Saturday, November 27, 2010

Running "in the mile"

So I headed to the Stennis Space Center to run the half marathon. 
 With the cold weather prediction of upper 30s by the start time at 8:00 am, and my training this fall, I felt really good going into the race.  I was not disappointed today.  I ran 1:47:25, unofficial time.

Today was just one of those rare days.  For me, it was reminiscent of St. George.  In talking with friends after the race, for many, it was a PR day.  The course at Stennis is a GREAT PR course.  If you have good weather, it's "game on." 

The splits - (because you guys know I like the numbers and I like the details)
previous PR pace was 8:16 pace - Stennis 2009, so 8:15 was the goal for the day. Plan - start the first 2 miles a little slow, and then pick it up. 

1 - 8:08 - oops, 2 - 8:23, 3 - 8:13, 4 - 8:12, 5 - 8:16, 6- 8:14, 7 - 8:14, 8 - 8:12, 9 - 8:12, these are my favorites 10 - 8:05, 11 - 7:59, 12 - 8:01, 13 - 7:54 SWEET! .1 - 1:04
Negative split run - woo hoo - makes me extra happy :) (why I do not know)

What helped me through the run today?
* running "in the mile" - I've been working on ALL mental aspects of my running and it IS helping.  Today, I consciously made the decision to run each mile, and focus on that mile only.  In the early miles, this is not necessary because I am running so comfortably.  I can't remember exactly what mile I started this, but I think it was around mile 4 or 5.  At this point, I focused and said to myself - "just run this mile @ 8:15.  As soon as I made it to the next mile, I would do the same thing again.  It was a great feeling to be totally focused on the mile, in the moment.  Will this work every race, I doubt it, today was special.  (normally, I start the mathematical count down and as I pass each mile I think about how many miles I have left before the finish)
*In getting ready for the Rocket City Marathon, I just finished reading Running Within by Jerry Lynch.  Now let me first say, I am not an avid reader, so I haven't read tons of books, but of the books I have read about running, this one is by far the best that I have read.  If you want to work on your mental running game, it's well worth the $$s.  In this book, he gives many mental tips to survive the tough parts of racing - mantras, ideas, and tips.  The one that I focused on today was "hello fatigue - I'm busy right now, I will deal with you after the race."    Will this work every race, I doubt it, but today, it was helpful.  The book recommends acknowledging the fatigue (hello) and then making the comment above.   It was like saying yes, I am getting fatigued, but I am OK, and I can do this, and I will honor the fatigue after the race.  It worked for me today.  
* songs that helped today - where is your heart by Kelly Clarkson - when I heard the song, and that particular line of the song, it was like saying to me.  Do you have "heart" to do this, and FINISH this, or will you let this PERFECT opportunity pass you by.  It motivated me to step up.  

*Novacaine - Bon Jovi - this song came on late in the race and was perfect.
Lyrics to the chorus
I tell myself I (feel no pain)
But I'm feeling the pain (walk away)
Can't walk away
I'm hanging on the ropes of hope
It's getting hard to cope you know
When you're the needle running
through my veins
I've changed my name to novocaine

( I used the mental imagery to act like novocaine was numbing me to be able to cope and finish the race.)

Another reason I enjoy the Stennis race is typically there are some local runners who go to this race, near the coast of MS.  Today there were several, and most of them had a great day.  My sister-in-law, Sonja,  stayed at my house on Fri. night and finished her 2nd half marathon today. Jennifer ran like a 10 or 11 min PR today.  Bridgett ran a PR today.  (Jen, Bridgett, and I will be heading to Rocket City to run the full marathon, 2wks from today) Frank - was running his 1st half marathon today, and ran a great race, and came in 2nd in his age group.  Other friends at the race, Keith,Steve, Eric, Renee and Dennis, and Neil.  (Renee ran like a 29 min PR, and Neil ran a PR too)  I think most of our area runners either PR'ed,  or won a medal, or both in some cases. 

