Saturday, February 26, 2011

Heat Affect and PICK A MILE!

or is it Heat Effect?  I dunno!  So many English questions that need to be answered, and "learned."

So MANY thoughts today.  Will try to keep it brief, but ....warning...brief - not my strong point.

First, I want to say, I realize I repeat things on this blog, often.  I am not totally crazy yet, I repeat because there may be a new person reading this blog for the first time.   So if you  read this blog often, I'm sorry for the repeats.

Yeah, you got it, I'm about to repeat something.
Heat has a huge negative affect on me.   (weekly post, sorry)
The data!
Roots & Shoots 5k last Sat.- I ran the 5k - the temp was warm, the course was easy rolling hills. 23:25 MHR 166 - 90%  (7:39, 7:39, 7:49, :25)

Gimme Shelter 5k today (1 week later) - the temp was cooler and less humiditymore challenging course,( in my opinion) 23:06 - MHR - 163 - 88%   (7:29, 7:29, 7:34, :32)

So even with the course being a little more difficult, this week, with the slightly cooler temps.,  I was able to run a much better race.
Note:  (there was one other subtle difference - prior to the Roots and Shoots 5k I had 40 miles , because I'm tapering a little for the Snickers marathon, prior to the  Gimme Shelter race,  I had 30 miles.  I'm sure the 10 mile difference helped today, but overall, I believe, the difference in the heat and humidity was the biggest reason for the improvement)
* it was interesting to me that miles 1 and 2 in each race, were the same.

Now for the BEST part.  
The 23:06 5k time from the Gimme Shelter race, tied my 2008 5k PR (personal record).  Yes, it's been a LONG time since I ran a PR in the 5k.  If only I could focus on the 5k, I KNOW I can go sub 23  (marathons "suck me in" and take my focus away from the 5k training).
Had I realized I was so close, I KNOW I could have run 23:05, ha!  I wasn't expecting to run that much faster than last week.  But I am happy to be back to - "near 5K PR land."

What does it mean?  I use the 5ks as quality workouts, but I also use the 5ks to judge my level of fitness for my upcoming marathons.  So with the results from today, and Snickers being 1 week away, I am VERY happy with it.  I'm peaking at the RIGHT time.  Now just need some good racing weather in Albany, GA next Sat.

Speaking of Albany and the Snickers marathon,  
I'm asking everyone to "Pick a Mile" again.  
A few of you will remember, I did this prior to the St. George marathon 2009.  This was my BIG race, my BIG BQ attempt, attempt  number 15 - ha ha (seriously - it took me 15 marathons to BQ).  So prior to SGM, I asked bloggers, friends, family, etc. to pick a mile from miles 18-25.  These are the TOUGH miles for me.  So I asked people to pick a mile, and to think of me on race day , and to send good thoughts my way.  Apparently it worked because I did, in fact, BQ on that day.
 Look closely and you will see a small piece of paper in my right hand.  I typed up all of the names, for each of the miles - 18-25.  I carried it with me, and as I made it to each mile, I looked at the people who had signed up for that mile and thought about what they have meant to my life, the nice comments, the good vibes.  It was GREAT!  It meant a lot to me then, and still does today.  I saved the piece of paper and need to have my SGM photo/medal box created.  I WILL DO THAT!  (my super sweet Mom and sister gave me money to do it, I've just been procrastinating)  urgh!

So,  I'm seriously feeling like I CAN PR in this race, (if the stars, moon, etc. are in alignment) but I'm asking for assistance again.  
******Please pick a mile, any mile 18 - 25.  These are the tough ones, and I need your help.  If you use mantras, please share one with me, if not, any encouraging words will do. ****** 

Snickers 26.2 is SATURDAY March 5th 7:00 am EST

Other random thoughts from today:
* after a WISE blogger's recommendation, I bought some new running shorts.  I ran the 5k in them, so they are now lucky shorts.  I will run a few more runs in them, but so far - I have a new LOVE!  They are so comfy!  I may live the rest of the summer in them.  I will do the test runs, and then do a follow-up report with the brand....hint be saving your pennies.

* the much mentioned "race weight" - I managed to drop the Christmas weight and then I was "stuck", with 3 lbs to go.  I'm ok with it, in fact, I've been lifting a fair amount of weights, so it's ok, but the thought DEFINITELY entered my mind today...."if I had lost the last 3 lbs., to get to MY preferred race weight, I WOULD have a new PR in the 5k instead of a tie.  :) :)

* I have poor man's TV and I forgot to stop and pick up movies after the 5k today.  Do any of you know exactly HOW VERY SAD POOR MAN's TV is on the weekends?  

