Saturday, October 22, 2016

Distance by Cake

We had a cold front that came through and left us with lows in the 40s -  Hallelujah !  This is my step-back week, so today was my 3rd and final run for the week, and the only quality run this week.  I've been in recovery mode from the 18 miler on Sunday.  My plan today was to combine my long run and a tempo run.  I decided on an 8 mile tempo run.  I warmed up for 1.3 miles and then started.  It has been a beautiful day here. 

I'm enjoying the sun and the flowers along the way.  With the cool nights, I know they will soon be gone for the long winter ahead. 

I'm not sure why, but today I found it hard to find my tempo pace.  I typically am not the best pacer.  I'm a slave to the Garmin to control me, especially early in the run.  Initially, I was thinking around 8:50 for the tempo.  Mile 1 8:54, Mile 2 - 8:50  My splits for the first 2 miles do not reflect what was going on in my head and on my Garmin.  I felt I was all over the place by the Garmin.  Too fast - "slow down", to slow - "speed up".   I kept repeating in my head "find it (the pace), feel it (the pace).  Find it, feel it.  Find it, feel it.  Mile 3 - 8:45, Mile 4 - 8:44.  I didn't intentionally speed up, but the weather was so perfect, I didn't force the slow down either.

Then it happened.......
The Song of the Day
Sometimes the music of a song inspires me, sometimes it's the words, and sometimes I change the words to something running related, but this song has both - the music and the words just work to MOTIVATE.  They motivate me anyway.  I just can't believe I've only recently downloaded it to my run music.

Distance by Cake  (google it to listen) (When running, I relate all songs to running.  Much of this song works)

Reluctantly crouched at the starting line
Engines pumping and thumping in time
The green light flashes, the flags go up
Churning and burning, they yearn for the cup
They deftly maneuver and muscle for rank
Fuel burning fast on an empty tank
Reckless and wild, they pour through the turns
Their prowess is potent and secretly stern

As they speed through the finish, the flags go down
The fans get up and they get out of town
The arena is empty except for one man
Still driving and striving as fast as he can
The sun has gone down and the moon has come up
And long ago somebody left with the cup
But he's driving and striving and hugging the turns
And thinking of someone for whom he still burns

He's going the distance
He's going for speed
She's all alone
In her time of need

Because he's racing and pacing and plotting the course
He's fighting and biting and riding on his horse
He's going the distance
No trophy, no flowers, no flashbulbs, no wine
He's haunted by something he cannot define
Bowel-shaking earthquakes of doubt and remorse
Assail him, impale him with monster-truck force
In his mind, he's still driving, still making the grade

She's hoping in time that her memories will fade
Cause he's racing and pacing and plotting the course
He's fighting and biting and riding on his horse
The sun has gone down and the moon has come up
And long ago somebody left with the cup
But he's striving and driving and hugging the turns
And thinking of someone for whom he still burns

'Cause he's going the distance
He's going for speed
She's all alone
In her time of need

Because he's racing and pacing and plotting the course
He's fighting and biting and riding on his horse
He's racing and pacing and plotting the course
He's fighting and biting and riding on his horse

He's going the distance
He's going for speed
He's going the distance

"Distance" came on around 4.5 miles of my 8 mile tempo run.  At this point I was so jazzed up with the song and the weather it became a progression run - kind of.   Mile 5- 8:34, Mile 6 - 8:25, Mile 7 - 8:31, Mile 8 - 8:25.  The cooler weather helps so much.  I was gradually increasing speed, but by effort, I wasn't pushing too extremely.  It was really just comfortably hard - just what a tempo run should be.  I ended up averaging 8:39 for the tempo. 

Another week of training done! 
6 weeks until St. Jude Memphis 26.2
Thankful when I have friends to run with, but so thankful I can enjoy solo, music-filled runs too.
Sunday will be a rest day,  and then next week will be my higher mileage week.  I will plan on 40-45 miles.  I have a 20 miler and will do it mid-week.  I also have 8-9 X 800s, working toward Yasso's 800s.  

fyi - the pics were taken after my run.......
(sometimes if I'm on a LSD run I will stop and take pics, but not when I'm in tempo mode)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

26.2 in 25 hours

I easily reached my goal to run 26.2 miles in 2 runs, and roughly 25 hours. (8.1 Sat., 18.1 Sunday)  I was happy to meet Laura (AL cousin) and Paige to run 5 miles before the Gulf Coast Half marathon, Mandeville, LA.  I broke my "no pre-dawn" running rule.  I just had to.......
First, I was excited to visit with Laura and Paige.   Second,  I'm doing mostly solo runs, so I was excited to run with PEOPLE.  Especially considering my Ipod has been on the blink for 2weeks, meaning I've been using my backup shuffle (boring), so no podcasts, no radio, no talk radio.  I don't mind solo running, but I do need some variety to keep me entertained.   Get it right Apple, I need my Ipod......I'm in the middle of marathon training.....