Good Day at the RACES!
 Sonja - 2nd half marathon finish today.
 Frank, Me, and Eric (thanks to Frank for the pics)
Me, Eric, and Jen
Keith, (Steve's son-in-law? sorry) Steve

 Bridgett on the left
After the race, Bridgett and I ran a couple of extra miles in hopes of helping some other runners finish the race.  It was nice to finally be able to chat with her.  She is super fast and ran like a 1:34?? -  PR today.  Go Bridgett!  Bridgett has already qualified for Boston and NYC for 2011.  Woo Hoo Bridgett!  Big Year Ahead!
Age group award - I wasn't listening, but I am told it was 1st place???

Questions that I cannot answer:

  1. why does it feel so awesome to run a pr?  For me, these days,  it’s usually only a few seconds pr, and even if it’s only a 1 second pr, it just feels different, and why is that, why does it even matter?  I do not know!
  2. why does a negative split run feel so much better than any other type of finish.  Seriously, if you finish a race @ 1:47 why does it matter how you got there?  Today, I ran a negative split and I ran a negative split at St. George, and it just feels TOTALLY different, like I’ve achieved something bigger, but I haven’t – why is this?  I do not know.
  3. why does a pr give me a high like most people drink a 6 pack of beer to get?  I do not know!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving and a Green Light!

Happy Thanksgiving Bloggers!

I've been monitoring the weather for Sat. and so far it's looking great.  If the current forecast holds it should be about 40-45 for the half marathon on Sat. at the Stennis Space Center in MS.  This race has become somewhat of a tradition for me.  After the "eat fest" on Thurs., is there any better way to spend a Sat. morning than running a half, or a full marathon?  I think not!    This year I vowed that I would NOT run it, if it ended up being hot and humid like it is some years, but so far I'm getting the "green light" for racing on Sat.  Woo Hoo!  Feeling totally pysch'ed about that!   If the weather holds, I will race it, and hope for good results.  Yes, it's a little too close to my full marathon to "all out" race it, but by now, you know my deal.  
I'm going for it because:
1.  tomorrow is not promised.
2. my running is going well and the weather will be right for Ginny, for racing this Sat.  If I "save myself" for the marathon on Dec. 11th, and the weather is hot and humid, I would have missed a perfect opportunity to put my training to the test this fall.
3.  I just can't help myself!  After the Pensacola race, I'm ready to go for it, and "finish it" under the right conditions.
4.  did I mention the Thurs. "eat fest"  Well, this is all part of the plan my friends.  With planning to "all out" race on Sat., Ginny will NOT "pig out" on Thurs.  Yes, I will celebrate Thanksgiving, and yes, I will eat too many calories, but, I will NOT eat all day until I am miserable.  Woo Hoo - now that is progress my friends.

Totally excited about the weekend.
Heading to the track tonight for 9 X 800 at 3:45 or under - LOVE IT!
Short work week!  Yay!

Notes from last week's training:
67 miles 
Tues. - 8 X 800 @ 3:43 avg. with Audrey.  Vicki and Steve joined us for part of the workout.
Sat - 20 miles @ 9:05 avg. - (leaving the Garmin running through all water stops)
miles without hydration stops averaged around 8:46 pace.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Scenes from the Run - the peak of fall foliage in the South

Today I went out for a 15 mile run.  The run was extended because I kept stopping to take pictures along the way.  It is the height of the fall foliage in South MS and most likely by next week the leaves will be past their prime.  So I decided to take advantage of the beauty all around. 
My favorite of the day!
The Run - nice run on rolling hills today.  (9:38 avg pace stopping Garmin for pics).  Felt great with all the breaks to take pictures.  Also, the weather cooled making it a nice breezy comfy run.

Every fall this tree puts on a show for me to enjoy each time I run this route.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pensacola pics

 (see previous post for the first part of the Pensacola, FL story)
Still excited about the Sunday racing tempo run.  I wake up today with a new "SMARTNESS"  Another reason why I continue to have a passion for running because after years of running, I continue to learn something new.  Sometimes it's small things, sometimes it's a LARGE lesson.  This weekend was large!  So I wake up with a renewed excitement for my racing going forward.  Again, I was NOT disappointed with the Sunday half.  It was just nice to finally realize some things about my personal racing.   No matter how strong I am mentally, I can not overcome racing in humid weather.  For several years,  I had the belief that I had mental breakdowns in these races, but it FINALLY REALLY clicked for me.  VERY EXCITING to know my personal limits.  Like a weight off my shoulders.    (it was a hard lesson to learn because some people(friends) race well in the humid conditions, and I always truly believed I could "learn or train" to do it too, and I believed it was a mental thing)
It's not's physical for me.

