You Take the Good, You Take the Bad…

…and there you have the facts of (running) life. Am I right?

I know I owe a race recap from the Worcester Firefighters 6k (spoiler alert: I PRd by 5:30!!), but this post has been bouncing around my brain since last night’s suboptimal track workout, so it gets to go first.

  
Right. Track workouts. Speedwork. It’s terrible and it’s awesome and and I hate it and I love it all at the same time. Coach Steve is great at putting together tough workouts and people always give him a joking hard time because everyone hates them, but they’re also so good. Even before I was working on changing my gait, the speed workouts I was doing with the Shammies were definitely making me a little faster. 

Anyway. Last week’s workout was one of the “you take the good” kind. It was 12x 200s with 200 recoveries between, and I killed it. It was hot and humid but I was ready and hydrated and I killed those 200s (for me, at least!)! I felt awesome during (I’m running fast! I’m running pain-free! This is awesome!!) and I felt awesome and accomplished after. I couldn’t wait to do it again the following week. 

And then last night’s workout happened. It was rough. It started with a 10-minute tempo run at 10k pace, then went to ladders on the track at mile pace – 3x 200, 2x 300, 1x 400, 2x 300, 3x 200. 

I attempted the tempo and made it barely 5 minutes in before I got all kinds of side-stitches. Since I had already warmed up, I cut the tempo short and took a water break while I waited for everyone else to finish. 

Then the 200s. I was so excited for these, after nailing them last week. But, silly me, I wasn’t only doing 200s this time around, so I should have paced myself, right? Heh.

I took off on the 200s (mile pace? pshh) and, once again, killed them. Then I ran the first 300 and promptly died (metaphorically, of course). Seriously though, why do 300s feel so much longer than 200s??

I had a crazy cramp in my side and an attack of shin splints, which I haven’t had in almost 2 years. What the heck? I was miserable and barely made the last 100m. I limped off to my bottle of Nuun and sat out the next 300, then promptly realized there was no way I could do a 400 without something going wrong. 

Maybe I was just being paranoid, but I am so scared of injuring myself now before my horrifying half marathon on Sunday, and so I used that as an excuse and I stopped the workout. I stretched and sipped my Nuun while I watched everyone else zip around the track. And I felt anything but accomplished on my way home, a much different scenario than the previous week when I was practically throwing myself a mental victory parade. 

But that happens, right? How many bad runs have I had over the past few years that I’ve bounced back from? Quite a few. But even knowing that, I really let last night’s run get to me. I felt like a facsimile of a sham of a runner and that was a bit of a bummer. I’ve never had to quit a speed workout that fast before, and I’m still bummed out about it today. 

But, trying to think on the bright side, what better time to learn from a crappy run than now? What went wrong that made the run so crappy? Let’s see…

  1. I probably wasn’t hydrated enough (anyone surprised?). That could explain the side stitches. 
  2. I wore different shoes than I’ve been wearing for track. Maybe this is why my shins freaked out?
  3. I completely ignored any kind of pacing, let alone my goal pace. Steve has a chat that lists goal paces for each distance based on your most recent 5k result. My 200s were way faster than my goal pace, which is probably why I crapped out so quickly. 

So, yeah. I wrote this rambly post mostly to hammer into my brain what can happen when I don’t do anything I’m supposed to do, like drinking water and following Steve’s instructions, and, you know, using proper footwear. You think I’d know these things by now, but… alas. 

I’d say I’m hoping for a better workout next week, but that will be 2 days post-half so I probably won’t be doing any speedwork yet! But hopefully the week after or so will be better. 

When do you stick a fork in a workout that’s not going so well? 

How do you move on after a run or a workout totally bums you out?

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Analyzing my Run: The 4-Miler

…or, How I Lost the Mental Bandwidth to Write This Post, and So Turned It Into a Post of Random Thoughts Instead

Right, so. I was planning to ramble on a bit about my 4-mile run that happened last Sunday, kind of like how I rambled for ages about my 3-mile run, but I didn’t really have a lot to say about it. I did 3:1 run-walk intervals:

4miler4milerpace…and felt like my head was going to explode from redness even though it was relatively cool (I realized, when I looked at my phone during during my cool-down walk, that the humidity was at 85% so that might explain it!). That’s really all I remember, so that’s all I’ll say about that. On to the randomness!

