Running October 23-November 25

My whatever works plan is still going strong.

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Unfortunately, a side effect is that I am less motivated to post my meager running online. But I figure it’s good to check-in and evaluate where I’m at.

Basically, I am running 4-5 times a week with easy runs, intervals, and long runs as the fancy strikes me. The long runs are obviously limited to the weekend, but otherwise it’s a matter of whether I get up in time in the morning to get a run in.

11/20/2017 – 11/26/2017: 13.4 mi
11/13/2017 – 11/19/2017: 27.5 mi
11/6/2017 – 11/12/2017: 23.4 mi
10/30/2017 – 11/5/2017: 24.1 mi
10/23/2017 – 10/29/2017:  22.8 mi

I’m still sub-30 per week, but given my schedule, I don’t think I could do more. I can’t even remember how I managed 50 mile weeks. I guess I was spending more time running than I even realized. I also commute 35 minutes to Uni 2-3 times a week, so some cardio, and therefore conditioning, is being done on bike.

I do think longer running is in my future (perhaps even a half-marathon/marathon combo in April). But for now,  I’m satisfied with this.

If only I wouldn’t have been so stupid to try and carry my bike up and down stairs after a tempo run on Tuesday. I’ve been feeling some kind of runner’s knee since then, and the combination of knee-cap pain and rain means I’m not doing a long run today as originally planned. I had actually even signed-up for a meet-up (a kind of social network for organizing meetings for people with like interests- in my case: running) that I’ve done once before and took me on new paths in a forest I’ve been running in for years. But there will be more meetups in the future and I do want to take a few days off now, versus having a longer layoff. Even if I’m not running a lot, the runs I do are super helpful for relieving stress and anxiety and so I have to be careful with how I dose my medicine!

Hope your running is going well— and if not, optimistically think that life is long and the days/weeks/months spent not running are still a short time in the long-run.

Cheers, Dorothea

 

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Running Log: October 16-22, in which I run a race

This was a good week as far as running goes.

Remember how I mentioned that the races I signed up for got cancelled? Well, only one of them did. The other race was re-imagined by the Berliner running club who were putting it on and I decided to do it, despite it not being at all what I had signed up for. Rather than setting up the course in the forest as they originally were going to, they set up on a track. A dirt track. And rather than having hills and roots to watch out for, they set up mini-hurdles.

I considered the boredom of running in a loop, as well as the small participation, a challenge. There were about 35 people doing the 30-minute and the 60-minute together, but only 12 of us were doing the full hour. But they did have music and the timer on the track meant I’d get to know how fast I was running each lap.

It was an hour long race, the first of its kind I’ve ever done. I’ve had my own hour-long attempts- trying to see how much I can get done in the hour I had allotted, for example, but never a race where the time was measured and it was up to me to see how much I could get done in that time.

Turns out, it’s a tad above 13 kilometers: 97 meters more. This comes out to a 7:21 mpm average pace. At least, that’s my ability with my current fitness.

I went in with a goal of 8 miles, which is a 7:30 pace and I felt it was doable, since I’ve been running pretty consistently at 8:15 to 8:30 as an easy pace and the 800s in 3:20, so 7:30 was modest. This meant I was actually hoping (and going for) over 8 miles.

I managed to be a newbie and start off too fast: 1:36 for the first lap. But I settled down a bit and got 3:22 for the first 800 and 22:15 for the first 5k. But I also made the mistake of paying attention to the pace my GPS watch was showing and not the actual time, and of course the pace was based on distance and my GPS overcalculated distance (as it is wont to do on a track), so I thought I was going 7 minute pace the whole time, when really it was the 7:20 I ended up with.

When I first saw my splits (seeing each 0.25 mile is a novelty!) I was proud of the consistency with which I ran. Other than the first lap where I went too fast and the 17th lap where I took a fueling break, I was really consistent. But maybe it just looks that way since I did laps and not miles. Calculating the 5 second spread in miles, it’s a 20 second difference in pace, so perhaps my paces were a bit more spread out than I think now. I’ll find out on Monday. (edited to add: according to my TomTom, my paces per mile were  6:51, 6:55, 6:56, 6:57, 7:20, 7:02, 7:05, and 7:02- so, consistent enough!)

