Saturday, January 31, 2009

Short, easy run

so this week was a cutback week, in more ways than one. Not only was the "long run" only supposed to be 30 minutes out and 30 minutes back, but I also cut back one of my weekday runs and cut the distance of the other two to 4 miles each. Between the general fatigue becoming very apparent and fighting off a cold, I felt like I couldn't keep to the full schedule this week. I was hopped up on Benadryl and Sudafed for most of the work week, and I just went with the signals I was getting from my body. We were supposed to take our resting heart rate for three days this week and figure out our averages, but I didn't even bother, knowing that it would be elevated from my body fighting off stuff. I'll have to be sure to get it done as soon as I bounce back.

Today we met at the usual spot and headed out for 30 minutes on the trails. we averaged a little slower than 10-minute miles, and despite feeling that I might have to hang back from the group because of my lingering cough and shortness of breath, I found myself leading the pack. It seemed like the cold air was just what I needed to open up everything. Of course, I was glad to have my gloves with me, even though I ended up stripping off my jacket and hat by mile 2. We found that coach had set out water just before mile 3, so we stopped for a minute before moving on for the last five minutes of the out section. I really wished I'd had a camera to capture the steam rising off everyone's heads at the stop -- it was still cold enough out to condense our breath, but warm enough that we were sweating pretty well. It was just a sight to behold, all of us with little clouds emanating from us.

We went on a little further, and then headed back. We decided to go back through the streets, mostly because we were certain our group pace leader would make us do hill repeats at the end if we came back on the trail (she later admitted at Starbucks for our "cooldown" that she probably would have, so we made the right choice). That route didn't have the big hill at the end, but made up for it with more gradual, steady inclines throughout. I found it harder to stay at the front of the group, but kept to paces around 10:30 nonetheless. The weather was perfect, and it was just a nice, relaxed run. Because we got done so early, we all had time to meet up at 'bucks around the corner for coffee and hot chocolate instead of rushing off in eight different directions like usual. That was probably the most fun I've had in this whole experience, just sitting around and talking about races, training, triathlon, and other stuff. Just fun, and a great way to wrap up the morning.

I'll have splits later -- the Garmin is waayyy over there in the car and not easily accessible right now. For now, it's time to cut open the fresh pineapple I brought home from the grocery store. I have no idea if it's pineapple season anywhere in this hemisphere, but it looked might appealing and I couldn't pass it up.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Run Down Much?

yeah, so I'm feeling it. the travel, the consecutive long runs, the constant weather fluctuations between Boulder and DFW, the weekend schedules of Scouts, hockey and laundry. It's all adding up and beating me down. I'm just feeling wore out (and yes, I know that's crappy grammar, but it fits... look at me, I don't even care about proper sentences anymore...).

I have never been so glad to get an email as I was today when Coach said our 20-miler is NEXT weekend, and this weekend, we're only doing ONE hour of running. Half an hour out and half an hour back. That's all. Suh-Weet!! I so need that cut-back week! I have already run 96 miles this month, which is more than any month last year except December (yeah, HI! December was 102 miles!? get the picture!?).

The other thing about the cutback week is that it fits more in line with what I've done before, with the 20-miler coming three weeks out. I thought it was too early to do it this coming weekend when I first saw it on the schedule. I thought four weeks of taper might possibly make us insane.

