Sunday, September 14, 2014
The weather suddenly turned back to fall again for the past few days, and bam, I suddenly felt so much stronger and more energized on my runs!
Had a good run Thursday night after a few short and slow runs for the previous week. I know some of that was busy schedule and not enough sleep, but boy, the cooler weather was like flicking a switch on my pacing. Whew!
On Saturday I did a hilly 11k and was pleased to feel strong throughout. At the beginning I worried that I was starting out too fast, but by halfway I was still feeling good, and for the last couple of miles switched to 30 second walks rather than 1 minute (helped by the fact I was going down hill or flat when the breaks hit) and ran out the last break to the finish line. It was the first time in quite a while that I ran hard enough to feel it in my legs afterward. Not hurting, but feeling it. I guess in heat my energy gets zapped before my legs get tired.
My pace was still only about 10:45 per mile (including walks), but to my surprise i got second place in my age division. There were not so many participants in the 11k as the 5k, and I'm guessing not too many in my age bracket, but still it was fun to get a medal. :-)
Hoping my work schedule will begin to ease up over the next few weeks, but its still going to be pretty busy. Trying to plan meals ahead, schedule my exercise and stick to the plan once I've got it on paper. Fall is always really crazy. Busy at home due to my son's marching band, and work always seems to go crazy at the same time. But I am making it, as I always do. I just have to be careful to take care of myself, too.
Keep exercising, keep eating right, and get adequate sleep. Toward that end, I have packed my bag for yoga class tomorrow night, have chili in the crockpot for dinner afterward, have done as many little chores around the house as possible to make the week easier, and now it's time for bed.
Have a great week!
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
I have been absent from Spark People for a couple of weeks. Things are OK, just very busy.
I am trying to keep up on my health and fitness goals, but it is a struggle. Not getting enough exercise, not eating as well as I should, and not getting enough sleep. But I HAVE been jogging and doing yoga (just not as much as I should or would like), have been cooking as much as I can and/or making the healthiest choice possible if I have to pick up food or eat out, and I have been getting some extra zzzzz's in when I can. So ... I am making it work. It's hard to stay motivated when feeling rundown. Hopefully my schedule will settle over the next couple of weeks and I will be able to get back on track.
I am planning to run an 11k this Saturday, the Defenders Dash to benefit local police and firefighter organizations. Still thinking about another race on the 27th. A variety of distances are offered. I would love to tackle another half marathon distance, but not sure if this is a good idea since I haven't run anything over 7 miles since I did my first half on August 23. During the week I have been only getting in one or two short jogs of 2 or 3 miles. Is it a bad idea to try to jump back to a half marathon distance after not running very consistently for a month?
I don't want to risk getting hurt, but my only goal (again) would be to finish, so I wouldn't be pushing the pace. However, I wouldn't want to feel lousy through it. Maybe I should settle for a 10k???
In the meantime, I have not registered for the race because I can't decide on a distance. Hmmmm ...
Sunday, August 24, 2014
I made it! Our cool week of cool fall weather turned first into major rain storms on Friday and then into hot and humid weather by Saturday. So glad for that 6:30 am start!
Still it was tough. The hills were not as steep as those I've been training on, so for the first 5 miles I was plowing right through them feeling great, but by the second 5 miles I realized they were smaller but longer and my legs were starting to tire. The downhills were nice, but I started taking more walk breaks on the longer uphill grades. By the last few miles I was drenched from the humidity and walking more than I had intended to do, but I made it! Here I am at the end of the race with my finisher's medal.
It was a beautiful course. The morning was hazy with fog, and with my face sweating from the humidity, my glasses fogged over too. No point trying to wipe them when everything was so drippy!
Tour de La Porte is a three-day event with a variety of running and biking events. It benefits families of cancer patients at IU Cancer Center, helping with the cost of hotel rooms, meals, etc. I was so impressed with the huge number of volunteers, all so helpful, friendly and encouraging! They were cheering, singing and working bubble wands to entertain participants along the routes. And with the heat, they had plenty of support for those who needed first aid or transport.
My son came along to be my chauffeur. He always loves a road trip, and the event was two hours from home. Due to the Friday packet pickup and then 6:30 am start, we drove out Friday afternoon. Here are a couple of pics of my son during an evening walk we took after picking up my race bib and t-shirt.
I love the race shirt, with the motto "Stronger Together". It shows a biker and a runner,with footprints and tire tracks.
At 5:30 the next morning, I left my son asleep at the hotel (told him to set alarm so he'd be up in time for check out!) and headed over to the park for the race. It was already humid, so there was no more debating about my water bottle. I brought it, and was so glad I did. I was sipping water often between water stops. Refilled a couple of times at tables along the way, and therefore used the pit stop offered at the halfway point. That slowed me down quite a bit since there were three people waiting when I arrived, but my only goal was to finish, so I waited.
It was really fun to go without concentrating on pace or time. Have to admit that without my phone ap to keep an eye on my pace, I think I varied quite a bit, or those around me did. I had the opportunity to tag back and forth with many other joggers along the way, especially those who were also doing jog/walk intervals. It was fun to have brief chats as we met up, and then move along again when someone's beep sounded that it was time to jog again. Everyone was so friendly and encouraging!