My longest lap was lap 17 where I took a fueling break to down some water and eat a third of a banana. It was 30 seconds off my average, and in retrospect, not having it would have allowed me to be first woman- but did the fuel help? Probably. I won’t blame it on that.

Which brings me to the fact that I also could have gotten 1st woman if I had a stronger mental game. Around lap 28, a girl came up from behind me, and while I was sure there was only one other guy in front of me, I couldn’t figure out the logic of racing on a track (despite having done 5 years of track and cross country but hey, it’s been a while!) and thought the girl had lapped me (I call her a girl, she is a 23-year old woman). I still tried to stick with her, for sports sake, but as she pulled away, I figured she had 0.25+ on me anyway, so catching up wouldn’t mean much. After the race, however, I realized she was on the same lap as me and only finished about 100 meters in front of me. Darn! Add in the doubt about the 30 seconds of fueling and I manage to sour what was otherwise a positive racing experience; kudos to the SC Tegeler-Forst running team for organizing a great event!

But that’s peanuts. I finished healthy (I think- going to evaluate after post-run fatigue is gone tomorrow) and had a good time. I also have an hour-race PR, so there’s that.

As for the week, one can see I took it easier. Part of that was to prep for the race, but I was also  sticking to what I wrote last week! I did want to take it easy. Got a bit of biking in too, so my activity points for the week are earned. Now, as for personal, academics? If only they were so easy as running in circles, sometimes.

 

Running Log: October 2-15

Wow. Only a two-week gap in posting? Good job, Dorothea. You’re not totally failing at this blogging thing.

Seriously though, the return to Berlin brought old routines back, and I am pretty good about getting at least 4 runs a week in again. However, I’m noticing that I have to be careful about getting back into it too fast. It may not look like much, but over the past two weeks I went up from 22 to 25 miles, and this week did 27 with most of those miles at a pace that’s realistically too fast. I’m going to have to work on that. I’m also commuting regularly with my bike again and doing strength 2-3 times a week in the gym, so it’s really no surprise that I’m getting some early symptoms of burnout. Going to nip it in the bud before it’s too late by having a few rest days this next week, but I’m happy with how things are!

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Don’t ask me why, but I did two 5k race trials over the past two weeks and managed 22:17 and 22:07. One time was after a 3 mile warm-up, and one was without much of a warm-up, so I think I may have a PR in me this year yet. This kind of thinking prompted me to actually look at local races again for the first time in about 5 months, and I went for the two-fer.

Problem is, Xavier, a storm with hurricane force winds and killing 6 people throughout northern Germany, did a lot of damage in the Berlin region, so the two races I signed up for this fall were cancelled. I still have a 10k in Florida and I’ll do that while home over Christmas, so that may be the way I score at least one PR this year. We’ll see. I’m not going to put too much pressure on myself. This is a busy semester and I’m still trying to get back into running and staying healthy, so while my stretch goal is a sub-44 minute, I’ll be happy with a sub-45.

Today, I’m mostly happy about my 10 miler–the first in four weeks. But holy cow, I’m dealing with a serious post-long run haze. How can I feel like this after only doing 10 miles at 8-minute pace? How did I ever manage 8-minute miles for 18 miles? My present self likes to hold a lot of conversations with my past selves. They should probably be banned from talking to one another.

Hope you have a good weekend of running, resting, and whatever else is in store for you!

 

 

Running Log: August 28th through October 1st

I guess I can post a September update and call myself accomplished in keeping up with the blog.

In my defense, this past month I dealt with hurricane evacuation, food poisoning, traveling internationally and starting my position as Phd scholarship candidate (these things account for the longer gaps in my log)… I’m going to cut myself slack even if you won’t. ;-)

updated log

There’s not a lot to comment on from this last update, since I really followed the “whatever works” plan pretty religiously. One can see since getting back to Berlin that running is working a little better. I guess it’s also worth noting that I’ve steadily built up to double-digit runs. Soon I may even look into a race again.

My 800 intervals, one of the ways I keep track of my fitness, are 3:20 on average, so I am pretty pleased with how I’m staying in shape even if it’s not marathon shape. I hope to continue having a more consistent pattern of running soon, so that I can get more easy running in and build up my base again.

