Running Log: 10/19-10/25 in which I evaluate why I’m so 5K fixated right now

I had a hard time sleeping last night, mostly because I was excited by the race I’d run in the evening and because my body-temperature was way too high (that’s why I hate Florida evening races). I kept tossing 5K ideas in my sleep, and had the weirdest dreams about the weirdest running injuries. Oh well.

But in short, the race yesterday went really well. It wasn’t a goal race, and therefore my goals were modest, but like I said, I’m really excited by the promise it shows.

I don’t know how often I can say this without question marks popping up all over the place, but basically, I have a nine year PR waiting to be broken. It’s weird how time goes by, since I feel like I just attempted to break the PR again recently, but even my last real attempt was over two years ago.

Basically, I started running competitively in high school cross country. In 2005, freshman year, it was my first year of high school sports and I had no clue about cross country. In 2006, however, I had caught the competitive bug and sailed through the cross country season with a culmination of running states. There, I set my 21:15 PR that I’ve been staring down for the past 9 years. I don’t know why I didn’t break it while still in high school running cross country, but I’ll chalk it up to puberty and academics.

College was at a non-NCAA participating school, so I did easy local races, but nothing serious (and my training reflected that). I was also more focussed on running my first half-marathon, and then my first marathon.

However, first year of grad-school gave me another opportunity to run school cross country, and I followed a plan until I realized I couldn’t balance being a GTA, student, and collegiate athlete. I tried to stick with the plan that brought me down into the 21s for the first time since high school, but I still couldn’t stick with the plan enough to break my PR. And then I got injured.

I’ve sporadically run a few 5ks since 2013, but never with my eye on the prize. Now, however, after successful (read, not injured) third marathon, my training has scaled back in distance, but I’ve been pulling a lot more speedwork. Initially, the training was laissez faire, but after the 5K on the treadmill in the gym, a spark has been lit under my tail. I’m doing consistent speed-work and getting mild long-runs in, and this week was no exception.

Monday, 10/19- woke up early to get the miles in, since I knew I’d be running errands with my mother in the afternoon and didn’t want the pressure of a run that I needed to get in ruining our time together. 6.7 easy miles
Tuesday, 10/20- speed-work, for some random reason acording to no plan, needed to be on Tuesday and an extended session. I did 8 x 400s with 400m rests and a mile warm-up, mile cool-down. The intervals went really well. I surprised myself with a 5:48mpm average.
Wednesday, 10/21- super easy 4.5 miles and light circuit training. My right upper quad (Sartorius?) was sore and I spent most of my run trying to figure out if it was just sore or strained.
Thursday, 10/22- Sartorius still sore, I was tired, went for an easy 3 miler. I knew after Monday through Wednesday that I had enough mileage for the week, even if I just did 10 miles on the weekend, so I listened to my body.
Friday, 10/23-rest day; I know, I didn’t want to do these anymore, but my body wanted it after the Tuesday speed-work and I wanted the break before the “long” run and race on the weekend.
Saturday, 10/24- 10.1 unsupported (meaning, no Gatorade on the course :() group run; ran with Stan, which kept my pace nice and easy. I knew I’d want to keep it really easy before the Sunday race. It was fairly uncomplicated to keep a 9:30 pace (especially since I needed a restroom from miles 6-8)
Sunday, 10/25- 5K race with mini-warm-up and .8 mile cool-down. Not risking injury with too much running!

All in all, a good week with 35.4 miles. I’m looking at getting about the same mileage this week, a 14-15 miler on Saturday, and a rest day or very light day today and Friday.

Hope you all have a good week!



Homecoming for Autism Run/Walk 5K- Oct. 25th Race Report

As far as races go, this was a good one. As far as my performance goes, it was low-keyed, but I’m happy with the promise it shows!

