Who’s legs am I running on?

So I have really been slacking on this blogging thing..still never to figure out the balance of it, what I actually want to talk about and if I really do want to keep this going. I often think as I go about my day “OH that would be a good thing to blog”  or other thoughts along those lines.  I get home, catch up on the other blogs I read, get talking to friends and before I know it I have forgotten to write about my own day.

To briefly catch up, I have been having a lot of success in the running world recently.  I have set a 5K PR and a half marathon PR in the month of March, had great training runs, no soreness from the half marathon, and overall just good workouts.  I really can’t complain.  I almost feel like someone else put their legs on my body because I never thought my body or my legs would be able to handle this.

Quick recap of some highlights:
Last long run before the Swamphouse Half Marathon
I did this on March 2 which was about 2 weeks before the race.  I decided I was going to try this whole tapering thing.  Now this wasn’t my longest training as this was only 8 miles and I had done 11 miles the week before this one.  So I did this run a bit different because I didn’t want to run with my backpack, so instead I decided to kind of break this into 2 runs and I would stop back by the house to refuel between segments. I think my first lap was about 5 miles with the second lap 3 miles for a total of 8 miles.   I stashed my water bottle and shotbloks on my front step while I went out for my run. This was different for me but on this day it worked nicely. These 8 miles were fantastic.  I held a great pace throughout using my 9:1 method.  I finished in 1:16:10 with an average pace of 9:30/mile.  This is below what I want to hold for Swamphouse, so I was feeling great.

Fiddler’s Green 5K – PR
I had been asked by a friend to join her for a 5K on Saturday, March 3rd.  Originally, I had told her that I wouldn’t be able to join her because my typical work schedule has me working early on Saturday mornings, which prevents me from doing most races.   As I should know by now, my work schedule is completely inconsistent and I actually was schedule for a later shift on this particular Saturday.  I did have my drawbacks to doing it, mostly being that I had the Swamphouse Half coming up and I didn’t want to push too hard.  Well, I told myself that if my last long run felt good then I would sign up last minute and do the Fid’s 5K with her.  As I said before, I felt awesome after those 8 miles, so signed up and then decided I would use this 5K as a chance to set a new PR for that distance.
Bert and I got ready, headed over to Dee’s to follow her to the race since it was at a location I was not familiar with and let Berkley hang out with the puppies for the day.  After a frustrating morning (which is a whole another post about service workers….grr painters), we arrived at Mead Gardens to pick up my packet and for a lovely run.

This was a nice simple race through a few surrounding neighborhoods and ending in the gardens.  Because it is also a smaller race, there was a big of disorganization at the start time and no real defined start line, so I guessed as to where to start my time.  After working my way around a few slower runs, I found my groove and settled in.  I felt strong, fast and comfortable.  I grouped up with runners that were holding a steady pace and just kept going.  As we came around a final corner, I felt I still had energy in me, so I picked it up a bit and pushed to the end.  All of this equaled a pretty new sub – 30 minute 5K PR of 28:56!!!!

Swamphouse Half Marathon – PR!!!!!
I will eventually write a full recap on this race because I have a lot to say about it.  But, quickly…I DID IT!!! A SUB 2:15 HALF MARATHON…OFFICIAL TIME OF 2:13:00!!!!! On the morning of this race, I really did not think I had it in me at all.  There were a lot of factors building against me and they were starting to get to my head.  Once again the start was disorganized and I spent a lot of time weaving around before I found my groove and I thought I would never find it.  Well, I was wrong. Just like the Fiddler’s 5K, I found a great group of runners that I just mentally stalked because they were keeping great pace.  I stuck to my 9:1’s like I had trained with and my fueling plan, but I made sure to never lose sights of my pace runners.  This was working great for me and other than some stomach issues I was feeling great.  Legs wanted to keep moving and they just did.  Around mile 11, the legs started to get a bit heavy, but at this point I knew I had hit my goal so I just kept going.  It was an amazing feeling.  Here’s how the miles broke down;

1 1.00 mi 10:37 10:37 min/mi
2 1.00 mi 10:00 10:01 min/mi
3 1.00 mi 09:40 9:40 min/mi
4 1.00 mi 09:25 9:25 min/mi
5 1.00 mi 10:10 10:11 min/mi
6 1.00 mi 10:07 10:07 min/mi
7 1.00 mi 09:40 9:40 min/mi
8 1.00 mi 10:19 10:19 min/mi
9 1.00 mi 10:01 10:02 min/mi
10 1.00 mi 10:13 10:13 min/mi
11 1.00 mi 10:16 10:16 min/mi
12 1.00 mi 10:37 10:37 min/mi
13 1.00 mi 10:28 10:28 min/mi
14 0.17 mi 01:27 8:37 min/mi

