December 31, 2009

Last Run of 2009 - and some year-end stats!

My husband and I met up with some new friends from our new running club and did an easy run at our local Metropark. The snow was still falling on the drive there though it quit before we started the run. It was just enough to make the trees along our path beautiful but not enough to make footing dangerous. The temperature was just above freezing - perfect!

The entire group, seven of us, ran together for six miles, or one loop of Stony, where three of the guys called it quits. My hubby hung on for another mile then turned back. My last two companions turned around a mile later. I once again did the longest run of the group - 14 miles. Fourteen wonderful, year-ending miles.

It was great to find this group. They run pretty close to our (mine and hubby's) pace. We did between 8 - 8:15s for the first 8 miles, after which I was on my own. Predictably, I sped up, unintentionally, to 7:30s for the next 4 miles. Then I did 7:20 and ended with a 7:15, feeling good the whole way. I like ending fast, even for easy runs. It was a good run to close out 2009 with.

Speaking of... here are some 2009 stats:

  • Total miles: 1862.7 (9 days and 21 hours of running)
  • Highest monthly mileage: August (231.2)
  • Highest weekly mileage: Week of Sept 21 (64)
  • Total races: 18 (4 of them trail races, 2 marathons)
  • Best race: TIE! I'm awfully proud of 2 races: Grand Rapids Marathon at 3:12:58 and Run Wild for the Detroit Zoo 5K at 19:37 (I won this race!)
  • Pairs of shoes purchased: 5 (1 pair of trail shoes)
  • Running friends made: too many to count - both online and off!! :-)

Here's to a great 2009 and wishing everyone an even better 2010!! Happy Running!!

December 27, 2009

How much longer until Spring?

Not so good run. The first loop at Stony out with the group was fine. The wind held off. Had great conversation with new running friends Jamie and Michelle along with my Matty. My new Nathan hydration vest was working well and feeling comfy - good news for ultra training. Then we finished loop one and I was on my own. That's when things took a turn for the worse.

I tried to get some gel from my new Nathan flask. Nothing would come out. What the?!?? Of course, it was well below freezing, so I'm guessing that was probably the issue. Hopefully the gel will flow freely in warmer weather. Guess I need to bring individual gel packets for winter training. Problem was, I didn't bring any today!! So I finally stopped running and squeezed with all my might to get the gel out of the flask and into my mouth. It worked, but it was quite an effort.

The next problem was also with the flask. It fits in a little mesh pocket at the front of my vest. However, there is no padding between the pocket and my ribs. The slight pressure I felt at the beginning of my run was turning into pain. I was finally able to adjust the fit of the vest so the pressure was no longer over my ribs. I also had to loosen the drawstring that holds the flask in place to make it more comfortable. That worked but also made me nervous the flask would bounce right out of the pocket! It didn't.

Then I finally reached the trail head. Was planning on making this a mixed road/trail run. As soon as my feet hit the trail, I nearly fell flat on my arse. The trails were pure ice. I didn't give up at first but tried running to the far edge of the trail where there was better footing and hoped the singletrack would be in better shape if I could make it that far. I did, but it wasn't. I didn't get far on the singletrack before turning around and heading back to the roads. I suppose I would have fared better with YakTrax, but I completely forgot to bring them.

I figured I'd finish my 16-miler on the paved loop I started on, but by mile 11 or 12, I was feeling very tired. I managed to run all the way back to my car, but that only totalled 14.25 miles, so I cut my run short by a good 1.75 miles. Not too bad, considering. I guess.

Oh, I almost failed to mention that the wind started picking up considerably near the end of the run. Weather-wise, I was fine until then! The running gods had it in for me today.

I'll write off today as a bad day. I suppose I was due considering my luck and how great yesterday went. Yesterday I did a 10 mile run with 6 at tempo pace, kinda. Splits were 7:08, 7:11, 7:03, 6:58, 6:55, 6:52. Felt strong and fast!

Better to end on a good note. :-)

December 24, 2009

Cat Psychology and Christmas Trees

My husband and I think there may be some sort of deeply buried dog issues within my cat, Newton. I'm not sure when these dog issues might have had time to develop since we've had him from kittenhood and he does not go outdoors, but they must be there. The evidence is on the Christmas tree.

One of my clinic's great clients gives Christmas ornaments to our staff each year. They are always pet themed. A few years ago she gave us reindeer ornaments made out of milkbones. Not sure why she chose milkbones seeing that we are a cat-only clinic, but they were very cute and clever and I always put the reindeer on the tree.

This year marks the first year in Newton's six years that he's managed to climb the Christmas tree. Now he can't get enough of the tree. He's in it daily. I've noticed over the past few weeks that he seems to frequent one area of the tree - the one where the milkbone reindeer resides. I didn't think much of it until yesterday I found the reindeer decapitated, the body still hanging in the tree and the head on the ground. Murderous cat.

