January 31, 2011

Run, then Grub

Made the 25 mile drive to Novi's Running Fit store tonight for the Monday night group run. Finally made myself hold back and just ran easy for a whole 7 mile route. Wow, I actually CAN run easy!  ;-) Had a great run with Farra and Rick, pals I don't get to see often enough. Afterwards we headed to Gus O'Connor's for some grub and laughs. Always worthwhile.

First outside run with the NB 759s. The first thing I noticed is they breathe very well. Almost too well. My feet were chilly until we got going! Good fit and comfy in the forefoot, but a little heel slip in the back. I probably shouldn't do anything real long in them. No biggie. They were a steal, after all. (No, not literally.)  hehe!!  And I still have my Launches for the long runs. You know, the Brooks Launch, the world's most perfect running shoe. Why do I even bother with any other???  :-)

January 30, 2011

Taking the Speed Indoors

I headed to the gym for a treadmill speed session today. There are no indoor tracks that I know about around here, so if I want to do intervals in the winter, to the gym I go! It really isn't so bad to run on the treadmill when you're doing intervals since the speedwork breaks up the monotony.

The workout: 
  • 2 mile warm-up
  • 2 miles @ 6:58 min/mile
  • 1/2 mile recover
  • 1 mile @ 6:39
  • 1/2 mile recover
  • 1/2 mile @ 6:27
  • 2 mile cool-down

It was a great workout! I found this workout online somewhere quite a while ago but this is the first time I decided to give it a go. It is kind of a mix between an interval workout and a tempo run. I like it and it is well-suited for treadmills. It was hard and tells me I have a long way to go to break 19 min in a 5k, though treadmill paces always feel harder, so it is hard to judge accurately. My 5k race in one week will be the real indicator.

January 29, 2011

Spartacus II

Yoooowwweeeeee!!! That was HARD! This time I set my watch to beep after one minute and again after 15 seconds, over and over, so I couldn't cheat. It is amazing how fast 15 seconds goes by. And they call it a "rest"???? I barely had time to set down my dumbbells and grab another pair before I had to start the next exercise. Boy was I overestimating 15 seconds the first time I did this! I made it through all 3 sets somehow!

Cozy Couch vs. Snowy Run

Thank goodness for running friends who keep us accountable for getting our butts out the door on mornings like this - when you wake up to a fresh 3 inches of snow!  If I didn't have a run planned with Jaime and Matt, I'm not sure I would have made it. I was so cozy sitting on the couch, wrapped in my blanket with a mug of hot coffee... but I got up, put on my running capris and fun, brightly colored Smartwool ski socks, blindingly yellow Brooksie Way race shirt with a blue vest, hat, gloves and Kahtoolas (yes, I looked a little like a clown) and headed for the Bald Mountain trails for a 9 mile run in the fresh snow. It was tough, but I'm glad I did it. Now back to that couch, blanket and my second mug of hot coffee....  I deserve it. 

January 27, 2011

I love Michigan!

On dailymile.com, a social training website, for each workout you log how you felt during the run, ride, weight training session, etc.  Today I would have given my workout a "great" rating, but was unable to because my legs are so trashed from the Spartacus workout yesterday! This run was so painful! lol!!  I was happy that some of the soreness worked itself out by about halfway through the run, but it didn't totally go away.  That's what an hour of squats and lunges will do!

Otherwise my run was great. The first few miles I tried running with Matty, but he kept lagging behind even though I tried stopping and letting him catch up a few times. It just wasn't going to work. So I eventually took off and ran my own pace. It was still "easy", just a much faster "easy".  I did 8 miles altogether. The first 4 I ran with Matty I averaged 10:30 min/mile, painfully slow for me. The last 4 miles I averaged 8:30 min/mile. That's more like it.

We ran the back roads around our area. It's so beautiful out here. All the roads are dirt with rolling hills and lots of trees and lakes. Now they are covered with ice and snow and the lakes are frozen. It is still beautiful, just a different kind of beautiful. My Kahtoola spikes let me run the icy backroads with 100% confidence of no slipping. I wish I had discovered them years ago.

January 26, 2011

Moderate Spin on Speedy

I've been neglecting the bike since I've been able to run more and more miles. I've also been lazy about bringing my bike back upstairs and setting it up on the trainer. I have no trouble running or riding for hours on end, but I drag my feet about a simple chore of setting up my bike? What's up with that!? :-) Anyway, I was afraid I'd have trouble with my ride today, but I didn't. It was great! I did my spinning session at an effort slightly harder than "easy" and kept it there for the entire hour (while watching the Transformers movie). Distance can only be a guess (~17 miles?) and unimportant. I'm glad my rear end has not forgotten how a bike saddle feels. That was my biggest concern. lol!!

I need to become more consistent on the bike as I have a 100 mile mountain bike race in mid-June! I definitely don't want to show up at the start line unprepared!


Kick butt workout!!!! Matt and I did this workout together. For those who don't know, the Spartacus Workout is a circuit of 10 exercises using only body weight or dumbbells. The sets are done for 1 minute each, with 15 sec rest between exercises. Then rest 2 minutes between each of 3 rounds.

The first round I erred on the side of too light weights. I thought, this isn't too bad. Then for the second round I grabbed heavier weights and had my butt handed to me. lol!! The second two rounds were awesomely hard. Several times I could not finish the one minute sets. I'm sure I'll feel this tomorrow. It was my first try at a circuit type strength training workout. I loved it!