What I'm doing right?
* I replenished the veggies and fruit today.  Will have a very healthy final week before the race next Sat. 
* I've been MUCH better about lifting weights this year - yay!
* still drinking at least 64 ounces of water each day, and limiting the diet drinks to 1 per day, (except the 1 day, I had 2 - it was a race day - I splurged)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Governor OVERRIDE!

It's no secret, I love this blog world that I have been a part of for the past couple of years.  So many ideas, things to think about, things to try,  shopping recommendations, training philosophies, inspirations, on and on..... so I wanted to say thank you blog world.  Thank you for all of the things listed above, and thanks to any and all who leave comments - it's a treat to read the feedback - love it!

As a started my 16 mile run today, so many thoughts were running through my head.  I wanted to take notes, which lead me to thinking Apple should create a technology that would take your mental thoughts,  and put them in a note pad  on your Ipod, which led me to think I would have to do tons of editing, especially when the run is tough....bleep, bleep, bleep   - maybe not the best idea afterall....

For the most part, the run was excellent today.  I pulled it out.  It wasn't easy, it wasn't the hardest ever.    Today the temps. were warm compared to our recent temps.   (real feel of 72-74 by the time I finished).  It wasn't hot, but it was warm enough to make the run more of an effort today.  My goal today was to run the 1st 8 miles around 9:15 avg, and then the 2nd 8 miles at MP of 8:45.  I ended mile 8 with an average of 9:13.  Now, pick up the pace!  Immediately get on 8:45 pace, and try to settle in to it.  It always takes a little while to adjust to a quicker pace.  After the first mile or so,  this is the conversation I had:

"I just ran 13.1 last Sunday at 8:13, are you trying to tell me I can't run 8 miles at 8:45 today?   but last Sunday the temp. was perfect for running...this week it's a little warm, and this is your first long run in warmer need time to adjust to the MILD heat....
OH NO - I think NOT....Governor OVERRIDE!  (thanks Meg) 
About the same time, the gel kicked in and I was quickly able to get on pace and hold it, until....I turned right.....into the wind.....then another right....into a stronger wind.  
So the rest of the run was a battle of the mind and the override.   
*I'm going to have to fight for it....
*I'm just 2 wks out from my marathon, maybe I should "shut it down" and "save it for race day.  
*Governor override - RUN - you can do it.
*The wind is blowing really hard, it would be ok to slow the pace just a little...
*Governor overide - PUSH - you can do this 

Before too long I was finishing the run - 9-16 went like this:
8:44, 8:43, 8:45, 8:43, 8:49, 8:41, 8:49, 8:42.  It's funny, you can even see the back and forth in the splits, in the later miles, but the OVERRIDE worked.  I ended the 2nd 8 miles @ 8:45 avg. pace.  Happy with it!

This week:
Monday - 5.5 miles easy and weights
Tues. - 9.5 miles - 2 mile w/u, 8 hill repeats @ 3:12 avg, then c/d to get 9.5 miles total running.
Wed. - 10 miles on hills - I think this one was around 9:40 avg? weights
Thurs. - 5 miles easy and yoga at The Yoga Room
Fri - 10 miles easy on the Longleaf trail with Jen - (The Running Artist) and lifted weights. 
Sat - Roots and Shoots 5k - 23:35 - I like to run 5ks close to my marathon as a gauge of my training and what I might expect in my upcoming marathon.  I'm pleased with the results.  I haven't "trained" for a 5k, and I had 40 miles prior to this 5k.  I ran 10 miles on Fri., and lifted weights.  

This, and next weekend, will be my last opportunities to run a 5k on high mileage because I generally take 2 wks off from running, after my marathons.  After the marathon, and the 2 wks off, it's like starting over.    The marathons "trash me",  so it takes a while to get back in 5k shape, post marathon.  I have one more 5k attempt this Sat.  I will be tapering a little in mileage this week, so I'm hoping for a tiny bit of improvement.

Sun - 16 miles

Total of 61 miles this week.  Originally, I had planned for last week's 62 miles to be my max. and then start to taper in mileage, but I had the opportunity to run 10 with Jen on Wed. and couldn't pass it up.  I'm happy with that.  
This week I will taper in mileage a little, but will keep the intensity (quality workouts) in place. 

