Monday, September 27, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Marathon training - big miles - hill repeats - tempo runs - yoga - stretching - planks - push-ups.... 
"ain't life grand?"  

(Before I go further or is it farther?  i dunno, but let me just go ahead and apologize to my Mother and the teachers who read this blog.  Obviously, if you have read this blog before,  or if you have heard me speak, you have noticed the English language is not my forte.)

So today I begin week 2 of my 12 week marathon program.(1st time to do such a short program)  I was greeted this morning with 60 degree temps.  We had a day and a half cool front, at the beginning of Sept., and then NOTHING.  In fact, last week, we had heat indexes at 100 degrees.  The early tease of cool air intensified the fall fever in most of the runners in the Southeast.  So today, I was "giddy" with fall excitement all day.   I started the day with the most excellent run.
6:15 am start, 60 degree temp, cold shoulders, sunrise pic with cheap-ass camera phone.  It's kind-of cool though!  The run was nothing spectacular.  In fact, the plan was 9:40 pace and I ended with 9:38 pace, but "the feeling" was amazing.  I ran on hills, I felt good the entire run, I felt strong.  The almost weekly, hill repeats with my friends were evident today.  They are making me strong.   My run today made me proud of  my summer training.  The run today gives me hope for the fall.  Hope that my speed will one day return. will return.  As I patiently await the return of my speed, today, I feel my strength on the hills.  I feel the summer high mileage helping me.  I ran 16 on Sat.  I ran 12 on Monday, and I feel strong. 

Last week 55 miles with a 16 miler on hills
This week 59 miles with an 18 miler
Next week 62 miles, with a marathon in Madison, MS, as a training run....a SLOW training run.
(well on my way to my new training goal of 3 - 70 mile weeks) 

The next 8 weeks (before the taper) will be GRAND.  I love the training, I love the cool weather, I love the racing, I love going after new training goals.  I am not the best racer, but I am a strong trainer.  When I am in "the thick of things" in my marathon training, it is, for me....

Other great things today.... lunch with my honey, while I worked today - the hubby cleaned the house.  Sweet!  Life is Good!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Weekend racing!

 Audrey, Me, Robbie, Kent
What a great weekend!  Sat. morning started off at the JCJC (junior college) 5k.  My goal, stated earlier in the week to running friends, was to no longer see 24 something for my 5k time.  (remember 2 wks ago, I ran the Labor Your Legs and finished with a time of 24:03)  I didn't care if the time was 23:59, but just feel I should be running 23 somethings - EVEN IN THE HEAT.    At the LYL race several of my friends and I, all finished just over 24 minutes.  We talked about all trying to go under 24 at our next race.  Sat. was the day.  Come on, we are talking 4 seconds, I can do that, RIGHT?   I thought it would be a solo effort, but was happy when Audrey showed up before the race.  We warmed up, and realized THIS Sat. was warmer than the LYL race, and THIS course had rolling hills.  The LYL course was flat.   So I realized we had our work cut out for us.  I knew it would be really hard, but I also know that I am finally making a little progress each week, and hoped we could meet our goal.  Audrey was sick for the LYL race, so I knew she could do it, but not sure what the day had in store for me. (Audrey is a much more talented runner than I am, but lucky for me, she doesn't have time to train.  If she had the time to really train, we would not be able to run together at all, she would be way too fast.  I am lucky she is a busy, busy woman)  So we ran through all the turns, up and down the hills, and finished in the football stadium.  First glance at my watch and excitement fills me. 23:36 - finally the training is paying off with a nice jump in my 5k time.  Most of the time, if I have a jump in my time, I will quickly look at my Garmin to see if the course is short, but on Sat. I did not do that.  I didn't do it because my training has been going well, and I thought it was a realistic improvement.  Audrey finished around 15 seconds in front of me.  After the race we made it to the water coolers and Audrey asks "what was the distance."  I looked down and I see 3.04 - elation quickly goes to deflation.   As soon as I made it back to the house, the first thing I do is to get on the pace charts to see how my time would calculate out to a 3.1 mile course.  24:01 
Boo!  I also calculate Audrey's time, and she would have been around 23:46.  Woo Hoo! Go Audrey!  Nope, I didn't make the goal, but I am fine with it.  Next time, I will see 23 something, I just know it.  I feel it!  Just need a little cool weather.

After I showered I packed the car and headed to South LA.  I was heading to the Harvest Fest 2 mile trail run in Paincourtville, LA @ 6:00 pm.  The race was at the home town of one of my good friends from my college days at USM.  Her sister was the race director, and I wanted to go and support the race, but more than that, I wanted to go visit with Janet and Darlene.  I met my sister-in-law, Sonja, and we headed to Paincourtville.  We arrived a little over an hour before the race.  
Janet and Me
(we played volleyball @ USM a couple of years ago)
Before the race, I was able to visit with Janet,  and toured the beautiful Catholic church in Paincourtville.(in the picture below)  Also, I was able to visit with Janet's sister, Darlene, was able to finally meet the hubbies, and was able to meet many of Janet's friends and other relatives.  
When it was time, I headed off to warm up a little.  My legs were tight from the am 5k and the 3.5 hour drive to get to the race.  Ouch!  The first 20 yards were slightly painful - hammies are really TIGHT.   After warming up, my legs felt MUCH better.  

