01/30/11

Final Long Run Before 50k

Final long run before my 50k on Saturday. Ran along the Boise River on the trails along the Eagle greenbelt. About 35 degrees, 10 mph winds (brrrr) and overcast. It was chilly and gray.

When I started the run, I turned on my mp3 player and the song, Be Ok by Ingrid Michaelson was playing.

I just want to be ok, be ok, be ok
I just want to be ok today
I just want to be ok, be ok, be ok
I just want to be ok today

That song totally resonates with me. It’s what I need to believe as I head into this upcoming race. I’m nervous. I’m a bit worried and I really needed to hear these words.

The first two miles felt wonderful. I felt some spring in my step and I had hope in my heart. The second song on my mp3 was Kool & The Gang’s Celebration and I realized that this upcoming race would be just that – a celebration of all of my hard work and training.

I wish I could say it continued on those happy notes, but I’m afraid that’s not the case. Somewhere around mile 5, I started to feel really cold. The wind had picked up. I’d turned off the mp3 earlier when I realized that I was mostly alone on the trails and I felt safer with them off. But, that meant I was alone with my thoughts, without any peppy, musical distraction. My fuel belt felt heavier than usual. I bought a new compact camera, eager to take some great photos on my Orcas Island adventure and this was one of the first runs with it in the pack. It was heavy. It kept bumping into my cell phone and trying to call others (despite the fact that I kept locking the keypad.) Wayne said he tried to call me and apparently the call was answered, but all he heard was me running along oblivious to the phone call taking place in my waist pack. Ugh! When I stopped to take a photo, I saw the phone display the message, “Dial SOS?” Oh dear!!! That would have been embarrassing to place a 9-1-1 call without even knowing it. I felt frustrated.

I felt a bit warmer after the first few miles, so I’d tied my jacket around my waist and tucked my Nike running gloves into my sports bra since I had no room left in my waist pack. It seemed a brilliant idea. Apparently there were some flaws with the plan that I didn’t take into account.

I had stopped for a photo of some ducks and afterwards, realized I was getting cold as I jogged. So, I reached into my bra for the gloves. Found the first one just fine. Reached for the other. Digging. Huh? Digging more. (Getting odd looks from passing runners.) I didn’t care. I stopped and stared down into my shirt thinking I just wasn’t grabbing in the right spot — but — no glove. Crap! At $20 a pair I can’t afford to be losing one. So, I retraced my steps. Thankfully, about a quarter mile back — there in the middle of the trail (right where I’d stopped for the duck photo) was my lonely glove. Whew!

Somehow I just couldn’t get my mojo back after that. I was tired. I was cold. I wanted to be done. But, I plugged on. I knew when I headed out today that if I ran 13 miles today, I’d hit 160 for the month — a pretty stinking impressive feat for me! My top mileage month ever was last September and that was 162 miles. So, I clung to that goal and just got through it.

I took a couple of wrong turns, but thanks to my trusty Garmin (with the “back to start” navigational gps feature) I found my way back to the car just fine.

I was relieved to be done.

Stats: 13.01 – miles. 2:07:42 – time. 9:48 – pace. Felt: Blah….

Best miles: Mile 4 – 8:17. Mile 13 – 9:05

01/28/11

Run For The Hills

The taper’s going well. Despite the 10 -15 mph winds, I felt some “pop” in my legs. They felt fresher than they had in weeks on today’s run – even while running up my killer hill “Nemesis”. That was a good feeling and reassured me that things are on the right track for my 50k on February 5th at Orcas Island.

My best mile today was the one including the downhill, nice steep section of Nemesis and was 8:08. The first half mile is flat (with a spectacular view of the valley below) but the last gradually slopes down more and more and you get quite a rush running asphalt with gravity pulling you along for the ride. I peaked at a 5:22 pace and held that for a tenth of a mile.  The 10th after was also better than a 7 minute pace, which was a lot of fun. Now if only I could run paces like that when I’m not going downhill one day. ha ha!

I made it back to the house and saw the Garmin said 5.15 distance with an average pace of 9:13. Pretty good for me on a 5 miler! That’s when I did something different than what I normally do — I started walking around the block and proceeded to do a really good cool-down walk around the neighborhood for nearly a half mile – and didn’t stop the Garmin. Gasp!!!! What and water down the pace? Umm… yeah. 

This is what I’m thinking: Walking is a wonderful cool-down after a good run. It gives the muscles a chance to stretch out gently, the heart rate a chance to gradually slow to a comfortable rhythm and walking slows my thoughts and breathing down so I’m ready for a nice easy stretch session when I finish. And…..if I do a 1/2 mile cooldown at the end of all my road runs, that will help me in my efforts to achieve my yearly mileage goal of 2010. It’s all good!

One week from today, I’ll be leaving with my friends to jump on a plane and head to my race! I can’t wait!

