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Chicago Marathon Training | Weeks 15-17

3 Oct

The temperature here in Florida has finally shown us just a tad bit of relief and I can tell our Florida “fall” is just around the corner. After training through a brutal summer of relentless heat and humidity, I can’t believe the Chicago Marathon is just over a week away. I’m surprised to see myself type this, but I’m kinda looking forward to running this race. This is mainly because of my desire to run in relatively cool weather.

Weeks 15 through 17 of marathon training included my longest training run ever, hills, and the start of taper. Here’s how it went:

Week 15:

Tuesday / Track (8 x 400 at 5k pace)

I’m a sucker for 400’s. Anyone can run around a trap track once, right?

  • 400 / 1: 02:39.14 / 09:51/mi
  • 400 / 2: 02:29.30 / 09:22/mi
  • 400 / 3: 02:32.20 / 09:38/mi
  • 400 / 4: 02:40.91 / 10:11/mi
  • 400 / 5: 02:34.54 / 09:44/mi
  • 400 / 6: 02:33.17 / 10:15/mi
  • 400 / 7: 02:28.90 / 09:17/mi
  • 400 / 8: 04:47.40 / 18:28/mi — Forgot to hit “lap”

Thursday / Hills (9 mi)

Do you want to know how early one has to wake up to run 9 miles before work? Three AM. Yes. You read that correctly. Sigh.

  • Distance: 8.83 mi
  • Time: 01:53:12
  • Avg Pace: 12:49/mi

Saturday / Long Longest Run (Ever) (22 mi)

This is the run that almost killed me. Because of scheduling conflicts, I never actually ran a 20-mile long run this training season. And my longest training run ever to date has been 20 miles.

My running partner, Beth, kidded that we may as well run all 26 miles. Funny lady.

In true longest run ever form, I hit my wall around mile 20. I spent the last two miles asking myself why I signed up for another marathon. And after the run? I couldn’t eat. I could hardly talk … which naturally worried my running mates. (I’m never silent for long.)

I was able to drink coffee and chocolate milk, which I gladly alternated between until I was able to gather up the strength to drive home.

The highlight of my run? My amazing group leader Em loves us soooooo much that she brought us ginger snaps and ice-cold towels. I’m not sure why, but ginger snaps are magical during long runs. It might be because the ginger soothes your belly. Or just that it’s a cookie, and everyone loves cookie breaks, right? Anyways, Em gets the award for best group leader. 🙂

  • Distance: 22 mi
  • Time: 05:22:48
  • Avg Pace: 14:40/mi

Week 16:

I took taper to a whole new level during week 16 of training. My body seemed to need the rest, so I won’t beat myself up about it.

Tuesday / Track Yoga

My body needed this.

Thursday / Hills Sleep

My body needed this too.

Saturday / Long Run OYO (10 9 mi)

Only three of us ran, so we managed to keep the run moving. But when we realized we still had another mile to tack on, we decided that none of us cared enough to make it an even 10 miles. We stopped short and happy.

  • Distance: 9.12 mi
  • Time: 2:00:02
  • Avg Pace: 13:09/mi

Afterwards I came home and did some yoga. My body rejoiced.

Week 17:

Tuesday / Track Tempo

Who am I go argue with the majority when everyone votes to run mile repeats instead of track?

  • Distance: 3.60 mi
  • Time: 43:52.77
  • Avg Pace: 12:12/mi*

* I started to drive down the street before I realized I had forgotten to shut my Garmin off. It wasn’t far, but this would affect my average pace.

Thursday / Tempo Easy Run (8 5 mi)

It’s clear that I’m now considering my scheduled training mileage as mere suggestions. Eight miles seemed like a lovely suggestion, but the heat and humidity suggested we end up walking our last mile and cut the run short so we can catch up at Starbucks.

  • Distance: 5.30 mi
  • Time: 01:15:38
  • Avg Pace: 14:16/mi

Saturday / Long Run (14 mi)

It was still hot and humid Saturday morning and at this point I’m just starting to become an angry runner. I mean, c’mon Florida. Pumpkin is in all of our coffee drinks and baked goods, Christmas decorations are going up for sale in stores, and people are wearing JACKETS in other parts of the country. Why is it still so HOT?? Saturday was officially the day I got over summer running. Unfortunately for me, I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen the end of it. 😦

  • Distance: 14.07 mi
  • Time: 03:29:58
  • Avg Pace: 14:55/mi

The countdown is on. Only ten more days to go!

