Friday, September 10, 2010

13 Miles Later

The MCM is less than 8 weeks away. I can't believe that it has snuck up on me so quickly! Thankfully, I've finally been able to go on some longer runs. Keyword: longER not long. I've done two 10-mile runs in the past 2 weeks, which were relatively successful. I was running from my house past all the Arlington metro stops and into DC to Farragut West via Georgetown. I realized that Georgetown is way too full of foot traffic and stop lights to make it a successful and efficient run. Not to mention, the whole way back is pretty much uphill.

Yesterday I went for my first half marathon run since the actual half marathon I ran in May. I definitely felt better about it than the race itself. I ran a totally new route and I'm pretty happy with it. I took the Custis Trail from Lee Hwy and Kirkwood St to the Mt. Vernon Trail, past the airport and back. The only downside is there is some construction near Gravelly Point for a new humpback bridge so the trail tacks a detour into the GW Parkwa, where you are running pretty much against traffic with the protection of only some cement guardrails. But all in all it's relatively flat once you get to Mt. Vernon Trail and it's pretty to run along the water. Running next to the airport itself isn't too scenic, except for the fact you get to watch planes. I managed to complete the run in 2:02, with only one stop for a brief stretch and a Gu. The last 1.5 miles is all uphill (rolling hills) but I managed to gain back most of my energy for that last sprint. By the end I wasn't even too fatigued. My knees had started to get sore and I desperately needed more water and an energy bar. Today I'm not too sore either. So all in all I think it was a very successful run!

I've registered for Clarendon Day's 10K in 2 weeks. I think it'll be a fun and relaxing race. I haven't run a 10K race since the MCM 10K last October. I am curious to see what my time will be since my base run has been the distance of 6 miles pretty consistently for several months. I also registered for the Heritage Half the first weekend in October. I think by that point it will be an easy half. The mileage is definitely not where I would want to be at that point for the marathon, but it'll help me train with the weather and terrain and getting into the mental state of racing. I would ideally like to get two 20-mile runs in before the MCM. I just need to find the time to do so, because it's a big time commitment. It also gets pretty boring. My running partner has hurt his knee so has been unable to train with me yet.

Thankfully I get out of work around 4, so I know that I can fit in a half before the sun sets (as of now). I've been told that if I can run 13 miles, I can run 26.2. Somehow I still find the concept of doubling my farthest distance VERY daunting. But I'm sure the thrill of the race, all the people cheering and runners, music, water stations, and snacks along the way will help.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Way Too Hot!

So for the record, it has been an INSANELY hot summer so far in the DC Metro Area. I think that this June was the hottest month EVER...beating out previous Augusts even. That is just not right. Yesterday the heat index made it to 108 degrees. I was at Rehoboth Beach for the past week, where even by the ocean, the heat did not abate. And on top of insane 90+ degree temperatures, there was crazy humidity. Just taking the 10 minute walk to the beach left me drenched in sweat at 10am! When I returned to DC Friday evening at 11pm, the city was still blazing at a whopping 90 degrees.

Needless to say, this consistent torture for the past two months has severely impacted my running and training for the marathon. I haven't really trained, just maintained. This week I FINALLY managed to run 18 miles again. I had a pretty torturous and probably stupid noonish run on Monday, a 7:30pm run on Wednesday, and tonight I ran at 9pm. The best run by far was tonight after the sun had set and the crazy thunderstorm had passed through. It was a thankful 82 degrees, but the humidity was pretty intense, enough to soak me through without any sun. I'm at least thankful that I made it out 3x this week with such weather and without heat exhaustion.

This upcoming week is suppose to be cooler, at least only reaching the low 90s, which sadly is a blessing. My goal is to run at least 24 miles, four 6-milers. And if I can swing it, maybe a longer run thrown in when it's not as hot out. If not, I'm headed to Paris on Friday where the temp is around the mid-7os for the highs and 50s for the lows! I've never run abroad yet, but we're staying right along the Seine so I envision nice, cool, long runs where I won't have to worry about getting lost cuz I'll just run straight one direction and back again. And no hills! I just want to consistently maintain 6 mile runs as often as I can while I'm in cooler weather. Maybe throw in a longer run?