 If the weather cooperates in Albany, GA, I'm EXPECTING (hoping for) good results.   

I bought a clock last week with this printed on the surface of the clock.

I know I'm only competing against myself
I set goals and work hard to accomplish them
I understand the power of the human will
I strive to help others in their quest for success
I know that I can face whatever road lies ahead
I am not satisfied with the status quo
My true self shines through
I am a Marathoner
and finally....
(I copied this from someone on Twitter who copied it from fb)
I thought it was funny! 
"...Never underestimate the strength of a woman.  Never "mess"(edited this part) with one who runs 26.2 miles for fun."

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mardi Gras half and not tapering yet.

62.5 of 65 mile week goal - that works for me!  (I decided Sat. would be a good day to walk instead of run before the Sunday half marathon in New Orleans, so I was a few miles off of my 65 mile goal, but that's totally ok, and I think it was the best thing to do because I wanted to "race" the half)

The week went like this:
Monday - 9.5 miles @ 9:25 pace
Tues. - 20.5 @ 9:36 avg pace - did not look at the garmin for pace at all today.  First time EVER on a long run - no monitoring.  The goal was to run a comfortable LSD (long slow distance) run.  I decided on the LSD because of my intentions to race the half marathon on Sunday.  
Wed - at home yoga (  Super yoga classes and they offer a free class each week, 3 miles easy, and 5 X 1 min planks
Thurs. - 9 @ 9:50 avg
Fri - 5 miles easy
Sat. - walk 30 min
Sun - Rock n Roll New Orleans half marathon.  13.17 miles,  1:48:18 unofficial time, 8:13 avg pace.  

Headed down to New Orleans Saturday afternoon.  Had plans to meet up with some friends at the expo and go to dinner.  Love spending time with friends who share a passion for running, such a treat.  We woke up to GREAT running weather in New Orleans.   I think it was around 40 degrees at the start and the humidity was low, especially for New Orleans.  oh happy day, oh happy Ginny!  Would have preferred to warm-up for a mile prior to the race, but after checking my bag, no time.  With the cool temps, warming up is not as important for me personally(although it would be better).  If it's warm and humid it seems that I really need to warm up to get my breathing regulated.  My PR pace is 8:11 pace, so this morning my intention was to go out at 8:20 for the first 2 miles and "see how I felt."  I have never raced a half marathon after running this many miles the wk of the race.  I planned to train through this race, but also wanted to "race it."  Race it as much as possible considering the mileage this week. 
1 mile - 8:20 perfect.  I had worried about the larger RnR race.  Not a big fan of racing the larger races because of the "bob and weave."  Today, I was pleasantly surprised.  It wasn't too bad.  I was able to get on pace immediately.  
2nd mile - 8:21, time to pick it up, feeling good, weather is GREAT.  
3rd - 8:08
4th - 8:11
5th - 8:12
6th - 8:09
7th - 8:13
8th - 8:02 (before this mile, I was on 8:12-8:14 avg pace, I made a conscious effort to pick it up to try to go under 8:11 pace (under pr pace)  Success!  The challenge - now hold it.
9th - 8:13 - no luck!
10th - 8:19
11th - 8:11
12th - 8:15,
13th - 8:20
.1 - 1:19

Race observations - I run through the water stops - grab the water, and drink on the run.  Today, I noticed in 2 of the later water, grab and runs, it took me an extended time to recover from the drinking the water.  Had to take deep breathes to try to calm myself. 

Mantra for the day...."Be Great Today!"  I used this over and over and I want to thank Jim over at 50 after 40
It was a beautiful sunny day in New Orleans and the thought kept going over and over in my mind.  Great weather, beautiful day, feeling good - why not Be Great Today  It helped me many times during the race to think about the fact that I really had no reason NOT to Be Great Today 
(great for me...whatever that is).  

Although I do not have the official time yet, unofficially, I was within 52 seconds away?? from my half marathon PR.  So I finished the race feeling great about it.  I ran 20 miles on Tues., and ended the week with 62.5 miles for the week, and know that I'm near PR shape.  