Race results: 21:52.137

When I logged this run, I rated myself 8/10 for quality and 4/10 for effort. The interval training I’ve been doing is really paying off.
I kept this at a very easy, reasonable pace. 6:42 for the first mile, 7:08 for the second and 7:09 for the third. The hard goal (the one I was really aiming for) was to end without injuring myself. The soft goal was to go sub 22. It’s too soon to tell with the hard goal (though I hope!!!), but the soft goal was well met. Considering that I did NOT do my best, I think the PR in November is definitely doable!!!
I can’t wait. I just need to keep myself under control, and keep getting that speed work in.
This race was held on my university’s campus, and students were permitted to run for free (which is the main reason I decided to run– a race after my regular long run). I didn’t think I would run the race, otherwise I would have planned the last two weeks differently. Since I only registered on Wednesday, I decided to stick to my plan and run the race for fun. This attitude helped me through traffic on I-95 and kept me calm despite arriving on location no earlier than 17:15. The race was scheduled for 17:30, so foregoing a warm-up I didn’t need (since the run was the only thing I planned to log today), I parked my car, jogged over to the bib and t-shirt pick-ups, jogged back to the car, dropped off the shirt and my ID, and jogged to the starting line. After five incredibly calm minutes, we were off.
Hard to believe I was only just watering the plants.
Given the amount of running energy I felt at the start, I was surprised to find myself with the top 25 people. I could see all the girls in front of me, and kept them in view for the first half mile.
I found a comfortable pace from the get-go, nothing too speedy but enough to have a turnover I only use in intervals. I kept that pace for the first mile and rolled through in 6:42. At that point, shortly before the first (and only “hill” of the course), I told myself to reel it in. I actually did not want to go faster, because I’d injured myself on the hill two years ago, and told myself to slow down. Instead, I focused my energy on seeing who was around me, encouraging the one girl who overtook me, and passing on words of encouragement for those whom I passed. One guy, who started walking with .6 miles left, I gave a pat on the back and encouraged him to “pick it up,” telling him “you’re almost there.” Because I was not concerned about my performance this race, I had a lot more to give to my fellow runners, meaning I really enjoyed the experience more myself.
Running wise, the last two miles were uninteresting near easy splits, and I was just keeping watch on my legs (particularly my left knee, which gave me a spot of pain and my calves, which got a bit tight) and keeping myself under control. I didn’t even go in for a final sprint and I ignored my watch after the second mile started (other than to look at distance… I admit, I was ready for the race to end with about .35 left).
The end was nice. The last .12 were on the school track and I’ve been doing a few interval workouts there, so it felt like a special workout session.
I came through with a 21:xx, and I was just happy to be in under 22 minutes.
I was handed water by a former cross country mate (she unfortunately has a stress fracture, I hope it heals in time for the indoor season!) who is a star on the team I had a (very) short stint on. It was nice to chat with her for a bit, but then I headed out. I did my cool down run to the library to pick up a book (yup- I’m an athlete and a nerd) and jogged back to the track to let the race administrators (some university officials) know that I wouldn’t be sticking around and to pass on my age group award to the next person. Then I left.
Not accepting my award was both because I was tight on time, but also because I felt guilty for placing. See, the race was free for students, but I’m technically no longer a student so… I bandited, but not really since I was still in the system as a student to register. Let’s say, I took advantage of the system. Because of that, I didn’t make this a goal race, I didn’t want to place, and I didn’t want an award if someone else should get it. This brings up full-circle to registering last minute, doing a 10 mile run yesterday, and using this race as a tune-up for a potential future PR race. Let’s just wait to see what happens.
I have no idea how this recap was just organized, but it’s out there now.
Cheers, and good job to all the runners racing today, training, or resting (like a good runner should! I haven’t decided yet, if I should rest tomorrow or Tuesday).
 p.s. in review, I’m afraid this post may come off a bit “woo, look at me! Aren’t I great?!” Please be assured that I’m only competing against myself and am just happy about where I seem to be heading in terms of my own goals. I know I’m faster than a lot of people, but I’m also slower than a lot of people. This was a fairly easy race, and it was incredibly well-organized (something I didn’t spare enough words on). South Florida times are generally slower, but I am also in awe of the 13 year old who won the women’s race in 19:xx. Go Rylee! That is all, for now.


Wednesday 5K_WWWP5K

For a while after I first saw the Sherlock series a few years ago, I was obsessed with the character (and a bit with Cumberbatch, who represented him). It went so far as to think that had some sort of super deductive skills, or was facing dangerous situations like he was. Out of this arose a question for myself, and-no lie- it worked for a while: WWSHD? What would Sherlock Holmes Do?

This WWWP5K acronym reminded me of that… there you go; now you have a random fact about me that you didn’t ask for.

TO get to business, the Never a Dull Bling blog featured a WWWP 5K post today (or yesterday? How time flies!) and I’ve been inspired to participate, so this is my post.

5K for the World-wide WordPress 5K completed. It was a part of my daily run, after the circuit training circle I did at the park. I made it home just in time before a thunderstorm hit.

Now, the challenge is on. Between Monday, October 26th to Sunday, November 1st, make it your challenge to do a 5K. Whether it be planned anyway, or is an extra run, find a way to share your run with a group of like-minded runners … rather than posting it all over social media for people who really don’t care ;) Have fun!