Once I get back, the second week of August, I theoretically am supposed to run 13 miles according to the training schedule I don't follow. We'll see if that actually the very least I should hope to run 10 and start making my body get adjusted to longer distances. I've been reading up on some training habits, and I really don't see myself following the diet/sleep/training suggestions. I think I'm just going to run and have that be good enough for me. I know that the real long runs are supposed to decrease a couple of weeks before the marathon, but I think I'll have to hit my peak/goal of 24 miles in October when it's really cooled down some. It would be foolish death to try to do that now, even if I were to succeed and get up at 6am. Apparently 5am here the other day was already at 84 degrees.

Well, here's to hoping that everything will cool down soon so I can at least not die for the marathon.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

18 Weeks Away

So the hot weather has finally taken a brief hiatus. I'm actually going to go for a run in the AFTERNOON today! Amazing, right? This morning was beautiful and a cool mid-60s. Unfortunately, I slept through my alarm and failed to go for a run. To compensate, I'm going to hit the W & OD for the first time since before the half! I'm really excited to run on relatively flat ground for the majority of a run. I'm even playing with the idea of making it a longer run... I haven't done anything farther than 6 miles since the half either, so I'm not sure if I want to just go for 10 or try for something like 7 or 8. I think I'll see how it goes once I'm moving. I forgot to bring my water bottle, but thankfully it is now officially summer so I expect all of the water fountains to be up and running full force. Otherwise...I'm screwed.

I am 18 weeks away from the marathon. I planned out the final 4 weeks of my training schedule (like the past few weeks have been going according to plan...NOT) and I hope to be able to maintain some kind of plan that resembles this schedule. I have no races scheduled until then, which is kind of a downer. Maybe I should look around for some race to inspire me and keep me motivated. My training schedule doesn't have me run anything farther than 20 miles, but I think I'm going to up it to 22.

I'm going to be in Paris for a little over a week at the beginning of August. We are staying at an apartment right along the Seine. It'll be great for running! Not sure if I'll be able to accomplish any real distance runs while I'm there, but I'll definitely be able to go for at least hour-long runs. It'll be beautiful and so cool. As soon as I get back, though, I have to do my first 13-miler. Gotta gear up for this!

I'm starting to shift my sleep schedule to accommodate my runs. Obviously it didn't work this morning, but I'm a night owl! It's hard for me to really be asleep before 10:30...and last night I went to bed after midnight. Damn you True Blood!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Got to Step It Up!

So I have been seriously slacking these past few weeks. I don't know what it is, but probably the fact that it's been insanely hot and humid! I've officially switched to being a morning runner, but the past 2 days I ended up just hitting the snooze button and sleeping away my hour run. I've been clocking in about 12-16 miles/week for the last 4 weeks. And this week isn't looking to be much better. I HOPE to go for a run tomorrow morning, but the weekend is looking CRAZY (again) so no chances of a long distance run.

I'm hoping that starting next week I can step it up a notch and start getting back to 18 miles/week MINIMUM with a longer run on the weekend. I still have about 19 weeks left until the marathon though, so I still have plenty of time to start hitting those 10+ mile runs. There's a nice run through Rock Creek Park near my boyfriend's house, where we can run to the Maryland border and back to total roughly 10 miles. Last time I did it I practically died, so I'd like to try it out again.

Last week I did a few sprints again and raced against a high school boy. I beat him and his friend teased him for getting "beat by a girl". I may have won the battle, but I think if we were to continue racing at those speeds he would have won the war.

Anyways, it's over and out....I just wanted to check back in to whoever reads this!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Running Shoes!

So I finally caved and invested in some fairly pricey new running shoes. I switched from my Saucony brand to New Balance. I had my last pair since August and had put on at least 600 miles on them. The guy at Road Runners informed me that running shoes should be replaced after every 400 miles. Now I'm REALLY going to need to find a job post-AmeriCorps to afford my new running habit. I'm hoping that with training for the MCM, my new pair will last me until the actual marathon. Afterwards I'll definitely have to get another pair. Or maybe I'll be so scarred from running (or failing) a marathon that I'll never run again....haha.

