missed that!

So marathon #5:  TBD.  Half marathon #14:  Brookings here I come!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

When I Fall, I Fall Hard

That title isn't some woe is me, emo love struck reference.  I'm currently typing with a wounded paw, elbow, hip, and knee.  Owie.

I never claimed to be graceful.  I'm quite clumsy, to be honest.  But this is something I know about myself, therefore I usually go out of my way to make sure I don't accidentally cause myself bodily harm.  Take running at night, for instance.  I stay away from the bike trails at night, because, hello, nowhere in my training plan does it call for a tempo run interrupted by a raping and dumping of my body in the middle of the Big Sioux River.  And if it does.... I'm firing whoever creates my training programs!  (Jokes, because I create my own, hey-o).

I have a few various mileage loops in a very safe neighborhood of town.  The only drawback is it is a fairly new part of town, and there are very few streetlights.  I've combatted this issue by running in the road.  Not only is this area of town safe, but there are very few cars.  And when there are vehicles, they're usually driving down the middle of the road because there aren't any others.  They're usually really good about moving way over to give me space.  Like I'm going to dart out at their vehicles while they're passing me or something.

Anyway, in the midst of my tempo miles tonight I was running along on the road, and hopped up on the sidewalk for the remainder of the block before I made a turn to the north.  Not really relevant to tell you which direction I was going to be heading, I just like to show off that I'm not directionally challenged.  Before I know it I'm somersaulting through the air and land in the grass (??) on my left hip and knee and casually hit my garmin "pause" button and say, "ouuuuuuuuuch" while looking around to see if anyone was witness to that delightful tumble through the air.  I assess the situation, minor blood, no real pain, and get back to that 8 minute pace I was knocking out.

But tumbles like that always scare the crap out of me.  Good reminder that I need to wear my Road ID all the time (I'm religious about it when I'm cycling, but running...not so much).  Or else need to resort to wearing my bike helmet for protection.  ;)

At least I got a good run out of it.... 8 miles; 2 mile warm up, 3 miles tempo 8:11, 7:58, 7:57, .5 mile recovery, 4x800 (200 jog recovery) 7:36, 7:45 paces, and a cool down as it started to rain.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Relationships: Give and Take

A few weeks ago I was nice enough to tag along with Kyle to a sportman's show. I made a big deal about going, but really it wasn't bad at all. However, I'm now able to cash in on this deed as I need a date to go to the Hunger Games this weekend. Muhahahaha.

I've already been given the "hell no" answer when I asked if he was dressing up as Peeta or Gale. 

Rest assured I'll be rockin' a Katniss braid....

Friday, March 16, 2012

Spring Break South Dakota Style

I've been on a glorious spring break for the last 1 week, and 1 day (and like several odd minutes, but who's counting?!?!).  Want to know how this wild and crazy girl lets loose for the occasion?

Last weekend I spent countless hours tucked in to my favorite cozy chair with my laptop on my chair arm (only b/c I think the fan is going out on my precious MacBook, so the little bugger gets HOT real fast when actually placed on the lap) watching Revenge.  I'd gotten sick of a ton of you crazy fools OMG'ing about the show every Wednesday night on twitter, and I realized that all the episodes were on Hulu.  Welp, ok, I'm now OMG'ing as well.  Congrats.  Ok, I didn't watch all 16 episodes over the weekend, but it was pretty darn close.

In the middle of a Revenge break, I figured I should probably attempt to attack my long run.  Naturally I'd waited until the middle of the afternoon, when it was 75 degrees out and 30 mph winds.  Oh, and I'd been eating Reese's peanut butter eggs at a rate that would make Kobayashi jealous.  Can you guess how that run went?

Five and a half miles later, I was home, and probably eating another peanut butter egg to console myself.

The one silver lining of a shoddy week of running last week, meant that I (should've been) mentally and physically prepped for my highest mileage week ever.  Mentally:  yes.  Physically:  TBD.  Monday I had 7 general aerobic miles with 10x100 m strides.  The first 2.5 miles I thought my calves were going to fall off on the spot.  And then they loosened up, and my "easy" pace was just shy of marathon pace.  yes please.

7 miles in 1:05:02 for a pace of 9:18.

Once I got home and logged my run I realized it was supposed to a) be a recovery run and b) be 6x100 m strides.  Erp.

Since I didn't have class on Tuesday night I got to enjoy a GORGEOUS 75 degree day of 12 miles.  Wheeeeeee!  Managed to leave salt marks on my black tank during the run.  Passed an adorable brindle pug on the bike trail (twice) and didn't pug-nap it.  Self control for the win!

Thursday night I had that terrible training run on my schedule.  You know, the one that you put on you're schedule when you're creating it, and you're like CRAP that's going to be the WORST.  And then you spent a significant amount of time forgetting about the training run, until all of a sudden you're at week 12 million of training (or so it feels like) and BOOM there it is again.  Gross.  Anyway, I had 11 miles with 7 at tempo.  Barf.

