random early morning thoughts on running today

Blogging before coffee or tea should be treated with the same amount of wariness as blogging after a few White Russians, no? Thank goodness I did have some coffee, pumpkin spice flavored, if you’re interested.

But I felt the urge to post something before my last longer run before the marathon in two weeks, mostly because I’m procrastinating on getting out there.

My alarm clock first rang about an hour ago, at 4:25. Needless to say, that was a joke and my hand hit the “turn off” button around 4:55 (it didn’t feel like it was that long while half-asleep). But I’m up now, and should be getting ready to leave in about five minutes.

Today, 15 miles are on the schedule, and while I know I can do it and will be done around 8 AM, I am also slow on getting up and at ’em this morning. This is one of those times where I have to really motivate myself to just go and do it,  but writing this seems to be working!

It’s 52 degrees with 83% humidity. overcast and not that unpleasant, really. Actually, it’s perfect running weather, and I’m grateful. I wanted to apologize with my kind of immature gloating of FL weather in my last log. Of course I hope everyone had a safe week and that all the heating clothes/powers worked well!

Okay! It’s time; better unload the system (you know what I mean) and hit the road.


Running Log: Jan 18-24

Habits are a wonderful thing. Unlike negative ruts that one wants to shake-up to get out of them, habits are usually productive for the person in question. They are usually repetitions of practice that keep one sane even in light of the scary and/or unexpected. Luckily, I’m not facing either of those situations right now, but I can appreciate a good habit when I have one, especially when it’s what keeps me consistently getting out the door to reach my running goals and it keeps me blogging (though that’s a habit that’s becoming less and less certain as the weeks go by. I’m unfortunately limited to reading and writing only on the weekends).

But anyway, enough about me  (or rather, more about me that you may be interested in),

Running this week had a common theme: if I ran well, it was surprising because I’d just had my half-marathon PR; if I didn’t run well, it was because I’d just had a tough race (and my quads seriously hurt, c’mon!). All in all, I’m pleased because I got in all scheduled runs (except for the second harder workout of the week).

last week's training

Monday 1/18: Talked about this already in my last log, so I won’t bore you.
Tuesday 1/19: Legs considerably less sore today, though had some nagging pain in the upper right quad. Didn’t bother me too much, though, so I did something resembling a tempo run: 1.5 miles warm-up (didn’t feel like pushing it any meter before that), 3.5 miles at 7:35 pace, and then 3 miles to get to 8 for the day.
Wednesday 1/20: Tuesday’s run must have gotten the rest of the soreness out, so it was a comfortable 6.1 miles.
Thursday 1/21: I couldn’t decide until Thursday morning whether I would run Thursday or Friday, and since I didn’t have time Thursday, it was decided for me. Thursday was a rest-day other than a nice walk.
Friday 1/22: Not running Thursday was fine, since I did want to have a few training runs before my long-runs, and just couldn’t get myself to do it much this training cycle. But I managed it Friday after getting up at 4:30 and doing 7.7 miles. Between Friday and Saturday, I would then have more than 26 miles on my feet, and hopefully those are good for something. This run was also very comfortable, especially at the start, but eased closer to tempo pace by the end.
Saturday 1/23: another early wake-up call, this time at 4 AM. Did the second 20-miler of this cycle (actually ran 21.1), 100% more than I’ve ever accomplished previously in a marathon training cycle. It was a good run, slower than last time , but more consistently at marathon pace: started off slow 9:03 mile, but then slowly sped up to an 8:40 constant until around mile 12 where I picked it up to 8:12, and then 7:45, 7:25 (fastest mile), 7:50, 7:48, a few 8:20-8:30, 7:47 and 7:51 last two miles after going for “fast finish. A 2:57 total (8:23 mpm), so not shabby at all for my goal on Feb. 14th.
Took the opportunity during the day (when I wasn’t doing physics, *sigh*) to look at my Hamburg marathon splits and realized I ran much slower than I remember. I can definitely start faster than I did at that race, and hold a faster race throughout. Adjusted my training plan for the last three weeks before the marathon to properly taper for a 3:30 goal race.
Sunday 1/24: rest day! More homework, reading, and other fun non-running stuff. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but wouldn’t it be cool to be able to make my hobby my job? Sometimes I think it would be nice to be irresponsible and only read what I wanted, and go for hour-long runs every day- but then my practical side takes over and reminds me that I’d be bored (and have no job prospects)if I did that for too long. Going for a walk after lunch, to be fresh for the Yasso 800s awaiting me on Tuesday.