I've actually had 2 successful morning runs so far this week and I'm debating about going again tomorrow morning or sleeping in. The benefit to running tomorrow is that I know I'll beat the heat and inevitable humidity of this weekend and I will have hit my 18 miles that I aim for every week. I REALLY need to do another distance run or sprints again, but with the humidity and heat of the past few weekends that just hasn't happened yet. Next step: sucking it up and getting up early on the weekends to do a long run. Baby steps for now...I'm still getting used to getting up early during the week.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

So it's been a while...

Figured it was about time I blog about something. Specifically running. More specifically me running... all in all, nothing too interesting.

So I'm 22 weeks from the MCM. It seems far away when I think about it, but when I look at my training schedule and how I've failed to maintain it for the past 3 weeks, I realize that it's going to be a long long 22 more weeks. It's been hard for me to get back into the groove of things after the half, which I know I've said before. But I figured I've given myself almost a month to get my ass kicked back into shape.

Last week I only ran once. 6 miles. But I did go on a gorgeous 6 mile hike at Crabtree Falls in GW National Park down in Nelson County for Memorial Day weekend. That was definitely nice. I saw 2 people running most of the trail (some of which was pretty muddy), and I was instantly impressed and equally envious of their stamina and fitness. I find trail running extremely difficult. I know some runners enjoy trail running, specifically uphill trail running, but I haven't either a) built those muscles yet or b) taught myself how to breathe correctly to maintain my stamina.

New development in my running, though! I've started to run in the mornings. Now, I know I have complained about morning runs in the past and would definitely prefer running in the afternoons; however, with the heat and humidity that is a DC summer, I pretty much have no choice but to adapt and change my ways. For example, the past few days it has been almost 90 degrees and VERY HUMID and STICKY. In the mornings when I go for my run, around 7:30, it's equally humid but still only in the mid-70s. Definitely preferable to scorching heat.

Due to the humidity I've had to start bringing my water bottle on my 6 mile runs, where before I'd be fine until I got home. I definitely notice a difference staying hydrated. This morning it was so gross out that I had completely soaked through my tank top AND my shorts. Yes, my shorts. I had a huge ass sweat mark on my lovely sky-blue running shorts. Sexy, right? When I finally go and buy new running shoes in the next few weeks I'll have to remember to pick up some white or black running shorts where sweat does not show through as easily....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Post-Half Running Report

Now that the half is over, I've been feeling less motivated to run. Last week I did two 3-mile runs (with some speed intervals) and then my first ever sprints. I'm not sure the sprinting distances since I know nothing about track distances, but I sprinted the straightaways on the track and walked the curves. I did about 6 of these and was feeling pretty good. My run home from the track turned into a one mile run and then a stop at 7-11 where I double-fisted a huge Slurpee and a popsicle for the rest of the walk home. Yes, I did get some looks. I guess people aren't used to seeing someone in running gear walking...with a Slurpee...AND a popsicle. It was delicious.

I was surprised the next day when I woke up SORE. I felt muscles in my legs that I didn't know existed. What surprised me the most was the fact that my arms were sore! I guess all that arm pumping for sprints does work those muscles? I'm thinking I'll incorporate sprints into my training maybe once a week. I've read up on tempo runs, and I've been trying to do those as well. I have improved my time for the GIANT hill I have to run up at the start of my run by about a minute. With practice, hopefully I won't be as winded by the time I get to the one-mile marker.

Yesterday I had a refreshingly easy run in the rain. I didn't think I was pushing myself that much at all after the initial hill, but I shaved 2 minutes off of my time! I ran my typical 6 mile route in 56 minutes. That's the fastest I've run it ever. Usually I'm lucky to run it in 58 minutes. I didn't even feel fatigued by the time I made it home. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised. I'm glad I finally ran a 6-miler though, after a whole week of being lame. It's good to know that I'm finally getting myself back into the training mindset, although it's hard to stay focused on motivated when the marathon is 24 weeks away.

I have to get new running shoes. I've run/walked 625.4 miles on the shoes I currently own (not like I'm keeping track or anything...). I'm going to go to the Road Runners store near my office and get my stride analyzed in order to figure out the best running shoe. I've never done that before, at least not on an official capacity. The guy at the Pacers store watched my run down the sidewalk in my flip flops last time. I feel like at Road Runners where I'll run on a treadmill will be a little bit more official. Now I only have to calculate a near pair of shoes into my budget....