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Saturday, July 30, 2011

20.5 mile long run.

Well, here we are, my friend Holly and I after we finished our 20.5 miles.  We're still smiling, but we both were hurting - she is also having similar problems with one of her knees/IT band.  It was still a fun run, and the company was just the boost I needed to get through this run.  I didn't sleep very well last night, waking up at 3am with a little boy who had wet the bed, then not being able to get back to sleep right away.  I laid there tossing and turning for almost an hour then finally fell asleep just long enough to have a disturbing dream and be jarred awake by the alarm at 4:45am.  Once I was up, I had to get ready and do some sort of a warm up.  I had a blistered toe I needed to tape up, my Gatorade to prepare, and my waist pouch to fill with fuel, phone, etc.  We were out the door at 5:20, but we had a ways to drive to get to our starting point - the Pocatello Marathon route.  We got there by 6am, met up with the rest of the group, 2 ladies doing 10 miles, one more doing 12 miles, and one of Holly's running "mentors", a 60-something year old guy named Terry, who was the only other one besides me and Holly doing 20 today.

It was a beautiful morning, we were able to enjoy the sun as it came up over the mountains, turning the clouds pink and purple.  I had told myself before we started that no matter what the rest of the group did, I would run a comfortable pace for me.  I knew by 5-6 miles that I was going faster than I'm used to, but we were following Holly and Terry's MO - take a short walking break every 2 miles, and as sub-4 hour marathoners, I was more than willing to follow their lead.  Those little breaks were just enough to get a drink, have some fuel and rest my legs.  We followed this pattern until around 15 miles, when my knee was really starting to bother me and I was also starting to feel the effects of the heat of the day, with a headache starting and some lightheaded-ness to go with it.  I decided to take a couple of extra walking breaks on my own until I felt a little better, and caught up with my friends when Terry stopped for a bathroom break.  The last few miles were tough, my legs were on fire, but I just kept talking myself through the roughest patches and having someone to talk to helped A LOT!  Before we knew it were back to my car, where I had packed a cooler with chocolate milk for us to enjoy after our run.  We finished the 20.5 miles in just under 4 hours, which equated to an 11:42 min./mile pace.  Dang, if I can cut out even a couple of the walking breaks and keep that pace for the whole 26.2, I might be able to break 5 hours on my marathon after all!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Rest and cross.

I'm starting to feel a little bit stressed about my long run tomorrow.  I guess it's probably a good thing that my friend called yesterday and asked me to join her and some other friends on their 20 miler in the morning, because I think I'm going to need that extra push that being with other runners will offer.  Both of my knees have been hurting a little bit off and on and my legs are just feeling sore in general.  Last night my husband and I watched a movie called "Running the Sahara", a documentary about three guys who decided on a whim to do an "expedition", running their way across the entire Sahara desert - 111 days of running the equivalent of 2-3 marathons a day.  It was very inspiring, seeing how they pushed through the struggles they faced.  It made my knee and hip pain, muscles soreness and toe blisters seem trivial.  One of the guys said at one point: "Ultra running is, in my opinion, 90% mental and the other 10% is...mental."  So very true for any distance running, I think.

So this morning, instead of doing nothing, as I had originally planned, I did a 10 minute Pilates stretching warm up, then I did 30 minutes on the elliptical followed by an easy 15 minutes of walking on the treadmill.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

8 mile run.

This morning I set out around 6am for my 8 mile run.  Things went pretty smoothly.  I wore my knee brace, but I still had some pain starting after about 4 or 5 miles, especially when going downhill.  After downloading my Garmin, I saw that I averaged 10:24 min./mile...not too shabby for this turtle!  I also wore my new Headsweats visor that came yesterday:
(Now you know what I look like, post-run blogging! ☺)
The visor worked great, no sweat dripping, no hair in my face, it stayed in place - now I want to buy an extra one in another color! ;)  After my run I did 40 minutes of Pilates/Yoga Blend.  Now I get to enjoy a rest day tomorrow, followed by a 20 miler on Saturday.  Only 5 weeks until my next marathon...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Not too much excitement to report today.  It's a cross-training day, so I started with 30 minutes on the elliptical, followed by 15 minutes of walking on the treadmill at an incline using hand weights.  After that I did 30 minutes of Pilates.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

6 mile speed training run.

