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my attitude about half marathon training

20 Apr

I’m going to be in another musical soon, so my life has gone back to:

  • wake up at 6am (been slapping snooze for about 20 minutes lately)
  • leave for work at 7:30am
  • work 8:30-4:30
  • get home at 5:30
  • stuff food in my face
  • rehearsal 7-10pm
  • try to find some social time, get home way too late on a weekday
  • pass out and drool

Sometimes I’ll be able to squeeze a run in at lunch, but the weather has been so craptastic and I’ve been so busy with work that it usually just doesn’t happen. Have I mentioned that I haven’t done a single long run yet? The half is a little over a month away now. I might have to work a bit on Saturday, so womp womp don’t know if I’ll be able to do a 9 miler. Maybe I’ll drop it down to 6 or 7? I definitely want to do well in this half. I just need a couple more hours in each day to adequately prepare. But for real, I need to crack down and get serious about my training so I don’t get hurt.

In other news, I have some fab photos from mile 26 of the Boston Marathon… which I’ll post as soon as I receive a few more of those hours in the day. Hopefully tomorrow, if I have enough time to do a bit of tweaking and uploading tonight.

Finally, I need to figure out what the eff is going on with my right shin/calf. It’s tight to the max and feels fatigued all day long. Maybe because I ran the BAA 5K in my old shoes? (it was pouring when I woke up, and I didn’t want to destroy my new shoes in a downpour) Maybe I need to just stretch some more? A massage? Unsure. It isn’t hindering me from doing anything, but it’s definitely an annoyance when a wild leg cramp appears.

Did I just make a Pokemon reference? I did.

I went there.

Squirtle out.

another personal record

17 Apr

So I’m not completely sure why, but I’ve PR’d in my last three 5Ks. Today’s was pretty awesome because we got to cross the Boston Marathon finish line. And, oh yeah, I got an amazing time.

When I woke up this morning, it was POURING. Hard wind, hard rain, just plain yuck. I seriously considered not going for a few minutes. Thank goodness I didn’t go that route, because the rest of the day has been beautiful and I would’ve been kicking myself hard.

The start of the race was pretty chilly. I was wearing a t-shirt and arm warmers; not much insulation there. But I figured if I had worn a long-sleeved shirt, it would’ve been bad news bears. The rain had stopped at this point, but it was still very overcast and misting. I claimed a spot in the corral around 7:40am (there were no pacing indicators, so I just went wherever) and just jiggled in place for 20 minutes. Whee.

Aaaand we’re off!

mile 1: 9:18

I wasn’t nervous about this race at all, and just decided to go with the flow again. I was very familiar with the course, and knew when to anticipate hills. There were a few walkers before we even made it a half mile in. Incredibly poor pacing, or intentional walker who placed herself way too far up in the corral? No idea. A lot of weaving was happening, and at one point I got caught in a half-circle of 10:30-11 minute runners. That was tough to break out of and set me back a few seconds. S’all good, though. Just before the 1 mile mark was the big hill of the course: up Park St to the State House. Wheeee hill surges!

mile 2: 8:41

What goes up must come down. The first half mile is all basically downhill, going back to a flat route for the rest of the course. Nothing too special here. I began thinking that maybe I was taking my pace too hard, but just kept rolling with what I was doing anyway.

mile 3: 8:32

It’s interesting to note that last year, my best mile interval time was 8:26. And I ran my final mile of a 5K only 6 seconds slower. Just sayin’. This was a straight shot up Comm Ave, a left onto Hereford, then we shadowed the feeling of finishing the Boston Marathon by turning left onto Boylston to cross the Marathon finish line. I had created a playlist with a set order of songs just for this race, and the best possible song to finish on ended just as I crossed the finish line. Perfect.

Garmin time: 27:18
Average pace: 8:48

I’m a sub-9 minute miler now. In the last month, I’ve improved my 5K time by more than two minutes. I can’t tell you how amazing that feels, considering just 4 months ago, I was battling some weird stigma in my head that I would forever be a 10 minute miler, and I couldn’t get through a 5K without walking. With every race I complete, I’m pushing all that bull away. Sure, this can’t keep happening for every race, and I know that maybe next time I might end up back in 28, 29, or 30. But I feel much more confident in my abilities, and for once I think that maybe in the future, I could run a Boston qualifier.

For now, I’ll enjoy my shiny new medal and PR.