I did notice this workout is heavy on the legs, back, shoulders and tris, but very light on biceps and chest. I think I'll add a few curls and maybe a chest press or fly to make up for that. I do love that several exercises are done in the push-up position, which is basically a modified plank, so the core gets a great workout too.

January 25, 2011

Stony Creek Loops with Matty

Ahhh... it finally warmed up. Funny how a streak of sub-zero windchill can make 25 degrees feel balmy. ;-) Had a great run out at Stony Creek Metropark with my hubby. The temperature was perfect - very comfortable. Finally, I didn't have to cringe every time the wind blew and I could still feel my lips afterward! lol! We did two loops with only a very short break in between to down a GU and some Powerade.

Met a nice gal named Kara who runs with a group called "Your Pace or Mine". She said it is a huge running group in the area. I'm surprised I've not heard of it.

My legs started getting sore today around mile nine. I wonder if I'm still feeling the effects of the race on Saturday (15 miles). It is hard to tell since I'm just getting back into running. It could just as easily be my body telling me it had a long break from running and 12 miles is not a short run anymore! Ha!

Put in a nice spurt at the end. Started slowly picking it up during the last mile and then did near 95% effort for the final 100 yards. Matt kicked my butt.  I didn't stand a chance.  :-)

Less than 2 weeks to the Super 5k!! I'm excited to see where my fitness is at. I'm basically using this race as a test. I want to break 19 minutes in a 5k by the end of the year. This is my first 5k of the year to see how far I have to go. I'll run it all out.  My 5k PR is 19:37, but that was over a year ago and I missed an entire season in between due to injury. I doubt I'll even be under 20 this time. I'm betting I'll be closer to 20:30. It'll be a long, hard training season, but I can do it!

January 24, 2011

Late Night Recovery Run

Met up with Matty at Lifetime Fitness after he got out of work Sunday night around 10:30pm. We ran side by side on the treadmills and did nice, easy recovery runs (8:45 min/mile) from the race Saturday night. Felt good. It was also my first run in my new NB 759s which I picked up super cheap at the NB store in Troy. They were having a big sale plus I had a $15 off coupon for early Freep (Detroit Marathon) registration. Yay!! The shoes were nice and cushy soft. I love cush. There was just the tiniest amount of heel slip. Let's hope that does not become a problem on longer runs. If so, they will be relegated to short runs.

The best running shoe ever still remains the Brooks Launch. 

January 23, 2011

Winter Wolf 2011 - Race Report

Long time, no posts. After 3 injuries and nearly 10 months of no running, I thought I'd begin again with my first race report. Here goes...

Winter Wolf 2011 is in the books. It was my second time running the race and my second time winning the race. WOOT!! 

A brief description - this 15 mile race is run at night in the middle-of-nowhere Michigan. Most of the running surface is snow and ice covered two-track and dirt roads. There is a small section of wooded trail and also some paved roads. Head lamps and tail lights are required...

This year was much more brutal than last. My time was 13 minutes slower than last year’s result. Part of it was less training (only had about 1 ½ months of running after almost 10 months off), but I think most of it was the conditions. It was MUCH colder this year (single digit air temp with windchill below zero), and there was more snow on the ground. The two-track last year was very runnable. This year – not so much. There were quite literally only two narrow tire tracks to run in and the ground in those tracks was uneven and took total concentration. It was quite the balancing act – like trying to run on a tightrope. I can only imagine what I would have looked like to a passerby stumbling down the lane as fast as I could with arms flailing around!

Once off the two-track and onto roads, the conditions improved considerably. I never would have thought I'd be so happy to get onto pure, clear ice! Kahtoola microspikes saved the day again! (Had to get in another plug!) The road running was fairly easy and here I was finally able to relax a bit and get into a running groove, have a GU or two (once they warmed up in my mitten for a few minutes – they were almost frozen!) and take a drink.

Thank GOD the creek was frozen this year. I had a helluva time crossing that wobbly plank last year due to my fear of heights. The plank was there again, but it wasn’t necessary. I wasn’t going to test the frozenness of the creek at first, but as it turned out, my clumsy feet made the decision for me. As I was moving down the slope toward the plank, I lost my balance and my legs, of their own accord and to keep me from falling, steered me right on to the ice!! ACK!! That would have ended badly any other year…

My lack of training caught up with me between miles 11 and 12. I could feel fatigue and the desire to walk (or just stop) creep in. This was when the race became a mental battle. I am happy to say I won that battle. I did allow myself to slow a bit, but refused to walk. I searched frantically for autopilot, found it, and focused on something else (anything else!) besides the pain. It worked. It also made me realize I have a lot of work ahead of me to get ready for Detroit this fall. I have a lot of time though!

I did a good job choosing running gear for the race because I was entirely comfortable the whole time. I had three layers on my core and arms including a fleece layer and wind-resistant jacket, two layers on my legs with mid-weight running tights and windpants over them, a wool hat with facemask and a hood. My Outdoor Research mittens kept my hands toasty and Smartwool socks rocked my happy feet. Did I mention I wore my Kahtoola microspikes? My only reminders of how cold it really was came when my water turned to slush (which was completely predictable) and when I found I could not talk at the end of the race. My lips were not in my control! lol!

The best part about races like this is meeting up with friends and there were plenty there! Perhaps not as many as last year, but the ones who showed were quality (that’s for you, Mark) and hardcore!! What an awesome race!!

Oh, and I learned a very important fact – banana skin will turn completely brown when it gets cold enough. I started with a yellow banana and by the end of the night after sitting in my Subaru – brown, all brown. Poor thing.

 Photo of my overall female award and Matty's 2nd in AG award
"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