Now to the nice pics that Ruth and Terry (Laura's parents) took along the course.  
Still celebrating Laura finishing her first full marathon.
Laura in the middle, around 24ish...getting it done!
THIS is what it's all about!
Shane, Laura, Grady, Ruth, and Terry
What a great family!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Is it the mind or the body?

What a great day, NOT by my half marathon time @ the Pensacola Half Marathon, but a GREAT day with friends and family anyway. 

First the details 1:54 – 8:41 pace for the  HALF – ha ha – wuz thinking that would be close to my pace for the full in Dec.  It  CAN HAPPEN….REALLY!  (need some cold weather on Dec. 11th)

Started out running with Keith and Toby this am.  Keith and I had decided on 8:30 pace to start and then hoped to pick it up.  Reality – plan B – get on pace from the gun. 1-  8:20, 2- 8:10,  Toby took off and Keith and I stayed on pace for 7 miles.  At that point, like a good pacer friend, Keith stayed on pace, I unfortunately, started falling off the pace.   In mile 7, there is an ugly hill that I was aware of.  Leading up to the hill, we had been going downhill for what seemed like, quiet a while, to me.  When you start struggling to stay on pace, and you are going downhill…my friends that is NOT a good sign.  Finally make it up the beast, and try to get back on pace…not happening mile 8 -8:35, mile 9 - 8:38  (miles 3- 8:15,  4 – 8:13,  5 – 8:17,6 - 8:15).  At 9, I decided to “shut it down for the day”

I know this is CRAZY to some of you.  Fight to the end, right?  In my opinion, NO, not today. 
My case:
  1. it’s NOT gonna happen – the usual – too hot, too humid story.  Yes, I go into each race thinking even though the temps are warm – I am STRONG, I can overcome.  That’s why I’ve been training so hard on the physical and mental game of running.  For years, I believed it was a mental breakdown and I could learn to run in humid weather.  Today, I have decided that maybe it's not in my mind, maybe it's my body.  I have no idea which it is, but today, I have made a decision.  I will no longer show up for hot and humid half, and full marathons, thinking I’m invincible, I can overcome because I am STRONG.  Today, it finally clicked – yes, I am strong, but as much as I want to think I can overcome…..Ginny’s reality for the past 7 years, is that my body doesn’t respond to hot and humid racing.   Well, actually, it does, it says "Girl – you are crazy we are slowing this train down!"  So while my mind and my heart say Go Ginny Go!  - my body says….”I don’t think so.”
  2. I have another half in 2 wks – so instead of "beating a DEAD horse", I took the opportunity to do what I think was the smart thing today.   I had a GREAT tempo run for 7 miles, and called it a day.

I know this drives some of you absolutely CRAZY.  I know you think I “GAVE UP.”   I have a totally different opinion.  I think I was totally smart, and I am excited that I can walk way knowing I had a solid training run today.

I also had another revelation today.  When possible, I will no longer sign up early for races.  Financially, that really hurts me, I’m ALL about saving a BUCK,  but for some races, I will no longer sign up in advance.  I will wait for the weather prediction and then make my decision.   If I want to go for a training run, I will still sign up, but if my intention is “racing” I will “pick my days” for the nearby races.   

I’m a wimp!   Now in addition to using my Garmin for pacing, my gels for endurance, my Ipod to keep me sane, now I will eliminate hot and humid long races from my racing list.   (running purist, I am not, and that’s ok with me)  

The great news for today. 
My cousin, Laura finished her first full marathon.  Yay Laura!  It was a hot, hilly, humid race, but she finished it “in fine fashion,” I should say.    So today, I was able to run with Keith for several miles in the half, and I ran a few with Laura and friends during the full, and I had time to visit with my cousins, Ruth and Terry.  Great day in Pensacola with a good tempo run.
 Running with Laura

So let me have it!  I’m not scared.  Picking my weather days – sounds absurd, but that’s the game plan for some of the upcoming races (not Huntsville – will race it no matter what)

After years of thinking I can learn to run in warm and humid weather, I give! So the question is…. Do you think I’m caving mentally, or can it be that some people can’t respond to the humidity?   It really doesn’t matter which it is,  I think I have decided this old dog can’t learn that trick, and I'm ok with that!  Strive for better, but know your limits!  Today, I finally figured out my limit, and I will honor my body, mind, and soul, and accept this reality.