After the half, I rested for a while and then headed back out to the full marathon course to try to find James, to see him finish.  I made it out to mile 25, and James was approaching.  I ran the last mile with him.  James is an amazing athlete, an Ironman, a hard trainer, a serious trainer.  He inspires many along his training journey.  I was able to run the last 1.2 with him.   This is one of my favorite things to do.  I enjoy finding friends on the marathon course, and running the last few miles when it's getting ugly for all of us.  Several years ago, I had a very special friend who drove down to Stennis, for the solo purpose of running the last 6-8 miles of my marathon PR attempt.  With her help, it was a success. (3:59 PR on that day - thanks Amber - it's still special to me, after 3.5 years).  It was so special to me, that she would drive over an hour, just to try to help me hold the pace at the end.  
As I'm driving back to MS with New Orleans in the rear view mirror, I'm feeling happy....I'm feeling like it was a GREAT day in New Orleans.  As my thoughts turn to my training for the next week, I'm thinking I will taper less than ever before.  For the past few marathons, I have been tapering less than I previously did, but this time, I will taper even less.   As you guys know, I am experimenting with many things, and this is just another thing I want to try.  I will taper, but it will be about a 2 wk taper.  For the upcoming week, I will try to get in around 55 miles with some quality workouts,  and then I will begin the taper the following wk.   The last 2 wks, I will basically be reducing the mileage a little but keeping the quality runs in place up until Tues., of marathon wk.   I have considered this many times, but after my results today, I feel like I race best as my intensity and mileage increases.  I know the taper is important, and I totally understand why it is recommended, but I want to experiment with less taper to see what happens.

(So again, I say, don't follow this blog for training advice.  I'm totally experimenting with what may, or may not work for Ginny.)  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I choose to battle the pain!

With just 3 days left before the Mardi Gras marathon (half marathon for me), tonight,  I read the perfect piece by Josh Cox.  How timely!  I have to say, most of my friends are NOT hard core trainers or racers.  I have to say, I am, what I personally consider to be, a hard core trainer and racer.  The drive within me to PR, before I run out of time, is awesome!  Oh, how I love it!  While I do not totally understand runners who do not share my passion, I can, on some tiny level relate because from time to time, I will run a race, "just to run it", or what I would call "jog it."   Sorry to offend with the ugly "j" word, but I personally find it to be a useful word.  When I use the word "jog", it means I'm out on an easy run.   I have no goals, I have no pressure, I have no plan, it's just easy running, it's joggingIn a sense, it can be like "smelling the flowers along the way".   While I do enjoy the occassional "jog", I really don't "get" runners who are not on a mission to improve, with a lot of passion.  Don't get me wrong, that is totally fine with me, that is their choice, I just don't "get it", or understand it.  It's foreign to me.

Below is what Josh Cox recently posted.  He sums it up perfectly for me.    So as many of us go into races over the next few months,
I hope WE have the drive to "keep the pedal down" and race to a new running goal.

The Portal of Pain

By Josh Cox
Running is a special sport. It’s you against you. It’s about pain, the tolerance of it anyway. Whoever tolerates the most pain for the longest amount of time, wins. There is, of course, that small matter of God given ability but the dynamics of running is the same for all involved: the more you’re willing to suffer, the better the result. We train day in and day out to delay the onset of pain; the fitter you are the faster and longer you can run before pain rears it’s ugly head. In every race and in every training session – when they’re done right, anyway – there comes a point when things get tough, when you have to choose what you want most: slow down and the pain goes away, keep the pedal down and the pain stays… but the hope of faster times and better fitness stays alive. You have to choose to battle the pain.
I’m all for the back of the packers who walk their first 5k or half marathon, it’s great they’re off the couch and pursuing fitness, but those who are content to stay there are missing something… no, everything, everything that I find glorious about this sport, anyway. There are things you can only discover about yourself when you’re pushed to the brink, when you’re on the razor’s edge, pursuing faster times, pushing human limits. It’s not a mile split – the pace is different for everyone, it’s the pace of pain. The pace when the questions mount, when you’re forced to come up with answers.
Francis Bacon once said,
“It is a sad fate for a man to die too well known to everybody else, and still unknown to himself.”
Pain is the portal to self-discovery… and I’m not just talking about exercise.
I’ve said it a thousand times: if I live a thousand years it will be tough to top my terrible 2005. Bad relationship, bad investment, spiritual oppression, my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer…  I could have been a case study for Murphy’s Law. I was in a valley, it was a year of pain, but I grew more and discovered more about myself during that year than at any other point in my young life.
How does one respond to adversity, times of crisis, or when things don’t go their way? Tough times reveal character, tough times provide answers, it’s where we’re molded and shaped.
A great way to discover yourself is to push your body to it’s limit – run, cycle, climb, lift – drop to the floor and do push-ups to failure, then try to do three more. Self-discovery is painful, but man, is it fun.