So, maybe I can get some rest this week. The other thing that will help is that it's not quite 7:00 pm on Monday, and I'm done with dinner (and dessert!) and about to settle into my snow-bunny pajama pants and Hershey's chocolate thermal shirt with my book and the remote, and plan to be out like a light before Two and a Half Men comes on. I will likely be up at 4:30 to hit the treadmill, but I will be rested by then, no doubt. Peace out, folks -- enjoy the Monday!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

As Promised

more for me than for you, honestly... unless you're dying to find out my splits for my supposed-to-be-19-miler-that-ended-up-17. Yeah, didn't think so. Mostly, it's just so I can have them for reference. So here goes:

Mile 1: 11:07
Mile 2: 10:48
Mile 3: 10:45
Mile 4: 11:04
Mile 5: 10:39
Mile 6: 10:49
Mile 7: 10:52
Mile 8: 11:20
Mile 9: 12:10 (lingered around the pit-stop porta-potties waiting on my partner)
Mile 10: 11:30
Mile 11: 12:10
Mile 12: 11:29
Mile 13: 12:02 (first brutal mile back on the exposed trail, into the wind)
Mile 14: 11:41
Mile 15: 11:16
Mile 16: 11:12 (we were getting close to home, plus it's a slight downhill)
Mile 17: 13:41 (monster hill; I ran, but slowly...)

Total time: 3:14:44
Total Distance: 17.0 miles
Avg Pace: 11:27/mile
Calories: 2416

Extrapolated to a full marathon, it comes in at 5:12:51... right about pace to match last time's performance. Plus, with any luck at all, it won't be as brutally windy and cold (and windy... did I mention the wind?) on race day. So, it's an improvement over the last 17-miler, and an improvement over the 18-miler, too. Gotta feel good about that. Now, if this cough I seem to have developed will just gently fade into the night...

Gotta run -- still have laundry to finish and packing to do.

Tell me they're NOT pink!

so, I had to get new shoes... part of the reason I ended up cutting a mile + off my run yesterday was the brilliant idea of breaking them in on a long run. I know. It was unavoidable. I just couldn't run another mile, especially not on the trail with all the rocks and gravel and such, in those old shoes. They worked for me, but I was really wanting Coach Jim to set me up with some real shoes, something besides the ones I'd picked up from Sports Authority. But there was just no time to make it to the store. I played with the idea of hitting a running store in Boulder (not like they're not scattered around the city like crazy out there) but didn't have a chance to even do that.

So, come Friday night, i knew I had little choice but to go back to what worked, even if they're not really the best available. So back to Sports Authority it was (after a great cajun chicken salad and mushrooms for dinner, that is). Except that while they had the exact model I've been wearing for the last three months, they were out of it in my size. Apparently, the Amazon women had been through earlier and took all the size 10s. Ugh. So then my next choice was to revert back to some New Balance that I'd had previously; they worked OK and I think I wore them for the AvonWalk, but I know I'd had about three pairs in my closet, so I thought those would work. But, apparently the Amazon women with huge feet like New Balance, too. Grrr. None of the others in stock would work for me, or maybe they would, but I couldn't chance it, not four weeks out from a marathon. I had to stick with what I knew. And what I knew is that the Sauconys were in stock in my size in pink. PINK!

Now, I know many of you are fond of pink (Dawn, I'm looking at you!!) and that's all well and good. But I am about the most anti-pink girl around. In my life I have had about three articles of clothing ever that are pink. It just doesn't work for me. Between my skin complexion and my general anti-frou-frou-ness, I just don't do pink. I prefer yellow in any shade (even mustardy baby poop yellow works for me) and orange (both burnt and bright). So, even though Hub rationalized that these were not really pink, but fuchsia, I had a hard time with this. Ultimately, though, common sense and what I knew would be best for my feet and my body won out. I went with the pink. And they were fine for the most part. I had a hot spot develop on the bottom of my sole on my right foot about mile 7, but when I stopped at 8.5 to check it, it turned out to be just a rock. So, yeah, they work. But don't think I won't be getting a new pair as soon as these hit 250 miles....