This morning I made my way over to the park to do some speed training.  I set my Garmin to alert me at every 1/4 mile, I started with a walk to warm up, then I did 12 X 1/4 mile repeats with 1/4 mile rest intervals in between for a total of 6 miles.  When I came home I also did 40 minutes of Pilates.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Long, slow burn.

Today is a cross-training day.  I was sore and tired waking up this morning and it took me a little longer than usual to get out of bed, but once I was up and going I felt better.  I warmed up with 10 minutes of Pilates, then I did level 1 of 30 Day Shred.  After that I did 90 minutes on the elliptical, followed by 30 minutes of walking at an incline on the treadmill using hand weights.  Now my arms and legs are nice and shaky!

On another note, for a while now I've been trying to decide on something new to try on my head for runs during these warm, summer months - be it a new hat, visor or headband of some kind.  Normally my preference is a baseball style cap, but the two hats I have are not necessarily "performance" hats, so I sweat really bad in them and by the time I get home they are soaked.  I also have an Adidas visor that I wear occasionally, but it doesn't stay on very well because it's not adjustable and I find myself constantly having to fuss with it while running.  A couple of times I have tried just wearing a fabric headband, but those also don't stay on very well and I have to use bobby pins to keep it secured while I run, and neither of those things help with all the sweat dripping down my face.  So....after a little research, I finally decided on a Headsweats visor and it should be arriving tomorrow or Wednesday and I am really excited about it.  I ordered it from RunningWarehouse.com, check it out for great deals on running stuff, and free shipping!  Really, it's always a great pick-me-up to get something new for running. :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

15 mile long run.

This morning I headed out early for my 15 mile long run.  Things were fine as I moved along at a steady pace for the first 10-11 miles.  I made a concerted effort to not go out too fast in the beginning so as to avoid the pitfalls I encountered on my 18 miler last week, and it seemed to work.  Unfortunately, at around mile 11 I started to get that pain in my knee again like I had last week.  It starts as an ache along the side of my knee, then all of a sudden my knee would spasm and just give out and I would have to start walking.  For the last 4 miles I took regular walking breaks every time the pain would flare up, then run as much as I could in between.  So, this long run went a lot better than the last one, but I still wish I could get my body whipped into shape so I could just enjoy it more.  I hate having to stop because my body isn't cooperating.  I finished the 15 miles in about 3 hours, so that worked out to an average pace of around 12:28 min/mile, which is about a minute per mile slower than I'd like to be for the marathon.  I've got a lot of work to do.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

5 mile tempo run.

Normally today would be a cross-training day, but due to the fact that we're leaving bright and early tomorrow morning to go to a nephew's wedding and will be gone most of the day, I decided to do tomorrow's run today.  I had set the alarm for 5, but my sweet little 5 year old decided to wake me up at 4:30 instead.  I was ready to leave for my run by 5, but it was still a little dark outside so I waited until 5:15.  Today's run was one of those that reminded me why I run, thankfully...I was due for one of those runs.  I had minimal pain, I felt good, though I pushed myself to keep a steady, strong (for me) pace, and I finished my run in 51 minutes, averaging just over 10 minute miles.  When I got home I also did 45 minutes of Pilates.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

6.5 miles speed work.

With my attitude in check this morning, I got up at 6am and headed over to the park to do a little speed work.  I warmed up with 1/2 mile of walking, followed by alternating 1/4 mile (400m) and 1/2 mile (800m) repeats with rest intervals of 1/4 mile in between for a total of 6.5 miles.  I was good and sweaty and covered in bugs when I was finished, and my hamstrings were a little sore, but I felt like it was a good run.  When I got home I also did 30 minutes of Pilates.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cross-training Monday.

