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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? 

Chicago Marathon Training | Two Weeks In

17 Jun

In February I posted that I had lost my mind (aka signed up for another marathon). I suppose the decision to run another marathon must be very similar to deciding you want to have another child; eventually enough time passes where you forget how much you suffered and only remember the highlights of the experience and you decide to do it again. So here I am, in the midst of a very steamy and sticky Florida summer, two weeks into my training for the 2013 Chicago Marathon. Here’s how training has gone thus far …

Week 1:

Tuesday / Track

Tuesday morning I stepped back onto the track for the first time in quite a while. In the spirit of properly training for this race, I agreed to step back onto this round circle of death, but did so very tentatively. To welcome me back, the weather made sure it was extra hot and muggy for the special occasion. Our workout was 1200’s at race pace. In normal people terms: run three times around the track without burning out before you finish and do so without falling, tripping, and becoming a speed bump to other runners.

Against my better judgement, I agreed to run four sets with my running buddies and we took off. I can proudly say that none of us became human speed bumps. And our pace was pretty much on point. I think there was a point during our third set where I got tired and started to curse a lot in my head, but somehow I managed to clean up my language and get back on pace:

  • 1200/1: 07:46.59/09:53/mi
  • 1200/2: 07:45.05/09:51/mi
  • 1200/3: 08:04.75/10:21/mi
  • 1200/4: 07:47.94/09:54/mi

Afterwards I stretched the hell out of our legs. I will not have IT issues … I will not have IT issues … I will not have IT issues.

On a side note, running track caught up to me at work. I had to have a cup of black coffee in the afternoon to pep me up.

Thursday / Tempo Sleep 

There was torrential downpour when I woke up for my run. So naturally I went back to bed.

Sunday / Long Run (10 mi)

I couldn’t make Saturday’s first long run of the summer/fall session with my training group, so one of my running buddies offered to run with me on Sunday instead. It had been a while since either of us last ran 10 miles so we were both nervous that we wouldn’t be able to make it the full distance. However, I think our brains were so happy to not be running circles around the track, that we actually enjoyed the run! As usual for our long runs, we ran intervals (run five minutes/walk one minute).

Here’s how we did:

  • Distance: 10.01 mi
  • Time: 02:09.03
  • Avg Pace: 12:53/mi

I didn’t get any cross-training or yoga in, but I did ride my bicycle to a nearby bar and had to drag my dogs through the rain a lot. That counts, right?

Week 2:

Tuesday / Track

I seriously considered bailing on Tuesday track, but decided it was way too early in my training to start such shenanigans. Instead I dragged myself out of bed.

The workout was almost as bad as the prior week’s track workout. We had to run 2 to 4 sets of 1200 at 10k pace followed by 400 at 5k pace. In other words, run around the track three times, walk half the track, then run around once a little faster.

Again, against my better judgement, I agreed to do three sets with my running buddies. Realistically I thought I should start with just two sets since I was still rusty to the track. You can see me getting tired on the third set:

  • 1200/1: 07:38.42/09:42/mi
  • 400/1: 02:13.25/08:34/mi
  • 1200/2: 07:33.12/09:38/mi
  • 400/2: 02:18.91/08:52/mi
  • 1200/3: 07:38.03/09:45/mi
  • 400/3: 02:27.20/09:29/mi

The only reason the pace for the last 400 was any faster than the 1200 was because I sprinted at the end. As my friend Beth refers to it, I wanted to get off that hell train.

Thursday / 5k Time Trial

Thursday was hot. And muggy. And hot. It was like running a 5k in a sauna. But knowing your 5k pace is a good start to figuring out your marathon pace so I did it.

There was a brief moment at the start where I suddenly couldn’t remember if I had restarted my watch or just continued it from an old run so I had to try to figure that out. Since it was so dark, I had to run over to a light and it probably took about 10 seconds to see that I had in fact started my run fresh and could carry on with my 5k. Argh.