I set the reindeer head on the corner of the desk with the intention of glueing it back on in the morning. Then my husband crawled into bed last night and told me that while he was sitting at the desk, Newton crawled up next to him, spotted the head and whacked it with all his might across the desk and back onto the floor. Reindeer head hockey.

This cat has milkbone issues, reindeer issues, dog issues, or all three. Either way, the reindeer is history. Newton wins.

And with that, I must get dressed for a 10 - 12 mile easy (but chilly!) run at the park - day three of Boston training. Day one was fantastic - a 9 mile run with 4 at tempo pace, which was supposed to be HM pace (about 6:55 - 7:00 for me). I felt so good that I did mile one right on pace at 6:59, then found myself at 6:44 for mile two and accidently got up to 6:34 for mile three AND four! Wooo! Of course, I was dying by the last 1/4 mile and will have to slow myself down for the next tempo run which is 5 miles.

Anyway, Boston training is off to a good start! I plan on enjoying today's run with my husband and then strength training at the gym afterwards.

Happy Winter to all!

December 13, 2009

Icy Roads and Indoor Runs

I woke up to roads that looked like sheets of ice. That made the question of whether to join the running club for a group run this morning an easy one. No way in hell!

Fortunately, the temperature rose to several degrees above freezing and the trucks did their jobs. Several hours later, the roads were in good shape and I made my way to the gym for a 10.75 mile treadmill run. Meant to do 12 - 14, but my knee had other ideas. It started bugging me at around 10.5 miles and I thought it best to stop there. It feels fine now. Glad I stopped. I wonder if it would have been fine had I been able to run outside. One will never know.

I almost felt like someone was trying to tell me not to run today. I had to make detours twice to get to the gym. Like I said earlier, by the time I went out, the roads were very passable, yet two of the roads I tried to take to get to the gym were closed and I had to make U-turns. Weird. That was the longest drive to the gym I've ever made.

December 12, 2009

Run Like the Dickens 10K recap (Holly, MI)

Well, I finally had a race that didn't go like I had hoped. I wouldn't necessarily label it a "bad" race, but it wasn't good either. It fell somewhere in between. After all, I was only 25 seconds off my PR on a hilly, slippery course (yes, a bit of snow and ice!). Also, I simply didn't feel like a strong runner today. I was surprised I came in just over 42 minutes. It felt more like a 44+ minute effort. So that says something, I guess. I held in there! But I knew well before I hit mile 2 that I wasn't going to break any records. It is still hard to argue with a top 5 overall finish (I came in 4th) and first in my age group. I also found out that I am ten years older than the oldest gal in the top 3!! Hope they can still run sub 42 10Ks in ten years! :-)

I was expecting (and they advertised for) hot soup, hot coffee, hot cocoa, hell! hot anything after the race. All they had (literally) was cold water, cookies and brownies. What the?!? They didn't even have bananas or bagels! I really expected more from a well-known race in our area with more than 1000 participants. Also didn't like having to dodge cars along the entire route. My hubby kept saying how much fun the race was, but I was quite disappointed. Not so much in myself - didn't mean to make it sound like that in the first paragraph - but disappointed in the traffic problem and lack of decent refreshments afterwards. Brownies!? C'mon!

At least I was able to take advantage of some awesome late-season sales on running apparel at the race. Bauman's Running Shop showed up with several racks of 50% stuff. I treated myself to an early X-mas and picked up two long-sleeved Mizuno tops and one pair of Mizuno loose-fitting long pants.

December 11, 2009

Last Race of 2009 *sigh*

The easiest of easy runs today. Felt good to just run comfortably for six miles. Did it on the beast again, but it was quite enjoyable today.

Tomorrow is, most likely, my last race of the year. Run Like the Dickens (love the name!) 10K in downtown Holly is tomorrow morning. Hot soup and hot cocoa after the race! Then we pick up my mom and treat her to Bob Evans!! Mmmm... We had some winter weather the last two days which made me a little nervous about road conditions, but the snow stopped and roads are pretty clear by now, so footing will hopefully not be an issue. Goal (if conditions allow): 41:30. Wish I had a santa hat to wear. :-(

Just got reminded of the New Year's Resolution Run right here in downtown Lake Orion. I could literally walk to the race. No, I'd jog there for my warm-up. I can't really pass that up, can I? Will have to run it by the hubby and see if he'll do it with me. What's even nicer is that it is at 10am. I can race and still sleep in!! Woo!!!

Less than two weeks until I am officially on my training plan for Boston. I chose the 55-70 miles/week plan from Advanced Marathoning. Lots of tempo runs the first few weeks. Then it transitions to lots of intervals. There are many marathon pace runs throughout. I'm going to tweak the long run schedule since it doesn't go as long as I would like. Doing several 20+ runs really helped me last time, so I plan on doing them again this time.