1. After my 4-miler, in a fit of nostalgia, I was reading part of an old favorite YA series by Louise Rennison (may she rest in peace). A passage from book 5, Away Laughing on a Fast Camel, spoke to me after my very red run I had just completed, and I thought it would be fun to share.

To set the scene: the main character (Georgia) is going for a run in an effort to impress her Italian crush, Masimo. She doesn’t usually run, and was planning to build up her fitness a bit before “casually” finding out where Masimo runs and “bumping into him” there, but things didn’t really go as planned:

Can heads explode? Because I think mine is going to.
There is some other fool out running. I can hear pounding along behind me but I haven’t got the strength to look round. When I get home I am going to get in the fridge I am so hot and red.
“Ciao, Georgia.”
Ohmygiddygodspajamas, Masimo!!!
Noooooooooooooooo.
He caught up with me and was running alongside me. I just kept running and turned and gave him what I hoped was an attractive smile. Attractive if you like a smiling tomato in a jogging outfit. He looked sooo cool, and not even sweating. Also he seemed to be able to breathe. And talk.
He said, “You know, I didn’t get your phone number. Would it be possible for you to me for to tell?”
I gave him another smile. It might be the last living thing I did. Then I saw the hill path and my brain was so starved of oxygen it had no control over any part of my body. My legs started stumbling down the hill path. They were just merrily careering down the path, carrying my head and body along with them.

I know that feeling well – my legs careering along carrying the rest of me with them! Plus the sensational redness and “tomato in a jogging outfit” situation. Oh yes.

2. I joined the Shammies for Tuesday night track again, and this time decided to try a gentle speed workout of my own, using my GRG intervals. Figuring that the 3:1s on Sunday were okay, I thought the prescribed 2:1s would be relatively easy. Nope! I rode the struggle bus pretty hard and couldn’t figure out why shorter intervals were so much harder. Then I realized it was 82* (~28* C) and sunny and humid, whereas Sunday had been upper 50s (~14* C) and cloudy. That’ll do it.

3. Wednesday was National/Global Running Day, and in celebration of the fact that I could actually take part this year, I joined Runners’ World’s World’s Biggest RUNch, for one sunny mile along the river:

IMG_6788The run started out feeling great! Knowing I was just doing a mile, I ran at a comfortable pace without trying to slow down to something more sustainable. For a while, it looked like I might get close to my fastest mile to date – 8:42… except there were streets to cross and tourists to dodge; my fastest mile was run on an empty track.

I started to flag a bit halfway through, and waited longer than I needed to at my final street crossing to have a nice break. I was excited to see what my pace looked like when I got back to my desk and synced Simon, but it turns out Simon had a bit of a problem with my extended wait at the crosswalk… though I had been standing still, he apparently thought I was flying at a 2:11 pace. Yeah… no. Nice try though, Simon.

2114. The last time I was at Target, I splurged on an on-sale espresso machine. There’s a cafe on campus that sells the BEST iced caramel lattes and I’m so addicted. However, they cost almost $5, and my bank account has been hurting a little thanks to my daily caffeine treat. So I figured I’d try making my own iced lattes at home.

A few internet recipes and some improvising of my own later, plus a fun new plastic cup to parade my beverage around in, and I’ve got myself a daily iced vanilla coconut latte. It’s nowhere near as delicious as the one from the campus cafe, but it’s a heck of a lot cheaper! And it’s still got caffeine, so it works.

5. I have MAJOR book ADD right now. I am literally in the middle of 6 books right now, and I can’t seem to really get into any of them. I hate when this happens.

And it doesn’t help that, when Drew and I were killing time between dinner and my haircut appointment Wednesday night, we popped into one of my favorite bookstores and discovered their bargain section. We spent maybe 20 minutes in there, and I walked out with a pile of 5 books. I have a problem.