Around 6:00 pm we are getting ready to start the race.  I think this was my first attempt of off road racing.  (I could be having a senior moment, and could have forgotten earlier attempts, but think I'm correct in the statement).  We take off and the first surface we run on is grass, tall grass.  We are heading into the sugarcane field.  Everyone quickly moves into the truck and tractor ruts along the road to the field.  The first thing I notice is - I have to pick my feet up more than usual, 2nd note - this surface is soft, and I have to work much harder on a soft surface.  Of course, I have run off road many times, but for the most part, I'm an asphalt runner, and I quickly note that I am not "trained" for off road running.  We later get on a dirt road which I think will be better, but quickly note that the LA dirt is SOFT, very soft, not like the clay type dirt that I am familiar with running on.  Then onto a gravel road.  Twist my ankle a couple of times, not a hurting twist, just rough footing.  Then back to the grass and to the finish.  It was such a neat adventure.  I was thankful it was just 2 miles.  That was a great introduction to off road racing. 
Scott - photo opt after the race.
Me in the sugarcane fields of South LA
After the race we were treated to jambalaya.  Darlene's husband had prepared the delicious LA treat.  Yummy!  Later in the evening,  Sonja and I headed out, and made the drive to Galliano/Golden Meadow, LA.  The rest of the weekend was spent with hubby.  He had Sunday off, so it was a great end to the weekend.   Being lazy!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Salute to "the Purist!"

Today I had a 5.5 mile run to complete my goal of 50 miles this week.  Around 2.5 or 3 miles into the run, I was running toward a rain shower quickly moving up the road in my direction.  I welcomed the rain, but I feared the damage to my Ipod.  I tried to protect it as much as possible.  This meant running without my tunes.  I tried not to be deterred.  Ok, the purist say they enjoy the sounds.... I listen to my breathing....I do not appreciate this noise.  Don't get my wrong, yes, I am very thankful for every breath that I take, but hearing the in out, in out, in out of my breathing is not calming, comforting, or enjoyable.  I notice the birds singing....nice for about a half second.  I hear the splash of my feet hitting the soggy pavement.  Splat, splat, splat, splat - again I am not amused.  I think my landing is too hard.    I also hear cars passing and splashing water, I hear window a/c units, I hear a generator running on a boat that is parked in the bayou, I hear dogs barking,  I hear the rain.  Quickly I turn from noticing all the sounds to wondering????? How do the "purist" find this so great?  I can NOT figure it out!  Thankfully, after about a 1.5 miles, I no longer need to try to figure it out.  The rain has passed and with the very light sprinkle, I am safe to put my Ipod back on.  Once again, I am thankful, really thankful for my hearing.  Thankful to hear my tunes.  It's through my tunes that I find my joy in running.  
I salute "the purist" who can find enjoyment in running with the sounds of nature, because I am NOT amused.

I had a great week of training.  As mentioned, I started the week with the Labor Day 5k, I also ran again Monday pm on the treadmill to start the week with 10 miles.
The rest of the week went as follows:

Tues. Sept. 7th - 9.5 miles with Tracie behind Anatomies in The Trace subdivision. 8:58 pace for the run with some breaks.
Wed. - walk 30 min, core work, stretch
Thurs - 11 miles am with Terri (she ran 13), Vicki (she ran 6), Dawn - ran 8. I averaged around 10:00 pace.
Fri.- 14 miles - @ Canebrake - 2 miles at 9:38 pace, 12 miles with/ behind Tracie & Michelle. I averaged 9:10 for the 12 miles. Happy with that pace after the 11 on Thurs. Glad to have T. & M. out front. It helped me to push, and maintain my pace. This was a tough run. I started at 6:40 am, and it was HOT and HUMID. (ice bath after this one)
Sat. - 5.5 miles - easy - 10:00 avg. 8 X 15 second sprints near the end of the run.
Ending the week with 50 miles, 1 yoga class @ Spiers Fitness, a little core work, a few weights, some stretching, some push-ups - finding it hard to fit all the "extras" in like I want to, but I am happy with this weeks training. Last 50+ mile wk was at the end of March.
Tues., Thurs. and Fri - I was tired.  I think I had an adjustment week.   The good news I felt good on the run, I ran slow, but no longer tired.  Now I have Sunday off, (off from running - Sunday will be a walk day).  Also, next week is a "step back" week in my training.  It's actually my last week prior to my official start of my 12 wk program for the Rocket City Marathon.  I am excited about the rest week, but I am VERY excited to finally get started with my training program.   (90 days until the Rocket City Marathon, Huntsville, AL)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Short Update!

The miles seem to be ramping up, and apparently cutting into my blog time.

Definitely having some solid end of summer training and slowly, ever so slowly, making progress in the 5k.  It's been really hard to "get back" to my previous 5k times, but now, I am thrilled to report, I am back in the ballpark.  Hoping I am almost back to my "happy home" of 23 something 5ks.

Today, I ran the Labor Your Legs 5k and I finished with a time of 24:03. 

Sonja (sister-in-law), Me, Robbie, and Kent
Great day at the race.
Heading toward 50 miles this week.