I spent 30 minutes freaking out about running in the heat, 80 degrees??  This is March right??  And then spent another 17 minutes tearing my apartment apart looking for some sport beans.  I don't claim to be the "neatest" person, but I know where everything important is.  Except my sport beans, apparently. I finally gave up and went for my run.

I expected to do 2 miles of warm up, 7 tempo and 2 cooldown, but after 2 miles my legs still felt like lead, so I went another.  I decided to go on the easier side of my tempo range for the majority of the miles, and speed up the last couple of miles.  I saw ANOTHER PUG around mile 4, and AGAIN resisted pug-napping.  For real, where are my 17 gold stars??!?!?

Just as expected, it was a tough @$$ run, and the heat didn't help.  A nice surprise was that my heart rate stayed mellow and consistent during the tempo miles.  While my heart was nice and tidy, my legs felt pretty junky, and I could NOT speed up during the final few miles as planned.

I did 11 miles in 1:37:50 for a pace of 8:54.  Tempo miles averaged: 8:27.

As luck would have it, I magically found two packages of sport beans in my purse while I was at work on Friday.  Because sometimes credit counseling becomes an endurance sport and you just NEED some sport beans, ya know??

Now for a wild and crazy Friday night of spring break, I was in my pjs at 5:25pm, and snuggled in bed watching Breaking Dawn.  Uh... more shirtless Jacob #amiright?  And now blogging away while watching Teen Mom 2.  Don't ask where that came from.... I couldn't tell you.  I have 20 miles on tap tomorrow, so I'll probably be thankful for this night of rest and relaxation.  And if not, hopefully there's a pug on my training run, because we know that the third time is the charm.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Woe is Me: Another Pug Tail

It's no secret I'm obsessed with pugs.  Need one.  Gotta have one.  ZOMG GOING CRAZY WITHOUT A LITTLE PUGGY FRIEND.  After last fall's pug meltdown, in which I ultimately decided I should wait to get a pug, I've been readying myself.  Trying to put away a little bit of pug savings for adoption fees, vet bills, necessities, etc.  And apartment searching for a place that will allow my little puggy love.  A few weeks ago I determined that August 1st would be the ideal date for pug ownership to occur.  I finish up my summer courses the end of July and have most of August off.  I'd have plenty of time to bond with the little bugger, and extra time to help potty train (if necessary) and to help her/him get acclimated to me AND ALL OF THE LOVE I HAVE TO GIVE IT.  Ahem.

At the end of work today, my boss emailed me to say that her fiance saw a pug at the humane society in town.  Eh.. what?!?!?  As soon as I got home I googled and saw a little black pug that was begging to be my bestie.  Sidenote:  for some reason I've done a complete 180 on my pug preferences.  I used to be a 100% fawn fan, but I'm now obsessed with the black ones.  So weird.

At this point, I have no problem blowing off my run to go meet this beauty to determine if it's truly love at first sight.  Kyle says that if I can wait until 6:30 ish he'll go with me, but uh... that's not happening, sorry brah.

I get to the humane society with my heart beating a trillion miles a minute and ask to meet the little cutie.  And the lady responds that she's in with a gal who's filling out the adoption paperwork.

[insert tears here]

[and again here since apparently writing this is making me all weepy, gah]

I got to peek in at her through the window and she's such a happy little squirt.  I'm happy she got adopted, but I just wanted it to be by me.  Sniffle.

Uff da, I have a pug shaped hole in my heart.

And how cute is she in this video?  Soooo happy/smily.

Somedaaaaaaaaaay my puuuuuuuuug will cooooooome (to be sung to the tune of Someday my prince will come).

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Data Freak + Brookings Marathon

I am 100% a data freak.  I love to analyze and compare my running data.  Over the winter break from school, I found myself with ZOMG so much time!  And one of my projects was to go through my running log to notate my highest to lowest mileage months since I started running somewhat seriously 3 years ago.  As I was starting to creep up on my highest weekly mileage ever last week (HEYO!), I decided I wanted to look at all my highest weekly mileages, so I ranked the top 10-15 of those as well.  I also had to break down which race I was training for, because what good is data if you could seek out corresponding relationships in the data and your race performance?!?!?!  So fun.  And I'm being so serious here.

Another fun feature that my running log awards me is graphs.

Marshall, you're doing charts and graphs at work!?!?

(a pie chart of his favorite bars, which followed a bar chart of his favorite pies, natch.)

After reviewing the mileage for last spring, and last fall, aka Fargo Marathon training and Philadelphia Marathon training, I noticed that my 3 highest mileage weeks for training so far are already above my three peak weeks for the last two rounds of training.  I'm not surprised that I've beat out Philly's training, because that was... very last minute, but I honestly thought I'd trained like an all star last spring.  Maybe I didn't.  Hmm...  Anyway, this comparison left me with a huge sense of accomplishment and helped to motivate me to keep it up.

Speaking of keeping it up.  I realized that I hadn't registered for the marathon yet.  I think a little piece in my brain wanted me to be 100% sure I wasn't going to have another marathon meltdown.  And while it's not completely out of the question, I'm really loving training.  Which is the whole point of running these dang races, right?