So I met Laura and Paige and we chatted away 5 miles - quick chat run, but slow by pace.   I didn't have much of a pace plan for the race, but I was aware -  the temperatures were on the warm side,  and definitely humid.  My main goal was to get the 18.1 miles checked off.  I ended up running 2:02 (9:20 avg.).  Like all races it was challenging at the end.    It really didn't feel like an 18 miler it felt like a 5 miler and then 13.1.  In my mind, there is a big difference !

My splits - 1 -9:54 I would have preferred around 9:30, but there was a people problem, and I started to far back. No worries !
2-9:32, 3-9:20 good, I decided at this point that 9:15-9:20 felt about right for the day, considering all (18 miles, heat, humidity, no wanting to race)
 4- 9:09, 5- 9:11, 6- 9:21, 7- 9:16, 8- 9:16, 9- 9:20, 10- 9:13, 11- 9:16, 12- 9:12, 13- 9:16,  1:00

I'm pleased with the weekend.  In reviewing my splits, I can think of nothing better to say than....
I'm pumped.   When I started this journey in May, I decided I would not be running big miles, but I wanted something new to focus on.  I decided mental training was going to be my focus.  By big miles, I mean when I left off 3.5 years ago, I was running 40-75 miles and actually peaked out at 80 miles (1 week), at age 45.  Been there, done that !  So I've been reading about mental performance, using mantras during my training runs/races, reading, reading, visualizing, etc.   I'll write more on this later, but the thing I wanted to work on most is not falling off the pace at the end.   All these years, I always thought it was a training/fitness thing when I gradually slowed at the end of training runs and races.  So each time, I trained harder, more miles, etc.,  and still ended up falling off at the end of most long runs and races.  What I FINALLY realized this summer, is it was probably never a "fitness" thing, it was a "mind" thing.  I'm still in the testing phase, but so far, the mind focus is a HUGE bonus for me.   So yes, I ended the weekend with 26.2 miles, 2 runs, 25 hours.  Now I just need to subtract 1 run, and 20.5 hours by Dec. 3rd, at St. Jude Memphis, TN.  
the journey continues......

A few of my favorite pictures from the Mandeville, Louisiana weekend, 2016.
The Sunday 18 milers - Paige, Me, Laura

3 of my AL cousins in this picture - so happy to see them !

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Tick-tock, tick-tock, I’m on the clock. 
 2 days,  26.2 miles the goal
8.1 is done, with attached scene to see
Tomorrow, 18.1 the goal will be.
5 miles with sweet cousin and friend,
Sole2Soul sisters are at it again.
13.1 Gulf Coast Mandeville looking for friends I might see.
All within 25 hours my running will be.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The journey back to 26.2 continues....

Last week was a "step back" week.  I've been running 1 week with higher mileage followed by a week of lower mileage.  This has proved to be a great strategy so far in that I'm getting plenty of recover and I'm feeling great.  I haven't gotten up to my "big miles" yet (over 16 miles), but so far, the "coming back" has been relatively easy.  Even with the summer training, I'm feeling strong.
My mileage last week ended at 21.4 miles.  The week also ended with a 5k on Sunday.  My last 5k was May 27th at the Greek Fest 5k (25:37).  The Sunday race was scheduled for 12:00PM.  We finally had a cool front pass through the Chalmette area, and the 5k is at noon, missing the mornings cool air, urgh!    I warmed up for a 12:00 PM start, and the race started at 12:35.  I didn't bother with warming up again and decide to "just run."  It's not like I've been training for a 5k anyway.   The races in the Chalmette area are typically small,  and with the 12PM start, it was even smaller than usual.  I won the ladies overall female award and was 3rd overall with a time of 24:47.....that's how small it was.   I ran this race 2:12 faster than my time last year at this same race.  I'm really excited about my splits - 8:09, 8:09, 8:07.  The 1st and the 3rd mile was over the Violet bridge, and the rest was flat.  I like to run the occasional 5k as a test of my fitness.  I like to geek out on the McMillan calculator and dream.......To be honest, I'm way ahead of where I expected to be at this point in the game.
 Enjoying the early morning cool air while watching the Chicago marathon.   Love our South LA camp views.  

A few of my favorite "run scenes" from this week.  

This week I will be running 40 miles.  Today I had 7X800 on my path to Yasso's 800s.  You may recall the pics of the rubberized track in St. Bernard, LA.  I couldn't stomach the thought of running the 800s on the asphalt track here in MS (my only option).  So instead of the track I opted for road 800s.  I prefer the "exactness" of the track,  and I like to check my splits along the way, but finding a pretty road location is not a bad option either.  I averaged 4:00 for 800s.  It was cool this morning so the workout was much less taxing than it can be in the heat.  The section of road that I picked has some mild rolling hills.  You may be able to see the slight incline in some of the pics below.  

