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....

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Half-Marathon Success

So today was the Pacers Running Festival Half Marathon. And it was a success!! I can't believe that I can now say with confidence that I have run a half marathon. Do I qualify as an actual runner now instead of a person who runs?! The weather was perfect (although a bit chilly in the beginning) save for running against the wind for the last 2-3 miles. I managed to keep up with my running partner for the first loop of the race (roughly 6.5 miles) but I quickly fell behind for the second loop. I was kind of expecting that since she runs 9 minute miles and I run 9:30. My final time was 2:04:30, averaging a 9:31 minute mile. Right on target. I really couldn't have asked for much more since it was my first half and being able to run a 9 minute mile for the whole 13.1 would have been really pushing it. I was a little worried about the last 5k since the longest distance I had run leading up to the race was only 10 miles, but the last few miles were just a blur. I'm only a little bit stiff and not that sore (yet). I've also discovered the Power Bar goos. I only had vanilla today, but that was pretty good, although a little sticky and sweet.

This week I officially start the MCM training schedule, but it'll be pretty low-key for a while. I am really considering registering for the VA Beach Half since that will be a nice easy distance to run in training for the marathon by the time it comes around.

I'm still excited about completing the half! I can't believe I did it!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Joys of Evening Running

Tonight I had an unexpected enjoyable run after dinner. Typically I am not a after-eating runner, but the weather tonight was so nice that I thought I'd give it a try. What I had originally intended to be my usual 6.2 miles turned out to be a 7 miler. Not that big of a difference, but I have discovered a new running route (a combination of two different routes). It was pretty easy, so I think that I'll replace my usual casual run of 6.2 for the new 7. There are several benefits of running in the evening. The heat of the day has more or less dispersed, it is less humid, no hot sun beating down giving you awkward runner tan lines, and the sweet spring smells are invigorating. Perhaps I will try to do more after-dinner runs in the future. I also walked to my favorite place on Earth, Starbucks, this afternoon for a refreshing beverage. The walk is easy enough, with a rewarding 3 mile loop. That combined with the 7 I actually ran is a nice 10 miles for the day (just like Monday). I'm hoping that these casual runs/walks are enough to prepare me for Sunday's half. Thankfully the weather is supposed to be cooler than it has been this week. I hope to avoid more awkward sock and runner tank top tan lines this weekend!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Running in a Cloud

Yesterday I tried for another 10-miler. Unfortunately it was a bust. I'm beginning to worry slightly about the half-marathon on Sunday because my partner in crime has had one more successful 10-miler than me and better times. Either I will completely fall behind or be inspired and motivated to run faster. Probably the first one since I can't run ten 9 minute miles even if I wanted to. Eep.

Regardless, yesterday's run was icky. I decided to run mid-afternoon right when it was still relatively hot (84 degrees) and incredibly muggy and humid. I soaked through my dri-fit running shirt in a mile and guzzled down about 3 bottles of water. Not to mention the fact that I felt like the pores on my skin were little water fountains of sweat. All in all, not an enjoyable experience by any means. I managed to run about 7 miles before resigning myself to the humidity and grossness that was my body and walked/ran the last 3 miles back to my car where I then proceeded to sit with the AC on full blast for about 5 minutes before even thinking of driving anywhere.

Now I know I will be able to run 13.1 miles, but the question comes to how fast and how successfully. The weather is looking pretty good for Sunday so I'm hoping for little to absolutely no humidity and I think it should be in the high 50s in the morning/low 60s. All of that will definitely help. My goal for this half is just finish it....ideally within the range of 9:30-9:45 min miles (even though my running partner can run 9 min ones). Since this will be my first half, it'll help give me an idea of how long of a run it actually is.

After Sunday is when I start my 25-week marathon training schedule, which for the first few months is relatively flexible since my running ability is somewhere near 15 weeks to MCM. But once it gets closer to 10 weeks to MCM my butt is really going to need to get into shape. This half on Sunday will be my longest run for the next 14 weeks unless I feel the urge to run a half for the heck of it.

There aren't too many longer races during the summer months that I have found in the area to run in. I'm hoping to do the Rock 'n Roll VA Beach Half during Labor Day weekend, but I need to verify with the person I am hoping to run with. It looks like it could be tons of fun, although incredibly hot. At least it starts early in the morning (7am) and you are on the beach. The only problem is that the hotels there are ridiculously expensive for that weekend, and I'd like to be there from Friday evening-Monday morning.

Well, I'm hoping for an easy 6 mile run on Thursday, so I'll keep the universal "you" posted. Then it's the Pacer's Half Marathon on Sunday!! Don't forget to wish your Mamas a Happy Mother's Day on that day, too.