Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The One Time I had Decent Form and it was Captured on Film

The Lawyers Have Heart 10k race photos are available and they prove (well, at least one of them does) that miracles do happen. LOOK! I AM NOT HEEL STRIKING!*

*Obviously there is now no need to post any more photos of me running ever again. We'll just pretend that I look like this all the time.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lawyers Have Heart 10k race report

Going into this race, I knew that I would be disappointed if I didn’t PR. I knew the heat/humidity and my lack of recent speed work would be against me, but I’ve improved so much as a runner since I ran that time over a year ago. I also knew that I have a history of starting races WAY too fast and limping back to the finish. Sometimes these times are halfway decent, but they could be so much better and so much less painful. I read through my race report for last year’s "downgraded to a 5k because of the heat" race and was reminded that it was one of my many not-so-smart races. (If you don’t want to read the whole thing, here are my splits: 7:48, 8:18, 8:40) So I decided, at some point on Friday, that I would be conservative and try to finish the race thinking that I could have gone faster. And my first mile would not start with a 7. I say things like this all the time and totally disregard them, but this time I was going to stick to the plan. Really.

One of the things I like about this race is that it starts two miles from my apartment. It’s just an extra bonus when your commute to a race can serve as your warm up. I arrived around 7:10 with enough time to see the lines and decide that I didn’t really need to hit the porta potties and chat for a few minutes with some of my coworkers/teammates before we split up to position ourselves behind the line. There were no pace marker signs and it was already crowded by the time I got there, so I ended up perhaps farther back than I should have been. I spent the majority of the first mile passing people and it involved a lot of weaving and squeezing through groups running four or five across. I wasn’t too concerned about this since I wanted to go slower than I thought I should for that first mile. This mile is also the only one that is significantly uphill so I just focused on staying relaxed and settling into what felt like a tempo pace. I did decide to have my watch set so that I could see pace, but I only glanced at it a few times during the race, most of which were during this first mile when I wanted to stay controlled. As I headed out Canal Road towards the turnaround I was at a relatively comfortable pace and told myself I would push the pace on the way back. This stretch was more shaded that I remembered from years past (maybe the earlier 7:30 start time contributed to that?) and I distracted myself by keeping an eye out for speedy CAR teammates who were already on their way back.
Miles 1-3: 9:17 (long - 8:10 pace), 7:05 (short - 7:57 pace), 7:49
The second half is a bit of a blur in my mind. Shortly after I hit the four mile marker I remembered that I avoid 10ks because they hurt. I told myself I could do anything for 20 minutes and not to back down. I decided that I would really pick it up when I passed five miles, though that was easier said than done. Once I got back on the Whitehurst I really started to feel the heat (no shade, elevated concrete), but I also knew that the rest of the way was more or less downhill and I was almost there. Unlike last year in this section when I felt like everyone in the race was passing me, I managed to hold my own and even catch up to a few people I had picked out in the distance. Mile 6 was at the top of a short downhill and I perhaps started my kick to the finish a bit prematurely. A few people I passed at that point definitely passed me before we got to the line.
Miles 4-6.2: 7:44, 7:43, 7:41, 1:26 (7:01 pace)
I had my watch showing pace not total time, so I was thrilled when I switched the screen and saw that I had crushed my sub-50:00 goal.
Final Time: 48:44
Age group: 31/364
2nd Law Librarian (special category)
I was tired when I finished this race, but I finished knowing that I have a faster 10k in me and that is a great feeling. I could not be happier with how I executed this race, given my recent training and the heat. I know that I ran the best race that I could for that day. It may also be the first race where I have ever gotten faster every single mile. Sure, it’s not by a whole, lot but I’ve seen a progression in the other direction far too often. There are a lot of positives to take away and I hope that they keep me going through the inevitable rough patches in summer training.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. It's amazing what a good workout can do for your attitude about running. Obviously this is not rocket science, but it is something I had forgotten during the last few months as I slogged through workouts not knowing that anemia was to blame for my total lack of energy. I've now been taking iron supplements for five weeks and last Friday I returned to my first CAR workout since the Frederick Half at the beginning of May. During the first mile of the tempo I felt sluggish and dropped off the back of my normal pack. I felt just like I'd felt in March/April/May. But then I started the second mile and something just clicked. My legs felt great and I was just cruising along. I ended up passing a few people and felt great finishing out the 5k. I was so happy about how the last part of the tempo felt and it was an added bonus that it ended up being my fastest 5k tempo ever! I haven't done that many 5ks on the track so it's not quite as impressive as it sounds, but it's still a great sign that the iron is starting to kick in and I'm on the way to turning things around. I then spent the rest of Friday and the weekend thinking happy thoughts about running and looking forward to, instead of dreading, my next trip to the track.