Stats: 38 degrees. 10 -15 mph winds. Sunny. 5.56 miles (5.15 ran then a cool-down) Pace: 9:13 for running portion/ 9:50 overall. Total time: 54:43

Splits:

Mile 1: 10:21 (warm-up)
Mile 2: 9:27 (includes Nemesis Hill)
Mile 3: 8:08 (includes downhill – weeee)
Mile 4: 9:21
Mile 5: 8:57
Mile 6: (.56 mile) – 15:06 walking pace

01/25/11

Hitched A Ride From A Hunk

After school today, I headed out to catch some of the lovely sunshine I had spied out the windows during the day. There’s a college near my home. I love running there on the roads looping through the campus. One of the streets is even named Achievement. That’s the street I set my mile PR on in November, so that label has special meaning for me.

So, I was running there today, using one of the side roads to do a few pickups when my husband texted me. He was at the grocery store and was swearing up and down that they no longer carried our particular brand of bread. I texted him more specific instructions to find it, then it hit me. The store was only about half a mile away. Why not just jog over and surprise him (and help him find the bread?) So, I did.

I was feeling kind of giddy as I ran, since he had no idea how close I was when we texted me. I made it into the parking lot and quickly found his car, then headed into the store to find him. Just as I made it into the entrance, he spotted me coming in and looked totally surprised. It was awesome! 

He asked if I wanted a ride and I told him, “Sure. Just as soon as I round up to the next mile.” Then proceeded to run a few loops in the parking lot until I had a nice even 4. We giggled like high school sweethearts riding back to the house, since it felt a bit like a date.

Once we got back to the house, I asked when the last time he’d ran was (he usually runs at work during lunch, so I’m not always sure.) He said it had been a few days. So, I asked if he’d like to join me for a couple more miles. He said yeah. 

He did great! This was only the second time that we’ve ever run together, so it was sentimental to me. He’s just beginning, but he’s going such a great job! He went the two miles and didn’t walk a step! We chatted (or, I chatted and he restrained himself from putting a muzzle on me) and we enjoyed the crisp cool air as the sun was getting lower in the sky.

While we stretched on the porch, I headed back for just a teensy bit more to get an even 7 for the day. Fantastic! Finished off by doing stretches in the house while my three year old crawled in circles around my legs. 

Stats: 7.01 miles. 10:28 pace. 1:13 total time. Felt: Pretty good, though legs felt sluggish until the pickups. The short bursts of speed felt really good.

01/25/11

It was Amy

I found out who the other runner was last night!!!! It was my Daily Mile neighbor and online friend Amy! We’ve never met, but we’ve chatted at Daily Mile a lot and we’d realized we lived in the same neighborhood a couple of months ago, but hadn’t had a chance to meet in person yet. That’s hilarious! She said she thought it might be me when she saw me stop and look at that tree, but when I took off she couldn’t catch me since she’s taken the last 4 weeks off from running. Darn it! I’ve been really hoping she and I could meet up and say hello. Guess I shouldnt’ be such a goofball next time!

01/24/11

A Chorus of Little Birdies

The feathered ones in my neck of the woods are all confused. They think it’s springtime already! Though it was fairly chilly earlier today, by the time I’d finished homeschooling the kids and was able to get out for a run, it had warmed up nicely. I couldn’t help but smile as I heard a chorus of little birdies chirping in the trees as I took off down the road. I imagined they were cheering me on, “You go girl! Keep it up!”

The shin and lower back are feeling much better — just a little bit sore. I felt sluggish the first mile, but soon after I decided to shake things up a bit when I approached the hill I refer to as my nemesis. It’s long and gradually steeper and steeper. At the foot of it, my eyes darted to the right to the golf course near my home. So many times I’ve jogged this way and thought, “Hmmm.. I wonder what it would feel like to run straight up the side of that steep hill to the golf course on top? There’s no trail. It’s covered in tall, golden grasses and weeds and thorns, but the grade reminds me of some of the trail running I do on the weekends — with the bonus of being practically in my backyard instead of half an hour’s drive away in a car like the Boise foothills. So, I went for it. I plowed up, pumping my arms, my breathing becoming rapid and I felt strong! I powered up the whole thing – no small feat for this hill-hater and only stopped when I spotted my finds of the day — two golf balls! Sweet! So, I stuffed them in my pockets and went running cautiously down the hill. Though, I totally get a rush out of running downhill like a wild, crazy animal on singletrack — running down the side of a hill without being able to see my footing under the brush on such a steep grade made me more careful.

It was satisfying to finally do that steep, little hill. I think I’ll be making more frequent visits to it from now on. Let’s only hope I don’t get knocked unconscious one of these days as I crest the top and a golf ball comes flying at me. ha ha!

I ran up the “nemesis” nice and comfortably strong after the smaller hill, then turned at the top and let gravity work it’s magic on my legs. I love that kind of speedy turnover without any of the effort of the flat or steep. I can’t help but exclaim, “Ahhhh…..so nice and soo much fun!” as I glide back down to earth.