Thanks Josh - you summed it up perfectly.

Happy Running, Happy Racing, and Happy Jogging my friends!
 I choose to battle the pain!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My favorite week!

Sat. Feb. 12th, I will be 3 weeks out from the Snickers Marathon in Albany, GA.  If you've been following my blog, it will be absolutely NO surprise that this week of training is my FAVORITE.  It's my highest mileage week, I have my 20 mile long run, and this time, I will be racing a half marathon the last day of this week.  Obviously, the Mardi Gras half marathon is not my goal race.  

By the time I arrive in New Orleans on Sat., I hope to have 51 miles, with Tues. being a 20 mile run.   I will be "training through" this race and use the race as a "long for me", tempo run.  With that being said, I will also be racing it, with whatever I have left after this weeks training. Although, not reliable AT ALL, I have already taken a peek at the weather, and currently, it's looking great for next Sunday.   I hope the prediction holds.   As you may know from my last report, New Orleans is extra humid, so to say I'm wishing for COLD weather is an understatement.  Always the same wish....  I'm wishing for great weather for myself, but also for several friends.   I have several friends who are running their first full or half marathon, and I have other friends who will be going for serious goals (sub 4:00, sub 3:00, etc.)  It should be a GREAT day in New Orleans.  I will race the half and then hang around to see friends finish the full marathon.  

Large races are NOT my favorite, but New Orleans is different.  We always have a lot of runners from our area head down to the Big Easy to run the race.  It's fun to be around friends who share the passion for running, or who are attempting their first half, or full marathons.  

This past wk was a step back week so I should be rested and ready for the upcoming challenges this wk.  I will be extra busy work wise and tax wise, so that will create an added stress this week.  I will avoid the long, drawn out, "taxes rant" and just leave it at...what a waste of time and money.  My goal this week is to focus on one day at a time.  If you haven't tried this, it REALLY, really helps me and maybe it will help you too.  If I think about all of the work I have to do and I think about 65 miles, plus fitting in some yoga, lifting weights, etc., it quickly becomes overwhelming.  Even as I type this, I'm's too much, how will I fit it all in.  So what I choose to do, is look at my "day timer". 

(yes, I'm old fashioned, and use a paper day timer, what can I say, I like paper.  I like to write down what I have to do, I like to read it on paper, and I like to check it off.  I also like to write in my mileage, my workouts, etc.  So archiac....yes, that's me.  While I love my computer, my Ipad, etc., I still have a love affair with paper - don't judge!)

I look at the day timer for Monday.  Work will be somewhat busy, but not as bad as later in the week.  I have an 8 mile run, and I want to lift weights.  Ok, I can do that!  I'm not looking at the rest of the week.  My focus is Monday, and it's very doable.  Yes, Monday will be a good day!  I can handle it!  Day by day, I will take on the challenge and before I know it, it will be Sat. night, and I will be getting ready to race in New Orleans knowing that I have met my goals for the week.  

What I'm Doing Right!
*  I'm focusing on the one day at a time in a challenging week.  I'm focused on the "here and now."  I'm in the moment.  
* I took a "step back" week this wk.  I really don't enjoy the thought of taking step-back weeks, but I do it because I know it's best.   I know it's healthy - physically and mentally.  As usual, at the end of the step-back, I'm ready and anxious to get back to hard effort training. 
Super Bowl Sunday - I did not totally "pig out," and that is progress!  I had some grilled green peppers, onions, and brussel sprouts, and some oven potatoes with olive oil.  

What I'm Doing "not so right!" (but could be much worse)
My treat for the superbowl Sunday night.
Do not read any further if you do not want a sinful temptation.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies - love this site!
Sharing this one just in time for Valentine's Day.  If your honey likes peanut butter, you can't go wrong with this gooey deliciousness.

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar (I use about 3/4 cup, but may try with even less next time)
1 egg
I add some vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
combine ingredients and drop on cookie sheet.  Bake for 8 minutes.   Let cool.  

I like this recipe because it lacks flour and other ingredients.
I like it because it's super FAST and super easy.
I like it because it's a small recipe.   I usually "get my fix," and then "try" to let my hubby finish off the rest.  

Hope you have a GREAT week.  
I totally plan to enjoy this one!

Congrats to Chris K. - he qualified for Boston this weekend.  :)