Shifter’s 5K: a new PR

2 Apr

alt title: “lol wut”

I’ll start by saying that I had absolutely no desire to run this race today. I wasn’t bummed out or anything, I just wasn’t in the mood. But I had already signed up for it. And if I didn’t complete it, I might not get my race series jacket at the end of the series. So off I go.

I make the drive out to the race location, realizing that I have no knowledge of the course. The site has no race map, so I have no freakin’ clue how to plan my pace for elevation. I feel hungry so I eat a whole bagel. Someone at the start tells me it’s “rolling hills.” wheeeee. There’s also no actual start line, so all ~250 of us are standing around like “um wtf is goin on” when a guy starts talking without a megaphone and it’s cold and I’m ready to just run the thing already. Apparently he shouts “go” and we’re off.

mile 1: 9:27

Oh whee! The very first thing we do is run uphill. Meh, I’m good at hill surges so I already pick off a few people without giving it too much effort. Slight downhill. I check out my pace; I’m running high 8/low 9 and feeling a little *too* good. Brain still giving no damns. I chuckle to myself at how absurd it would be to PR in a race I had no knowledge of and didn’t care about.

mile 2: 9:25

About 1.25 in I start getting a side cramp. Maybe that full bagel was a bad idea. Shut up and keep running, it’ll go away. Oh look, there are the runners in the lead going the other way. The route must be an out-and-back. Sweet, almost at the turnaround point. Pass a few people downhill and on another uphill surge. Hell yeah, my cramp is gone. What’s my pace? Huh, looks good and I still feel pretty comfortable. Whatevs, just gonna run.

mile 3: 8:58

Alright at this point, might as well just go for it. Can I beat 28? Nah. Maybe I can beat 29, though. We ran downhill on the out earlier, so the end of this will be uphill with a huge downhill at the end. Just surge already. Pick off a few more people; some are walking at the top of the hill. Almost there. Downhill, pass a few more. Where the hell is the finish line going to be? A clock and some cones; there it is. Might as well sprint finish!

Time: 28:33

lol wut.

I just PRed by 45 seconds in a race I totally did not want to run. Sweet deal, I’ll take it.

Ras na hEireann 5K

14 Mar

Apparently, an awful week = motivation to kick ass in a race. Beating my goal time and running negative mile times? Yespleasethankyou.

I ran the Ras na hEireann 5K yesterday, which was a madhouse of 5,000-6,000 runners in Davis Square. MADHOUSE. I don’t know why such a large number is allowed to run there. Combined with having one of the worst intersections in Greater Boston, Davis has a lot of one-way streets and angry drivers due to blocked roads.

Anyway, I made small chat with a girl at the start because hey I’m running alone, might as well talk to somebody. It was freezing. The forecast had said sunny and low 50s, but it was most definitely cloudy and cold. Wouldn’t have been a problem if I had brought gloves and did a proper warm-up. I felt good and warmed up about 2-2.5 miles in… yeah.

Mile 1: 9:51

With the size of the crowd, it took forever to break into a good pace and stop weaving. There were some walkers who must have started up at the 7-8 min/mile pace area. Fail. There was a hill about half a mile in where I picked off a bunch of people. I love a good hill surge. My music shuffle started me off with some Dropkick and I decided to maintain an all-Dropkick playlist for the remainder of the race. It was an Irish race, after all.

Mile 2: 9:19

Finally settled on a pace. Another small hill, and a big downhill for recovery. I began to feel a bit tired since I hadn’t eaten much, but I was determined to get past this stupid mental block I’ve been having. Any time a negative thought entered my mind about my ability, I tried to pick up the pace a bit. No stopping, no giving up on something that should be so simple for me by now. I tried not to look at my watch too much, fearing a time over 30 minutes.

Mile 3: 9:07

Aside from a small hill, the course flattened from here. We rounded the last corner and finished down a bike path. The problem with this bike path? It was flanked by mud on both sides, and in some areas, large puddles seeping onto the brick pathway caused runners to squeeze together as if we were sand racing through an hourglass. How wonderfully metaphorical of me. It slowed me down a bit, but clearly not enough to ruin a rockin’ mile time. With a quarter mile to go, I finally looked down at my watch and realized I could easily take a sub-30.