A home health hospice nurse stopped at 2 houses within my 1/2 stretch of 800s.   It was a not so subtle reminder to do this (run) while I can.

"One day I will no longer be able to do this, today is not that day !"
Today I'm feeling especially lucky and blessed to run for those who can not.  

**7 weeks until St. Jude 26.2
**Sunday I'm running 18 miles - 13.1 at the Gulf Coast Half Marathon, Mandeville, LA  I'm excited to run the first 5 with my cousin from AL. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

1st "Runner's High" of the season

This week's "Run Scenes"

I had a great week of training.  It started with this:
So happy that I found this great track a few months ago.  It's near our camp in LA, so I will plan my track workouts when I'm in South LA. 
The week started off continuing with our summer, south LA temps, even though the calendar says it's fall.  Excitement was already building in my mind because the extended forecast predicted cooler temps by the end of the week.  I planned my long run for Thursday, based on the prediction.  

Monday - I ran a total of 6 miles - 1 mile w/u, 5X800 with 400 recovery, and 1 mile c/d.  I averaged right around 4:00 minutes with a couple being just under 4:00. ( I accidentally erased my splits before getting to review them)   I'm working toward "Yasso's 800s" before the St. Jude Memphis marathon in Dec.   The Yasso's workout has been a favorite of mine for many years.  If your not familiar, google it.  Basically, the Yasso prediction is with "proper distance training", if you work up to 10X800 at a particular avg., let's use 4:00 min.(equal recovery time, 4:00 min.),  you can run a 4 hour marathon.  For me personally, it never worked out, but I still think it's a great workout, and I love the challenge of it.  For me, it's always been 7-10 minutes slower for the marathon.  For St. Jude, I have no goal other than to finish (1st marathon in 3.5 years), and I certainly do not have a 4:00 marathon in mind, but I value the workout.

Tues - I did a short, short weight/core workout, while working. (self-employed flexibility)

Wed. - 6.5 miles easy.  It was 3-4 degrees cooler this morning with lower humidity, and it made a huge difference.

Thurs. - 16 miles, planned around the predicted cool front for South MS.  It was low 60s when I started my run.
In the spring a major hwy near my home was washed out by flooding.  The hwy is still closed while a new bridge is being built.  This allowed me to run one of my favorite pre- Katrina loops.  After hurricane Katrina, many people permanently moved further north into our area.  My plan for the run was to run steady until mile 12 of 16, & then pick up the pace the final 4 miles. Exactly at mile 12, the song of the day starts to play. Already feeling good because of the weather, this put some extra pep in my step. "That Power" (Will I Am w, J Bieber). Some of the lyrics -
"And oh, I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive
And oh, I can fly, I can fly, I can fly
And oh, I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive
And I'm loving every second, minute, hour, bigger, better, stronger power

I got that power
I got that power
I got that power
Power, power, power

Whatever doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger
So Imma get stronger
(Comin' like a battle ram, battle ram)
I'm knocking knocking down that door again, door again

(Comin', comin' like a battle ram, battle ram)
I'm knocking knocking down that door again, door again."

This song totally pumped me up to finish strong.  It's been a very long time since I've trained hard enough to get the "runner's high".  This is my favorite time of the year, and especially love the first few cool fronts that pass through.  It's so refreshing, it's easy to get a buzz, and you finally get to see and feel some of the results of the dedication of surviving the summer in the South.

This pic looks like me while running in the cool air on Thurs.

The cool temps continued for my Sat. run.  The plan for this run was simply to finish my planned weekly mileage,  which was 35 miles.  I ran it slow, and felt great.  I ran on the paved trail near my home, and enjoyed seeing everyone out enjoying the 1st cool snap of the season.

Here is some Mississippi art for your enjoyment.

I've been running 1 week with higher mileage,  and stepping back the next week.   Next week I will run 20-25 miles.  I just noticed there is a 5k near me next Sunday, so I may jump in to test my fitness.  Even though the 5k is not my goal, it's still a great prediction tool for me.  
Happy Fall Running ! 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Oregon Fall Half Marathon

Oregon Fall Half Marathon
Racing the States
It's been about 1 year since my friend Kelly texted me, out of the blue, to run some fartleks with her.  When she texted me, we hadn't run together in probably 1 1/2 years, and I had been on a 2 year break, other than running 2-3 times per week, mostly 2-3 miles at a time.  Her invitation was just what I needed.  From that first day with her where I ran my fartleks at just above my slow jogging pace, it seems that the tiny bit of increase from a slow jog was enough to jolt me back into finding and returning to my love of running.  Over the past year, I have taken a super conservative route.  At first, I was conservative because I was still happy with the "non training" side of things.  As things progressed, I continued to be very conservative so that I would be sure to run injury free.   I've been EXTREMELY fortunate and I've only had 1 major injury in my "running career".  I call it major because it sidelined me for about 4-6 weeks, but it totally took me off "my game."  When I was able to return to running, I didn't have much desire to do it.  For 2 years, I ran mostly to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and out of fear of totally letting go of running. 
Early this year when I decided to return to the marathon, I also decided I was once again ready to up my training game.  Currently, things are going GREAT ! I'm not training near the level that I did 3 years ago (Boston 2013), but I have stepped it up to doing some speed work and I've increase my weekly mileage some.

