Week of 2/24/14 – 3/2/14: Country Music Half Training, Week 7

Almost halfway through the training cycle (although only about a third of the mileage), and less than two months to go until the half marathon! Unfortunately, this wasn’t my best week.

week of 2/24/14 to 3/2/14

Tuesday

I was feeling a little discouraged after Sunday’s run, so I decided to forgo my strides and just do my easy three. This week’s intervals were 15 minutes running, 2 minutes walking. I completed this with no issues while watching “Lilo & Stitch” on my phone.

Afterwards, since I wasn’t doing strides, I did ten minutes on the recumbent bike. This is one good thing about going to the gym; I would have no other way to crosstrain without it. I don’t like this gym’s recumbent bikes nearly as much as my last gym’s. I slide off the seat a lot and it says I don’t go as far (like an entire mile less), even though I’m putting in the same effort (like it says my rotations per minute are the same). Weird. But I’m not concerned about mileage on the bike, just trying to give my legs something else to do. I could definitely feel it the next day!

Thursday

Back to tempo runs for a couple of weeks! I thought about buying the digital download of “Frozen” to watch while I did this run, but I really wanted to wait for the Blu-ray. I compromised by downloading “Let It Go” to add to my running playlist. Best running song ever.

I started out with a ten minute warmup, then started at 5.2 with the goal to speed up to 5.6 over the course of thirty minutes. Two minutes in I got a terrible side stitch. I took a sip of water and tried to control my breathing and push through it, but it only got worse. So five minutes after starting my tempo pace, I stopped the treadmill and took four minutes to try to massage it out and stretch.

I hit the lap button on my watch to signify that I was starting my 30 minutes over and started back at 5.2. I made it seven minutes this time before the side stitch made me stop again. Frustrated, I took a two minute walk break, drank some more water, and focused on my breathing. I can usually get rid of a side stitch by either: massaging it, making sure I’m hydrated, or timing my breathing so my exhales are on the opposite foot of the side of the pain. None of these things were working.

I switched my music over to play “Let It Go” to focus my mind on something. I managed to get through the song three times (nine minutes) before I had to walk again. After another two minute break, I gave up and decided I was not going to get in a solid thirty minutes of nonstop tempo pace, but I could at least do thirty minutes over intervals.

I wasn’t sure exactly how long I had ran so far, so I gave it my best estimate. I ended up doing about 32 minutes total of tempo pace, broken up into six different intervals.

I was really frustrated at myself and the stupid side stitch that refused to go away. But I have another thirty minute tempo next Thursday, so hopefully I can knock it out then.

Saturday

I was hopeful going into Saturday’s run that it would be better. It wasn’t. The side stitch decided to make a reappearance. I ended up taking a couple extra walking breaks during my intervals. The side stitch finally went away (mostly), but it was replaced by some fantastic stomach problems! So I cut the run short after three miles because I wasn’t really in the mood for throwing up in the middle of a public park.

Sunday

With three out of four of my last runs being less than stellar, I was really lacking motivation on Sunday. Oh yeah, and it was 33 degrees and pouring rain. And lightning. I ended up going to the gym. I knew I was not going to be able to pull out the planned 9.5 miles, but I hoped to make it through at least three.

My head was so not into this run. I took one extra walking break in the middle of both my first and second 15 minute intervals. After that, I told myself I was almost to three miles and could stop after that. That placated my head enough to make it through the third interval with no extra walk breaks. I had almost been running for an hour at that point, so I decided to make it a nice even 60 minute run. Except when 60 minutes came, I was less than a tenth of a mile from doing a nice even five miles, so I ended up doing that.

I’m debating on what I should do for the upcoming week. I’ve thought about cutting my mileage a little and seeing if that helps, since I’m scared of overtraining. (Maybe I should have taken some more days off after the 15k?) But what I think I’m going to do is drop my intervals down to 5:1 and see if that helps with the head games. If I still can’t make my mileage, I’ll consider cutting that down in the following week.

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Race Report: Fremont Oktoberfest 5k – September 22, 2013

After three sunny days in Seattle (I must’ve lucked out with the timing of my trip), I woke up Sunday morning to overcast skies and drizzle. The race wasn’t until 10am, so I took my time getting ready and (stupidly) ate a fiber bar for breakfast.