Total for this week: 50.49 miles. I’d be lying if I said that I ran the extra mile for fun yesterday, I was aiming to break 50 miles this week, since I won’t be doing it again for another month and a half.

Here in south Florida, it’s a gorgeous, cloudless 55 degrees. Yes, my intention is to make you jealous, did it work? Happy Sunday to you, and wishing you a good week!

Running Log: Dec. 28-Jan. 3

During this past week, I did something slightly controversial, but also had the best long run of my running career.

Still, Christmas week and the long run in the middle of the week, followed by a tempo run on the weekend threw me a bit out of the loop. But I suspect I’m not the only one.

Last week I definitely felt the effects of post-holiday blues, long-run recovery, and generally everything that made getting those runs in the first part of the week a miracle (a bit exaggerated, of course). I also opted for a pool-run versus landlubber flopping one day. The main motivation was to avoid exacerbating some knee twinges that I got from attempting knee exercises the day after a tempo run… my own fault.

I’m lucky to have a pool in my backyard, which means I can take advantage of this form of cross-training whenever I need to. Aqua jogging is the most boring thing EVER, but it gets the job done. The problem is, while I do much of the same movements as while running, and can get my heart rate pretty high, there’s no way to rack up mileage for the jogging. There are some equations (for example, a mile for every ten minutes of intermediate to strenuous jogging), but many runners say you should log the only the time and call it a day.

Coupled with that first problem, if I am aiming for a certain mileage during a given week, I really want to reach it. I also don’t take the days off that I should, necessarily. So, I post my log this week with the caveat that five of my recorded miles are aqua-jogging, and if you discount those, I have 37.6 miles for the week. But I’m, not discounting them.

I am choosing to count the water miles, because looking back at my log, I’ll want to be able to see the effort I put in (and even if there was no foot on road action, I did put in the effort of an interval session). Also, in checking, I’ll be able to see that I logged aqua miles this week, so I don’t feel as though I’m lying to myself about my training; it’s a tricky situation though! The good news though: the knee felt better already after one easier day, even if I was sore as heck! Water jogging uses different parts of the legs muscles.


The non-controversial exceptional run of the week was my long-run today (Saturday). I actually usually post my running logs on Sundays, but I’m so darn pleased with my run today, that I had to blog my update today, so that I could talk about it: 20.1 miles in 2:44: 24. 8:11 mpm pace overall.

I’ve learned a few things over the years, and one of the things I’ve learned is that in training for a marathon, getting in the distance is not enough. One has to train the body for the speed over that distance. Because I’m looking for a serious PR in February, I’m trying some things this training cycle (while being super cautious, because I don’t want to injure myself this time!). So, today, I went out for a tempo long run. I don’t know if that’s the right name (correct me if there’s actually a name for what I did!), but basically, I did a 4.5 mile warm-up, eleven miles at tempo, and a 4.5 mile cool-down (with some change). I knew it was going to be a good run when my warm-up miles all came in at 8:35-8:44. Topped with an optimal fueling plan (hydration at mile 5.5, 7, 9.5, 11, 13, 15 and 17; Gu fuel at mile 5.5, 11), the rest of the run was excellent.  7:40-7:50 mpm, maxing out at 7:35 mpm average on mile 12. I finally slowed down at mile 15 to a steady 8:40 average. The last two miles were hard, but doable.

I don’t even know if this is interesting to you, as a reader, but I’m noting all these things for myself too, because this is one of those training runs that I’ll look back at during the marathon taper, and try to reassure myself that an 8 mpm overall for the marathon may be possible! It’s too early to get my hopes up, and I know this run was the result of a lighter workout effort this week, but I’m ready to put in some hard training these next few weeks. I need to be careful (always careful), but I hope that if I play my cards right and am not afraid to take aqua jogging days or my rest days, I’m in for something good.

