Tag Archives: half marathon training

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?


Training for a Half Marathon in One Month

28 Nov

This past August I was feeling highly optimistic that all ailments had healed and I would be back to training in no time. So I signed up for the Orlando Half Marathon. Then life happened: D asked me to marry him and we were sucked into the whirlwind that is celebrating and wedding planning. And when I did finally get around to start training in October, I soon developed a sharp pain in my left heel that once again halted my running.

So there I was at the end of October wondering if I could manage to train for a half marathon in a month. I referenced an old Hal Higdon training program that I used for my second half marathon and started to make modifications. Mainly, I know that my body can run three days per week when ramping up my mileage, so I modified the schedule to only three runs per week.

Also, while I planned to work in two yoga sessions per week, I didn’t schedule them. I just fit them in when my schedule allowed. I took special care in really listening to my body. With only one month to train I focused on keeping my muscles stretched and strong.

This is what my modified half marathon training looked like:

My “train-for-a-half-marathon-in-only-one-month” calendar. Modified from the Hal Higdon training plan.

I also bought myself a new pair of running shoes. I had been running in New Balance Minimus shoes (trail) and knew I couldn’t ramp up my mileage in shoes like that. So I bought a pair of Nike Frees:

My Nike Free running shoes… bright as the sun.

The Nike Free was my first step towards minimal shoes and I had zero problems running in these. I decided maybe it was time to go back. I got these on sale and they are horribly bright (and that’s coming from a girl that likes neon). At least I think cars can see me coming from a mile away! They’ve been great to me.

Somehow I managed to stick to my training schedule for an entire month and still feel good! On Saturday, I ran my last long run. It was scheduled to be a 9-miler, but it turned out being about 9.5 miles. I’m hoping that race day adrenaline will take me the extra four miles.

Saturday was a gorgeous morning to go for a run and I was encouraged by how good I felt. I won’t be breaking any records this half, but I will be running injury free!

My terribly bright neon shoes in action

Best part of running in the AM is getting to see the sun rise.

I made sure to take in the fall decorations one last time before they’re replaced with Christmas lights

Afterwards I came home and spent 30 minutes holding yoga stretches. My dogs seemed to have gotten confused and thought it was petting time. Here’s me trying to get down into a pigeon pose but being blocked by two pugs waiting for a back scratch:

Pugs were clearly confused

Now I’m officially in taper which means yesterday AM’s run was short and sweet. Only three days left until the half. Look out Orlando Half… Here I come!

Have you ever trained for a race in a short span of time? How did you do?

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?