Note:  Take an ice bath after your long runs and races.  You will recover faster, and feel better post race.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

30 days 30 things

 30 days to Rocket City Marathon - yay and yikes at the same time!

1. after the record wkly and monthly can guess it....I got sick.
2. thankfully, not feel bad sick, but morning coughing that made me paranoid to train sick
3. 75 miles one wk......22 the next wk - good recovery, I suppose.
4. thankful that I did not feel bad, just each morning about 10-20 min. of coughing
5. apples, orange juice, green tea, rest, SLOW runs, airborne
6. Thurs pm - leave for Gulf Shores, AL(one of my favorite places) for the weekend.
7. Fri - supposed to be off work, but ended up on the computer all day, but I had this view - not a bad office view!
8.  Fri night - still coughing but the low is 39, and I MUST go run the 5k.
9. Sat. - I headed to Mobile, AL to run a super fast 5k/10K course - probably my favorite.
10. Senior Bowl 5k - 42 degree start - finally some 5k racing weather.
11.  Race starts, mile 1 - can't believe I can breathe at 1 mile and legs feel good. 7:38 (never feel great, at 1 mile, when it's hot and humid)
12. Run Ginny Run!
13. Try to pick it up a little, but nervous about racing and "the cough" - still have a marathon to train for.
14. mile 2 - 7:33 - go for it!
15. mile 3 - still feeling good - 7:19 - well as good as one can feel in the 3rd mile of a 5k
16. .1 - :50
17. 3.12 - 23:25 official - 23:20 Garmin
18. Excited!
19. The good things - negative split run, not 100% today,  and only 19 seconds off my pr.  Sweet!
20. Finally,  I'm confident about a better marathon - I believe in the McMillan predictions
That's why I've been working so hard on getting my 5k times down because I know my 5ks times need to be mid 23 to be in the ballpark for a good marathon time.  I need the speed and endurance, to do well in the marathon. 
21. I think I may have 2 more chances this fall to go for a pr in the 5k - only if the weather is ideal,  will I go for it. (ideal for me = COLD)
22. Hubby fished another redfish tournament this weekend.  The IFA Redfish Championship in Orange Beach, AL  He and his partner, Jay won the championship.
                                                                Jay and Chad
Hubby's been working hard for this for several years.  So proud of him!
We talk often about the parallels of his love and work at fishing, and my love and work at running/marathoning.  We are lucky to both have hobbies we love, and we understand each others passion for the sport.
Advertising time - if you need to give you hubby a nice Christmas gift, and he likes to fish, he would LOVE this -

23.  After the championship on Sunday - we left Gulf Shores and went to Covington, LA for the night.  We stayed and visited with Chad's uncle and his wife,  such natural hosts. Thanks Gaye and Mike!   (wish I had that ability.)  Monday we left Covington and drove 11 hours to Corpus Christi , TX.  
23. arrived at 5:30 pm
24. Monday night - after the 11 hours drive - stepped off the treadmill at 9:00 pm, after running 9 miles.  I went to the Corpus Christi Athletic Club.  At least I was entertained with DWTS on the TV.
25. Tues. am - up at 5:00 to start running at 5:30 - run 10 miles, shower, and back in the truck for the drive back to Covington.
26. while I was running along the bay at Corpus, Chad was picking up his new boat.
27. back to Covington, and then HOME at 11:00 pm.  Home Sweet Home!
28. up at 5:15 am to go drop Jen for her 20 mile run, and then go for my 6 mile run.
29. yoga @ 10:00 am - so needed this after all the riding and running, and  I've missed the last 2 wks
30. catch up the rest of the day, and update the blog tonight.  Now REST!

Up next - Pensacola half marathon on Sunday,  and watch my cousin, Laura, finish her first full marathon.  (weather is not going to be ideal for me, but I will go into it, to "race it", if it's not a pr day, I will "shut it down", and use it as a good tempo run for my marathon training.)