A great positive note to start the year off on. Hope everyone’s having a wonderful weekend!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot:

Monday, 12/28-easy 4.9
Tuesday, 12/29- the aforementioned 50 minutes of torture in the pool, aka aqua jogging
Wednesday, 12/30-easy 5.6 miles
Thursday, 12/31- easy 6.99 miles (seriously, had I known, I’d have gone for the extra .01); the first 3 miles with the bro.
Friday, 1/1- Happy New Year! rest from running day, but a lot of work getting all the Christmas decorations packed away and cleaning the house; nice evening walk with the family
Saturday, 1/2- the above gloated about long-run

Tomorrow, Sunday, I have a nice swim in the pool and/or a bike ride planned.

That’s all, for now. :o)

Running Log: 12/21-12/27 (back to normal in a small way)

This week was anything but normal, but at least I have a log again. The lack of normal started and ends with Christmas, of course, and figuring out when to do the long run despite all the planned festive activities.

Usually, I do my long run on Saturdays. This week, however, I decided I would not want to run 18 miles the day where a group of small children who would want to run around and play were coming over, so I had to reschedule that. By process of elimination (I can’t do it on Sunday, wouldn’t want to do it on Christmas, can’t do it the day or two after my last long-ish run), I figured it was either Christmas Eve or Wednesday. At some point on Monday, I realized while munching through the first festive feast of the season, that Wednesday would be a perfect day to do the long run: I’d optimize the fifth serving I’d just helped myself to, wouldn’t be dead tired (and useless) on Christmas Eve, and look fantastic on Christmas after the long-run bloat cleared the system.

So, my long run was Wednesday, which meant Tuesday and Thursday were rest days and I’ve been doing easy runs every other day, except yesterday, where my body said “hey! Let’s do tempo.” So I did.

Sunday, 12/20-3.6 easy miles to clear out the system
Monday, 12/21-7.8 early, windy miles to the beach and back. It was glorious to stand facing the sea with the wind whipping my ponytail back.
Tuesday, 12/22-rest with a nice evening walk
Wednesday, 12/23- 18.3 miles at 8:45 pace. Had a few 7:15 miles in there, so that felt really good. Figured out my nutrition along the way as well, realizing I actually need something every 5 miles, not 10k as I’ve been doing.
Thursday, 12/24- rest! And another nice evening walk with the family to see all the holiday lights
Friday, 12/25-really easy run with my brother. Wouldn’t have wanted to take a holiday to do a run on my own, so I’m glad my brother opted to come with
Saturday, 12/26- This time though, my brother wanted to relax, so I went out for an easy run, and after realizing I felt good going sub-8mpm, carried on with a 7:43 overall pace for the 7 miles.

So far, my week looked like this: dnc-3n4ogl56

I had a five-miler planned for this afternoon, which would have brought my weekly total to 44 miles. But I cut it short for the sake of time and my poor feet, so 3.86 more miles with 42.8 miles total for the week it is.

Hope everyone enjoys the rest of their holiday weekend, but that today involves no stress and lots of quality time with family and/or friends.

A tale of two logs- Running Logs 12/6-12/20

Really? I couldn’t think of anything less cliche for a title?

Short answer: nope. Long answer: also nope. Sorry folks. It already seems as though I can barely blog… with a post once every two weeks. But I have pictures this time!

Obviously, life was normal enough the last time I wrote. It was, after all, only the first advent and I knew I’d be done with grades and university obligations by the 13th… or so I thought. Unfortunately, I underestimated my obligations and yesterday was the first day I could breath deeply. Seriously, international freshmen are a different species of student.

But it’s all good. My running actually went well.


I won’t break it down like I normally do, but I will say that I had two tempo runs, two interval sessions, two long runs, and a race (that was more like a cool-down for my long-ish run yesterday) to fill the past two weeks, with three rest days and five easy days. Actually a solid cycle of training, other than the fact that I always wish I could do more miles. But those weeks will come. 12/7-12/13 was 40 miles, which is more than I’ve done in a good long while. 12/14-12/20 was 36 miles, which isn’t shabby for a down week.