And… yep. That’s all I have to say this time around.

Hope September was a great month of running for all of you! Looking forward to seeing all the fall race recaps.

Berlin Marathon 2017: Reporting live from the Berlin Studio (apartment)

Just got back from my run in time to watch the last hour of the BMW Berlin Marathon as Kipchoge, Berkeley, and Kipsang (as the advertised world record strivers) fight for first place and hopefully the world record on this dreary Berliner day.

Opting for a more comfortable spectator position than last year (in my defense, I’ve also got wicked jetlag), I’m taking advantage of Berlin’s major TV station, RBB where the whole race is reported live. These are my thoughts while watching (disclaimer: I’m not a sports reporter, nor get paid to be one on TV 😉):

  • Right now (1:08), they’re talking about Anna Hahner, one of Germany’s top marathon runners and also the hopeful for the top German result. She is about 20 meters away from the top women. (Spoiler alert: she only gets mentioned two more times and finishes alright)
  • Kind of interesting this year are the thousands of election campaign posters lining the course and constantly caught by the camera
  • Berkeley is off course (1:10:48) for the record. He could still make it up but eh…
  • Guye Adola missed his water bottle at km 25…he’s a debut runner doing pretty well. Go underdog! No one shared his bottle with him, though. Competition is tough
  • My bet is on Kipchoge, because he has that sub 2-Hour attempt to draw meantal strength from
  • I think I’m glad I’m not volunteering today. The weather is kind of miserable
  • I also hope no one forgot their glide… chafing=ew
  • 1:24:29 Kimputo is kind of bouncing around in the back, my bet is he’s next to fall off the pace
  • The water (light rain and sweat) is flying off their feet
  • Pacer 60 Kimpare is doing a great job
  • Oh! They’re at km aid station 30, and before I could finish writing about how I was there last year and didn’t even realize I could end up in the footage…
  • WHAT Kipsang is out?! WHAT!?
  • Now it’s just Kipchoge and Adola! I guess I may win my bet after all
  • Kimpare is gone now too
  • It’s not long now
  • The bicycle leaders are are having a hard time not working as pacers for the two
  • Marathon running televised is a bit like watching sloths play soccer.
  • 1:43:11 Adola still there, slightly irritating Kipchoge it looks like. Hang on for 7 more km, Adola! Wouldn’t it be wild if he won?
  • And how lucky is Kipchoge, after the other two fell off, to have this competition? Someone who keeps him on pace?
  • Bekele is now also completely out. :-(
  • Kipchoge is running the blue line (the adidas three stripes to be seen throughout the city weeks after the race) Adola is running long curves. What is going on? Is a Adola letting Kipchoge keep his own pace?
  • 1:50:40 Okay, yeah, it’s getting a little more interesting  now
  • 4 more km
  • Less than 10 more minutes
  • 1:54:55 Kipchoge looks like he’s losing a bit of form :/
  • What the heck, Adola looks like a running god. He can have the win. I’m a fan
  • Okay Kipchoge, you still got this after all. He closed the gap
  • Adola doesn’t take any fuel? What? He may also have surged too early
  • Max 5 more minutes. I’m actually on the end of my seat. I take back my sloth comment
  • C’mon Adola! Hang on!
  • Kipchoge is claiming the last km for himself
  • Okay, experience wins. Aber Adola, aller Respeckt!
  • Damn. Kipchoge, look at that smile. 1km left and he knows he has this
  • Stride, smile, finish.
  • KIPCHOGE IS THE WINNER!
  • 2:03:34
  • AND ADOLA, fastest debut in history, 2:03:47 :-)
  • First woman, Gladys Cherono, doing a really nice job, on her own these last km.
  • Wish I had that kind of stride
  • Wins in 2:20:21 (and still gets a 15,000€ time bonus). Wooh!

In summary: what a race. Had I bet, I’d have won. Still proven: there are some fast runners out there. Athletes have a tough fight; it takes a lot to know when to step out of a race. Love the Berlin Marathon and hope to maybe run it one day!

Now, I return to my regularly scheduled Sunday. Hope you also have a nice day! -Dorothea

Running Log: August 16-27

August 16-27

Ha ha. I thought I’d get around to collecting my thoughts about the summer in Germany and blog about it, but look, it’s already time for another recap on running.

