Tuesday, September 23, 2008


It's something we, as fitness professionals, are always pushing. Keep yourself accountable...have a workout partner, to keep yourself accountable....schedule your workouts, to keep yourself accountable. I have to find a way to keep myself accountable - y'all are it. Here's this week's plan:

Monday: Scheduled day off
Tuesday: Run 4 miles, easy pace
Wednesday: Run 3 miles, easy pace
Thursday: Run 5 miles, easy pace
Friday: Run 3 miles, easy pace
Saturday: Run 3 miles, easy pace
Sunday: Long run of 6 miles, easy pace

Total: 24 miles. Kona will probably do most of them with me.

I can tell you right now, it's unlikely I'll run 5 on Thursday. I wrote up this plan knowing that my school obligations would sometimes screw it up - Thursday will be one of those days. I'm due on campus at 6 AM and will be at another school doing assessments until noon. Then classes all afternoon until 7 PM, and I'm supposed to play soccer at 9. That doesn't leave much time for running. If I don't play soccer, I'll be out there. The plan is to add at least an extra mile on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and I ran an extra .5 today (for 4.5). I'm just going to try to work with it. At least soccer's a workout...

I'm also biking to campus most days of the week, though I admit I've already been lazy this week. Monday I expected to be sore from Sunday's race, so I arranged a ride with Heather. This morning I biked in, but frankly I was in a bad mood by the end of the day, and hitched a ride home - my bike is still on campus. I'll get a ride in tomorrow morning, and go from there.

This is going to be a rough week.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Gave it all I had - Autumn Classic Race Report

This morning I did the Playmaker’s Autumn Classic 8k in Haslett, MI. I don’t know why I decided to do this one, except that I was curious and the $20 race fee included a long-sleeved tech tee. I’m such a tech-tee slut. Two weeks ago I did a 5-mile race in 45:36; my previous 8k PR was 46:15 set in May. I don’t really differentiate between the 2 distances since 0.02 doesn’t seem statistically significant (ha!) but whatever. Last week all of my runs were fast and while they didn’t feel hard, I knew that wasn’t a good idea. This past week my legs have been totally dead – tired biking to school, tired running, and then I played a soccer game Thursday night and have seriously been sore since then. My diet has also been poor, so really I was not set up to have a good performance.

The alarm went off at 6 AM, and I had a dream about it – I dreamed that I had done this race last year, and that when I arrived the transition area (??) had been a total disaster. In my dream, I had figured out that if I let the alarm buzz a certain number of times before hitting snooze, and then hit snooze a certain number of times, the transition would be all set up by the time I arrived at the race. Umm…right. Finally rolled out of bed at 6:45, once my dream told me it was fine to get up, and ate some breakfast. My stomach was angry with me last night – crampy and just icky – and wasn’t any better this morning. I had some cheerios and coffee and tried to ignore it. We arrived at the race site a few minutes after 8 and I picked up my packet, then we sort of wandered and stood around until the start. Before the start of the 8k there was a kids sprint and a kids half mile race – they were so much fun to watch. My personal favorite was the little girl who finished last in the half mile – she looked to be maybe 4, and held onto the hem of dad’s shirt the whole way in – so cute. Then, we lined up for the 8k.

Standing in line waiting for the start, someone said my name. It turned out to be the guy who bought my Cannondale back in August and his girlfriend. Made small talk with them for a minute or two, and then we were off.

My goals for this race were to run negative splits, push myself, and have fun. The gun went off, and I went out way too fast. The first little bit until we got out of the park was downhill and I thought I would settle into the pace, so I didn’t worry about it too much. I didn’t settle down, though. The race was almost entirely on roads and sidewalks, and went around Lake Lansing. It’s probably a really pretty course on a nice day, and while it was pretty today, it was all gray and foggy out so you couldn’t quite see all the way across the lake. A local high school XC team volunteered out on the course – they were great with encouragement but I almost smacked one when I was at maybe 3.25 miles and he told me I was almost there. Throughout most of the race I yo-yo’d with another woman. She was running faster than me, but would stop and walk for a few seconds every minute or two and I’d pass her, then she’d pass me again right before her next walk break. With about half a mile to go I caught her again just as she started running, and I suggested that we run in together. About 30 seconds later she stopped to walk again but I didn’t want to stop – I had figured out I could go under 45 minutes. The finish was actually up hill on a dirt (mud) road. Going up the hill I caught the girl in the red jacket. About 15 yds from the finish, I heard her sprinting up behind me – I picked it up, but didn’t have enough left and couldn’t stay ahead of her. It’s ok, though, she helped me shave a few more seconds off my time.

Mile 1: 8:36 (not looking good for negative splits)
Mile 2: 8:38 (ok, slowed down a little)
Mile 3: 9:07 (and there went the negative splits goal)
Mile 4: 9:17 (oof)
Mile .98: 9:02
Watch time: 44:42 (9:00 pace). It was chip timed, but I haven’t looked up the official results yet.