Since it was so hot, and we were running without intervals, there wasn’t much talking between myself and my running bud. There were, however, occasional grunts and curses that allowed us to know that the other was still alive and equally hating this as much as we were.

  • Distance: 3.14 mi
  • Time: 32:07.90
  • Avg Pace: 10:13/mi

Our time put us right in range for a 5:30 marathon, which is our goal so that made us both super happy. What would make me happier is less humidity.

Saturday / Long Run (12 mi)

Saturday I had to take my boo to the airport before my long run so lucky me got an extra early 3:45 AM wake-up call. An hour and half, one egg-and-oatmeal pancake and a coffee later, I was happy to be taking off with the old crew for twelve miles.

Our run went much better than expected. It was hot, but in comparison to the workouts earlier in the week, running intervals seemed so much easier. We played a fun game of “we need to find a bathroom” mid-run and encountered peacocks on the roof of a house.

  • Distance: 12 mi
  • Time: 02:43:07
  • Avg Pace: 13:35/mi

After the run a fellow runner kindly offered us some ice-cold chocolate milk. Chocolate milk is the best recovery drink and at first it sounded and tasted like a good idea. But for a girl that hasn’t had a glass of milk in quite some time, it turned into a bad idea. Oh well… it was a nice reminder that dairy is the devil. Or at least that’s what I will tell myself the next time someone offers me some delicious ice-cold chocolate milk.

Again, I got in no cross-training. But I did go to the mall with my mom and my sister to look for a special dress for my Sis. Again… that has to count for something, right?

So far I’m feeling pretty good and I’m looking forward to week three of Chicago Marathon training. This week is a another super busy week for me, but I’m going to make an extra effort to fit in two yoga sessions. And I’m going to try to curse less during the track workout. Wish me luck on that one. 😉

First Long Run

4 Feb

It’s been a while since I’ve been on a run that was longer than 5 miles. In fact, I think my last looong run was the Orlando Half Marathon in December. Saturday would be my first long run in 2013.

On Saturday morning I woke up at 4:45 AM and headed out to our meeting spot for 10 9 miles. I was a bit rusty on the prepping for a long run, and was running around my house frantically trying to charge my borrowed Garmin for 5 minutes, find my gloves, fill my water bottle, etc. I almost forgot to eat something, but thankfully grabbed a banana on my way out the door.

As soon as I walked out my front door I knew I needed another layer. But cutting it close on time, I decided to not turn around and convinced myself that I would warm up with the run. Plus, I had found my gloves, which are key to keeping warm.

I got to our meet-up spot feeling proud of myself for actually being a couple minutes early. I jumped out of my car and immediately started to hear jokes from the ladies on my timeliness. I laughed knowing I fully deserved all the jokes, while I struggled to find my zipper in the back of my running tights for my key.

Finally I turned around and asked the ladies if they could see my zipper and they both said, “No.” It suddenly occurred to me that my tights could be on backwards, so I checked my abdomen to see if the zipper was on the front side. Nope. Finally I stuck my hands down the back of my pants and there was my zipper. I had put my tights on inside out. Doh!

As the ladies stood there laughing at my inability to dress myself before a cup of coffee, I ran back into my car (which thankfully is roomy and has dark tinted windows) and redressed myself correctly.

Lesson Learned: Being on time for morning runs is not worth it if you have to redress yourself in the car when you get there. This can be timely, especially when wearing tights.

We set off for 10 miles, with some interesting twists to our usual routes. Because one of us was running the Lady Track Shack 5k that morning, we were running about 6 miles together before running Em to the start of the race.

The miles surprisingly came easily, but I think that’s because I was so cold. Running was the only thing keeping me warm, so for once I was looking forward to the beep at the end of our walk breaks.

Before I knew it, we were dropping off Em near the start line. Sue, who is the adventurous type, suggested we continue running towards the back of the start line (where the finish line was) and walk the trail through Mead Garden that would lead us back to the road we needed to be on. This route will now be deemed as “Sue’s Nature Hike.”