Chicago Marathon Training | Week 14

9 Sep

Week 14 of my Chicago Marathon Training has come and gone. It was a relaxing week for me since I had a one week break between my MBA courses. This meant that I was finally able to do some laundry, pick up the mess that follows me everywhere I go around the house and catch up with my husband and lady friends.

Here’s how my training went:

Tuesday Monday / Track Nice Leisurely Run

Some running friends were meeting at 7 AM on Labor Day for a 7-mile run. I knew that most of my other running friends were coming back from trips and rated their chances of bailing on track as very high. I decided to wake up early on my holiday so that I wouldn’t have to run track by myself the next day. I hate running track by myself.

I am definitely a vampire running. Running in daylight was killer. I quickly began to curse our late 7 AM start time.

And I forgot my watch, so I ran clueless to time and mileage. That part was lovely!

Also, I made the right decision. No one ended up running track on Tuesday morning. Lonely runner crisis averted.

Thursday / 9 miles 7 miles

I was scheduled to run 9 miles, but since I ran 7 miles on Monday, I decided to take it easy with just 7 miles on Thursday morning. Since we were running hills on Saturday, we stuck to flat lands on our run.

  • Distance: 7 mi
  • Time: 1:27:25
  • Avg Pace: 12.29/mi

Saturday / Long Run (12 miles) (10 miles)

If the hills had eyes, they would have witnessed many runners on Saturday.

Our group drove out to Apopka for some “hill training.” I’ve tried to avoid hill training at all costs this training session because I think too many hills strain my IT band. However, one of our team members had to put water out in Apopka so we were guilted into supporting her. Otherwise she would have to run hills all by her lonesome. I agreed to run, but decided to cut my mileage by a couple of miles. In my eyes, 12 regular miles equals 10 hilly miles. 🙂

I arrived about 10 minutes early to our meeting spot. Apparently the further from home we run, the closer to on time I get. I quickly noticed I was the only one from our group there. I was deep in thoughts considering how I excited I would be to sleep in my car when some other group members arrived to join the run. Boo. No car sleeping.

A few minutes later the group was there and we set out for our run. Apopka seemed unusually dark and there was a fog rolling over the hills. We couldn’t see much on our first big loop.

However, on our second loop it was lighter out and the fog had lifted. Now I could clearly see the top of that hill I was running on! The top seemed so far away. I think I liked running in the darkness and fog better.

Before we knew it, 10 miles were done. We walked it back a mile for a nice cool down.

  • Distance: 10.10 mi
  • Time: 02:17:24
  • Avg Pace: 13:36/mi

Afterwards I met some friends for breakfast and then headed to Starbucks for my cheat treat: my first pumpkin spice latte of the season! I made it a little less horrible for me by ordering it with skim milk and just one pump of pumpkin spice syrup (anything more than that is just too sweet now). It was delicious.

I enjoyed a lazy weekend with my husband. Today I start class again and I’m sure life will be a whirlwind until I leave for Chicago in just over a month from now. I’m starting to get excited about the marathon!

Chicago Marathon Training | Weeks 8-13

3 Sep

Since I started my MBA program at the end of July, training for the Chicago Marathon has called for some serious flexibility. Plus, my beautiful little sister got married to her best friend! August was a fun, but hectic month.

Here’s how training with a crazy busy schedule went:

Week 8:

Tuesday / Track Tempo (4 mi)

What can I say? I’m easily talked into ditching the track for the road. This was proof. 🙂

  • Distance: 4.14 mi
  • Time: 49:46.37
  • Avg Pace: 12:01/mi

Thursday / Tempo (6 mi)

  • Distance: 6.01 mi
  • Time: 01:12:24
  • Avg Pace: 12:03/mi

Sunday / Long Run (14 mi)

I started my MBA program on Saturday and had class all day. Lucky for me, my Chicago Marathon training partner, Beth, agreed to run long with me on Sunday.