My bestie Sabrina drove us down to Fremont, and we parked and walked down to packet pick-up. They had a board set up with your name and bib number. Once you found your bib number, you got in the pick-up line to get your stuff: a neon green t-shirt, race bib, and shoe timing chip.

As I was putting on my bib and timing chip, I looked around at the other runners. Most of them were dressed much more warmly than me, with pull-overs and long sleeves dominating the crowd. I was wearing a skirt and a tank, of course. It was in the low 60s, so I had a hoodie on for warmth, but handed it over to Sabrina before the start, since it was not anything I wanted to run in.

before the fremont oktoberfest 5k

Tired but ready to start!

As I was waiting at the start line, a man next to me asked if I had run this 5k before. I said that I hadn’t and was actually from Nashville. He looked surprised and then said, “I’m from Tennessee too!” Turns out, he was also running on vacation from Johnson City. Small world!

Soon we were off. It had warmed up considerably and the sun was trying to peak through the clouds. I kind of laughed at all the people who were regretting their long sleeves and stripping off their pull-overs while trying to run.

I ran along at a pretty steady pace of 10:30 min/mile for the first mile, but by that time I was really wanting some water. I had (stupidly) failed to drink any that morning beforehand, and since the day before had been spent at on a wine tour and at Oktoberfest, I was probably pretty dehydrated. I had started to get side stitches, which, for me, is usually a pretty good indicator that I’m in need of water. On top of that, I think the fiber bar was making my stomach ache a bit. Usually a 5k will have a water stop every mile or maybe just one at the halfway point. I passed the one mile point with no water stop. I kept going. Shortly before the halfway point, I paused to catch my breath and hopefully try to see if there was a water stop ahead. There wasn’t. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to hold my pace without any water, so I started doing run/walk intervals for the remainder. I knew it wasn’t going to be my fastest 5k, but I was a bit disappointed that it also wasn’t going to be my first 5k without walking.

I finished in a little over 35 minutes, which isn’t terrible. It was around what I was expecting to run, especially considering all the walking I’d been doing around Seattle and the imbibing from the day before.

My quarter mile splits:
quarter mile splits

Started too fast, eh?

They gave us a beer at the end, but I was way more interested in the water! So Sabrina downed half my beer and then we left to go check out the Fremont troll. 😀

Thrilled about beer, obviously.

Thrilled about beer, obviously.

the fremont troll

Fremont troll!

Shoes: Skechers GoRun 2

Week of 6/17/13 – 6/23/13

week of 6/17/13 to 6/23/13

This week did not start off well; my notes from Nike+ say, “Easily the worst run ever.” I wasn’t planning to run on Monday, after having done 6 miles on Saturday and 3 miles on Sunday, but the weather was cooling down and I wanted to take advantage of it. I decided that I’d just go do a mile, maybe trying to top my PR time. My body wanted none of that. After my warm up, as soon as I started running, I got a side stitch. I stopped, walked it out, and reset my watch. Then started again. Side stitch again. I decided to ignore it. But I had more pressing problems. My legs did not want to do anything. My “run” was more of a shuffling jog, mixed with walking about every minute. It was bad. Basically, a few weeks ago, I noticed that my groin muscle was a little sore. I figure I’d probably pulled it a little, taped it up, and went on my way. But it really started to bug me on this run. Yay another injury!

Thus is why I went to the free injury screening on Wednesday. After hearing what they had to say, I decided to take a week or so off to see how I felt. Now it has been a week since I last ran, and my thigh/groin/hip area feels much better. I’m walking without limping, yay! However, as you can see by the countdown on the right, I only have a little over a week until I’m supposed to run a 10k. Thus, I’m giving myself till the middle of this week to determine if I will actually attempt it or not. I plan to go out for a short run on Wednesday or Thursday, see how I feel after that. Then I will determine if I need to go to the doctor or if I should continue training. Either way, I will probably take some time off after the 10k to get all healed up and then go to physical therapy and get a gait analysis done to make sure I am doing everything I can to not get injured when I start half marathon training.

So it may be a little quiet in the month of July around here. I’m so ready to get back to running regularly. I still have the appetite of a runner (in other words, I want to eat everything all the time) and fear I’m going to start gaining weight soon, ha.

