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.

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.

Turning over a new training leaf

March 11th is creeping up on me a bit faster than I would hope.  Why is March 11th important?  Well that is the day that I will try to hit my half marathon PR goal of 2:15. I will be trying to hit this goal at the Swamphouse Half Marathon.  I have wanted to hit this time for a while.  Mainly since running the 2010 Princess Half Marathon with Adam when we finished at 2:23.

Don't we look like running royalty?

All half marathons since that race have gone in the opposite direction which scares me even more about this goal.  But there have also been battles with injuries, a lack of training and an overall dread of running around those races following the 2010 Princess.  So why am I fixated again on this 2:15 goal?

Well I have found my love for running again, greatly increased my knowledge of running and how to properly train.  I credit a lot of this to a friend of mine named, Jeff.  He is probably one of my biggest supporters in my running journey and gave me the amazing gift of a subscription to Runner’s World when I needed it most.  I also started searching the internet, stumbled on many blogs that re-energized me and gave me the final bit of motivation I needed.  So back to the pavement I went with a whole new outlook on my running and that PR goal calling my name.

I have been focusing on having a more well-rounded training plan to finally understand all this talk about strength training, cross training, tempo runs, negative splits, etc that I had been reading.  And I’m happy to say, I’m enjoying training soo much more than just spending time running.  I have really started to like the cycle classes at the gym (and might finally have found a way to be comfortable on that stupid seat), found a love for high intensity intervals and finally had a fun mock 5K with negative splits.  See…..

1 1.00 mi 09:57 9:58 min/mi
2 1.00 mi 09:25 9:26 min/mi
3 1.00 mi 09:16 9:17 min/mi

Nice and speedy for me.

This morning was also another big step in my process of trying to properly train (or at least pretend that I know what I’m doing).  Since I started running in 2008, I never liked running with water or any type of fueling with me.  I thought it was just fine to eat and drink before I went out and again when I got home.  During races, I would take full advantage of all the water stops and other choices on the courses, but it still never stuck with me to actually train with these things.  (Yes, I read it countless times and understand the idea behind it but I’m a stubborn and thought I was fine…) I am proud to say that this morning, I turned over that new leaf, let go of my stubbornness and took FUEL WITH ME!   Yep, I am still in shock myself.  I grabbed the backpack to hold Bert, the camera, cell phone, a grape Gatorade and a Triple Berry Gu.  Off  I went with a goal of 9 miles for the morning.

Bert is all stretched and ready to go...Let's go!!!

The legs definitely felt heavy from last night’s Body Pump workout and took a while to warm up.  I stopped to get a little stretching in after mile 2 and the legs felt better after that. My first fueling break came after 4 miles and I decided I would take fueling breaks for each 2 miles after that. I hit the mile 8 break and felt great so I powered through the last mile and then enjoyed the last of my Gatorade during my cool down walk.

ooo Gatorade you taste even better after 9 miles

I am super super happy with my 9 miles this morning.  I maintained a steady pace (which is always a challenge for me) and that pace just happened to be GOAL PACE!!!! My total time for this morning’s run was 1:30:57.  Wooohooo.  Next week is going to be a big test as I have 11 miles on the schedule.  If I can maintain goal pace for 11 miles, I will feel fully confident that I will achieve that PR.

My weekend has come to a close.  Time to head into the work week with a few exciting events thrown in.  Working overnight and helping a friend move into a new apartment await me tomorrow.

Giving this a try

I have decided to make a jump into the blogging world.  I plan to first just keep this as a journal for myself and take my time in learning this whole blogging thing.  I greatly enjoy the many running blogs that I have stumbled upon this year.  I find such motivation from reading those blogs and wonder if having a blog myself might keep my motivation up.
As I’m sure most bloggers experienced when they first started, I have my concerns about putting my life out there, wonder what I will talk about and will anyone else care, but at the same time, I get to decide what I share, so it’s all in my control.  I also need to remember that I am doing this for myself.  If others decide I provide inspiration, motivation or even entertainment for them, that will be fantastic, but really this is for me.  I will try my best to not let this consume my life.  I have a feeling I will frequently miss days just due to a very scattered work schedule, but that is ok.

With that disclaimer out of the way, what do I have to share today.  After being only fairly productive with most of my time this week, it felt nice to have motivation to get to the small tasks around the house that have been haunting me for a while:  Mail that had piled up, was sorted and filed away.  Laundry that seems never ending.  Random clutter around the house.  All those of so fun tasks.  Also made the decision to take Nico up on her excitement to try BodyPump with Jeff at the gym.  Holy Cow!  This was my first time taking the Les Mills Body Pump Class.  Check out what is is here:
http://www.lesmills.com/southeast/bodypump/bodypump-group-fitness-class.aspx

Yep, I was definitely shaking throughout this class.   The instructor, Jeff, is the fantastic,  I have recently started taking his cycle classes and he is the guy that is in charge of all fitness classes at the gym.  My arms were continuing to shake as I drove home.  I jumped onto the foam roller shortly after getting home in hopes to prevent muscle tightness.  I have 9 miles planned for tomorrow morning, so if I can not have tight muscles in the morning I’ll feel more confident walking out the door in the morning.

The other giant headline from today:  I registered for the Susan G. Koman 3-Day walk being held in Tampa Bay October 26 -28, 2012.  I will be forming a team with a good friend of mine to tackle those 60 miles to fight breast cancer.  I am extremely excited about this and hope I’m able to reach my goals by October.  This will be a huge part of my life in the coming months.  Here is the link to my personal page (which is still a work in progress):

http://www.the3day.org/site/TR/2012/General?px=6507796&pg=personal&fr_id=1770

I’ve got a lot on the calendar for this year.  Can’t wait to experience it all with my friends, family and, of course, BERT!!!