We spent a lot of time laughing and hunting for drinking water. We also got lost towards the end of the run when spontaneously trying out a new route. This really made some of the final miles go by quickly.

  • Distance: 14 mil
  • Time: 03:04:53
  • Avg Pace: 13:12/mi

Week 9:

I had classes Wednesday night and all day Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Plus, my little Sister got married on Saturday and my bro was in town. Let’s just say that I had to temporarily cease my RedBull ban .

Tuesday / Track (8 mi)

The 4 AM wake-up call during a crazy busy week was brutal, but needed in order to maintain my weekly mileage. The good thing about running so far this early is that you’re usually halfway through your run before you even wake up.

  • Distance: 8.37 mi
  • Time: 01:56:08
  • Avg Pace: 13.52/mi

Thursday / Tempo (6 mi) (8 mi)

This was my first time running parking garages. Surprisingly, they weren’t as bad as I thought they would be!

We ran mile repeats for about 3 miles to our first parking garage structure. Once we arrived, I took a deep breathe and charged up to the top floor (I believe there were 4 floors). Once we got to the top, we walked a glorious lap around the top floor (where the wind temporarily cooled me off) then headed back down. We ran to a nearby second parking garage structure and did this one more time. Running back on the flat road seemed really easy afterwards!

  • Distance: 7.83 mi (though I’m told we lose GPS in the parking garages)
  • Time: 01:55:38
  • Avg Pace: 14:45/mi

Saturday / Long Run (20 mi) School and my Sister’s Wedding!

Okay, so I didn’t do my long run, but this day should practically count. I spent all week mentally preparing myself for what I knew would be an extremely long day.

I had to report at school at 8 AM. Our teams had four hours to write a paper and prepare a presentation. Then we had one hour to eat lunch while practicing for our presentation. Our group went first, so it was nice to get it out of the way. We then received feedback from our peers and professors on our presentations.

Next I was making a mad dash home to change into something more appropriate for celebrating. As soon as I walked in the door I asked my husband to pour me a cocktail. My most important speech of the day was still ahead of me: my toast to my little Sis and her new husband.

One drink and a party dress later, I was ready to celebrate and toast the beautiful couple. My sister is spontaneous, fun and laid-back and her wedding was a great reflection of that. It was a beautiful night and fun times were had by all!

DSC02046

My Sis and Me

Week 10:

Tuesday / Track (6 x 800’s)

I love running 800’s, mainly out of curiosity. There’s a workout called the Yasso 800’s which is accompanied by a very loose theory.

In describing the theory, Bart Yasso said:

I’ve been doing this particular workout for about 15 years, and it always seems to work for me. If I can get my 800s down to 2 minutes 50 seconds, I’m in 2:50 marathon shape. If I can get down to 2:40 (minuses), I can run a 2:40 marathon. I’m shooting for a 2:37 marathon right now, so I’m running my 800s in 2:37.

Based on Yasso’s theory, I should be running a marathon in about 5:15. Admittedly that is a bit too fast for me, but it’s not far from my 5:30 goal.

  • 800 / 1: 05:08.06 / 09:55/mi
  • 800 / 2: 05:17.34 / 10:07/mi
  • 800 / 3: 05:15.47 / 10:09/mi
  • 800 / 4: 05:14.95 / 10:03/mi
  • 800 / 5: 05:10.62 / 09:56/mi
  • 800 / 6: 05:14.25 / 10:12/mi

Thursday / Tempo (7 mi)

We ran Thursday’s tempo run with mile repeats. As my Thursday mileage creeps up, so does my wake-up time. Setting your alarm for 3:20 AM is normal, right?

  • Distance: 7 mi
  • Time: 01:26:05
  • Avg Pace: 12:17/mi

Saturday / Long Run (12 mi) (16 mi)

In order to make up for some lost milage, my wonderful group leader Em met up with me at 4 AM to run an early four miles before the rest of the group joined us. Once the sun rose, I saw myself quickly deteriorating. Lucky for me I only had about an hour and a half of sun running.

  • Distance: 16.23 mi
  • Time: 04:03:25
  • Avg Pace: 14:59/mi

Week 11:

Tuesday / Track 

I have no idea if I ran. My Garmin doesn’t have a run recorded, but that could mean I forgot my watch. Don’t worry; I won’t let this mystery keep me up at night.

