Remembering Trotting Through a Turkey Trot

I’m going to open up with this photo that makes me laugh each time I see it. This is definitely what I look like while running:

Running hamster
Photo credit goes to Julian Rad from Austria, who submitted it to Die Welt photo-contest.

But I really don’t have the time I’d like to dedicate to this post.

I just need to get this down before I get consumed by the finals haze and forget everything except for my name and the date. Wait, today’s still Saturday, right?

Let’s get started by saying today was not an ideal race to PR at.

First of all, this is what the weather looked like:

Temp (°F) 73° 74° 77° 78°
RealFeel® 78° 76° 78° 84°
Humidity 94% 88% 85% 83%
   
   5 AM  6 AM  7 AM  8 AM
Rain  

47%

 

51%

 

51%

 

47%

Snow  

0%

 

0%

 

0%

 

0%

  5 AM 6 AM 7 AM 8 AM
Wind (mph) 4 ESE 4 E 6 SE 6 SSE
UV Index 0 0 0 0
Cloud Cover 65% 62% 100% 96%
Dew Point 71° 70° 72° 73°

The race started at 7:31. On the plus side, there was 0% chance of snow, so that’s nice. Also, more seriously, 100% cloud cover is nothing to complain about.

But the dew point was no fun. If you recall this chart that I’ve talked about before, a dew point above 70 degrees is “very humid and uncomfortable,” and one should “expect pace to suffer greatly.” At least the chart isn’t telling me that I should skip the run, but I’ve run a race like that before, and it isn’t that much worse than it was today. It was raining off me already after my 15 minute warm-up, so I was already not thrilled about how this race was looking to go.

Then, let’s also consider that there were no course markings at this race, and my GPS watch has been broken for a few weeks. The race organizers are a good group, and I’ve run races with them before. I’ve never experienced a run with them without at least mile-markers though… if not the huge mile clock timers.

So yep. I basically ran this race “blind.”

At least I had my stopwatch on me, and I figured out that it was an out-and-back course at the turn-around point (which I reached around 10:38), so I was able to kind of know how I was in pacing… but not really. And I had none of the positive feedback that could have picked me up during miles two and three. I really struggled during minutes 15-17. It was getting even harder to breath- and that’s saying a lot since I started the race already trying to suck out the oxygen from the water in the air. I guess I’m lucky that part of the course was what I run every Saturday with the running group, so I knew the course to some extent. Otherwise, this race would have had three ingredients for a recipe of disaster.

But it wasn’t. It wasn’t a stellar race, and the weather makes me think that I could pull off a faster time in better conditions, but I did-in the end, after all the sweating and fretting and killing myself to get to the end without knowing if the end would even ever come- PR.

21:13.45

If you’ve been following me, you’ll know that this is breaking a nine year record. A new era of Dorothea running is beginning. I don’t even know what to do with myself today.

That’s all I have to say about that, really (and if I had more to say, I don’t have the time [and you probably don’t have the patience]).

Thanks for the support during the training leading up to this! This past week after the last log consisted of a rest-day, another rest day, a short, hard workout of 4x400s at race pace, an easy 4.2 miles, another rest day, an easy 21 minutes, and today’s race. I won’t have time for a separate post for my log this week, but I know some of you were rooting for me, and so I wanted to let you know that the support was well-placed; I appreciate it, and I have you to partially thank for this PR. Part of my motivation was “what would Paula, James, Harold, Chelsea and everyone else reading WordPress this weekend say?”

Official Results (if you’re interested in that sort of thing… or just don’t believe me ;) ): here  Sorry, but I have no splits or mid-race information… just the time. But that’s okay, too… once in a while. When I had my 21:15 PR, most running technology that we have today was not around.

Hope everyone having a run today had a great run, race, or anything in-between. Good luck to racers tomorrow and those who have Turkey Trots on actual turkey day. ;)

 

Advertisements

Running Log: In which I forget what day it is and just hope to get to next week as quickly as possible

I guess this is the log for November 9-15th. Dates and stuff.