All of that adds up to a lovely 2:13:00 with an average pace of 10:06/mile.  For once after finishing a half marathon, I didn’t want to immediately run for the med tent and throw ice on every part of my legs.  I wanted water and try to eat something to calm my stomach.  I was flying high that I had smashed by goal of my 2 minutes and surprised at how great my legs felt.  I couldn’t believe that they were my legs. I even went to spin class the very next day…still couldn’t believe my legs were now this strong

4 mile tempo run
Still riding high from my half marathon PR, I gave my legs a bit of a break but not much. I went to my normal spin class on Monday night, did the bike and elliptical on Tuesday, took a rest day on Wednesday due to some tightness in my calves, and finally, on Thursday I did a polymetric workout involving box jumps and legs lifts and some time on the elliptical.  So a bit of a break but nothing major.  This morning was my first post half marathon run and I was going to do a simple 4 miles. Well that didn’t sound like fun and I wanted to push myself, so I changed that up to a tempo run.  4 miles would break down to a warm up mile, 2 fast miles at 9:00/mile or faster, a cool down mile.  The thought of 2 miles at 9:00 or below was kind of scary to me, but I wanted to push myself.  As is the trend lately, I nailed this!!! Here’s how it broke down:

1 1.00 mi 09:55 9:55 min/mi
2 1.00 mi 08:49 8:49 min/mi
3 1.00 mi 08:28 8:28 min/mi
4 1.00 mi 09:25 9:25 min/mi  

Those two miles in the middle felt great actually.  I did have to push for maybe the last .5 mile or so but for the most part I felt comfortable and like I was gliding along.  I gave myself a break and walked for about 1 minute after pushing for those 2 miles then settled into a nice pace to finish out the 4  miles.  The cool down mile felt like I wasn’t moving at all and I had to hold myself back from picking up the pace.  I am really starting to believe some else put their legs on my body.

I am extremely happy that my legs and overall body are feeling so great right now.  These runs are reminding me why I enjoy and love running so much.  Pushing your body and seeing it pay off is a great feeling.   Now that I might have this speed thing figured out, it is time to add in some hills, which means some time on the treadmill since everything around me is flat flat flat.

Now it’s time to use all this positive running energy to complete some other projects around the house before my weekend is over.

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When a quick run really does turn into a quick run

I am really starting to see my speed increase and that is kind of crazy to me.  I never imagined that I would actually see myself getting faster.  When I started running, I wanted to get to around a 10:00 mile. To me, that was a nice average pace, normal and do-able.  I hit that and was able to hang out at the speed comfortably.  Every so often, I would just challenge myself to see how fast I could run a single mile.  Most times, I could do a single mile right around 9:00.  After that mile, I was usually spent and couldn’t imagine keeping that pace for a single moment longer.   I was ok with this.  At least, I was running.

As I started to increase my miles, I would find myself saying “I’m going to go out for a quick 3 -4 mile run.”  Those runs were quick to me because they weren’t long, but they weren’t actually quick by any means.  I would average my 10:00/mile pace and be content.  This morning, it was a different story.  My quick run really turned into a quick run (at least for me).

To my shock this morning, these were my splits for my morning run:

1 1.00 mi 09:19 9:19 min/mi 85 cal 0 bpm
2 1.00 mi 09:13 9:12 min/mi 96 cal 0 bpm
3 1.00 mi 09:27 9:26 min/mi 98 cal 0 bpm
4 1.00 mi 09:05 9:06 min/mi 101 cal 0 bpm

4 miles in 37:13.  The other shocking fact about this run to me was that I did it not following my standard interval pattern of 9:1.  I ran this straight through minus a 20 second break I took to cross the road between miles 2 and 3.  Might be the reason for the slower mile 3 split.  I finished this run and was on a post run high.  Definitely an amazing way to start my morning.

My day ended by basically canceling out that amazing run (See previous post about chocolate waffles)!  I got a text message from a friend during the day asking if I wanted to meet up for dinner and I couldn’t pass it up.  We decided to meet up at one of the local Outback Steakhouses.  I was so excited because I hadn’t had a good steak in a while and I was still burning calories from my run this morning.  I had a great dinner, great time with my friend and who can pass up chocolate waffles.  So definitely went over on the calorie count for the day, but sometimes moments with friends are more important than calories.