Wednesday, November 30, 2011

143 days to go

Marathon training, per my slightly insane 5-month training schedule, officially starts on Monday, but I'm really following the same schedule this week, with the exception of a shorter long run. I know 5 months is crazy, but, to be honest, I just couldn't wait any longer to have a plan (A PLAN) to follow. I'm such a better runner when I have a goal to work towards and am not nearly as good at just forcing myself to get out the door and go for a run. Plus, the holidays can be a hard time to be really mindful of getting in the exercise, so it's better for me if I have a schedule that I'm going to try my hardest to stick to. And I'm trying to get back to a slightly lower weight, so exercise is a KEY component.

It's all very exciting: I have the schedule all taped up in my cube at work, ready to go. I even bought star stickers today to put on it when I finish a run. So, basically, as I told facebook, it's like potty training, but I get a medal at the end, instead of a Barbie wedding dress (yes, that is what I requested and received as my official potty training reward...).

So far I've logged a whopping 8 miles this week. OMG, call the Olympics. I know, it isn't that much, but I've got two more runs planned and that should take me up to 17-18. Again, it doesn't sound like that much, but in my running career I honestly consider four runs and more than 15 miles to be my weekly goal. I rarely meet it, so I feel like things are off to a good start.

Today's run was a 5 miler that I was planning to run by heart rate, up until the point that my Garmin told me it had a low battery when I turned it on. Oops. So, that ended up being a five miler run on nothing but how I felt and measured by my iPod, which is also probably a good thing. Also, w00t for having Nike+ installed as a Garmin backup system. I'm still having some issues with tightness in my right Achilles when I run, but it did loosen up after about 3 miles. I think I need to do more stretching back there and continue to concentrate on not tensing up when I run. I also ran in my Minimus for the first time in awhile and they actually felt great - even better than the Hattoris on Monday. I still think that the Minimus are amazing shoes AS LONG AS there are no rocks in your path! I know they're supposed to be trail shoes, but they HURT.

I think the running downtown after work thing is working out really, really well. I love that I don't give myself the option to go home. In fact, the quickest way to get home is to get my butt out the door, finish my run, get my things, THEN catch the bus. It only becomes slightly awkward when other people work late and I feel like someone's going to catch me coming out of the bathroom in workout clothes. The only downside is that I run along the waterfront and it's FLATFLATFLAT. I'm missing the hills and the stamina that I'd built up doing hill repeats in my neighborhood, but I still think it's too dark to think about doing those until the days get longer. Or on the treadmill. *poutyface*

Finally, there was a really beautiful sunset today. The clouds cleared just enough so we could see it and the Olympics. Stunning. My office has the most spectacular view and I'm grateful for it every single day. When the sun goes down, I'm rewarded with the handiwork of whomever decided to decorate the top of the Space Needle to look like a Christmas tree. Brilliant and adorable!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Green Lake Gobble 5k

In the recesses of my mind, I knew that I had a fast 5k in me. Ok, I didn't really keep that to myself - I think all of my friends knew that I really wanted to just bust one out before marathon training started and I got down to pushing out new distance records every week. I mean, don't we all just like to GO sometimes, instead of worrying about whether we have the endurance to last or whether our heart rates are too high, etc.? And, I think the 5k is a really good measure of fitness, especially for me, who tends to be conservative, even in races, over long distances.

So, earlier this week, I signed up for the Green Lake Gobble, a 5k around one of my favorite places to run in Seattle. Green Lake has a beautiful paved trail all the way around (~2.8miles) and they add on a tiny out and back to the sidewalk to bring it up to the 5k distance. I picked up my bib, chip, and true turkey of a race shirt yesterday and MAY have gotten sucked in to trying yet more running shoes. *hangs head in shame*

This morning started out really badly. I was up before my alarm and killed time drinking tea before my zipcar reservation. 45 minutes later, after two zipcars that simply wouldn't GO when I pushed the gas (new note: NEVER reserve a Mini Cooper zipcar ever again), I took a cab to the race start. It actually ended up being the right amount of time, because it was SUPER cold this morning and I had just enough time to use the potty (real potties!) and do a couple of brief warm up trots. Seriously, this was the first time since I moved to Seattle that I've seen frost on the ground, probably because it was a beautiful, sunny, and clear day. The only real loss was to my long run, because I'd originally planned to leave my stuff in the car and go for another lap of the Lake after the race. But, oh well.

The race isn't super big, but I was a little concerned because the pathway can get very crowded on a normal day and isn't incredibly wide. But, the non-racers were awesome about stepping off the side to wait for us to pass, and the racers got strung out really quickly, like within the first quarter of a mile. I was running mostly on my own, but ran next to another woman for at least the first half of the race. She told me afterwards that she was trying to keep up with me (and lost me when I pulled ahead), but I thought I was keeping up with her! Dueling rabbits! Still, it was a really sweet thing for her to say! I did get passed a bit, especially in the first half of the race, but concentrated on picking people off in the second half.

So, my goal for this one was to come in under my current PR and finally break 29:30. Apparently I was not ambitious enough, because my official time was a WHOPPING minute and a half faster than my PR at 28:07. HOLY CRAP. I ALMOST BROKE 28?!?! That's INSANE. WHO TAKES THAT MUCH TIME OFF THEIR 5K TIME? Well, me, apparently!

Obviously, I had to make some phone calls (Me: GUESS WHAT I JUST DID?!?, Best Friend: Um, can you give me some context?), hydrate (mmmm, nuun & hot cider) and snatch a few snacks (bonus points to the cinnamon bread chunks from the Great Harvest Bread Co.). My only criticism was that there were random prizes for the 14 people who managed to beat the really fast turkeys to the finish line. But, um, those people are all or almost all going to win age group or overall prizes, too! What about the rest of us? I love how the DC races have random bib number draws for everyone! I left before the mashed potato eating contest, alas, to catch the bus home.

And, the extra bonus is that my gym finally opened today and I had my free training session. I'm SOOOOOO glad that I didn't do those extra three miles this morning, because I was feeling the burn anyway. But, it was also a confidence booster, because I'm tougher than I think I am, especially if someone else is pushing me. I'm signed up for personal training sessions, which was something I'd planned anyway, to help me get into marathon shape (and better shape afterwards, in general).

I'm just going to spend the rest of the day basking in the warm glow of my endorphins. :-)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011



I also need to do a recap from Columbia Gorge. How about this weekend?