I'm still licking my wounds from my long run on Saturday.  For some reason, my confidence really took a hit after that run.  I was thinking about how lame it is that after all this time, almost a year and a half of constant training, running my heart out, cross-training diligently, having a goal and a purpose, all that work has built to this point - that I can't go out and do an 18 mile long run without being in pain, hurting so badly I have to walk, faltering in my ability and mental strength.  What the heck?  What am I doing wrong here?

Anyway, those were some of the thoughts going through my ever-critical mind the past few days.  This morning when I woke up, I realized I just needed to recommit myself and find some new focus and motivation.  I did a really great cross-training session, starting with level 1 of 30 Day Shred, followed by 1 hour and 25 minutes on the elliptical.  Now I think I'll troll the internet and find some inspiration...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

#$%*!@! Long run.

Worst. Run. Ever.  Honestly, today's run was one of those that made me wonder why, again, am I doing this to myself?  I woke up plenty early - 4:45am.  I had something small to eat and drink and started getting ready.  By 5:25 I was out the door, but right from the beginning something didn't feel right in my legs.  When I was still feeling sluggish and stiff by mile 3, I decided that I would start taking regular walking breaks early and often in this run, or I knew I might not make it the whole 18 miles.  I made it to mile 8 taking a short walking break every 2 miles or so, and right as I was at mile 8.25 I had reached the region patrol office for ISP, and Chris just happened to be heading in to work right then.  As he passed by me and stopped to check on me, I asked if he would let me in to the office so I could use the bathroom.  After a quick pit-stop, I was back on the road and headed back toward home.  Originally my plan was to go out 9 miles and then turn around and go back, but I decided to just start back towards home at that point (around 8.28 miles) even though I knew it would cut my run short at the end and I would have to make it up somehow.  I was feeling so much pain in my legs and feet that I just wanted to be closer to home.  The rest of the way back home was kind of a blur.  I did a walk/run thing, and it seemed to take forever.  My foot was throbbing with every step, my hamstrings on both legs were so tight that they were twitching, my calves were cramping, I could feel two blisters getting worse and worse on one foot and to top it all off, I had a new, searing pain in my left knee that would worsen with every step as I ran.

On the plus side, I was able to make it 17.28 miles in under 3 hours and 50 minutes, the sun was shining and at least I was out enjoying the beautiful weather, though I can't say I enjoyed my run.  I'm not sure what I did or didn't do to make things take such a turn for the worse.  After all, I was supposed to be all rested and ready for today's run after an "easy" week.  Who knows, I always have good runs and bad runs, as do most runners, I'm sure, but today's just felt especially bad.  Sucks that it was on one of my longest runs because I really wanted to finish my 18 feeling strong.  Should be interesting to see how my recovery goes.  Right now I feel like I can barely walk.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The usual Friday.

Today is a rest day, at least as far as my schedule goes.  I did take my cub scouts on a 2 mile hike, but it didn't seem like much exercise, considering.  Up tomorrow, 18 miles...so the rest of today I will be resting, and eating!☺

Thursday, July 14, 2011

30 minute run.

We just returned this afternoon from a night of camping.  I did a lot of walking/hiking and playing with the kids, but I didn't do my 3 mile tempo run this morning, as per my schedule.  So, after I got some laundry started and things unpacked from the camper, I jumped on the treadmill and did a 30 minute interval run.  I (almost) went outside for my run, but a 4pm, 90 degree, sun beating down on me run just seemed a bit too much.  Instead I put on my headphones, put a fan inches away from the treadmill and got to work!
This is where we camped...isn't it beautiful?  I love being out in nature with my family.  It's my favorite place to  be.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


My workout this morning was a short one.  I started with 20 minutes of Pilates, then I did level 2 of 30 Day Shred.  That's it.  Now I'm going to finish packing up for an impromptu overnight camping trip we decided to take, since it's my husband's days off.  Speaking of my husband, he is doing so great on his half-marathon training.  Today he did an 11 mile long run.  Now as I watch him hobble around the house, I am reminded of what it was like to do each of those first, progressively longer long runs, and I feel for him!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

6 mile speed work out.