2. On Monday night I went to talk on marathon nutrition. I left thinking that I probably need to spend the summer and fall experimenting with my fueling routine. The nutritionist who spoke was a big proponent of sports drinks serving as the key component of a fueling plan. She talked about then adding in gels or chews to get to the hourly requirements for carbs and sodium. Unfortunately, I've always had a problem combining sports drinks and gels/chews. I seem to end up with a sugar overload and my stomach revolts. I feel like I've had relative success drinking water and taking an electrolyte pill to make up for what I'm not getting by skipping a sports drink. I've been using Hammer Endurolytes, but she mentioned that these only have 40mg of sodium and you need 400mg of sodium every hour after the first one. Since most gels have 40-60mg of sodium, these means that I would need to eat a ridiculous number of pills and gels each hour to get enough sodium. I can only imagine what kind of stomach problems I'd have with that combo! I may test out using something like Gu Brew or Nuun while running, but that then commits me to carrying my own water bottle for the entirety of a marathon. I like starting out with a water bottle, but one that I can toss by about halfway through the race. I did a little online research of other electrolyte pill options and discovered that SaltStick caps have 215 mg of sodium. Just one of these will get me halfway to the hourly goal and sounds a lot more appealing that downing five gels. I've ordered a bottle so that I can start testing them out on runs soon.

3. On Saturday I'm running the Lawyers Have Heart 10k. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this race. I love it because my office has a team and there's a special category for law librarians (last year I got third) and I hate it because it's always ridiculously hot and humid and the course has almost no shade. Last year it was downgraded to a 5k on race morning because of the heat. I'm hopeful that this year it will stay as a 10k since I haven't run one since February 2011. My goal for this race is to PR (under 52:44). I think this is a realistic expectation since the average pace of my current 10k PR is the same as the average pace I ran at the Frederick Half a month ago. My A+ goal is to finish with a time that starts with a 4. I think I SHOULD be able to shatter this goal, but a lack of recent speedwork and the heat and humidity mean that Saturday is probably not the day for that. That last thing I want is a major blowup at 5k. I always say that I plan to start conservatively, but I know that I actually need to do it in this race when heat will certainly be a factor.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Memories

I spent the weekend at my ten year college reunion.

One of the highlights was a Saturday afternoon swim with my friends at the pool where we spent countless hours from 1998 to 2002.

We all liked this disclaimer

Friday, June 1, 2012

May Recap

Miles: 63.18 (+ ~12 miles in the pool)

X-Training: 11 (9 swims, 2 yoga classes)

Rest Days: 9

Race(s): Frederick Half Marathon - 1:51:28, Kinetic Half relay (1.2 mile swim) - 31:23, Jim McDonnell two mile lake swim - 56:32

Workout goals:
Less running - Success! I took a full week off after the half and ended the month with about half of the mileage I ran in April.

Swim 50k (or at least try) - I didn't make it to 50k, but I did get to 30250 yards. I think if I hadn't needed a mental break the week after Frederick and I wasn't in California for five days, I might have made it. Hopefully next year!

Mix up my routine - This month was heavy on the swimming, but I did make it to two yoga classes.

I'm happy with how May turned out. I raced my goal half for the spring and PRed and then took part in two fun open water races, first as a part of a relay and then on my own. I knew that after the half I'd need a break (mentally more than physically) and I took full advantage of my decision to back off from training this month. I didn't run for a week and took plenty of extra rest days through the rest of the month. I fit in one short run on my trip to California for a friend's wedding, but it was nice to not worry at all about missing workouts. I didn't have a chance to swim as much as I would have needed to reach the (ambitious) goal of 50k that I set at the beginning of the month, but I did keep going to the pool regularly. By the end of the month, I could finally start to feel the positive effects of the iron supplements I started taking at the end of April. I no longer sit at work daydreaming about taking a nap and I been able to stay up well past 8:30 without a problem. I'm looking forward to seeing similar effects on my running in June!

June  Preview

Workout goals:
Get back to running - I'd really like to start marathon training in the fall with a solid basis. I'm not sure how many workouts I'll do in June, but I do want to focus on adding more easy miles and slowly building myself back up.

Swim something other than freestyle - I'd like to start do another swim meet and if I'm going to sign up for anything other than distance free events, I need to start mixing up my training. It's time to add in some IM or breaststroke days.

Glute stretches and strengthening exercises - I slacked a bit during my relaxed May and I need to get back on track. These are things that I can't afford to skip.

Races: Lawyers Have Heart 10k - June 9 and most likely a 5k towards the end of the month.