(Imagine a sweet, congrats on your registration for the marathon screen shot here. Sadly I didn't get a cool one after I registered.  booo!)

So I'm signed up.  In blood. I'll be there.

Let the marathon nightmares continue.  :)

February In Review + Marathon Nightmares

February in Review

Total Miles:  141.9 up from 121.9 last month (82.5 in Febrary 2011.)  Highest February mileage ever.  The weather doesn't hurt.  Two hundred mile months down, 10 to go!

Total Time: 22:16:15 up from 19:34:50. Thank God we got that extra day, because I spent it running!

Total Runs: 20

Highest weekly mileage:
2/27-3/4 51.2 miles 8:20:03  Not sure how a half Feb/half Mar works for a February recap, but this was my highest weekly mileage EVER. So brag alert, there you have it.  If that doesn't suffice, then
2/20-2-26 47.1 miles 7:29:39.

Favorite run: I had a lot of fun running my 16 mile long run with 10 miles at MP.  It was a cruddy day out, so I spent it on the treadmill.  And learned that I can still manage to dominate Jeopardy even while knocking out marathon pace miles.  That's a win in my book.

Most hardcore run: All of my tempo runs. seriously.  Uff da.  The last one I did was painful, but I had the biggest runner's high when I was done.  10 miles w 5 at pace.  
8:26, 8:19, 8:14, 8:05, 7:58

Favorite race:  zero.  I've yet to run a race as a 28 year old.  Sad.

Bike Miles: 0

Favorite Jams: I'm loving Katy Perry's new song Part of Me and Kelly Clarkson's What Doesn't Kill You makes you Stronger. I could see that being a theme song on some of my LRs or tempo runs. ;)

Well I'm approximately 9 1/2 weeks out from the Brookings Marathon, and it's started already.  The marathon nightmares.  I woke up last night in a panic; I was so freaked out.  It was so vivid and ridiculous.  And totally on par with EVERY race nightmare I've ever had.

And here it is:

I arrive at the race start and it's SURPRISE today.  Nothing like a surprise, your race has been moved up 9 1/2 weeks, right?  Fun!  I get up to the start line and the announcer is lining us up by submitted race times, a la high school track when your coaches would send in your race times to get you in the faster heats/best track lanes (I <3 lane 4, FYI.  Sprinting still has my heart, FYI.)  There were 10 people there for the race, and shockingly I was dead last.  Fine, NBD!  I'm already setting myself up to think that I may be all by myself for a good chunk of the race, that's just bound to happen with a really small race.  But bonus!  I'll get to see my family a TON, so it'll be like a long run with spectators.  Huzzah.

Anyway, just as the gun is about to go off, I realize my shoes aren't tied.  No biggie, it's chip timed, not like I'm going to be running with these speedies anyway, right?  And then I realize I'm only wearing one shoe.  Where is shoe #2, you ask?  5 feet across the start line, of course.  SOB!  So I cross, start my garmin, and by the time I've tied my shoes my garmin reads 5:50.  IS THIS YOUR FIRST TIME TYING YOUR SHOE?!? HOW IN THE WORLD DID IT TAKE YOU THIS LONG??!?!?

I get going out of the gym, because most of my race dreams start in gyms and include many many obstacles (yayzies, as if running 26.2 miles isn't hard enough!) and I have no idea where the race course is.  And since I'm a slow poke, and now 6 minutes behind the group, I'm stuck.  I shout to someone who appears to be a volunteer and they point me in the right direction.  Naturally, I'm running through 12-15" inches of snow.  The type of snow that's big and fluffy, but then has a nice layer of freeze on the top of it.  It's just stable enough that someone of my size can precariously walk across without it collapsing underneath you.  However, the force of running causes me to break.through.every.time.  I briefly think about DNF'ing and carting my booty up to Fargo for the marathon next weekend (I mean, come on... dream Jeri is kind of a genius here!  except she keeps going, because she's not a quitter.  oh sweet jesus Jerbear, just be a quitter!)

I run for a little bit and then it's on to obstacles!  Slides!  There are three slide options covered in ice.  But which do you choose?  I choose one and it's a dead end and I'm forced to climb back up the slide to get to where I was.  I finally make it through the right slide and end up in another gym.  And of course no one is around to direct me where to go.  I can't even find my way out of the school.  Finally I get outside and a kid tells me to just "look for Otterbox street."  I knew I should've memorized the course map.  Out of no where a classmate of mine shows up on a bike and says, "I made the trip down from Canada to keep you company on your race!"  I hand off my water bottle and continue on my way.  I end up down by a river and see the bike trails, and vaguely remember that the last half of the race is on the bike trails.  However, I don't know which way to take them.  The super not helpful volunteers tell me I can take either one, they're free for the public to use.  I'M TRYING TO RACE HERE PEOPLE!!  

Luckily I wake up shortly here after, and don't have to go through that torture anymore.  I made it not quite 5 miles in my dream.  Longest 5 miles EVER.  

The good news is that marathon pace was easy peasy.  

So there's that I guess.