Unless I PR in them... in which case I'll be buying nothing but pink shoes for the rest of my life!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

17 miles

schedule said 19, Coach Jim laid out a course that was 18.5. But I just couldn't take the idea of coming back through the streets of Fort Worth and possibly getting lost if I slowed down and fell behind the group. It was a rough week emotionally and physically, and I felt like I was on the verge of pushing myself over the edge if I did too much. Plus, I got new shoes last night (bad idea, I know, trying to break in shoes with a 19-miler, but I had no choice -- just hadn't had a chance to get them otherwise) and was getting a little bit of a hot spot on them. So I turned around at the 8.5 mile mark and came back on the trail. So I "just" ran 17 instead of 19 -- slacker, I know. But I felt like that was all I had in my tank today. Next week we have 20, do or die, so I think I did the right thing today so that I still had something left not only for next week, but for race day. This still puts me at 4 runs over 17 miles or more, which is about two more than I've usually done. So, I'm OK with it. Really, I am. Splits later, for posterity, but for now the battery on this thing is about to die, and I'm overdue for a nap! Peace out!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

still here, still running

sounds familiar, huh? Long run of 18 miles on Saturday really beat me up while it was happening -- we apparently took the first 9 miles at a 10:00/mile clip, which I paid for dearly in the last 4 miles. Ended up having to do 5/1 intervals and plan for a walk break in the last two miles just to get through it, but I did, and the total time for the run, including stops at water stations to regroup was 3:30:51. So, I'm still projecting about a 5:15 finish at Cowtown. Ugh. In years past, I've projected a 4:45 and ended up at about 5:15, so I'm not thrilled with that, but I've been out of the game for two years and have an extra 10 pounds to carry from the last full race, so I'll take what I can get. At this rate, the "comeback" is just to finish and have a good time. We'll start talking time goals at Oklahoma City, and then really work toward them for New York City in the fall. This is the third year for the lottery, and I'm hoping it will be the charm. If not, I'll have to find some other big fall race to do, probably around my birthday. Trying not to plan too far ahead right now -- there's a lot of things in limbo around here.

anyhow, after that long run, I surprisingly felt really strong and good afterward. I had to go to a pinewood derby workshop with TDP DinoBoy, and then we ended up going to dinner with some friends. Sunday was hockey, laundry and hockey, but at a little more relaxed pace since I didn't have to fly out Monday morning.

I took advantage of the holiday to indoctrinate TDP DinoBoy into the world of running with his first official race. He was excited about it, even though it was cold and windy at the 10:00 am start. It was a small race benefiting a local school, around the nature trails on the north end of town. I told him we'd do intervals, just like I used to do with Elder Child, and he could run as fast as he wanted to during the running parts, but had to walk and catch his breath and regroup during the walking parts. He was awesome! Only once, about at the 2.25 mile mark, did he complain that his legs were tired, and I talked him through it until he got his second wind. We finished at 37 minutes and change, which is a full 5 minutes ahead of his big brother's 5K premiere, a fact that he rubbed in with great glee upon our return. He was of course most impressed with the post-race spread and was content to sit at the pavilion afterward basking in the atmosphere. I think he enjoyed it!

Yesterday, I did 2 mile equivalent on the elliptical, then 3 miles on the treadmill, all while watching the Biggest Loser. I was supposed to run today, but I'm having a rough day and have decided to tuck in early and hit it early tomorrow morning. It will mean another hour of work on friday, but I think I need it. Pix of the DinoBoy later, after I grab them off the video on the other computer. Peace out!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday run done

5.5 miles -- I ran for 2.5 miles outside, until I ran out of sidewalk/bike path. Then I turned around, came back and finished the last .5 sprinting on the treadmill. I should have done 6, but I still have to work some later tonight and I didn't really feel like being up past 10:00. I have a 7:00 am conference call, which means I have to get an earlier than usual start tomorrow, so I need to get to bed fairly early. anyhoo, I felt good that I got it done, and felt better that I did it outside. I was a little leery of icy spots, but it turns out those were all just between the office and hotel, and around the hotel's front doors. Once I got past those, all the sidewalks and paths were dry, dry, dry. So, yeah, I rocked it; finished the 5 outdoor miles in 54:45, which is pretty good considering it's Boulder, and there are hills. Finished the last half mile in less than 5:15, so I think I did OK. Need to run tomorrow AM and then rest on Friday for the big 18-miler through the streets of Ft Worth on Saturday. Whee! Just as long as the wind isn't crazy like it was last week, I think I'll be OK. Peace out!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