Thursday / Tempo (7 mi)

These were seven sweaty miles. Also, I was apparently having issues remembering my Garmin, so I have no idea how long it took us.

Saturday / Long Run (14 mi) (18 mi)

Still trying to make up for some lost mileage, I opted to run an extra four miles early in the morning before our start for 14 miles. I was happy to have a friend join me. Misery loves company. 🙂

I remember one thing about this run: the humidity. It was brutal. It actually felt better later in the day when the sun came up and burned up some of that humidity.

  • Distance: 18.12 mi
  • Time: 04:17:33
  • Avg Pace: 14:12/mi

Week 12:

Tuesday / Track Tempo (3 mi)

Since I ran long on Saturday, I quickly agreed to go on a short run instead of hitting the track. It felt like I was running with weights around my ankles.

  • Distance: 3.26 mi
  • Time: 30:10.47
  • Avg Pace: 12:01/mi

Thursday / Hills (8 mi)

On deck for the morning were parking garages. This time around I wasn’t as scared as I was the first time. Instead, I chased my running buddy Jean up the inclines.

  • Distance: 7.57 mi (I’m told we lose GPS in the garages)
  • Time: 01:36:30
  • Avg Pace: 12:44/mi

Saturday / Long Run (20 mi) School

Week 13:

Tuesday / Track Tempo (3 mi)

I woke up to see  texts from my running partners canceling on the morning’s track run. I decided to sleep in for an hour and run 3 miles locally.

On a side note, I ended up leaving for my run at 6:40 AM and not long after saw my mistake. As I was busy playing “dodge the bad, adolescent drivers” I realized that the local high school was back in session.

The run was slow and my legs felt heavy. Plus, I got caught at a lot of intersections, but I can’t say that I minded the breaks terribly. 🙂

  • Distance: 3.24 mi
  • Time: 40:03.00
  • Avg Pace: 12:22/mi

Thursday / Tempo (8 mi) Sleep 

When I woke up at 3 AM and saw that my only running partner that was still in town for the holiday had sent a bail-out text just an hour earlier, I made the proper decision to roll over and go back to bed.

Saturday / Long Run (10 mi)

It was a holiday weekend and an OYO run. A handful of us got together to run 10 miles.

I’m starting to think I’m a vampire. As soon as the sun comes up I start melting.

  • Distance: 10.58 mi
  • Time: 02:23:57
  • Avg Page: 13:36/mi

Afterwards we decided to change up our breakfast routine. A holiday run deserves a special breakfast, right?

We had breakfast as The Briar Patch. It was indulgent and delicious. I split the southern breakfast … eggs and fried green tomatoes and sugar-cured bacon and cheese grits oh my!

Breakfast from The Briar Patch

Breakfast from The Briar Patch

Even splitting my breakfast left me stuffed! I also stole a bite of those stuffed blueberry pancakes. They. Were. Amazing. Also, I’m pretty sure they lead to heart attacks, so eat at your own risk. My friend didn’t get very far before she had to throw in the towel.

Only six more weeks until the Chicago Marathon. I can’t believe it. It will be here before I know it!

Chicago Marathon Training | Weeks Five & Six

17 Jul

The last two weeks have been nothing short of a craziness for me. Work is busy. Life is busy. Mileage is building. Toss in a special project, a holiday and my Sister’s bachelorette party weekend and you have nothing short of pure madness.

Here’s what I had on deck for weeks five and six of my Chicago Marathon training:

Runs for Weeks 5 & 6 of Chicago Marathon Training

Runs for Weeks 5 & 6 of Chicago Marathon Training

Out of those six runs, I ran 4.5. I would say that is pretty good. 🙂

Week 5:

Tuesday / Track

Do you know those days when you wake up and you know you really, really should go back to bed? That’s how I felt Tuesday. But I didn’t want to cancel on my training partners so I dragged myself out of bed.

Even though I have all of our workouts in my calendar, I try not to look at them ahead of time so I don’t psyche myself out too soon. When I got to the track I found out we were running 400’s. This workout is nicknamed “The Puker” though I don’t mind it.