The best runs of this cycle were the long run last Saturday and the runs yesterday.

Last Saturday, I set out for 16 miles. After how I felt during that week, I thought 15 would be okay too, but I also thought 16 were reasonable (even if I only did 13-14 the week before…). Turns out, the route I took brought me to near 16.7 miles, so I ended up with a solid long run at a pace that’s surprising even for me: 8:36. I did some miles at tempo (8:00-8:15) and some at something slower. I feel confident that I’m going to be able to do 8:30 at my next marathon, but I’d like to be able to do 8. We’ll see.

While I felt good during and following the run, I felt kind of tired this entire week. I don’t know if it was because of the psychological stress I was experiencing or the long run, but I was glad to just head out for 4-6 miles every day. I’m looking to do two 40+ mile weeks through New Year’s, with a 19-miler and a 20-miler, so there was no point in pushing this week.

The other special run of this cycle was a Jingle Bell Jog 5K. It was the slowest race I’ve ever run (that’s including my first ever 5K): 27:19 . I did it on purpose, though.. I really had to reign my self (and tongue) in, but I wanted to run the race with my brother, who is a tad out of shape (his PR beats mine by quite a bit). I wore the full Santa get-up and since this is in South Florida, it was quite warm. I also ran a long warm-up of 9 miles (met my brother at the race) so that I wouldn’t feel tempted to run too fast. It turned out to be worth it, as we both sprinted into the finish and have the first (and likely last) finishing photo of both of us together, and I’m waiting for those race photos to come in and share them.

So that’s coming up! As well as some serious post catch-up (I mean, I don’t always just need to talk about myself, I have some great running advice I’ve collected these past few months). Yesterday’s race (such a fun, holiday-themed run, the first I’ve ever done!) rounded out the 5K season for me, which brought my erhofft für (hoped for) PR. Now, it’s onward to a marathon PR (hopefully) and serious marathon training. I have a tune-up half marathon in January to look forward to, but I’m looking to building mileage these next few weeks to carefully get me to peak training condition.

In the meantime, I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and/or days off (if you don’t celebrate it). :-)



Update: I’m still alive!

So, I’ve been off the radar for a while (in reading and posting blogs). I’m going to skip off again after this, but to check-in and make it easier on myself when I finally return for the end of 2015 (likely next weekend, life will be mine again), I’m doing a quick running log.

Last time you read from me, I had just PR’ed and was already part way through finals stress. This year, I have tons of papers (late and on-time) from my students to grade, my brother’s finals to help him prepare with, and grad school applications…plus the house needed to be decorated! So, I’m a wee bit busy and can’t wait for the break to begin next weekend.

However, I have been running, even if it was a bit rocky.

training_21 Nov 6 Dec

The first day after the race was fine. I did an easy 5 miles and shook out the legs. Things felt good! Then, I took my scheduled rest day and life was hunky-dory. Following that, I had an interval session planned. This was done at the track and I did 7 x 400ms with 400 m recovery jogs. The pace overall was fine, but nothing stellar, and I felt tired. I chalked it up to having just raced hard and didn’t really push myself, anyway.

Then, Thanksgiving prep got in the way of my run, and I started showing cold symptoms. That turned into a full-fledged cold, but not before I could get 8 miles in on Thanksgiving. They were nice (and windy) to the beach and back. Friday, my cold played out its game, hard, and I was miserable and forced to be productive on applications all last weekend. Still, I squeezed in a few short runs. They didn’t kill me (even though I just lay down in the grass at one point during Friday’s run, because it felt better than running), and life moved on. I took off the last day of running to work on my applications completely, because I know where to set my priorities… obviously. ;)

Starting Dec. 1st, things looked better. I was feeling healthier and had a little more time to run, even if I’m still tight for it.