4 miles

it's crunch time. the work I put in over the next seven weeks will be the difference between finishing Cowtown strong, upright and smiling or staggering through another painful stretch after mile 19. I'm a little disconcerted about the pace of last weekend's run, but I have to shake it off and just continue to put in the work during the week (even while traveling) and put in the miles on the long runs. There are no shortcuts. I have to do the work, hope for good conditions and an "on" day and then just run. and then run some more.

So, with that said, I ran today. 4 miles on the treadmill downstairs. The temps were OK for an outdoor run, but there was still enough ice on the ground to be treacherous and there was a wicked wind chill. So, hopefully tomorrow will be better and I can give the Garmin another try in the morning. Six is scheduled, so I should be getting to bed soon. g'night!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I knew this was going to be tough. I missed last week's 15-miler since I was out cavorting in the snow. The week before was right after Christmas and we ended up not having a formal group run, so I just did 10 miles on my own. I haven't run 17 miles in roughly two years. So, yeah, I knew I had my work cut out for me. All I could hope for is that the weather was decent and that my weekday runs would serve me well.

So, I was right. It was tough, and my weekday runs did serve me well. I faltered a little at the end, but only slowed down when the wind was just so brutally directly in our faces and I just couldn't keep the 11:30 pace we'd been dictated. And I didn't run the hill at the end. By that time, I was just ready to be done, and Jan had said there was no shame in walking the hill. So, not being one to argue, I didn't disagree and walked the hill. I probably could have run it, but by then, I was just ready to be done.

So, overall, I think I did fine. I survived, and I actually felt pretty good about it. I didn't negative-split it, that's for sure, but I was upright and smiling at the end, so that has to count for something.

Nutritionally, I did OK. I carried my own water bottle and sipped a bit at each mile (per the Garmin), so my hydration wasn't dictated by the coach laying out the water stops. I had cut some of the new PowerBar smoothie bars into chunks to use during the run. I like to use Clif Bloks because I just can't handle the texture of gels, but I can never find them when I need to (as in, at 6:15 on the way to the group run...), so I thought I'd try these. Hub and the Elder Child have had success with these after hockey, so I figured if I hated them, they could have them. But, they worked out pretty well, except for melting into a big blob in my beltpack and then hardening into a hard-to-bite lump with the cold. But the flavor was good and it was easy to digest. I may still experiment, but we'll see.

Here's the particulars:

Total Time: 3:19:44
Total Dist: 17.16
Avg Pace: 11:38
Best Pace: 8:01
Calories: 2622

So, what does that work out for the full? Let's see, a little quick math, and we end up with a 5:17. Crap. That's a full 5 minutes slower than my PR. I've got some work to do in the next few weeks. Of course, i could always hope that we don't have these wicked winds, but still, you can never account for what the weather in North Texas will do in February. Argh.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Have I mentioned i love my Garmin?

Have I? Because really, I do. Today was my first run with it since its resurrection, and I remembered why I used it nearly daily for three years. It tells me how far I went, how fast I went, remembers when I have to stop to strip off a layer (btw, remind me to tell you how much I love my new Cloudveil fleece!) or to drink from Boulder's great no-freeze water fountains. It knows exactly when I've gone a mile and does the math with the whole min/mile pace thing. Quite plainly, it's awesomeness.

OK, I have one quibble with the newly-risen Garmin, though. It appears that the beep alert isn't working. It lights up when the lap counter goes off, but the beep isn't audible. I monkeyed with the settings, but nothing so far. No matter, with all it's awesomeness, I can take this little flaw as a quirk.