After our coach ran through how many sets we should do (2 sets of 4 to 6  x 400’s … we chose 5) and at what pace (5k pace), she reminded us that Thursday was a holiday and considered an “on your own” run. Then she said something that hit me: “Or take it as a rest day. Especially if you’re feeling fatigued.”

That was it! Fatigue was exactly what I was feeling. Just hearing the word made me want to cry.

I set off around the track and my legs were like lead. I couldn’t seem to pick them up. I was hot. I was slow. I couldn’t breathe. I was miserable.

After my first set of 400’s I stopped to get a drink of water. My running partners were chatting when I interrupted.

“I’m going home,” I said.

They looked at me like I had just announced that I had killed a baby kitten with my bare hands. <Blink>

The sad part is that I didn’t even have it in me to explain to them that I was about to collapse. I muttered that I was taking Thursday off too and walked away as they stared at the back of my head.

  • 400 / 1: 02:48.09 / 10:33/mi
  • 400 / 2: 02:44.45 / 10:33/mi
  • 400 / 3: 02:36.22 / 10:00/mi
  • 400 / 4: 02:26.35 / 09:24/mi
  • 400 / 5: 02:30.90 / 09:37/mi

Thursday / Nothing (see Tuesday)

I did get to see some fireworks though. 🙂

Fireworks at Lake Eola

Fireworks at Lake Eola

Saturday / Long Run (10 mi)

Saturday’s run was another “on your own” run. Our group got together with another training group and we had a run from our group leader’s house followed by a potluck breakfast. After running 16 miles the previous week, I was overconfident for these 10 miles.

We started a little later than usual (6 am) and it wasn’t long before I was sweating terribly. The neighborhood we were running in didn’t have a lot of shade and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I thought I was going to die.

I cursed myself for only eating a peanut butter protein bite before the run. I could feel the energy being zapped out of me.

I’m still not quite sure how me and my training partner managed to finish the run, but we did.

  • Distance: 10.42
  • Time: 02:16:19
  • Avg. Pace: 13:05/mi

Breakfast afterwards was yummy and full of laughs. Afterwards, some of us headed over to the pool. I couldn’t help but shake my head at the clouds that now seemed to be plentiful in the sky.

Cross-training

I did an hour of yoga on Friday. It was amazing.

Week 6:

Tuesday / Track 

Tuesday we did three sets of ladders (800, 600, 400). I was also attacked by a frog. Well, I actually stepped on it. But that was the second frog I had stepped on in a week. I am starting to feel like word has gotten around that I will assist in  froggy suicide.

Also, I forgot my borrowed Garmin so I just ran as fast as my body felt comfortable doing so.

Thursday / Hills (5 mi)

I use the term “hills” very loosely. Those of you that actually have hills might call what we have “a slight incline in elevation.”

I forgot to hit the start button on my watch until we were over halfway through our first mile.

  • Distance: 4.70
  • Time: 58:41.73
  • Avg Pace: 12:28/mi

Saturday / Long Run (18 mi)

Remember how I said that these last two weeks were crazy busy? Well this past weekend was the craziest part.

Friday night I left my job at 5:15 PM and did the following:

  • Picked up dinner from my favorite Thai place in Winter Park – Siam Garden
  • Dropped dinner off at my house
  • Picked up my friend Rox
  • Drove to Mall of Millenia to pick up a little something for the girls and the future bride
  • Went to Total Wine and picked up weekend supplies for the bachelorette party
  • Hit up Dick’s Sporting Goods for energy chews
  • Dropped Rox off
  • Went to Publix and picked up snacks for the weekend
  • Went home and washed running clothes
  • Ate dinner
  • Went to bed

All by 11 o’clock. Not. Too. Shabby. And just a few hours later I was up at 3:15 AM for a 4 AM start time.

All week I had psyched myself out for this run. Running 18 miles can go good … or it can go bad. Since my 16 miler a couple of weeks earlier had gone so well, I just assumed this run would be horrific. People don’t get two good long runs back-to-back, right?

It ended up being quite the opposite. Those 18 miles seem to fly by. In between all of the laughter and the jokes, I almost forgot I was running! Runs like Saturday’s are why I run. Run’s like the previous Saturday’s run are why I think I’m crazy.