Tuesday, Dec. 1- quick 10k. The legs felt good, I felt good, I had to get back before it got dark… (edited to add that this was actually an interval run! How could I forget? Probably because it wasn’t as easy as my selective memory had me believe, due to my cold. 3 x 7 minutes at 7:00-7:30 mpm, 3 min. recovery jog.)
Wednesday, Dec. 2- Easy five miles. It felt good to relax on this run, no stress and plenty of time for circuit training
Thursday, Dec. 3- short 3 miles. Got home late after driving around south Florida for three hours, but really wanted that run (and even if I would have actually been okay without it, it felt good to run in the rain)
Friday, Dec. 4- even shorter 2.3 miles… just to get the legs moving. I’m getting back into marathon training and wanted to get a  run in on the day before the long run.
Saturday, Dec. 5- longest run since the April marathon! Finally back into marathon training. 15.5 miles at a pretty good clip (8:37). To get the distance and be home in time for breakfast (because, let’s be real, it’s almost the best part of the day), I did a little less than 2 miles before the group run. Wore some compression socks after my shower, and wow, hose things really do help in recovery.
Sunday, Dec. 6- rest day, 2nd Advent, life is fairly good, but now I have to get back to grading.

Total: 32.5 miles. This is not as high as I’d like to see, but after the last two weeks sub-24 miles, I’m happy with this. I know that next week, with a planned 17-miler, it will be easy to get to 40 miles.

Hope everyone had a good weekend and has a wonderful week. Stay healthy! It’s that time of the year, but no need to get sick.

All the best and happy running.


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!


Running Update 9/14-9/22: in which I become the runner I was six years ago

Ahhh! New shoes. I got new shoes the moment my check cleared on Friday. I splurged for the ASICS Nimbus, which I’ve had before and do the best good for my legs, even if they are too expensive. They’re already making a difference and my legs are returning back to their usual level of whining.

However, that wasn’t the only thing good to happen in this training update. I ran 13.1 miles, was able to take a few days off without feeling guilty, and… ran my fastest 5K in 6 years.

6 years ago, I hadn’t done any marathons or half-marathons. I hadn’t earned my BA or MA. I weighed about 18 pounds less. I had my first fall without cross country in four years. I was playing soccer about every evening. That is all to say, I am not the same runner at all.

And yet today, I ran only one second slower than my fastest time since sophomore year in high school. Basically, in November 2006, I ran 21:15. In September 2009, I ran 21:18. Today, I ran 21:19.

Granted, I was on a treadmill in the gym. It was at .5 incline, but I’m aware the odds of gravity, traction, whatever were in my favor. Still, the 21:18 six years ago was also on a treadmill, and that has stood as one of my quickest runs.

I am so motivated right now, I can’t even begin to describe all the 5K races I want to go out and run.

In fact, I have two I’ve signed up for now- a turkey trot and a jingle-bell jog. They  were what got me out today to begin with, since I’m inspired to focus on 5Ks again. Because of the eminent races, I decided to shoot for my old PR and am basically going to revert back to high school in which I ran a 5K on Tuesday (almost) every week during cross country season. I want to start “racing” once a week again and then add a speed-workout on another day.

Today was just supposed to be a test-drive, a chance to gauge my fitness. I’m feeling pretty good about my fitness. Even if it was on a treadmill, I know I could have run faster. I was still breathing smoothly at 2 miles.

Then again, the run-up to this run may explain my success.

Since the last time I wrote:

Tue: 9/15- off and spinning
Wed: 9/16-off and spinning
Thurs: 9/17-off and off to a birthday celebration
Fri: 9/18- easy 2.5 miles with some circuit training
Sat: 9/19- 13.1 long run in 1:59 on the dot; Marco Polo in the pool
Sun: 9/20- off
Mon: 9/21- easy/tempo 5.3 in the park
Tue: 9/22- 5k success! (and a warm-up/cool-down of 1.05 each)

So, I guess one could attribute my run today to having last week off. However, I think it is also fair to consider that even though I haven’t been running more than 28 miles, and I’ve taken a lot of days off, I’ve been running at least a little each week. I also did a few interval/fartlek/tempo workouts throughout the last weeks. I’ve been increasing my long run… oh, and shoes.

It’s definitely the shoes.

I really can’t see exactly where my personal success from today comes from (I’m so proud! and a super dork), but now I need to reign myself in to not overdo training to get even faster, and to just relax for the next month and keep doing what I’m doing. I would be BEYOND stoked if I could finally break my 5K PR this fall/early winter.

We shall see.

Happy running!