Yay Friday! Who’s racing this weekend? Any other fun plans afoot?

What are you reading right now? Do you ever get a touch of book ADD?

Tell me something random!

 

The Needle Returns to the Start of the Song

…and we all sing along like before. (Any Del Amitri fans out there?)

What the musically inspired title of this post refers to is my glorious(ish) return to running… for the umpteenth time.

In my last post, I mentioned that the wheels had pretty much fallen off my running wagon yet again, but that I was hoping to take inspiration from yesterday’s Boston Marathon and haul my buns outside and get them moving. Did I manage?

garmin

Heck yes, I did!

It wasn’t pretty, by any means, and I didn’t get in my full intended workout but, by golly, I ran!

Sunday was an absolutely gorgeous day, sunny and low-60s at the time I laced up and ventured out. I wanted to head down to the pond, which I knew would be picturesque as well as partly shaded, but I also knew that everyone in town and their dogs would also be at the pond, and I just couldn’t deal with that. So I walked to the track as my warmup.

As I alluded a few posts back, my gait retraining coach had given me an intervals-based running plan that’s supposedly a bit easier to tackle than C25K. (I’ve found the jumps in running time a bit difficult to manage when trying to keep up my proper form.) Day 1 involved 5 minutes of walking for warmup and cool-down, and 10x 1 minute of running, 1 minute of walking in the middle.

The first running interval, as is usually the case, was awesome. I flew around the track, feeling strong and fast and quite proud of my form. But, as is usually the case, that fell apart soon afterwards. I probably started too fast, but I’m still struggling to balance my prescribed form with a pace I can manage; the proper form causes me to run faster, and I don’t quite have the fitness to maintain that pace. Which probably all points back to my inefficient breathing, which I’m also working on. Basically, I am a massive work in progress right now.

Anyway, I only managed 5 of the 10 intervals. I seriously considered pushing myself to do at least a few more, but…

  1. I hadn’t hydrated enough (anyone surprised?) and the shadeless track was starting to feel like a desert,
  2. I had forgotten my patella strap and was starting to feel ghost twinges in my right knee,
  3. I thought half a workout is better than no workout, especially as the goal of this whole thing is to NOT get injured.

So, yeah. Half of an introductory workout, which brought my total running distance to about a mile. Part of me was disappointed in myself, but I tried to think of the positives:

  1. I ran! Any running is better than no running.
  2. The workout felt a lot like one of the Shammies’ speed workouts, and I did decently, even if it was only half the workout.
  3. The weather was glorious and I was getting to be outside enjoying it.
  4. Related, it felt awesome to wear shorts/running kit again!
  5. I ran!!

It was a baby step, but a step in the right direction, and I’ll take that. And, my body felt fine afterwards – no niggles at all – and still feels fine two days later! It’s an odd feeling, and I love it 🙂 Here’s hoping this fresh start continues on the same trend!

tobias

How is your training going?

Have you ever had to restart your training from the beginning? Multiple times? How do you keep from getting frustrated?

Reverse Speed Workout

Those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while may remember my Tuesday night track workouts with my beloved Shammies. They’ve been workouts of joy, pain, bonding, frustration, and pretty much everything in between.

Before my knee started being a jerk, I was really starting to see results from attending these speed workouts. Last year, Coach Steve set my goal 5K pace at 10:47, so that I could get used to hitting my average pace (based on recent race times) before working on getting faster. By the time I started attending the workouts this spring, I had surprised myself with a super-fast-for-me mile PR (8:42), and Steve had me ramp up my pace during workouts to a 9:30 – 9:45 range. And I was actually pulling it off, pretty consistently! I was beyond chuffed that I was getting faster, and was super giddy after each workout.

photo(9)Then my knee started being a jerk. The only Shammies events I was attending were book club meetings (with all the other injured runners) and occasional board meetings. I missed my peeps, I missed running, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how my faster pace was probably slipping away with every week I was sat on the couch with ice on my knee.