Everyone credited my oatmeal and egg pancakes for my delightful mood. Not me. I think I was just so happy to be running and not thinking.

  • Distance: 18 mi
  • Time: 04:11:52
  • Avg Pace: 13:59/mi

Afterwards I grabbed some breakfast with the group then headed home to get ready for a weekend at St. Pete Beach with my little Sister that’s getting married in just a few weeks. How I lasted until until almost midnight with the ladies is beyond me.

Sister, sister.

Sister, sister.

Cross-Training:

None. But I did stay at work late every night working. Does that count for something?

How do you fight fatigue when training for a marathon?

Chicago Marathon Training | Week Three

24 Jun

Usually when I start training for a race, the first two weeks are spent getting my body adjusted to the training and the third week is about the time my body starts to complain to me about it. This week was no exception and my body certainly got the message across to me.

Week 3:

Tuesday / Track

Tuesday morning I woke up on my couch disoriented and in a little bit of pain. I hate falling asleep on the couch because of what it does to my back. Alas, my husband was out of town so he couldn’t wake me up and drag me to bed like he normally does. Yes, I’m like a child. Anyhow, I’m going to add “sleep in bed” to my list of how to train for a marathon properly.

In my bewildered state I seriously considered texting my training partners and letting them know I was a failure skipping track,but I somehow decided against it. I rolled out of bed off the couch, brushed my teeth, washed my face, threw on my running clothes and was out of my front door before I could talk myself out of it. I arrived to the track just in time to hear our workout.

Our workout was to run two or three sets of 1200, 800, 400. In other words, run three laps at 10k pace, jog/walk half a lap for recovery, run two laps at 10k pace, jog/walk half a lap for recovery, run one lap at 5k pace, rest for a few minutes, shoot yourself repeat. Since we’re only three weeks into our training, I chose to do just two sets.

  • 1200/1: 07:24.52 / 09:29/mi
  • 800/1: 05:00.97 / 09:37/mi
  • 400/1: 02:20.52 / 08:56/mi
  • 1200/2: 07:20.80 / 09:26/mi
  • 800/2: 04:55.07 / 09:22/mi
  • 400/2: 02:22.80 / 09:09/mi

While running laps I don’t tend to check my watch much; I just listen to my body. I tell myself that at 10k pace I should be able to talk but with a little difficulty, and at 5k pace I should only be able to get a few curse words out here and there. It’s interesting to see how that lines up. Since I just recently ran a trial 5k at a 10:13/mi pace, it looks like I’m running these laps a little fast. Oops!

Thursday / Hills (3 mi)

Since my week had been so busy, I didn’t have time to properly roll my lower back or stretch it out. By Thursday morning my back pain had grown, but was still bearable. I went ahead with our hill workout.

Anyone that has true hills would likely scoff at our “hill” workouts. Really it’s not a hill … It’s a nearby neighborhood with a killer incline. You may scoff however you like. It still hurt. And, well … I hurt.

  • Distance: 3.03 mi
  • Time: 34:41.74
  • Avg Pace: 11:28/mi

Afterwards I came home to stretch, stretch, stretch.

Saturday / Long Run (14 mi)

I don’t have many good things to say about Saturday’s run. I was late to the start and was lucky to catch my group as they were headed out. It was hot and humid and I was in pain … a lot of it. I had foolishly decided to run despite my back pain.

Essentially, if I ran with perfect form I was fine. But any time I leaned a little bit too far forward or backward, pain would shoot up my back or down my left leg, giving me a slight jerk to the body. Early in the run I was able to maintain good form, but as my body got tired that changed. Before I knew it I was grunting in pain and body jerking every minute. I remember realizing we were only halfway through the run and wanting to cry.

Surprisingly I was able to get through the run, but I gave myself a lecture later. It’s that stubbornness that can cause an injury that can sideline me for weeks and I need to listen to my body, especially this early in my training.

After the run we got ice pops. That was the best damn ice pop ever.