Before I quickly break down my week, I just want to say that I’ve got a few great posts lined up for all my blog sites, but I’m incredibly busy with the end of the semester, grading, and my own continuing education applications… so please excuse my scarcity on your blogs as well! I read and “like” when I can (since I do really like most of what I read!), but I can’t be as active as I want to be. But I do want to have a good update of my training before the next post, which is likely be next Sunday after the race, THE RACE, so here it is:

training week November 9th

(cliff notes: it was a strange week with unplanned rest day and a tempo run before a long run, with a higher mileage than I’ve done since July. Maybe not the smartest week, but I’ve got three rest days lined up for next week)

11/9– easy six miles. Well, 5.98. I was aiming for six miles, but no longer have my GPS (could buy a new one, just left writing this post to see if I could get a good deal, but really, I don’t want to jump for a 50+ dollar watch right now, and my training is going fine without it. I’m back to charting courses on maps and using a stopwatch. It’s all good) and misjudged the distance a bit, but not by too much.
11/10- intervals! The last hard session before the race. Had done some research online (dangerous, I know) for ways to prepare for a 5K PR, and one was to use a hard interval session to gauge fitness. Some coaches suggest 3×1 mile with 200 meter rest, and some suggest 5×1 kilometer as being a better way to see whether one is prepared. I, of course, went with what is “better,” even though I’d never done km intervals before. I figured out that 1 km is about .62 miles, so 2.5 times around the track, and that a 6:50 mpm pace is about a 4:14 mpkm pace. I did what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks now, which is go to the university track and use my jog there as the warm-up. I almost did my first interval, but then my shoes came untied and I had an 83 second interval lap. Jogged to the 200m line and then let loose.
I’m quite please with my intervals. If one leaves out the 200 meter recovery jogs, I ran a 20:43 5K. Of course, I did have little recoveries between the intervals, so I can’t know if I can pull off the pace for 5K straight… but I think I can hold the goal pace at least. All my intervals were under 4:14 except for the fourth one, which was 4:16. My fifth km, I was in pep-talk mode. I kept talking to myself, telling myself that if I can do it now, I can do it for the race, if I gave up now, I wouldn’t know if I could do it at the race, the doubt would bring me down and this was a chance to get confidence, etc. It ended up being nearly as fast as my first 3:59 km- 4:01.
The cool-down was a drag, but I’m glad I did it, otherwise my legs would have been messed up on Wednesday.
11/11– super easy recovery run with circuit training. Celebrated Veteran’s Day with my Dad.
11/12- unplanned rest day. My brother had an emergency, so my run got nixed. It happens, but at least everything is okay with the bro now.
11/13- because of the fresh legs, the easy run turned into one of my fastest runs in a while- sub-8mpm for more than 7 miles. I felt good, and so I didn’t reign it in. I didn’t know I was sub-8mpm, so that was a pleasant surprise when I got home.
11/14- Of course, what goes up must come down. The pace came down for the first few miles of the weekly group long run. It’s nice to run with members of the group, because most of them hold a pretty good pace for me to warm-up with. Thought I’d go for 10-12 miles, but had 13-14 in the back of my mind, and since I felt good at 6 miles, I went for a bit more before turning around and getting in 13.1. I must have sped up after mile 3, because my overall was 8:40… not bad, considering yesterday’s run! I definitely feel my fitness getting better.
11/15- rest day today! Rest day tomorrow! Rest day e’ry day! Just kidding. I’m looking at a 4×400 meter on Tuesday and two or three other runs before Sunday.

Geez, I guess this wasn’t a quick update after all. I like to write about myself, don’t I? ;)

Total: 38.4 (still less than 10% more than last week, so I’m okay, right?) and this coming week is definitely a “down” week.

Hope it’s a good one for you all. A lot of you have Turkey Trots (hopefully sans running trots) next week as well, so good luck! And happy running.

Running Log 11/2-11/8 in which I review a week of questionable training choices

There’s a reason chemists, physicists and other hard scientists rely so much on their charts and graphs. Sometimes a chart really does explain something better than is possible with a tick-tack of letters strung together from across the keyboard.

November 8th update

However, being the literary nerd that I am, I do both.

The weeks leading up through the beginning of October have been very consistent in terms of speed sessions, rest days, and long runs. However, since my 5K race and timid approach to cutting out the rest day before my long run, things have gotten kind of funky. Without a real running plan, I have no idea what to do these two weeks before my goal 5k. I can’t decide whether to do a cut-back week (as I normally would after three weeks of building) or another week with the same mileage and types of workouts before heading into a cut-back week right before the 5K… it’s all up in the air and I have no guidance, but a lot of hope riding on this race. I’ve written my goal time on my desk board, in my journals, and here: 21:14, which is a 6:50 mpm pace and totally doable; I’ve just never done it before.