I don't know why, but on the days I have a speed work run scheduled, I have a harder time getting out the door.  It's probably my body's way of trying to avoid the pain it knows is coming!  This morning I walked to the park to warm up, then set my Garmin to beep at every 1/4 mile, starting with 1/4 mile of walking, then sprinting 1/4 mile and repeating 12 times for a total of 6 miles.  I have a lot of tightness in my hamstrings today and my foot (with the lump) was really bothering me, but I knew I needed to get the speed work in so I just sucked it up.  I was pleasantly surprised when I came home and downloaded my Garmin stats, after doing a 10 minute Pilates cool down.  On the portions of my run where I was "sprinting", I averaged 6-7 min/mile.  Granted, I only was doing that for 1/4 mile at a time, but hey, that's improvement.

Monday, July 11, 2011


This week is an interesting one, as far as my training schedule goes.  I have my usual 3 days for cross-training, then my two speed training runs are both 3 miles, leading up to my long run of 18 miles on Saturday.  I'm really hoping that having short runs during the week will help me have a really good long run experience, because that's where I feel I need the most work.  So today, I started out my workout with level 1 of JM's 30 Day Shred.  That DVD always gets my heart rate up and the sweat dripping.  After that I did 30 minutes on the elliptical, followed by 45 minutes of walking on the treadmill while using ankle and hand weights.  I only used the hand weights for the first 15 minutes, but I did keep the ankle weights on for the whole time.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

13.1 miles.

This week is a "recovery" week, so my long run this morning was only 13 miles.  I went ahead and added the point 1 because I was curious to see how fast I could do the half marathon distance now that I've been doing a little bit of speed training.  I felt good when I woke up (before the alarm) at 4:50am.  I did a little dynamic stretching, had a bit of Diet Coke, got my gear on and headed out the door, excited to listen to the new songs I added to my playlist just for today's long run.  I continued to feel good for the first 6-7 miles, and I could tell that I was going at a good pace, though not too sure I could keep it up and wanting to be strong at the finish.  After reaching the half-way point and turning around, there was a very strong headwind and the temperature seemed to drop to about 40 degrees.  Being dressed in shorts and a tank, I was freezing and I felt like I was being pushed backwards.  I didn't let it slow me enough to walk, but it definitely made my leg muscles work harder and I was feeling crampy in my legs.  At some point during the second half of my run, I also started feeling the "urge" - I needed to go to the bathroom.  I almost, and I do mean almost, called my hubby to come get me, but when I would glance at my Garmin and see that I was on pace to have a decent time overall, I decided to just hold it in and push through the last few miles.  In the end I finished the 13.1 miles in exactly 2 hours and 27 minutes, a best time for me at that distance.  Now I feel like the pain was worth it. :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cross/rest day.

Today is my "lay-low" day, but I did do 45 minutes on the elliptical this morning.  Now on to another busy Friday...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

10 mile tempo run.

This morning I got an early start on my 10 mile tempo run, out the door at a little after 5am.  Yesterday I read a couple of articles from Runner'sWorld.com about the importance of tempo runs and how to do them properly.  I don't think I fully understood, even from what I read in the book Run Less, Run Faster, why tempo runs are an important part of training and how to do them properly for the most benefit.  Tempo runs teach the body how to use oxygen for metabolism more efficiently by increasing the lactate threshold, and over distances, if you do longer tempo runs.