Our short hike was beautiful. We passed a little brook and even crossed a tiny bridge:

On Sue's Nature Hike

On Sue’s Nature Hike route through Mead Garden

I could’ve hiked through there forever if not for the fact that walking was causing my body to cool and being cold only made me want coffee. Alas, we made it to the gate where we could leave this oasis and finish our run so that I could drink said coffee, when we encountered a problem: the gate was locked.

Panic went through my head. The last time I climbed a fence this tall I was nearly arrested (we were in high school and we climbed over an airport fence… oh how naive we were pre-9/11). There was no way I could hoist myself up now. I made a note to start doing push-ups in case I ever need to climb a fence again, whilst running away from zombies or something (I watch too much Walking Dead).

Beth, who originates from the Garden State, suggested that we walk down length of the fence to see if there was any other way to escape get out. As we neared a clearing, Beth noted that the gate had enough space underneath for us to crawl under. I was freezing at this point and considering the option when she tested the gate to see if it too was locked and the gate swung wide open. Hoorah!

There was a police officer on the other side of the gate watching the entirety of this unfold with amusement. He was manning the 5k, which was yet to start, so he had some time to watch us. Can you imagine if we had all crawled under that gate just to find out that it was unlocked?? Ha ha ha ha …

We set off to warm up complete our run. A few minutes later I took a short walk break to observe this beautiful site:

This warrants a short walk break for observation.

This warrants a short walk break for observation.

Watching the sun rise is always one of my favorite parts of running in the morning!

Three of us opted to cut our run short so that we could get coffee in our systems STAT. Hence, our 10-miler became a 9-miler. A glorious and adventurous 9-miler at that. 🙂

Do you ever find yourself with your clothes on backwards before that cup of morning coffee?

Running Dinky

12 Nov

Until yesterday, I cannot remember the last time I did a long run by myself. No water support, no friends, no mapped out run. Just me, my little water bottle, and my memory to recall my route.

In training for the quickly approaching Orlando Half Marathon, I was scheduled to run seven miles on Saturday morning, but I woke up late and with a hankering for pumpkin pancakes. Rather than fret, I pushed my long run to Sunday and got started on some deliciousness.

Sunday morning I got a little bit later start than I preferred. I woke up around 8:30 AM, ate half of an apple with some peanut butter and sat down at my computer to map my run. I visited my old friend www.gmap-pedometer.com and stared at my screen. Since we recently moved to a new part of town, all of my old long run routes no longer worked so I had to think, which without coffee doesn’t happen easily.

I recalled a recent conversation I had with a new friend about the new Orlando Urban Trail. When they inaugurated the trail to the community with a free 5k, I was struggling with an injury and not running (or even walking much for that matter). Then with time I forgot about it. Since then, every time I’ve driven down Virginia and saw the crossing, I have said to myself, “Oh yeah… I want to run this trail!” And then I forget again.

This time I remembered to add the Dinky Line portion of the trail to my route. I looked at my route, tried my darndest to remember my turns and headed out the door around 9:30 AM.

I’m happy I remembered to apply sunscreen and grab my sunglasses before I left, because the first thing I noticed were the clear blue skies and the bright sun. I’m so used to running before the sun comes up or as it’s setting that I sometimes forget how frustrating running while looking straight into the sun can be.

On my way to the start of the Orlando Urban Trail, I noticed this:

I silently judge election candidates whose signs still clutter our streets.

Yep, I totally silently judged each of those candidates for leaving their signs up.

A mile later I arrived at the trail:

A map of the Orlando Urban Trail and how to get to nearby trails

I love any excuse to run over a bridge

You know you’re running in FL when you spot a gator on your runs

Crossing Virginia. Made a detour to the left to buy water at the 7-Eleven.

Learning about the Dinky Line

Behind Lake Highland Prep … Check out that Orlando skyline… Ha!