Fast forward to Sept 10, 2016.   Early in the summer, Chad & I decided on a trip to Oregon in Sept., and immediately I knew I had to find a race.  I've decided to "Race the States" by my own rules.  I basically want to run a race, of any distance (2 miles-26.2 miles) in each of the states.  I don't know that I will ever finish this, but when I travel to a state that I have not raced, it will be a priority to find a race.

The Oregon Fall 13.1 fit into our schedule the best.  I wanted to fly to Portland on Friday, run a race on Sat. and then proceed with our vacation.  Ideally, if I was trying to PR (run a personal record), flying across the country and then racing the next day is not ideal, but I'm no longer running for PRs, and in fact, my racing is about 80% effort I would say.   I raced for so many years, at this point, I have no desire to jump my racing effort up to 100%, all out "racing."  I've thoroughly enjoyed racing at this level for a change.  It allows for a lot of freedom, and for me currently it's very enjoyable.  Perhaps one day I will return to pushing to 100%, but for now, I'm a happy, happy camper at my current level of racing. 

Friday afternoon we arrived in Portland, jumped in the rental car and headed toward Camby, OR. I wanted to find the race site.  During my research of Camby, I found a Dahlia flower farm.  It just so happens that our timing was perfect for seeing the blooming fields.

  had to share
After touring Swan Island Dahlia fields, we went to dinner and we arrived at the hotel for an early night in.  At dinner, I mentioned to Chad that I was very tired and flying across country and racing the next morning was going to be a challenge.  After the travels of the day, I was asleep early.  When I woke up Sat., I felt fully refreshed.  Chad delivered me to the race site.   I was so excited to escape the heat and humidity of the South.  I think it was upper 50s or lower 60s at the start.  During the race it may have been lower 70s at the end, but with the low humidity, it was nice.  The course was a rolling hills course, with the steepest hill at mile 13.  The course was in a rural area, and an agricultural area.  The race started at St. Josef's Winery, and they had grapes on the vines at the winery.

St Josef's Winery, Canby, OR

 The first several miles of the course headed the same direction (east) with mountains in the distance.  There's just something about water and mountains that's so therapeutic to me.  My favorite races are the small, rural races with beautiful scenery.  This one did not disappoint.  They capped the half marathon at 300.  There was also a 10k, but I'm not sure what the cap was for it, but the race was well organized.  The size of the race,  for this facility was great.  
Even after the long travel day before the race, I felt great the whole race.  In April,  I went under 2 hours for the half again (1:59), which was a new goal for this year.   My training from May until this race has been great so I was hoping,  and expecting good things, especially with good training, good temperatures, and the low humidity (I'm a HEAVY sweater, so lower humidity makes a HUGE difference for me).  I had mentioned to Chad at dinner the night before the race that if I ran GREAT in the race that I hoped to run 1:55.  I ended the race with a finish time of 1:54.  With it being a smaller race, I was able to win my age group too.  You can't really see it in the picture below, but near the bottom of the ribbon you can barely see a small blue pin.  This is the age group winner pin.  The medal also doubles as a cowboy belt in case I want to "cowboy up."

 The race shirt is one of my favorites.  They offered gender specific sizing and the ladies is v-neck which is my personal favorite.  I also love the distressed print.  

This race is the next step in my training for the St. Jude Memphis marathon in Dec.  I don't have a goal for this race because it will be 3.5 years since I've attempted this distance (Boston 2013).   With it being so long between running that distance, I kind of feel like a newbie again.  My goal is to cover the distance and decide from there if I want to do another and attempt to improve from there, or if my 26th marathon will be enough. To be continued....
I can not end this post without posting some of my pics from Eugene, OR - Track Town USA.  My favorite part of Eugene was Pre's Trails.  We also went to Crater Lake, and the West Coast of Oregon from Florence up to Cannon Beach. Oregon is a beautiful state !  I truly hope that I can make it back someday to see more of it.  

University of Oregon (U of O) - Track Town USA - had to see it !

Pre's Trail - beautiful, beautiful, beautiful !
Some other favorites from Oregon
Crater Lake, OR

near Newport, OR

Newport, OR

Ney Beach, Newport, OR

Cape Kiwanda, OR