  • Distance: 14.00 mi
  • Time: 03:04:12
  • Avg Pace: 13:09/mi

Cross Training

The back pain threw me off this week. I did do some squats after Tuesday and Thursday’s run and did some strength training for my hips. On Sunday I took a short bicycle ride to get lunch and I took the dogs on some extra long walks this week. Otherwise, I spent most of my time stretching and rolling and getting Icy Hot rub downs. Mmmm… I love smelling like Icy Hot. 😉

My back is feeling a little better today, but I’m going to swap tomorrow’s track workout for an easy run. My goal is to have my back back to normal before Saturday’s long run.

Have you ever trained through your injury? Was it worth it? 

Inside Out

20 Jun

insideout

When I’m this tired, I can’t be bothered with little things like trying to figure out which way my shirt goes on.

Oddly enough, it seems I’m creating quite the habit of putting on my running clothes inside out. Does this happen to anyone else? Or am I just “special”?

Never Let a Roll of the Dice Decide Your Fate

4 Sep

Magic eight.

Eight is the number that was rolled last Thursday morning as we sat at the foot of a small Florida hill (technically some might call it an “incline”). To my chagrin, we did not roll a snake eyes.

What were we doing with a pair of dice on one of our morning runs? We certainly weren’t playing any board games.

It seems that I cannot miss any morning runs, because when I do, I come back to hear preposterous ideas like “Hey, let’s let the roll of the dice decide how many hill repeats we should do on Thursday mornings!”

And then something even more preposterous happens like an eight is rolled. Magic eight. *Sigh*

So eight times up, and eight times down we went.

Here’s how the experience looked in my head:

  • Hill Repeat #1: Alright let’s do this.
  • Hill Repeat #2: Good God! We’re only on the second repeat? There’s no way I can do this!
  • Hill Repeat #3: Hey, whose idea was this?
  • Hill Repeat #4: Seriously, whose ideas was this??
  • Hill Repeat #5: That was only halfway?
  • Hill Repeat #6: Wait, what repeat are we on?
  • Hill Repeat #7: (cursing starts) @#%#$!
  • Hill Repeat #8: You can do this. You can do this. You can do this.

Here’s how the experience looked via my friend’s tracking device:

Count the peaks and weep with me: 8

Needless to say, I’m very sorry that I’m going to be on vacation this week and unable to join this Thursday’s AM run…

Do you ever play games to get you through your runs? 

Whose Idea Was This?

19 Feb

Me, at the top of a Clermont hill.

That’s mainly what I was asking myself at the top of the hill in this photo.

You see, our training schedule for the Flying Pig Marathon called for a 10-mile long run yesterday on hills, which our group ran in semi-hilly Apopka. But then someone suggested we also run seven or so miles in much more hillier Clermont this morning. I’m not sure whose idea this was, but I know it wasn’t mine and I think it was a horrible idea.

Our Apopka hill run yesterday morning ended up being just under nine miles, which was fine by me. It was a muggy morning and I spent most of it thinking about coffee and breakfast.

Our group has started to name our runs. One of our group leaders, Sue, is particularly talented at this and I think she hit it right on the nail when she dubbed our run The Apopka Run featuring Ganja. This was prompted from an impromptu turn down a new street at the end of our run, which resulted in us catching a whiff of some pot being smoked in the wee hours of the morning. This likely did not help my munchies.

Here are stats from the run:

  • Distance: 8.74 miles
  • Time: 1:51:55
  • Avg Pace: 12:48/mile
  • 5:1 intervals

Fast forward to this morning. I had contemplated skipping the Clermont hill run, mainly because I thought it was ludicrous to run two days of hills in a row. However, after last week’s Fail Hill run, I wanted a second chance at it. So, I begrudgingly dragged myself out of bed this morning, threw on some running clothes and drove out to Clermont. Let’s just say that my disposition this morning was not quite as sunny as yesterday’s.

I have no official stats to share because I forgot my watch. But I can tell you this:

  • Distance: somewhere over 7 miles
  • Time: forever
  • Avg Pace: snail-like
  • 5:1 intervals plus extra walk breaks thrown in for good measure (and survival)

Clermont apparently did not get the memo that Florida does not have hills. And to my dismay, the Clermont hills were brutal. At least it gave us a nice change of scenery and I got to get some fun pics along the way:

Going downhill

BP water break

My view when I turned around going uphill

Had to get a pic of the lake

Because every front yard should have a lion statue

I'm not scurred

I skipped breakfast at Cracker Barrel after our run, opting for a Starbucks breakfast on the rode and a long shower instead. And then I napped, which I rarely do mid-day. It’s been hours and I’m still wiped out.