Anyway, this past Tuesday was the third week in a row that I made it back to Tuesday night track workouts. (I talked about my 2-mile gentle run at the end of my last post.) As I jogged slowly around Lane 6 while the rest of my club sped through intervals past me, I started thinking about how I was basically doing the opposite of their speed workout… a reverse speed workout, if you will.

This is what the Shammies’ workout looked like this week:
-8 x 400 @ 5K pace, 200m jog between, 60 second rest after set
-4 x 100 @ sprint, 100m jog between, 60 second rest after set
-6 x 200 @ sprint, 200m jog between

And this is what my workout looked like:
-8 x 400m @ 11:00 pace or slower, 200m walk between, stop for water after each 800:

trackIt is SO difficult to keep my pace below a certain mark when everyone else is speeding by me! Especially the 4 x 100s… I wanted to do those so badly… short sprints are when I actually feel fast around those speedsters! But I was good and kept an eye on Simon, making sure to slow it down if I saw myself dropping into the 10:00s. Even when I was into my last 800 and was feeling really good, when the devil on my shoulder said “Speed these intervals up a little, it’ll be fun!” I only listened to him for a few seconds before dropping my speed again, so as not to overtax my still-dodgy knee.

It seemed so weird to be fighting to keep my pace under a certain mark, while everyone else was pushing themselves to run at their fastest speeds. A “reverse” speed workout for sure!

photo(10)Apart from a few twinges in the knee during my first few reps, my knee behaved itself. I was so tempted to push the pace at the end because the second half of my workout was totally pain-free! Maybe pushing the pace slightly wouldn’t have hurt, who knows… I just didn’t want to risk it.

Another reason to not push it? It was frikkin’ hot. It had reached the mid-90s (around 34 Celsius) during the day, and was still in the mid-80s (~29 C) by 7pm, halfway through our workout. Plus the sun was setting directly into our faces for half the track. I’ve never seen so much sweat at a track workout, and they’re usually sweaty affairs! I was totally soaked, and I wasn’t even expending half the energy everyone else was. Pushing the pace at that point might have just done me in.

Even though I didn’t get to experience the “I’m getting faster, this is awesome!!” runner’s high after Tuesday’s workout, I got to have the “I’m running and not really hurting anymore!!” injured runner’s high, and that works for me!

photo(11)

Have you ever purposely tried to keep your pace under a certain mark during a run?

How’s the weather where you are? Hot and humid like it’s been here?

Do you do speed work? What kinds of workouts do you do for it?

Running Favorites

I have a few posts that are overdue, including a race recap, but haven’t had the time to sit down and bang them out yet. Remind me again why I thought taking a class during a super busy chunk of my life would be a good idea?! Oh, that’s right… because when I registered for the class I didn’t know 80 other things were all going to happen at once. So it goes.

Anyway, in lieu of those posts, here’s a quick and fun running questionnaire as a placeholder to remind everyone (including myself!) that I am indeed still here 🙂 Thanks to Fallon at Slacker Runner for the tag!

Running Favorites:

1) Location: Trail, Road, or Indoors?

Can I be diplomatic and say all three, depending on the time of year and weather conditions? I do most of my running on roads/sidewalks, and I like that just fine. However, during the winter (especially this past winter we are only now slightly emerging from) I’m not quite badass enough to deal with the ice and running in the roads, so indoors tends to do the trick. I do prefer indoor tracks to treadmills, though. And trails… how awesome does a nice, shady trail feel in the middle of summer when the roads are sweltering? So nice.

Stopping for a photo in the middle of a lovely, cool trail run last year

Stopping for a photo in the middle of a lovely, cool trail run last year

2) Time of Day: Morning, Noon, or Evening?

Evening. I’m not a morning person, and noon running just brings to mind thoughts of midday sun and red, throbbing faces (read: mine). I do most of my running in the evenings, so it’s what I’m most used to. However, I’m not opposed to a nice runch (lunchtime run) when it’s not a hot, summer day and I actually have the time, nor would I turn down a morning run if I could actually haul myself out of bed.

3) Weather: Sunshine, Mild or Hot?

Mild! I do not do well in the heat. My ideal running weather would be cloudy and low-50s, even upper-40s.

4) Fuel: Before, After, and sometimes during?