Keep warm all my fellow northerners!

December 8, 2009

800s on The Beast!?

Did my speedwork on the beast at Lifetime today. Was too chilled for an outdoor workout. Not because it was all that cold out, but because I hadn't been warm all day due to "heat Nazis" at work. Just couldn't stand the thought of running in the cold. It was kind of a strange phenomenon. It was only 37 degrees out, but felt so much colder since I was so chilled all day at work. Normally, 37 degrees is pretty warm for a Michigan winter and would have me running outside no problem. It was definitely a psychological thing. All I kept thinking was, "I need to get warm."

The treadmill workout wasn't bad. Only did 5x800 because my knee started feeling "wrong" and I didn't want to push it. Only intended 6 anyway, so I wasn't too far off. 6.5 miles altogether. The intervals were done at 9mph (6:39min/mile) and recoveries at 6.8mph (?min/mile).

Too tired to write in full sentences. Sorry.

December 6, 2009

The Application is in the Mail

I am quite proud of myself. I managed to get myself out of bed at 6:30am on a SUNDAY to meet up with the Stoney Creek Running Club members at the local metropark for a group run. Fortunately, each subsequent Sunday will see the time pushed forward an hour, so I can sleep in a little later. That'll help my motivation to get up and join them again because Matt and I really enjoyed the group atmosphere today. We ended up with only four people in our little running group by the time everyone else split off by pace and distance. Later in the run, Jamie and I broke away from Matt and Michelle because we wanted to add some mileage. Still, we had a chance to meet people both before and after the run. I think I could have met even more people if I hadn't done a 16-miler. I think Jamie and I did the longest run in the group! A lot of people were done running and socializing and left before we even finished our run.

The best part - there was FREE COFFEE in the clubhouse after the run! Mmmmm....

Our membership application will be in the mail on Monday. I'll officially be a member of a running club. :-)

December 4, 2009

Too chilly to type.

While I'm sitting here typing and looking at my blog picture of me at the beach, I have just finished my first sub-freezing run of the year. What irony. It was 28 degrees today for my 10-miler with 4x1 mile intervals (plus 1x1/2 mile for good measure! ha!). It was nice and sunny and I dressed appropriately and very much enjoyed the run. Well, as much as anyone can enjoy tough intervals, that is. Perhaps I should say I enjoyed the warm-up, cool-down and recovery between intervals! :-)

I haven't done intervals for a while. It has been probably over 2 months. I was very happy with how they went considering. Yes, they were a bit inconsistent. Yes, I started too fast. I'm still happy with them. So there!

2 mile warm-up in 15:52

  • 6:22 - Woah, red!
  • 6:26 - Slow down, kiddo!
  • 6:43 - That's more like it.
  • 6:43 - Sweet consistency.
  • 3:24 - a pinch to grow an inch?

1.5 mile cool-down in 12:19

10 miles total in 1:14:34.

December 3, 2009

Harassing Event Photographers??

Gah! Anyone else getting harassed by all the photographers from all the races you did this year?? "Bayshore Marathon Photos are Online!" -- ran this one in May, for goodness sakes!! "Photos for the Holidays!!" -- Who wants a photo of me running a race for Christmas?! "Crim Festival of Races - Cyper Monday Sale!!" '' -- huh? Every single day for the past few weeks I get several emails from the photographers who covered the races I did this year. Everyday!!! I just may label them as spam until the holidays are over. Sheesh!

Okay, the week from hell is nearly over. Three days in a row of working from open to close, 7:30a - 7p, Monday - Wednesday. At least that's what I was scheduled for. Got out 1.5 hours early on Monday, so I crammed in a run after work on the beast. Today I only worked 4 hours, so I got a great 12 miler in. Tomorrow is another 4 hour workday, then I'm done for the weekend! I refuse to ever allow them to schedule me three days in a row like that again. I just can't handle it physically or mentally. It is too draining.

Here's my log entry for my 12 miler today. Yes, I'm being lazy again. I'm tired, cold and need a shower. :-)

Overdressed! Since it was raining on my drive to Stony, I wore my North Face jacket. I was pretty cold so I wore a long-sleeved tech shirt under it. Shouldn't have done that. A short-sleeved shirt under the jacket would have been much more comfortable.

Had the same weird shoe problem with the Wave Riders today that I had with the Elixirs during the marathon - felt like there was this strange lump that developed under my toes in the right shoe after several miles. Now I'm wondering if it is a problem with Mizuno shoes in general or a problem with my foot!

Otherwise run went great. See splits for proof. :-)

"Cats are like greatness: Some people are born into cat-loving families, some achieve cats, and some have cats thrust upon them." -William H. A. Carr

red's 2011 race schedule