I jogged along for a quarter mile nice and easy, then decided it might be nice to take a little walk break since I am still concerned my left shin is feeling a bit iffy. I slowed to a walk and stared up at the trees as I passed. That’s when I saw her! The other runner on the opposite side of the road! Oh no! She thinks I’m a walker! No! Wait! I’m a runner! Really — watch!!! And, I was off.

I crossed to her side of the road (the side I needed to be anyway for my neighorhood turn in) and picked up the pace. I stayed in the road and figured she’d pass me on the sidewalk. But she didn’t. So, I kept at it, really wanting to peek over my shoulder to see how much she was gaining on me, but fearing I’d find myself face-to-face with a stranger who was wondering what the heck I was doing racing her. That would have been too embarrassing, so I kept churning the legs. A half mile later, I arrived at the entrance to my neighborhood and veered in, thinking, “Whew… now that silliness is over. I’m sure she’ll be going straight and I can ease back into my nice, easy pace.” But, I heard footsteps. Quick ones. So, I kept running. Fast.

A quarter mile later, it was time to turn into my little section of the neighorhood. I have never, ever looked back during a race at my competition. It’s a taboo thing for me. I think by keeping my eyes in front of me, it helps keep me focused on my task at hand. But.. I was about to round the corner and I was so curious if I was just imagining the footsteps or not — so, very casually, a I rounded the corner, I looked sideways back at the road I’d just traveled – and there she was — hot on my heels about a tenth of a mile back, so I did the only rational thing that I could think of at that point and kicked my legs into Turbo Mode. Zoooooommmmmmmm……. and I dashed off the last block to my house, skidding to a stop once I’d arrived, breathing heavily with a huge grin on my face. Man, that was fun!

I walked the block to cool down, hoping I’d actually bump into my “competitor” so I could thank her for pushing me a bit out there today — but I didn’t see her again. Maybe next time.

Stats: 3.75 miles. Felt: Sluggish at first, pretty great at the end.

01/23/11

Testing, Testing….

I took the last two days off entirely to rest my legs and back. I feel much better. I slept very well the past couple of nights and allowed my appetite to lead to me whatever it wanted. Maybe, that’s exactly what my body needed.

For my test walk/run today, I brought along my camera to help me keep things nice and slow. I walked (and photographed) things for the first mile and thankfully did not have any pain at all. For the mile back home, I tucked the camera away in my zippered pocket and slowly jogged back home listening carefully to my body for any signs of distress. There were none. Yay! 

I’ll keep things gentle from here until my 50k on Feb. 5th. No sense in pressing my luck this close to an event!

Stats: 2 miles walk/jogged/easy. Felt: Good

01/19/11

Denise Austin’s Mind, Body and Soul DVD

Denise Austin’s Mind, Body and Soul standing pilates, yoga and dance dvd. Since it’s been about a month since I did any cross training (bad, I know), it felt good to do this workout today. It’s definitely one of my favorites for full-body stretching and ab work. I wrenched my lower back on my 13 mile trail run on Saturday and it’s been bothering me every since. This workout seemed to help.

Stats: 40 min DVD

01/18/11

Intervals

Hadn’t done any speedwork or intervals since my October marathon. I usually take the winter months to recover and focus on endurance more, so now that I’ve had 3 months off from the “hard work” I figured today would be a fun time to try out some easier interval work. I didn’t have any sort of plan, so I decided to warm up for a mile, then do 6 repeats of about 8:30 .50 miles with .25 mile recovery jogs and then cool down. After the first mile, my legs were still really feeling tight, so I just kept the pace at about 10:30 for the first round to extend the warm up and loosen up the tired legs. It helped a ton! Guess I just need longer warm ups in the winter months.

Interval 2 was 8:30, interval 3 was 8:30, interval 4 was 8:07, interval 5 was 7:54 and interval 6 was 7:47. It felt good to feel the leg turnover going well again. I’m really out of “speed” shape, but look forward to increasing my intervals and tempo work again as I look towards the Spring racing season.  Ave HR: 161. Max HR: 190.

Stats: 6.01 miles. 10:10 pace. 1:01 total time. Felt: Tired but good

01/17/11

Lactic Acid + Winds up to 35 mph = Slow Christie

Today I felt like that little kid in movies who’s had it with the big bully so he comes at him hard, fists swinging while the big bad bully grabs his head, laughing, holding him at arm’s length while the little guy thrashes all about accomplishing nothing. Lactic acid in the legs from the back-to-back long runs + 23 mph winds with gusts up to 35 mph made me feel like I was moving in slow motion, frame-by-frame instead of step by step.

The sun and temperature were deceiving – 54 degrees and beautiful, glorious sun. The wind just spoiled the whole pretty picture, though.

Since it was just a recovery run, I didn’t have to face it for long. Looking forward to a day of full rest tomorrow.

Ave HR: 148 Max HR: 177 (My ego got the best of me when a neighbor waved as I started out, so I zipped along at a nice 7:00 pace for a whole tenth of a mile until they were out of sight, then eased back to my recovery pace.)

Stats: 2.35 miles. 11:14 pace. 26:24 time. Felt: Tired