I try to fuel before but usually don’t do a great job (excepting the amazing job I did with fueling before my half last October!) If I’m grabbing fuel before a workout it’s usually a Honey Stinger waffle or some sort of energy bar, or if it’s before a race it’s usually something along the lines of a bagel with peanut butter and a banana. Mid-run I’ll opt for Nuun or, if I’m running for longer than an hour, I’ll usually bring along a packet of Honey Stinger chews. After a run I’ll typically grab a chocolate milk… and if it’s after a race and there’s a diner nearby, usually chocolate milk and banana pancakes!

5) Accessories: Music, Watch & More?

Definitely my Garmin (pre-Garmin it was my phone and MapMyRun) and my RoadID bracelet. That’s usually it. 99% of the time I ran it was with Colin and we’d chat as we ran so I never brought music along, and just got used to running without it. Sometimes I’ll bring headphones if I know I’m going out for a long solo run, but my earbuds tend to bounce out of my ears anyway so it’s more of nuisance than a help.

6) Rewards: Food, Wine, or …?

Food for sure! See above comment about banana pancakes 🙂

Or blueberry pancakes. I'm not picky.

Or blueberry pancakes. I’m not picky.

Also, lounging on the couch is a pretty nice reward too.

7) Type of run: Long, tempo, intervals, hill repeats, progression, or recovery/easy?

Oof. You know, I might have to go with intervals. They appeal to my natural preference for short distances and allow me to run faster than I usually do, which makes me happy. I always feel like I’ve accomplished a nice, hard workout once I’m done too, which is a nice feeling.

I nominate…

Darlin’ Rae

2 Generations Running

redfacedbutrunderful

Jess Runs Happy

Run Away With Me

And anyone else who wants to take part, either in the comments or in a running faves post elsewhere!

Couch to 5 Miler: Week 4

I’m back! After missing the last two Couch to 5 Miler classes due to both illness and too much work (Class #3 fell on my first day back at work after having the flu, and holy catch-up, Batman!), I returned triumphantly today to Class #4. Let’s see if I can organize my thoughts enough to see how my training has been going…

In my last Couch to 5 Miler post, I laid out how well my first week following the training plan went. Then I got the flu and was out of commission for a week (2 weeks ago). So let’s just ignore Week 2 of the training plan and say with certainty that I spent all those days on the couch reading Outlander.

Then Week 3 of the plan… yeah…. let’s just ignore that until Sunday. The training plan called for 3 miles or a 5K race, but what did I do? I played soccer. After swearing it off for good mere months ago.

soccerDespite my vow to never again play soccer in my local rec league, I caved after seeing Drew mope around for most of the day before his first game of the new session, for which 3 of the 4 ladies on the team said they couldn’t make it. According to league rules, a minimum of 2 ladies must be on the pitch at all times, so as it looked, his team would have to play one player down unless he could dig up someone of the female persuasion to stand in. Against my better interests, I stepped up. Mostly because I wanted to wear my hideously bright green socks (see above photo), which matched the team’s bright green shirts.

It ended up being a terrible experience… but for once, not because of the other team! Our opponents were nice and not too competitive. Rather, the game was terrible because:

1) The heater for the giant bubble we play in was broken, and it was actually colder inside the bubble than it was outside. We could see our breath, my nose and chin were frozen for the whole game, and the ball felt extra hard whenever it hit you because it was so frikkin’ cold.

photo(3)

Inside the bubble

2) I am NOT in soccer shape. I was all cocky as we drove up to the field, thinking “Even though I haven’t been running in the last week or two, I have been running, so I shouldn’t get too winded! This will be cake meat.” Yeah, no. Even if I had been doing sprints during speed work with the Shammies for weeks, I would not have been in the right kind of shape to chase someone down the length of the pitch, suddenly change direction, and speed off back toward the other goal. Multiple times. With elbows and cleats flying at me from all directions. Nope nope nope. I subbed out at one point in the second half and had to practically lie down on the sideline. My muscles are still sore, 3 days later.