I’m consistently getting closer to regular 6 miles. I haven’t done more than an eight mile run in over five months, but I’m getting closer to the point where I’ll try an 8-10 miler (maybe even next weekend?!). These past three weeks I’ve averaged around 20 miles as well and run more days in a row.

I obviously didn’t run on the day I flew back to the US, but I ran the four days after that and kept the runs shorter and comfortable (I was woefully reminded of what running in sub-tropic climates in the summer feels like). I managed to get a cold (probably from sitting around too long in air-conditioning in sweaty clothes). Still, I felt ready for an interval session on Friday, so after rearing myself in after a fast warm-up mile, went for 3 x 800s with .2 mile recoveries. The humidity of South Florida is not to be underestimated, though. I found the 3 were enough and couldn’t get under 3:16. But it’s a good baseline for September running in Florida and training in these conditions will prepare me for the cooler, drier fall in Berlin when I head back.

Hope everyone is running/recovering well and that Harvey doesn’t leave too large a trail of destruction. Stay safe!

 

Some sort of recap. Happy Summer

Hello again, cool people (of course I mean this figuratively ;) I’m well aware it’s high summer)


It’s been a while, and I’ve been off the radar not enjoying Germany’s lack of summer weather, but enjoying enough of the sights and opportunities to make up for that. I missed my goal of steadily building my mileage through the end of August, but I actually appreciated a summer not feeling pressured to compete my training plan as well as possible.

Really, I really enjoyed just letting go of running for a few months.

I found a happy place between marathon training and not running: running a few miles a few times a week at the pace/intervals that seem comfortable and compatible with my lifestyle. I truly learned to use running as a stress release and fell in love with it again. Taking competition out of the equation helped me to appreciate the way running makes me feel and not have it as an added source of stress.

Still, as a life of routine and work looms again on the horizon, and as my foot feels as though it’s finally healed, I’m starting to think about a few fall races and having some sort of running goals. I wouldn’t mind averaging 4 runs and at least 25 miles a week soon. I don’t think this negates how I’ve learned to think abou running again, I just think it means I’m looking for a bit more structure in my life again, and a running plan helps me with that. So far I’m not considering beyond 20km. There’s a running series in Oct.-Nov. I’m eyeing, and then maybe some shorter races with the bro and BF, if they’re interested ;)

My base? Let’s see: longest run since May was just short of 8 miles. Fastest run was an 800m interval (5th of 7) in 3:01. Best runs were a 6 miler in 49 mins and 2 miler in 13:12. Besides running though, I’ve done a lot of walking (Europe: that word explains everything as far as miles logged walking, doesn’t it?), biking and swimming. I averaged 6 days of activity a week, so I’m not unfit. And I did kind of build slowly, averaging 15 miles a week and only topping at 22.

So yep. That’s my return to the running world. Still trying to work up the effort for my real world blog (so much to write, so little time), but we’ll see. :-)

Hope everyone is uninjured and fall training is going swell! – Dorothea

Running Log: May 15-31 (hey, I’m still running!)

Wow. So that went quickly. I may not be able to log again until the end of June, so I figured I’d blog about the rest of May now. I logged a grand total of 52.1 miles in May, most of those in the first half. Still, it’s more than a mile a day average and I find a bit of consolation in that.

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My mom arriving put my “whatever works” plan to the test.  I found the first few days after she came tough to carve out time to run, but am slowly getting back into waking up early to get some running in, since I know a day with running is always a good day. We’ll see how well that carries out since the sun doesn’t go down until after 10 and summer nights are made for staying up late. But the sun is also up by 5, so I have no other excuses about getting up.

Runs of note:

  • I did another 5k test at around  22:10, and I’m starting to feel motivated about shorter distance running again to maybe shoot for a sub-21:30 in two weeks. I’m flirting with the idea of a few intervals this coming week as well.
  • My longest run was about 6 miles and while I plan to get more of those in the next few weeks, it’s not the top of my list of priorities. It was my first run with the new orthotic inserts and my feet were heavy, but it’s good for the arobic strength so I’ll def. continue going longer than 6, if I can.
  • I ran for a bit barefoot on the beach and found the foot not as opposed to it as it may have been a month ago.