Running Log: 10/12-10/18 in which I have two speed workouts and don’t die

I’ve been getting Bulu boxes with samples for two months now, and my latest one had “Burn 360″s in it. I’m not a super fan of supplements (other than B12 and iron), yet I took a capsule. Afterwards, I realized the things have caffeine in them. Combined with my (should have been foregone today) morning cup of coffee, I’m bouncing off the walls. Blah. Unfortunately, I’m at the point of overdose where too much caffeine prevents me from being  productive at all, and I have a lot to do today. Oh well.

One of the most significant things to happen this week is that I pushed the bar up a bit. I’m obviously not comparing myself to the thousands of people who have two (or more!) speed sessions a week. I’m comparing myself to myself and how I haven’t done two speed sessions (if one doesn’t count soccer) since marathon training about four years ago. Whether doing so during a down week was the best idea is still TBD, but I’m pretty satisfied with how my training (even without following a real plan) is going.

On Tuesday, I had another chance to go to my university’s track. This time, I parked closer, but I still had a decent half-mile warm-up. Because I was shorter on time than last week, I got straight into the session and whipped out a mile. This week, I ran in 6:19:98… which is still slower than I think I can do, but a definite improvement over last week. I felt strong while running and found myself with the energy to kick it up a lot the last 400 (which is why I think I could have done the whole thing faster). That workout was rounded out with a few 400s while using about 1.5 miles to cool down. I didn’t do a lot of total mileage (it is my down week, after all), but the mile speed-work does the ticket as far as feeling tired afterwards. And I’m supposed to be able to do mile repeats for marathon training? There’s room to improve as far as fitness goes, for sure.

My second speed work of the week (after a really easy jog in the park on Wednesday) was on Thursday in the gym. Now that I’m getting some speedwork done on a track again, I really prefer it over the treadmill. There’s something to be said about not having to hit some buttons to speed up or slow down.

Thursday’s workout consisted of ladder intervals. For anyone who doesn’t know what ladders are (my brother thought they were an alternative to the stair stepper), they involve going up and down in distance. So, if I do intervals as .25, rest, .5, rest, .75, rest, 1 mile, rest, .75, rest, etc., then I’m doing a ladder. My ladder this week went up to .75 (I didn’t want to push another mile) and had .25 rests. I find myself never struggling for distance when I do intervals (I guess because the rest adds distance too), and had to limit myself to a half mile cool-down.

I left the gym feeling stronger than my track workout on Tuesday, so I think I’ll be able to handle double workouts like this more often. We’ll see how this week with more distance (would like to get to 35 miles) works out.

The weather is getting cooler!!!

Week rundown:
10/12- 4.68 run in the park with some circuit training. I can do 2 sets of 3 pull-ups!
10/13- 4.1 miles of intervals with warm-up and cool-down
10/14- 4.2 miles easy in the park, doing some of the stretches and arm exercises
10/15- 4.7 miles intervals with warm-up and cool-down
10/16- rest (perhaps one of my last Friday rests in a while… I don’t really need them anymore)
10/17- 11.89 miles on my own. Unfortunately, I ended up oversleeping after dreaming that I overslept and missed the time for the group run. I ran to the shop where the running group meets, reported and said hi (and to pass on a hello to my running mates who were out doing their thing), and ran home. It was lonely, and once again I only had speedy bikers giving me an occasional body within 50 yards.
10/18- rest!! And I don’t even need to water things today, since it’s been a week since the last trees were planted.
Total: 29.6

Oh! I guess I also passed my 1000 mile mark for the year, so that’s nice.

Running Log: 10/5-10/11 in which I have a few really good runs

I don’t know what’s up, but this past week felt really good for me in terms of running (and also life… which I guess makes sense).

I recovered well from garden work over the weekend to get back to the trail in my local park on Monday. That was followed on Tuesday by my first track workout in over a year.

I would never run with a smartphone… letting it get all sweaty. My phone, on the other hand, has been on many a long run with me. #noshame

I’ve been doing intervals fairly sporadically, but often enough on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays when I make it to the gym and can track my distance on the treadmill. Tuesday, I had to be on campus longer than usual, so I decided used that extra time the way any runner would- running.

I ran over to the Uni track and used the 1.5 miles to get there as my warm-up. I found the track empty and the air smelled a little like a storm coming, but the breeze was nice. I found the stopwatch function on my phone and let lose for 800 meters.

3:05: It’s not bad, considering I didn’t shoot for a specific time. I just went with it. The track felt so good under my feet and I was feeling it.

After another half mile jog, I decided to shoot for a mile. Unfortunately, I went at it like I did my first 800, so I ended up reaching 800 meters at 3:06 and wanting to stop. But somehow my ego took over my id and I was able to get through another 400, even if they were a bit slow. 1200 meters in saw me try to pick it up and come into the last stretch with somewhat of a decent sprint. 6:40 overall for the mile. It’s definitely a lot slower than I know I can do, but I’m moderately satisfied with it (and glad I didn’t give up all the way).