Finish Line: 8:37

Including a header for a tenth of a mile? Yes, because stupidly important race logistics here. I picked up my pace, ready to make a strong finish. As I approached the line, I noticed a huge crowd of people barely moving. Excuse me, there’s a finish line under all of your feet. This crowd back here needs to cross it. The runners ahead of us were moving so slowly after the finish that the crowd had backed up into the race path. According to the difference between my Garmin time and my chip time, it took me 8 seconds to cross the finish. Insane. And the crowd just kept trudging along, with the backup becoming worse and worse behind us. We were corralled between fences on either side, so it wasn’t like we could even disburse and clear the congestion.

Overall, I enjoyed the race. But the finish line was a disaster. Not to mention the lines 6,000 runners create at bars when free beers are on the menu. And they didn’t have all the same finisher medals for everyone. Trite, but an oddity to note.

Gun time: 32:22
Chip time: 29:26
Real time: 29:18, 9:24 average pace

So Fresh and So Clean

1 Jan

A new year, a clean start. In general, I don’t believe in “resolutions” because if something is important to you, you should start trying to make the change immediately. A new year ain’t nothin’ but a number. However, I do like trying to set measurable goals over a set amount of time. Most of my goals are things I’ve already been working on, but now it’s time to up the ante and boost them to goal status.

So what are my goals for this year?

1. Run in at least 12 races in 2011.

I have already signed up for 7 races through the end of June, so I figure what’s 5 more in the last 6 months? Right now I’m signed up for 3 5Ks, 2 10Ks, a 5 miler, and a half marathon. Woop woop. The first race is just over a month from now, and it’s the very first 5K I ever ran. I really want to obliterate my PR.

2. Get to the gym at least 4 times per week.*

An asterisk? Already? Yep, gotta be realistic. Right now, I have a fitness plan that involves me going to the gym 6 times a week and includes two yoga classes (new yoga mat and tank <3 ), two muscle classes, an interval class, and time on my own. Ambitious? Yes. That’s why my goal is to regularly hit 4 out of those 6 days. Ideally I’d be able to go to every class all the time. But muscles get sore, late nights happen, social events pop up, and sickness happens. I’m not going to beat myself up if something comes up and I miss a day and only make it 2-3 times one week. Heck, I didn’t do a lick of fitness today because I have quite the cold.

Chugging Cold Season tea and green juice. Hidden: my totally hot BreatheRight strip on my nose.

 

3. Stick to my monthly budget like a pro.

I recently revised my monthly budget, putting even more money towards paying off the money-hungry student loan monster. I moved some numbers and came up with a pretty reasonable spending allowance. If I can stick to that schedule in 2011, I’ll be in pretty good shape.

Quick Tip: If you guys don’t already use Mint for money management, I highly highly recommend it. It’s owned by Intuit, the makers of Turbo Tax, and it is completely secure. You can import as many bank accounts, credit cards, loans, investments, etc as you’d like and see them all in one place. I set my budget through Mint, and the chart on my home page shows how well I’m doing each month and if I’m reaching the top of my budget too early. It’s also what helped me pick a better credit card and savings account to earn more money. I’ve been using it since 2007, and I wouldn’t use anything else.

4. Plan at least 3 homemade meals per week.

It’s no secret that cooking at home is often cheaper and healthier than eating at a restaurant or getting take-out. Over the last few months, I lapsed pretty hard in setting a weekly menu, which left me eating a few too many microwave dinners on super busy nights. This morning I organized all my cookbooks on some new kitchen shelving, and tomorrow I’m going to spend the morning flagging recipes I want to try. When the time comes to plan a meal, I can just reach for a book, flip to a flagged page, and yay there’s a recipe.

5. Organize myself for the holidays.

I completely forgot to send Christmas cards this year, and I really regret it. I’ve set up a system so that I can send cards for each birthday and major holiday and not flake out on it. Super important that I stick to this. I’m also going to take a lead from my mother and start buying gifts for birthdays and Christmas. In January? Yes. My mom already has at least 50% of this year’s Christmas shopping done. I’m not that ambitious, but I hope to have a few things picked out by springtime.

6. Drink more water.

Dur. I bought a water bottle holder for my purse so now I have no excuses. Water wherever I go. Always.

 

That seems like a pretty good list to kick things off. My Cold Season tea is done and it’s time to move on to TheraFlu, which may or may not knock me the eff out. I need a good night’s sleep to get ready for my first Tabata class early tomorrow! So excited.

Happy new year!