So that’s that. Coupled with some pretty spontaneous personal plans and familial obligations, I’ve had to adjust my training a few times this week. This resulted in two shorter long runs rather than the usual one long run, as well as an active rest day in the middle of the week and some hill work when I don’t have a hill to train on and haven’t touched my incline on a treadmill (beyond going at the usual .5) in forever.

Monday, 11/2- check-in run for the PF and knee symptoms I was feeling after Saturday’s long run. Legs felt good after Sunday’s rest, so I did end up going for almost 6 miles at a pretty good clip: 8:05 mpm. I wasn’t pushing it, so I didn’t feel too guilty about nixing an easy run, but still had no solid verdict on the symptoms.
11/3- That’s where Tuesday’s run came in. I was on campus late again, waiting for my ride, so I left right away after my office hour and ran to the beach (I know, it’s nice to go to a university that is 5K from a warm beach- but I don’t make it there nearly often enough). I headed out and returned on a meandering trail right outside my university. The sun was strong, and my calves and knees had a few issues throughout the beginning miles, but then things settled down and I enjoyed it.
However, when I got back from the run, I found out I wouldn’t have the next afternoon to run, and since I have to be in class at 8 AM, I didn’t feel like an even earlier day than usual on Wednesday, so I added a few miles at the gym (before weights) to give myself some buffer for the next day. Hence, I have 10 miles for Tuesday.
11/4- turns out, I could have run Wednesday afternoon after all, since the plans that were made that cancelled my run were also cancelled, but I kept it an easy day anyway. Leisurely swim in the evening light (it’s experiences like these that remind me that I do like Florida weather… sometimes)
11/5- I didn’t do speed work on Tuesday, but didn’t feel like doing it Thursday either, so I compromised by doing 6 miles of hill intervals. These were fun and seemed to cause less problems with my knees than the usual speed work does. I did a warm-up, .25 at 4 incline, .25 at 5, .25 at 6.5, .25 at 7, .25 at 8, .5 at 8, .5 at 7, .75 at 5.5, .5 at 4 and then something else through the rest of the time (including 7.1 speed at max (15.0) incline) with .25 jog rests at 1.0 incline. All the hills were done at 7.1 or higher (maxing out at 8.3 at 7 incline, which was hard!) The rests were at 6.7 or more, which were only possible since the reduction in incline each time felt like a rest in itself. I didn’t get my heart rate totally high as often as I usually do with speedwork, but it seemed like a solid workout.
11/6- an easy short 2.35 miles with circuit training. I can do a hand walk across parallel bars for 25 meters now, which is exciting. :-) And four pull-ups! I’m happy with how my overall fitness is progressing. This was a reasonable run and felt really good considering I had just done interval training the day before.
11/7- Saturday 9.68 miles with the running group. Ran with a biker, and both of us were so intent on showing the other that we could keep up, that we did the first half in 8 mpm pace. I knew we had started off too fast… and I usually like to head slowly into my long run, speeding up along the way, but I also didn’t want to disappoint my new partner. However, after she checked her Strava halfway through (I haven’t been wearing my watch since it broke last weekend), she slowed down. I stayed with her through mile 8, but after she said she wanted to go 9 versus 10, I sped up to do a little extra so that I could get back to the store (where we all meet) around the same time she did. It was a good run, but so humid that I ended up dehydrated and out of it for nearly the rest of the day. Lame, since it was a shorter long run. Also, because I was at just under 35 miles for the week, and I like to have my mileage pretty consistent when I’m not building it, I got in half a mile picking my car up from the shop (nothing serious, just an oil change!).
11/8- active rest with a nice swim (this time a little more serious with freestyle and goggles).

So, my total for the week was 35.1 miles, and while I still haven’t decided what to do next week, I’m thinking of a medium one with difficult speed-work, and an easier one leading up the race. What do you all think? Hope you had/have a good week with a great weekend, and that the next week starts off smoothly (no more daylight savings jetlag symptoms ;) )

October 2015 Recap

Sometimes, I wonder if I’m pursuing the right field of work… I mean, I would much rather read and write about running than prepare for teaching/grade papers. But maybe that’s everyone. I’m sure once I can read/write about literature again, I’ll be much more motivated. Again, this post is more a way to procrastinate than anything else, but I think it’s also good to reflect on a month to see where I’ve been and where it takes me.

October 2015 is one of my best running months in nearly a year.