I’m not sure if I missed the other water fountains or what, but it wasn’t until I hit the Lake Highland Prep portion of the train until I noticed the first water fountain. Since I had already bought a bottle of water at the 7-Eleven on Virginia, I kept running.

I jumped off the trail shortly after and started to head back home around Lake Ivanhoe:

Ducks chillin’ on Lake Ivanhoe

A view of the Orlando skyline from Lake Ivanhoe

I used to live in the pink apartments off Lake Ivanhoe and that was my view walking the dogs in the AM. Not too shabby eh?

I had started my run doing 5:1 (run five minutes, walk one minute), but around mile five of my run the sun started to get to me and I started to take a few unplanned 30-second walk breaks when I thought I needed it. By mile six, I was doing more walking then running, but at this point I had to get home. I made a mental note to start my long runs by 6 AM. I’m pretty sure I’ve made this mental note before. Eh, what can I say? Sometimes I need to be reminded of things.

There’s a drugstore store near my house so I stopped in and grabbed one of these:

Chocolate milk is perfect for your post-run fuel.

The cashier asked me how far I had run and I told him seven miles, but the last mile had been more walking then running. He laughed and said that even six miles was six miles more than he ran. We chatted briefly about his days of running with the Army and how he had hated the bland food but it had been perfect for all that running. I laughed again, knowing how true that statement is. When he said he wanted to get back into running I told him that I had started by just running light post to light post and wished him luck. I left that drugstore feeling a little bit better about my run.

I came home and had myself a nice, long stretch while drinking my chocolate milk and trying to avoid Rex’s kisses. I tell you what, that pug has no respect for personal space. 🙂

I stretched. Rex tried to lick my face.

Overall, I loved running on the Orlando Urban Trail. It was nice to only have to keep your eyes peeled for oncoming cyclists, which I much prefer to oncoming cars. There were some nice views along the way (lakes, and gators and skylines, oh my) and my legs appreciated a break from either running slanted on the side of the street or running down a brick road. I will gladly run on this trail during daylight hours. However, I would not recommend running by yourself while the sun is down… too many nooks and crannies to disappear into.

Have you run on the Orlando Urban Trail? What did you think?

Dance Marathon

29 Apr

Saturday morning I ran ten miles. According to my right IT band, that was about four miles too many.

I woke up at the awful hour of 4:30 AM, tossed on my running clothes and headed to the kitchen for a quick pre-run breakfast. Due to a lack of planning, here’s what I ended up with:

The Real Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast pretty much went like this: one bite of banana followed with a lick of peanut butter from a spoon and repeat. I learned this nasty (yet delicious) habit from my gluten-sensitive boyfriend, who gave up bread late last year. The fortune cookie was not a part of my breakfast, rather it was remnants of my pre-run dinner, chicken lo mein.

Our group was extra small this week (there were only three of us). We took off on a 10-mile loop.

Less than five miles into the run, I started to feel that familiar IT band nagging me. Around mile six I tightened the straps on my knee (I had two IT straps on one leg). That surprisingly relieved the pain for a mile or two. I managed to make it the entire 10 miles, but not without wondering how in the world I could do another 16.2 miles like that.

Here are the stats from our run:

  • Distance: 10 miles
  • Time: 02:10:13
  • Avg Pace: 13:01/mile

I’m going to stick to strength training and yoga for taper this week and rest my leg. I’m also going to ice my leg three times a day, and foam roll my legs and hips twice a day. In fact, I’m icing as I type. My leg is mighty chilly.

Healing feels like a full-time job sometimes. Let’s hope this does the trick, or I may have to reconsider switching to the half marathon, which I really don’t want to do.

Last week a friend sent me a link to the video below. Not long afterwards, I tried to dance walk across 17-92 on our way to get coffee. However, I stopped when my co-workers shunned me. I’m now considering dance walking (or running) all 26.2 miles of the Flying Pig Marathon.