Lessons learned: I knew I was going too fast when they called out the time on the first mile as I went by. Usually my first mile is my slowest as I warm up. But ... I was feeling good then and probably kept up a faster pace than I should have, especially given the heat. If I was really wanting to shoot for a time goal, running my phone ap to watch my pace would have been helpful. Instead I just adjusted later as my legs started tiring over the hills. I also probably should have adjusted my jog/walk ratio when I got tired. Instead I just added walk breaks randomly, usually taking a break on the hills or, as it heated up, when I hit a stretch of shade. It is hard to stay disciplined that way. Still, I was surprised at the end that I wasn't too far off my pace, and I think that was mainly caused by the rest stop break. Given the heat, humidity and hills, I was pretty happy with my time!
Here are a few pics I took as I was cooling off after the race.
I heard several people say they'd pay anyone to give them the ice bucket challenge right then!
After meeting up with my son, I took a cool off swim in the lake and we watched some of the bike time trials. One man who ran the half marathon on Saturday told me he was registered to do the 100 mile biking event on Sunday! Wow! They have a special award for anyone who does an event all three days, but there are many short options for kids, families and beginners. Really something for everyone, and for a great cause. It was such a fun weekend!
Here I am, cleaned up and feeling proud. I did it!
I would love to return again next year, and either bike or volunteer on the second day. In the meantime ... There is a local half marathon in October. Trying to decide if I want to keep up my distance training and do another half this fall, or give in to my busy schedule and do one of the shorter runs offered at that event.
Not going to decide just yet ...
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Love summer, but boy, the dip into fall temperatures this week has been quite a treat!
I have been doing breakfast and my evening reading/writing out on our deck under the trees. This is because when I let our two dogs out to the back yard, they actually stay in the yard and whine at me until I join them. (They usually follow me around the house and sit at my feet when I stop, but apparently were torn between loyally following me around and staying put in the beautiful weather.). I doubt that we are really done with summer heat, but it is a nice switch, even if temporary.
Had some really enjoyable jogs this week. Did 5 miles yesterday without carrying water, and only started to miss it at the end. I hope this holds through my half-marathon next Saturday. I was not expecting a turn in the weather when I signed up for an August long race, so that would be an unexpected treat. since it starts at 6:30 am, even a switch back should not be a big deal a that time of day. But some mornings the heat comes up fast along with the sun, and I've noticed it's hard to adjust when the temp climbs by 10 or more degrees mid run.
Hard to believe the half-marathon is almost here. My training schedule seemed to stretch out forever, and now I am at the end of it already. Going to be a really busy week at work, so I am trying to plan ahead for dinners and exercise. I will make sure to drink up my water all week, and also bought extra fruit. When I've had tough runs, I think it is most often linked to feeling dehydrated. You can't fix poor diet last minute before a long jog, no matter what you throw down right before you go!
Delighted that my awesome Monday night yoga class resumes this week. I really missed it this summer, although I caught another class a few times and also did some yoga on my own.
One son started school last week, and the other will be back to college on Labor Day. Work is crazy with new enrollment and re-enrollment for those who left for summer. But I refuse to get stressed. I am Zen itself. Maybe. At least I am trying not to let the back to school chaos take hold on me. :-/
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Yesterday I did my last long run before my first half-marathon race, which is two weeks away (August 23). Made it 15 miles with lots of hills and felt good all the way. Yay!
So I know I will be able to do the 13 miles without much trouble, as long as the hills I've been working on are similar to the "rolling hills" on the course (my area is very flat, so I really made a point of working on this). In any case, the course description says the hills are mostly in the first half, and that the second half is flat and even downhill to the end, so that will help me out. I think I've got this!
Got up early on Saturday despite a late Friday night, and started my run at 6:30 am. This is the time the race will start, and yesterday was delightfully cool and breezy. Sunny and beautiful, but cool. I also changed up my run/walk ratio again. I switched from 5:2 to 4:1. Perhaps it was simply the cooler temp, but that really seemed to keep me going on pace. I did the whole thing without any extra or longer breaks.
I am still debating a bit about whether to carry my water bottle, but I am thinking I will. They have water tables marked every couple of miles along the course, but I am used to carrying mine. I like taking just a sip at a time. Also I always keep some fruit chews in the pouch of my water bottle holder, and I think I want to bring those along. Three hours is a long jog, and sometimes I start to get a gnawing hunger. Most likely won't be an issue with the early start time (won't be running into lunch time after just a light breakfast), but I'll feel better knowing I've got something in case I start to feel zapped.
Then there's my phone. That also fits in my water bottle pouch. I always bring it when I run on my own, for safety, and because I use an app on it to track my distance. No real reason to bring it, but I'm wondering if it would be helpful to keep an eye on my pace. I truly don't care about my time at all, but in shorter races I've found I almost always start fast because it is hard to find your own pace in a pack of runners. Not a problem on a short run, but could cause issues here.
On the other hand, jogging empty handed could be a treat ...
I think I am over thinking this :-/ Guess I'll just decide that morning, depending on the weather and how I feel.
Anyway, so excited to accomplish this goal. It has been very satisfying to work toward this, adding miles, getting stronger and feeling fit. I've found that the long runs provide a nice dose of solitude, and as my body tires it becomes easier (necessary) to focus inward. Thinking about form, about breath, about managing fatigue drives excess noise out of my head. You wouldn't imagine that a 15 mile run could be relaxing, but amazingly, it is!
How crazy does that sound?!
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