3) Despite the relative chillness of the other team, I still got beat up. My big left toe got stepped on, my right knee collided with another person’s knee, my lower shin (the tiny spot between my shin guard and ankle brace) is sporting a gash after getting cleated during a 50-50 challenge, and – my brightest moment of the game – my arm and back are messed up after I threw myself through the air onto my back. Again. Just like I did during my first game back the last time I played. I lifted my right foot to try to intercept a goal kick, and my planted foot decided it didn’t want to be planted anymore and suddenly I was on the ground. So graceful! I don’t know how I landed, but now I can’t put any weight on my right arm (no planks or pushups, and pushing doors open isn’t very fun either) so that’s cool.

Yet again, thanks to soccer I was reminded how much I prefer running. Yes, I get injured way too often, but at least I don’t feel like I’ve been through the wars after each and every run, like I do with soccer! Hopefully all the ladies on Drew’s team will show up for the rest of the games this session because I’m not sure I’ll be able to step up again. At least that’s what I tell myself now.

Moving on.

Monday was supposed to be cross-training, but I was sore from soccer and got home late so that didn’t really happen. I did foam roll my insanely tight hips though, like my gait retraining guru told me to, so that was something, right?

Tuesday was also supposed to be cross-training, but I had a long-overdue date with the Shammies.

trackOur speed work plan was: 8 mins at 10K pace, 2 mins recovery jog, 4 mins at 5K pace, 2 mins recovery, 8 mins at 10K pace, 5 mins recovery, then 4x strides. I had forgotten my watch and can’t do pace math very well when I’m also trying to navigate the tiny indoor track without colliding with anyone/anything, so I just tried to run by feel. That meant my “10K pace” was closer to my 5K pace, so my “5K pace” was way too fast, so I could only manage 5 or 6 minutes of the final set before having to stop. I also only manged 2 sets of strides before giving up too. It was a tough workout for my first one back from illness, but considering that it wasn’t too bad!

Wednesday was Couch to 5 Miler class #4, and our workout was *drumroll* more speed work. Yay! Two days in a row! The instructor had said she’d work with me in terms of working the Shammies speed workouts in to the training plan, giving me different workouts than everyone else, but she figured today’s workout wouldn’t be too bad even after Shammie Time last night, so I went with it.

photo(4)The workout was 3x 800, at a pace that was “comfortable, but slightly uncomfortable” according to the instructor. The first rep felt pretty good… faster than my usual pace if I’m trying to go any farther than 400m, but not so fast that I was dead after the first lap. (We run on a 200m track, so each rep was 4 laps.) After a quick recovery we set off for rep #2, and when I was about 2.5 laps in the instructor told me to up the pace a little, so I did. My second 800 was quite a bit faster than my first, but that made my third 800 all side-stitchy and awful. My splits ended up being: 4:28, 4:11, 4:38. Not too shabby, given that my legs were still wicked sore from soccer and last night’s speed workout!

This class continues to be a HUGE self-esteem boost for me, because for once I’m the fastest of the lot. It was especially awesome today, after having brought up the rear as usual for the Shammies last night, getting lapped multiple times by our speedsters. I finished each 800 well before the others in the class, and when we did strides during our warmup, I was the fastest sprinter too. It makes me feel pretty awesome, but then I feel guilty about being so fast, which is weird, but that’s me! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This next week calls for:

Thursday: cross-training
Friday: run 35-40 mins
Saturday: rest
Sunday: 4 miles

Fingers crossed that no illness or injury will strike again as I go back to trying to stick to the training plan!

Have you ever done speed work 2 days in a row?
Pretty sure it’s not something I’ll look to repeat anytime soon!

Ever thrown yourself through the air like I did during my soccer game?
I believe I can fly…..

How’s your week going?

Weekend Wrap-Up, 7/6

This week I rode the swing back toward “good week of training”… now let’s hope it sticks and continues into next week! I hope everyone had a happy 4th or a happy Canada Day… or just a happy day 🙂

Monday (scheduled): rest day
Monday (actual): rest day

My quads and hamstrings on both legs were pretty angry with me after Sunday’s race, so stairs and I weren’t getting along too well… it was a good day for a rest day. Drew and I went to see How To Train Your Dragon 2 after work and the fancy new reclining seats at our local theater were a nice treat!