A Letter to My IT Band

29 Apr

Dear IT Band,

I ask you to please quit playing games with my heart. One day (Thursday) we’re all buddy buddy and I think we’re getting along just fine and we might just have a beautiful friendship after all and then two days later (Saturday) you’re being a bitch again.

I prefer the good ol’ days when we used to run the streets in glee. When together we would conquer our mileage, one step at a time. The days when we would skip off into the sunset laughing. Where did those days go? How do we go back to that?

I hope that we can work out whatever it is that is causing this tension between us. I miss us.

Best Regards,

Hemarie

Gettin’ My Run/Yoga On

21 Apr

Sweatin’ pretty… I’ve been doing a lot of it lately. Special thanks to this lovely summer-time Florida weather and a big shout out to yoga.

Yesterday I woke up just before the sun rose to set up for yoga in our Florida room. It was dark, and perfect for getting focused.

Don’t worry, the sun rose in time for all the good stuff.

I was feeling great and super focused… until the wonderful aroma of brewing coffee wafted towards me. After that, all I could think about was getting my hands on a cup of joe. Mental note: Ask my boo to hold off on the coffee brewing until I’m done.

This morning I woke up late, so breakfast was just a banana and some peanut butter. I walked outside and was happy to see that it hadn’t started to rain like my weather app was forecasting. In fact, it never did rain. But the day has looked pretty ominous, like we’re on the verge of a storm.

My first run back started off well. It was muggy, but a good breeze kept us from being too hot.

Around mile seven I felt that good ol’ familiar IT band twinge in my right knee, so decided to run back to the car before running became painful. One of my group leaders, Sue, was out riding her bike as support so she rode it in with me.

Sue was riding her bike because she’s running a 12-hour ultra tonight. You gotta love her. To me, she has the perfect combination of wit, smartass, intelligence and crazy. Yes… crazy. You have to be crazy to want to run 12 hours through the night. Occasionally I have crazy moments where I tell Sue I’ll run an ultra with her one day. One day I hope that crazy sticks long enough for me to actually do it.

After the run we had some breakfast then me and fellow runner Erica headed off to meet up with Carolina from Peas in a Blog, who invited me to a donation-only yoga class being offered on Rollins campus by the Rollins Yoga Club. They were raising money for Water Project, a non-profit organization that builds wells and provides clean water to under-privileged villages. Full Circle Yoga instructor Rob Hefele led the outdoor class.

I loved yoga on the grass. It was perfect with Earth Day being tomorrow.

Nature's Yoga Studio

Yoga outdoors

Rob moved us through a series of positions and moves that kept my muscles guessing and stretching. The flow was faster than I’m generally used to, but loved it! And every time we would love over our shoulder to the “back of the class” this is what we saw:

Rollins Campus

Beautiful!

Technically, for the first half of the class we saw the Rollins lacrosse team pulling weights and doing sprints and such, but they eventually cleared the field for a more peaceful experience.

Note to self – when doing yoga outside please remember the following:

  • A towel to lay yoga mat on so that it doesn’t get too wet if the grass is dewy.
  • Don’t take shoes off until you are stepped fully on the mat. Otherwise you will have to wipe your feet off with your dirty socks because you forgot a towel too.

After winning a spa raffle (what??? I never win anything) and a jaunt down Park Ave. back to our cars, I was ready for a shower. Freshly clean and belly full, I’ve spent the last several hours icing and compressing my poor leg.

On my next run, I’m going to run with my new NB Minimus shoes. What if all of this is just a sign that I should’ve already done the switch, rather than waiting until after Flying Pig Marathon? Eek!

In Sue’s words, “Won’t you feel stupid if you went through all this pain and you just needed new shoes?” Why yes, Sue, yes I would. Let’s hope that’s the problem and I’m back to running strong in no time. 🙂

Do you have any special plans for Earth Day tomorrow?

It crept up on me again this year and it’s going to be rainy all day. I’m blank on ideas.