Sept 2014-Oct 2015

Last October, I was spending my first month studying abroad in Hamburg, Germany. There, running became a way to cope with anxiety of being “alone” (I wasn’t totally alone, but it sometimes felt that way) in a foreign country, and a way to fill in time and create a routine in a new place where I didn’t know what to do a lot of the time. That’s why Nov. 2014 was such a high mileage month! However, as one can see from the graph, my mileage dropped after my half marathon in Dec. After I developed PF, I used Jan. to recover and heal, and then I picked up mileage a bit through the spring to prepare for the Hamburg Marathon. Post marathon, I did what any mortal does and took a break. The summer was difficult to run regularly with summer courses, family vacation, and a lot of traveling. Since getting back to the states in August, I have slowly been increasing my mileage again.

However, Oct. saw a big jump that I’ll have to keep an eye on in case I do start feeling injury. There is always the danger of the PF flaring up again, and my knees complaining due to the resulting extra stress. On the other hand, while the mileage per month seems to have increased a lot, it’s only because my weekly mileage has been slowly inching up. Slowly enough that I’m not too worried.

August-Oct

This past month brought an increase in speed work and a good 5K test run. I’m building my long run throughout the fall, but being careful about that too.

Looking forward, I have a race planned for every month (the first time since freshman year of college- yay for adult paycheck!) and I’m excited about trying to PR in the 5K, half-marathon and marathon. The real goals are the 5K this month and the marathon in February, so there’s enough chance in between to relax and enjoy the holidays.

Looking at other people’s months, Oct. was a big month of racing and great running! I know for a lot of you readers, the winter is  time to recover from hard summers and falls, with the goal races in the spring again. Here in South Florida, winter is race season, so the Saturday group runs are becoming more full and racing calendars are filled.

Happy November, everyone! I’m excited about the last weeks of the semester and the winter break just around the corner.

Just 5 thoughts while watching live coverage

1. If the Macintosh is the official Apple of the NY marathon, they better have cartloads at the finish line for the runners.

2. Kipsang’s race outfit last year was pretty cool.

3. Biwott ran a great race!

3. I like Desisa’s running style

4. How do the winners have the energy/ muscle coordination to run around with their flag like a cape after killing it for 26+ miles?

5. So fast.

Running Log 10/26-11/1, and a reflection on NYMarathon in action

Today, I had to decide between using my hour between grading papers to watching the live coverage of the New York Marathon, or blogging my runs this past week, so I’ve decided to do both.

In watching the race (the first time I’m actually watching live coverage like I would for a soccer match–shocking, I know!), I became aware of the packs of lead runners and saw a few of the “stragglers” (though how 5 mpm is straggling is on the border of my comprehension). It made me think about what it would be like running in that pack versus behind it, and how emotionally draining it must be to try and catch up with the pack the entire time. At least, as a part of the pack, one is with the other leaders and one can find some sort of hold on being with that pack. If one is constantly trying to think about how to make up that distance between one and the pack, there’s way too much that could go wrong during the rest of the race, requiring a lot more from within one meet one’s goals…

At any rate, here’s my humble running log while I can only dream of being part of one of those packs one day. I met my goals of 14+ mile long run and 35 miles this week. I feel like I should have made Monday a solid rest day, versus active rest day, but I’m taking my rest today and will see if I’m recovered tomorrow.

10/26- 20 mile bike ride. I rarely ride, so I don’t know why I decided to ride the day after a race rather than total rest, but it’s okay. It was a nice evening.
10/27- intervals at the gym. 3 x 1 mile with 800 meter rests. Strange progression @ 7:03, 6:50 and 6:30, but it worked. Mile and a half cool-down. Can never decide if the warm-up or cool-down should be longer.
10/28- easy miles at the park. Made the WWWP5K a part of it.
10/29- easy morning miles. Got the run done because I wouldn’t have time in the afternoon. Discovered that I can run in the morning and not feel very hungry for the rest of the day. Noticed some soreness on my achilles and calves though. Want to monitor them.
10/30- another easy morning run. Haven’t been running Fridays in a long time, wanted to make sure I had 24 hours between Friday run and Saturday long run. Some soreness still, decided it comes from the speed-work at the gym and not enough sleep or rest. Will be extra careful on the long run and resting over the weekend.
10/31- 14.8 miles, first few miles alone before the group run, the rest of the distance with the group. There were some neat costumes out on the streets! There were also great costumes out last evening! I almost dressed up as a marathoner, but decided Halloween is a chance to be someone you’re not so… I didn’t have any other ideas and was a laywoman.
11/1- rest day. Thankfully.

There, log done! Just in time to see the last quarter hour.

Hope everyone racing today (in NYC- lucky! or elsewhere) has a great run! Resters, do your thing. :-)