What’s your favorite (or least favorite) hill run?

Fail Hill

14 Feb

Since I missed Saturday’s run to make an airport drop, I decided to run a 7.7 mile course in hilly Clermont early Sunday morning.

When I woke  up it was a chilly 36 degrees and it felt like 27 degrees. It took us almost an hour to get to our meeting spot in Clermont and when we got there saw that it was even colder there. Brrr…

Our small group of Marathonfest runners utilized layers to the max. I myself wore running tights, a singlet, my long-sleeved Disney marathon shirt, a pullover, a ski cap and gloves. I was still freezing.

For me, getting out in the cold is the hardest part of a cold run. Once I warm up after a few minutes, it’s usually great from there. I thought this would be one of those mornings.

Unfortunately halfway into our first mile, I started to feel dull cramps. By the end of the mile, my cramps had gotten worse. I realized that if I ran to far and the pain became unbearable (which is often the case for me), I would be stuck walking over three miles in the freezing cold to the car. I finally spoke up.

There were only three of us on the run from our group: me and my two group leaders Sue and Emily, both of whom had run 14 miles the morning before.  When I mentioned my concerns, they quickly agreed to call it a run and go get some warm coffee and breakfast instead. I felt bad, but I knew I was better off playing it safe. Sue captured the great pic above of me and Emily surrendering and heading back to our cars. What group support!

As we drove to breakfast I thought to myself, “So long hills of Clermont, til we meet again!”

I ended up walking back into my house around 9:30 AM, and after breakfast, coffee and Advil my pain had subsided. I felt up to running again but didn’t want to commit to a longer distance since I didn’t know how my body would react.  I decided to see how fast I could run a 5k.

My fastest 5k PR is somewhere just under 31 minutes, but that was a couple of years ago when I was running shorter distances at faster speeds (for me that is). Since then my 5k times have increased to the 34 minute region, so I’ve been working on cutting that down again.

Sunday’s self-imposed 5k time trial brought me in at 31:32.64. I managed to maintain an average of 10:10/mile and it felt good!

With good time spent with friends over breakfast and a encouraging 5k trial time, it looks like Sunday’s run wasn’t such a fail after all. And I very much look forward to returning to Clermont for some serious hill running in the near future!

When was the last time an ailment stopped you mid-run?

Hills, Groundhogs and the Most Inspiring Video

2 Feb

In the efforts of working on both my speed and strength, I’ve decided to rejoin the Marathonfest Thursday morning training sessions. I’ve been running with the ladies Tuesdays and Thursdays, but decided I could benefit from the Thursday hill and tempo workouts. The good news is, I can still join them for coffee afterwards (which I did this morning).

My goal for this morning was to run the 3.4-mile loop with hill repeats without taking any walk intervals. I was able to accomplish this goal. Since I remembered to bring my borrowed Garmin this morning, I actually have stats:

  • Distance: 3.34 miles
  • Time: 37:15.71
  • Avg Pace: 11:09/mi

Back when I trained for my half marathons, I would average around a 10:45/mi pace for shorter runs and 11:18/mi for the half marathon. My Disney Marathon pace was 13:22/mi and I hope to get that down to at least 12:00/mi for Flying Pig.

Going up hills you can usually find me muttering to myself. I tend say things like “dig deep” and “you can do this” and my favorite: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This was one of the bible verses my mom had us say before bed every night growing up and it’s always stuck with me. This morning was no exception. Unfortunately, you can usually also hear curse words flying out of my mouth during tough runs. I tend to have the mouth of a sailor. I try my hardest not to curse around the bible verse.

When I got home this morning I saw that a friend had posted this video. Watch it and tell me you don’t get the chills watching it. Tell me your whole being didn’t get excited at the end. Tell me you weren’t inspired. I think I actually clapped at the end and shouted. My dogs must think I’m weird (thought they have no room to judge).

And today’s Groundhog Day. For those of you in the colder regions, I hope the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow!

How did you feel when you watched the video I link to above?