What I understood was that I should be using the first mile of the run as a warm up, to be run at a comfortable pace, then the middle miles of the run should be run at a faster pace, about 15-20 seconds slower than 10K pace (comfortably hard), then the last mile back to a comfortable pace for a cool down.  For me that means, I guess, my goal pace for the "fast" part of the tempo run should be around 11 min./mile.  On today's run I averaged a pace of 11:03 min./mile, so I was right on target.  Here's an excerpt from an article I read in Runner's World:
"Studies indicate that the best predictor of distance-running performance is your lactate threshold, which is the speed you are able to run before lactic acid begins to accumulate in the blood. By regularly including tempo runs in your training schedule, you will increase the speed that you can run before lactic acid begins to slow you down. To use a car analogy, tempo runs will allow your engine to rev faster without red-lining. Before tempo training, you may have red-lined at an 8-minute-per-mile pace. After a few months of tempo runs, you won't red-line until you reach a 7:30-per-mile pace."

I'm still not sure I'm doing the tempo run exactly right, but I hope I am and I hope it helps me.  I really want to improve on my marathon time, without feeling like I'm killing myself - living, breathing, eating, dreaming - running!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mid-week cross-training.

For this morning's workout, I started out with a 30 minute elliptical program, followed by 15 minutes of walking on the treadmill using hand and ankle weights.  After that I did 20 minutes of mat work Pilates.  Tomorrow I have a 10 mile tempo run on my schedule.  Last week that is the run that I struggled with, feeling lethargic and tired, but I'm hoping that tomorrow I will feel better and get a good run in before my weekend long run.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4 miles, speed work.

Today's run was for speed work, so I walked to the park as a warm up, jogged for a few minutes then started my interval run.  I "sprinted" for about 1/2 mile, then slowed to a walk for 1/4 mile recovery, repeated 6 times, then I walked home to cool down.  When I got home I also did 20 minutes of Pilates.  I feel like I should probably do more than that, but I'll have to see what there is time for later in the day.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Cross-training ~ Happy July 4th!!

This morning for my cross-training routine I started out with level 1 of 30 Day Shred, followed by 40 minutes on the elliptical.  That's all I have time for today; now I need to take my son to get ready to march with the boy scouts in the local parade.  Hope everyone enjoys a beautiful Independence Day! ☺

Saturday, July 2, 2011

17 mile long run!

Up at the crack of dawn, or 4:45am, whichever came first...out the door by 5:15 to start my long run.  I did an 8.5 mile out and back run for a total of 17 miles.  It was fairly uneventful.  I felt decent most of the time.  I have a new mantra for my long runs: "Go long, finish strong."  I say this to remind myself to hold out just a little bit in the first half of my long runs so that I have enough energy at the end to finish strong.  I've found that my downfall at the marathon is during the last 5-6 miles when I totally fizzle out.  Using this new (Run Less, Run Faster) FIRST method, with only 3 key runs a week, I have to focus on making the last few miles of every long run as strong as I can because that's where the improvement is made.  Today, I was able to maintain a pretty steady pace for the whole run, only taking one walking break at around mile 14.5 when I walked up a hill for about 1/3 of a mile.  When I resumed running at that point, I was tired, no doubt, but able to run the rest of the way and even "sprinted" the last 1/2 mile.  Now that's what I'm talkin' about! ☺

Having had to make up for a missed long run from last week on Monday, I am ending this week of training having run almost 50 miles...that's a lot of pavement pounding, and my feet and legs are definitely feeling it.  Good thing I have the next two days to recover before my next run which will come on Tuesday.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Rest day...sort of.

I was a little disappointed yesterday by how crummy I felt during and after my 10 mile run, and in an effort to have a much better experience tomorrow on another long run, I don't want to do too much today in terms of hard cross-training.  After an easy-going morning, making pancakes and eggs for the kids, I finally got around to doing 30 minutes of Pilates.  After that I put an episode of "The Voice" on Hulu.com and walked - slowly - on the treadmill for 45 minutes.  I did work up a little bit of a sweat, but I feel like it loosened up my leg muscles just  enough so that hopefully things will go smoothly tomorrow.