Tuesday (scheduled): speed workout at the track with the Shammies
Tuesday (actual): speed workout at the track with the Shammies

The elevation spikes on this fascinate me... I was running on a flat track and have no idea where the changes in elevation came from!

The elevation spikes on this fascinate me… I was running on a flat track and have no idea where the changes in elevation came from!

After missing last week’s speed workout, I was determined to make it this week. I brought my kit to work and changed before hopping on the T, hoping to save time, but of course the transit gods were frowning down upon me. The T was running with delays so I just missed the bus I wanted to catch, and the next one was about 20 minutes late. Luckily there was no traffic on the highway so I was only about 10 minutes late to the track. I missed warmups and announcements, but as Drew and I jogged our own warmup Steve ran over to us to fill us in. The scheduled workout was 7×300 with 300m rests. Since we were late, and since Steve is also trying to ease me back in after injury, he said to aim for 3×300.

Drew and I managed 4×300, but in my enthusiasm for being back I wiped us both out by running the first interval way too quickly – between a 5 and 6 min/mile pace. (Drew sticks with me during the intervals, partly to pace himself because he’s not a distance runner and doesn’t want to burn out too quickly (oops!), and partly I think to lend me moral support. He’s the best.) After that we managed between 7 and 8, and I had to take an extra long rest/water break before the last 300m. It certainly didn’t help that it was 90 degrees, humid, and sunny… or that I had had cheesecake and ice cream only a few hours earlier. Not the smartest choice.

This was me after getting home from the track workout. I had an icepack on my head and was laying in front of the fan. I may have gone a little harder than I should...

This was me after getting home from the track workout. I had an icepack on my head and was laying in front of the fan. I may have gone a little harder than I should have…

We finished the workout with Floating 30s, run on the turf of the soccer field this time instead of the track. I love these because it’s the only time I’m fast compared with the other Shammies – last night I was the fastest woman and the third fastest overall during the sprints. 60 yards I can handle! Drew loves the sprints too because he’s the fastest out of the whole group. I have to tease him a little to keep his head from getting too big 😉

Steve stopped me as we were leaving to say he wants to work on my intervals a little more… I tend to just run fast with no goal in mind, whereas everyone else, it turns out, has goal paces they’re trying to hit. He has a chart that gives goal times for each pace (5K, 1 mile, etc.) and he asked for my most recent 5K time so he could determine my pacing goals. Turns out I’m so slow my time wasn’t even on his chart (sigh) so he said he’d calculate it for me for next week’s workout. He said his goal is to get me used to banging out my 5K pace regularly, and then he’d work with me to get it faster. I’m super excited about this… having more structure during these workouts can only help me reach my goal of breaking 30 minutes for a 5K!

Wednesday (scheduled): core/arms/legs
Wednesday (actual): rest/sweat on the couch day

Scheduling a workout for Wednesday night was ambitious. With humidity it felt about 100 degrees when I got home, and since I live in an old house with no insulation or central air, it felt warmer inside than out. And outside was wicked buggy. Excuses, I know. But it was a good night for some Pimms, a salad, and trying not to sweat too much on the couch.

Thursday (scheduled): 3-mile run with the Shammies
Thursday (actual): 2.5-mile run with the Shammies

thursday

Due to (partially) the heat and (mostly) the fact that the Shammies were hosting a race the next morning and an early packet pickup during the usual Thursday night workout, turnout wasn’t too great. Only 6 of us showed up (it’s usually closer to 15) and I was the only one who wanted to do the 3-mile route, so it ended up being the first club run I ran alone. The others opted for a cooler, shadier route through the pond, instead of their usual neighborhood roads, and said I could hang with them until our paths separated. It was a bit of a challenge for me to hang with them for the first 3/4 mile, since their “let’s take it easy” pace was between 8- and 9:30-minutes/mile, and it was really freaking hot. Like, in the 90s and humid. But I did manage to stay with them until our paths separated, and I was pretty proud of myself for keeping up!