In other news, I had my first PT session and it went well. Basically, it was a wake-up call that I need to return to high-school habits and stretch before every run. I’d totally neglected that and so the run of injuries over the past few years probably has a very logical answer after all.

Before you say “well, duh”, I should add that I have been stretching, but not all my muscle groups, not before running but rather after, and not for at least 20 seconds as the PT recommended. These are all things I’ve changed and I think I’m slowly feeling a whole lot better.

Looking forward to my first race since Dec., some more pain-free mornings and running, and higher humidity and heat as summer comes. Just kidding… the humidity can hide for as long as it wants.  I also may post a bit of my biking escapades next month as well, since I’m about to start doing some longer rides soon.

Hope everyone running this weekend (James and Paula!) have a good time and good times.

Cheers, Dorothea

Running Log: May 1-14

Running hard or hardly running? Either way, I am happy to report that I am taking steps in the right direction.

Running May so far

I finally saw my foot doctor again, and after she fussed at me a bit about failing to cash in my physiotherapy and orthotic prescriptions, she recommended I continue going out for runs as I felt able, and she told me to see her again after I had actually followed her instructions (for the record: it wasn’t my fault I didn’t do so the first time! I swear!).  According to her diagnosis, I have an imbalance in the lower back that causes the pain to radiate down through the Achilles and peroneal tendons. So I start physio next week and get my new orthotics for day shoes and sport shoes at the end of this week. Hopefully I’ll have good things to report.

While the foot is still being annoying and I do have a slight phobia of foot injuries now that affects me during and after runs, the last few runs have been okay. Most aversion to running right now is almost all mental. I mean, I did take time off after an impromptu interval session, and that’s because the bones all weren’t too happy with me after that (I know, my bones aren’t the ones injured- but they take the brunt of the stress when tendons decide to take a day off), but I could have gone the third day and since then, my foot has actually been cooperating pretty well.

I’ve lately been feeling the need for speed a lot more these past few weeks than during marathon training. I notice for the first time in a while that my average pace during marathon training is a good amount slower than when running recreationally, because during marathon training I’m doing a lot more running (duh) and more easy miles. Also, getting energy up for long intervals once a week is much harder than going out for short tempo runs several times a week. Add these realizations to more reasons why it’s a good thing I took this break.

Meanwhile, Berlin seems to be telling me it’s time to get serious about running again.

It’s finally spring time here, and I’m seeing runners everywhere. Yesterday, there was the Big25 (25k race) as a part of the Berlin Runner’s Cup and I had the pleasure/curse of seeing them outside my window. I’m kidding… I felt a slight tinge of “why am I not running?” and then proceeded to cheer a few on. I’m not ready to do 25k right now, and my soul knows this. But I did head out for a pleasant 4-miler in the palace gardens of Schloss Charlottenburg later that evening, so it all worked out.

Looking forward, I’m continuing the “whatever works” plan and am kind of excited about PT. Does that make me weird?

Happy Monday!

 

2:00:24 Thoughts 

In no particular order: 

  • Woah. I know this didn’t break the 2 hour wall, but hot damn, that’s fast. 4:36 pace for 26.2? It’s almost unbelievable. 
  • Eluid Kipchoge, Lelisa Desisa, and Zersensay Tadese deserve some time off. Way to go for even attempting the feat. 
  • Congratulations to Kipchoge for making it sooooo close. I think he beat a lot of predictions by the naysayers. Given this result, I’m sure the world record will officially fall in the next year, too. It does remove a mental block. 
  • The temperature seemed right, but I was surprised at the high humidity. 74% is a decent amount, even if the dew point was still okay. I wonder if less humidity would have made a difference
  • I have respect for all the pacers… they were a valuable contribution to this effort and don’t share any of the limelight
  • How many people outside the running community care that this attempt even happened?
  • How many people followed it live? I didn’t… I was still sleeping when they started, and had places to go and no time to turn on the computer 
  • I wonder if crowd support would have helped? Or just made them more nervous?
  • I wonder how much was the shoes.
  • It’s inspiring, but the blistering speed all but inspires me to go out for a long run. Maybe a few hundred meters.

Happy weekend of running and all else.