To tell the truth I thought I had made it under a 9mpm pace and was a little bummed to see it was exactly 9, but overall I’m pleased with my performance anyway. Like I said, it was all I had. I’m going to hurt tomorrow, for sure. I met two of my goals: really pushed myself, and had fun. I’ll keep working on the negative splits thing. Going back and reading this, I think the tone of my report is pretty down – it isn’t meant to be. This race was a lot harder for me than any I’ve done before (with the exception of TA ’06). It hurt, but that means I pushed myself and I’m proud of that.

The PR streak remains, but, it’s pretty clear won’t be another until I start training better. So, I’m taking a break from racing – anyone sees me talking about a race before Thanksgiving at the earliest, please remind me of this.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rain, Rain GO AWAY!!!

Holy rain - for real. It started raining late Friday and hasn't stopped. We have about 4 inches of water standing next to our patio, but fortunately aren't yet in danger of having any inside. The rain is so loud I'm having trouble concentrating on the mountains of work I have to do this weekend, so here I sit blogging instead.

Running has gone a bit better this week, as shown by the last couple entries. My pace has dropped significantly all week and while I think that's probably short-lived, it has been fun. However, it seems that I somehow pulled an abdominal muscle during Thursday's run - all of a sudden, near then end of a perfect, fast run, it felt like someone stabbed me in my right side and I couldn't run anymore. Ever since then my right side is tender right above my iliac crest, and I get sharp pains when I bend over or twist funny. It hasn't bothered me on any subsequent runs, though.

Other things to update y'all on....We went kayaking labor day weekend - something I had never done before! That was great fun, I'm looking forward to more of it! Mediocre pics below, we took my free digital camera and well, you get what you pay for.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Good run today

I've really been struggling with motivation since moving up here. Maybe not motivation exactly, but it's been difficult to figure out my schedule in a way that I can run and run well. Mornings - well, I just hate running in the mornings. Lunch time has been fine, but it has proven to be tricky to get out there in the middle of the day. Evenings have always been my go-to time, but I'm finding myself a little dead-legged at the end of the day. Part of that, I'm sure, is biking to school on that nice new single speed of mine. I love the bike, but it takes a little getting used to! The ride to campus is actually nice and comfortable and really feels almost leisurely - it certainly doesn't hit the "workout" limit - but I guess it's just something my legs, specifically my quads since I don't have clipless pedals, are used to doing.

Anyway, today I headed out with Kona just planning to run 20 minutes since I had a lot I wanted to get done this evening. We wound up with 2.25 at an 8:42 pace and it really felt remarkably easy - harder than my usual easy run, but nowhere near a tempo effort. I'm pleased. Maybe it's the cooler temperatures - it was in the lower 50s by the time I got out there tonight. A few more degrees and I'll be running in long sleeves!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Another Race - 5 Miles

Hey y'all.

Today I traveled to Jackson, MI (woo hoo - new places for me) to run a 5 mile race with Steph. I woke up in a panic at 5:10 this morning - this might be the one time I'll be grateful for the partiers in the parking lot, since they're the ones that woke me up (apparently I had already hit snooze twice). Tooled around the house doing my pre-race stuff and left around 6. Drove through dark and fog for about 45 min, and arrived at the race plenty early - sometimes I hate that I just have to be early for things.

While I was standing in line to pick up my packet, the very aromatic man standing in front of me turned and started talking to me...and continued to talk to me for the next 20 minutes. He was very strange, and I was too polite to walk away! I didn't want to take my stuff to my car because I was afraid he'd follow me...when I finally excused myself, he did! Turns out his car was right by mine. Fantastic...

Steph and I chatted for a few minutes before the race and I met her husband and caught a glimpse of a sleeping Biggie Boy - so. cute. Then since she's faster than me, she went up towards the front at the start and I hung back. It was a pretty small race field and I just didn't want to be last, so I decided that would be my #1 goal. Also, I had decided if I could hang close to 9 min miles I'd be happy with my performance. Somehow, though, I never did the math to figure out that would be a rather significant PR...

Miles 1&2: 17:23 (avg pace 8:41) - missed the first mile marker
Mile 3: 9:14
Mile 4: 9:35 (ugh)
Mile 5: 9:23

Final watch time: 45:36 (9:07 pace)

A PR by 40 seconds, over my 8k trail race in May.

Even though I hadn't done the math, I really hadn't intended to go out there and push it, and really I didn't. I managed to stay relatively comfortable the whole time, so with some actual training and a flat race I think I could do quite well. The past couple weeks allergies have really knocked me on my butt, and while I was definitely wheezy during the race today, my breathing never got out of control. Overall, I'm pleased.

Thanks for reading!