The rest of the run was a little miserable. Without the self-inflicted peer pressure to keep up with other people, I stopped to walk more than I would have otherwise. (I kept telling myself it was to ensure that I wouldn’t faint since I was off on my own, but I think I could have pushed myself a little harder without fainting.) I was a giant bundle of sweat, bugs kept flying into my eyes and nose (the downside of running by the pond), sunscreen sweat off my arms/hands and onto my phone, and I was just so unbelievably slow. I tried to focus on how pretty my surroundings were (see above photo), and how proud I was that I had dragged my arse off the couch, but it still wasn’t an enjoyable run by a long shot. I think I really missed the company and motivation of other runners, which I had gotten used to at all my other Thursday runs. Hopefully attendance won’t be so sparse in the future!

Friday (scheduled): volunteer at the Feeney Five Road Race
Friday (actual): volunteer at the Feeney Five Road Race

After suffering a pretty miserable race and the embarrassment of coming in last (with a time of 50:04… yikes) last year, I decided that this year I’d volunteer at the race and pay forward all the encouragement and kindness I had received from last year’s volunteers. It was my first time ever volunteering at a race and I have to say it was pretty fun! That’s all I’ll say for now though, as this is the topic of my post tomorrow for the July meeting of the Secret Blogger Club!

Saturday (scheduled): first attempted long run
Saturday (actual): 4-mile run with Colin

pond

With my first 10K looming in about a month and a half, I was determined to start tackling the dreaded Long Run this week, something I had never done before. I was planning to start weekend long runs a few months back before my ankle injury sidelined everything, and since I’ve been feeling decent during and after my other workouts I decided that this was The Week.

In an ideal world, I would have gotten up early(ish) and banged out the miles in the morning while it was still relatively cool, but a weekend lie-in and leisurely breakfast with Drew was just too tempting. Drew plays softball on Saturday afternoons, which would be prime time for me to blaze my own trails… except that between noon and 3 (when he’s on the softball diamond) is the hottest part of the day and I don’t want to run at midday if I don’t have to. I was planning on going out in the evening, but I knew there were World Cup games to watch, and dinner to plan around, and I was unsure enough of my own motivation that I was actually worried I wouldn’t get out there. Aren’t I ridiculous?

Cue Colin. He ran his first 10K last month and is currently training for an upcoming 10-mile race, so I figured he’d probably have a long run scheduled at some point this weekend. At the very least, I thought I’d tag along with him either until I couldn’t keep up with his distance or until he felt too held-back by my slowness. In any case, knowing that I’d have a running buddy for at least part of the run would be motivation enough to get me out the door. And as luck would have it, Colin had a 4-mile run planned and invited me to join him for 2 laps of the pond.

I was initially hoping to do 3.5 miles, since my runs post-injury have been mostly 5K distance or shorter, but thought that 4 miles would be a great goal if I felt okay. We took it very slow (slower than Colin would have preferred, though I did tell him a few times that he could blaze on ahead and I’d catch up to him eventually) and the first mile and a half was a little rough, but I made it all 4 miles without having to stop or take one walk break! I was a bit disappointed in our time; it took us 49:36, a good 30 seconds slower than our 4-mile race back in March, which felt much slower than this run. However, it was also at least 30 degrees warmer this time around, so I suppose 30 seconds isn’t too bad considering. Regardless, I’m pumped that I was able to go all 4 miles, and am looking forward to trying for a longer distance next week!

Sunday (scheduled): recovery run or rest day
Sunday (actual): rest day

A recovery run sounded like a nice idea – a mile or two of very gentle, slow running whilst looking at the scenery along a shaded trail with Drew was the plan. Then I woke up all sore and both our lower backs were bothering us, so we downgraded our recovery run to a recovery walk, which still sounded nice. Then Drew got a call from work and there was trouble at mill, so those plans were shot too. I did some housework and we had some friends over for a kickabout/trying out of a friend’s fancy World Cup soccer ball, then had a bit of a delayed holiday cookout. Not a bad way to end the long weekend!

Happy running!