ORN for this morning, outside to the Boulder Pearl Street Mall, then back to Arapahoe and the hotel:

Total Time: 1:01:19
Total Dist: 5.5
Avg Pace: 11:08
Best Pace: 8:40
Calories: 721

Ok, enough of the lovefest. It's Thursday, which means I get to go home today! And I scored the upgrade! Wahoo! Have a great Thursday, folks!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Year-End Review, pt. 2

So, the other thing to do before wrapping up 2008 (yes, I'm behind, I've been on vacation, m'kay? it's kinda tough to get back into the groove after the week I've had) is to do the objective summary of the mileage I did this year. I've done the subjective grading of myself against my goals, and now it's time to see the numbers. The numbers do not lie, and I know they're not as good as I had wanted them to be. For the first time since I started training, I did not hit 1000 miles for the year.

Here we go, with comparisons from 2007 in parentheses:

Total miles for 2008: 894 (1001)
Average miles/month: 75 (91)
Average miles/week: 17.1 (21)
Highest weekly mileage: 37 (35)
Highest month: December, 102 (Sept, 123)
Lowest month: July, 50 (May, 38)

I don't have my 2006 numbers handy, or I'd throw those out, too, but I think the trend and difference between this year and last year is clear. The lack of a full marathon definitely affected my motivation to get out and run some days. The other thing in play is that with the walk training for AvonWalk, my mileage did not tally up as much as it would have had it been a running race.

While I'd like to have some hard numbers on my weight for this year, I don't. And really, though, I don't think it matters, since I weigh now exactly what I did at the beginning of the year. Despite the fact that I had an unexplained gain in the middle of the year, I am the same weight that I was at this time last year. I didn't diet, I didn't deprive myself of anything, and I maintained. Hmm. Not sure where to go with that one. I still want to get down to a "fighting" weight, but I'm certain that dieting alone isn't going to get me there. I think I'm just going to have to be thoughtful about what I eat, making sure to fuel my performances adequately and allow for recovery after working out without overindulging. The workouts will continue, and they will diversify, too, as I get back into triathlon after my spring races. I'll have more on my specific race goals later in the week. For now, it's time for bed!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

I kicked Buttermilk's Butt!

and, yeah, it kicked back a little, but, still! considering I'd never been on skis before, I feel pretty good about what I accomplished this weekend. I ended up going down the upper part of Buttermilk Mountain yesterday, and only fell into snowbanks about four times (but they were GOOD falls, let me tell you!). There was what my sister-in-law called "champagne snow" falling all day long, so by the time we went up to the top, there was between 4-5 inches of powder on the ground, more in the drifts along the edges of the treeline. It was amazing. There weren't a lot of skiers out because of the snow so there were tons of places, even on the lower bunny slopes, that I had a huge expanse to myself with my super-ultra-awesome instructor Daryl. It was awesome.

I didn't get the payoff of the great view from the top of the lift because of the flurries, but I was able to experience first-hand the magic of the mountains. This is what I saw on one of the turns back down toward the lower lift:

It's why my brother's been trying to get me out here for 15 years now. I get it now. The total silence was amazing, interrupted only by my breathing and the slide of my skis against the snow. Phenomenal.

Even more so? Watching my two kids take to the mountains like ducks to water. Elder Child skied a black diamond with my sister-in-law and smoked it, and TDP DinoBoy did pretty well. My brother says he has no "terminal velocity" monitor, so he's not afraid to go fast and is young enough to be molded into the right form easily. I'm pretty sure we'll be making this a regular adventure. Pretty cool, if you ask me!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Told you!

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Skiing is fun!!

hard as heck, and a little scary to careen down the mountain with no amount of control whatsoever, but fun, fun, fun!! More pix later, after I get them from my brother -- we were too busy not falling down to take photos! The kids loved it, even Hub enjoyed it, and I am warming up to it!! Happy New Year, btw!!