During another 800 meter jog, while I considered what I wanted to do next, I ran out of time. I headed back to my car, picked my brother up, and we went to the gym. There, I did another 2 miles with a few .25 and .3 intervals and a cool-down, and called it a day. I ended up doing more mileage than I expected, meaning that this week saw me cover more distance than I have in about five months.

I’m happy I’m slowly getting my mileage up. The last few weeks keeping it just under 30 makes me feel confident to step it up now. I’m looking for a few weeks of just under 35 before I ramp it to 40, and then 45. I don’t plan to max out beyond 50 miles for this marathon training cycle, but we’ll see what happens.

It helps that my long runs are also slowly building up. This week wouldn’t have been complete with my first “true” club run. I arrived at the running store shortly before 6 AM with the resignation that I’d basically be running by myself again (I even wore my MP3 player), but shortly before I got started, I was taken aside by Annie, the owner of the store and the gracious one who helps organize the group runs, to meet another runner. Even though I said I’d want to do about 8:45 and my new running partner does about 9:45, we joined forces.

Post-run pictures are the worst, but look ma! I have friends.

coffee and muffin are appropriate refueling; also, I was wearing this during my last club run too. They must all think I only have one running outfit.

It ended up being a really good run. Kim and I started together and somehow pulled Stan (who’s done a 3:13 marathon!) along with us. He took us on his meandering tour, which isn’t the “boring” out and back course the club members usually follow, and I stuck with them for about 5 miles before we started heading back. I needed to get in another 8 miles in an hour, so I shot off on my own. While being at a 9:45 mpm pace when I left them, I quickly moved into an 8 mpm pace that I was able to hold for the rest of the run, stopping at 13.1 miles with an 8:30 overall pace that I’m pretty pleased about. I know I need some time to get back to the 7:30 pace I want to be able to hold for a half-marathon, but things are looking good.

Basically, my rundown this week went like this:

10/5- 5.3 miles with some half-hearted circuit training
10/6- 6.8 miles with main purpose of interval training
10/7- 4.2 miles easy after garden work
10/8- 4.2 miles tempo
10/9- rest! And (you guessed it) some garden work
10/10- 13.1 miles
10/11- rest; with some watering of new plants on the side

Total for the week: 33.6 with about 80 plants and five hours worth of watering

Running Recap: 9/30-10/4 in which I appreciate a good rest day

One of the perks of having a regular training plan is that I always have a rest day to look forward to. Without the regularity a training plan offers, I can have a rest day whenever I just don’t feel like running. It’s kind of like the difference between saving the chocolate for the evening in front of the TV versus eating it whenever one feels like it.

Today is rest day, and it is doing me well. I love the feeling of not having to get a run in, my morning time where I wake up early can be used to get some work done, my hair is clean and won’t get sweaty, and I am generally relaxed.

Of course, going to Home Depot and loading paving stones onto a cart, into the car, then onto my front yard doesn’t really count as rest, and we’ll see the damage tomorrow, but I think it’s all good.

I got in just under the 30 mile mark this week (29.9… and no, I don’t feel like I need to get it rounded up). That’s 29.9 miles if the week runs Monday to Sunday. However, yesterday, my seven-day counter had me at 39.7 miles, which is more than I’ve done in a good while.

My counter is higher than usual because I did my “long” run on Sunday versus Saturday. I also decided to forgo the rest day after my long run, since it was nine miles and I needed to get back to schedule this week, which meant running Monday-Thursday.

I expressed my concern about running too much back-to-back in my last entry. I know that running too much without the necessary rest is a recipe for injury, so I made sure to not push myself during my runs. My goal was really to get through this week without injury. According to how I feel today, I think I made it! I feel okay today, but am glad to give my hamstrings and feet a break.

9/30- 4.23 miles in the park with some circuit training (easy peasy)
10/1- 5.28 miles with 1 mile warm-up, 5K of intervals in 24:28 (in run/recovery runs: 2 x .3/.2, 1 x .5/25 rest and 2 x .3/.2 and last one .42/.2), 1.16 mile cool down
10/2- (also a rest day, but it didn’t really feel like one, since I was mentally prepping for the run Saturday)
10/3- 10.85 miles in 1:32. I wanted to do 13.1 miles, but was thwarted in my plans by serious a serious conversation at 6 in the morning. Had a few faint twinges in my left knee that could be left over from the intervals on Thursday. Need to keep a check on that.
10/4- Rest!

My intervals on Thursday (moved from Tuesday and only completed after serious consideration on if I could handle them) were a lot harder than usual. I’m glad to return to normal training again next week.