Week of 5/20/13 – 5/26/13

Note: I have no idea why Nike+ isn’t showing the pretty green bar for Sunday’s run. It appears as though the totals are correct, though.
week of 05/20/13 to 05/26/13

I took a rest day on Monday to go check out the new Music City Center. Although it turned out to not be a lot of “rest” because I chose to wear heels and after all that walking, I was pretty sore AND had a blister on my right pinkie toe.

Which is why on Tuesday it was the first day in recent memory that I’ve actually had to force myself to go run. Normally I look forward to it. But I grumbled to myself as I put on my running clothes and headed out the door. Then grumbled through the first half mile. And the entirety of the first mile. Then I got a side cramp because I forgot my water bottle (despite having actually hydrated well all day). I massaged it out as best I could and then for the last half mile, I actually felt good (although sore).

On Wednesday, I was still a little sore, but I went out to the greenway to try to do the next day of Couch to 10k. I am still not used to the humidity. I know that when it’s humid, you are supposed to slow down. Yet I am horrible at being able to slow down once I’ve started on a pace. In fact, I found myself running FASTER than normal (because if I can’t run a 9 minute mile in perfect conditions, why would I be able to when I can’t adequately cool myself down?). You can understand then how I wore myself out before the end of the 25 minutes I was supposed to run and ended up taking quite a few walk breaks. Supposedly it takes two weeks to acclimate to the heat and humidity. We will see.

With this in mind, I waited a little later to go out on Thursday (around 7pm). I was able to get in a good ten minute warm up. I almost started developing a side stitch during my warmup, which made me kind of nervous. It went away when I started the run and came back around 1.5 miles, but it wasn’t the horrible, debilitating stitch I usually get, so I was able to run through it. I believe the cooler weather plus the fact that I was running in a new location helped me to not only finish the 25 minutes without walking, but I went actually beyond to 27:30! I almost pushed myself to do a whole 5k without walking (I think I could have done it…what’s another 6 minutes or so?), but I wanted to do a long run the next day so didn’t want to push too hard. Still, I got my second best time on 2 miles (the best being at the race last Saturday) at 22:01, and I was being pretty consistent with my pacing (although a few times I caught myself trying to go too fast and had to slow down).

Of course, despite my experimentation with going out later, I didn’t learn. On Friday I headed out right after work, and it was hot. I was planning on putting in around four miles by attempting to slightly jump ahead on Couch to 10k to the first day of week 9, just to see how I’d do. This involves four repetitions of running for ten minutes and walking for one. I made it through the first two repetitions without issues, but by the start of the third, I was on a stretch of the greenway out in the hot sun. And I was out of water. And sore. So I walked way more than I should through the third repetition and didn’t even finish the fourth, choosing to stop after I’d achieved 3.5 miles. My right calf was super sore, so I decided to go home and ice it and take Saturday off for a rest day.

I thought the rest did me well until I started my run on Sunday. My warm up was horrible, just as it’s been for the past few runs. I started getting a side stitch and my right calf was sore again. But after I finished warming up, it went amazing. I was supposed to run 25 minutes without walking, and I ended up doing 30! I paced really well too, coming about a minute per mile down on each split (~12:30 on my first mile, 11:30 on my second, and 10:30 on the last 0.6). Go me!

Race Report: The Color Run – March 30, 2013

If you get a chance to run The Color Run at any time, I highly suggest it. It was a ton of fun and, since it wasn’t timed, a nice, easy run where you could take your time to get doused in color.

It was a pretty chilly morning in Nashville, with the sky cloudy and in the mid-40s. Our team (which consisted of several of my coworkers/friends) arrived at LP Field and was completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of people waiting to start. We ended up pretty far in the back, since we arrived about 15 minutes before the scheduled starting time of 9am.

the color run nashville 2013

They release runners in waves every few minutes. It took approximately 45 minutes before we got to actually start the run. A few people (and when I say a few, I mean a lot) decided to “cheat” by climbing up the bridge stairs instead of just waiting, but we stuck it out and were glad we did. At the starting line was loud pumping music, people throwing out free stuff, and the people who just couldn’t wait to be covered in color and started dousing everyone around them in it. So even though the wait was long, it was worth it.

The start was slow, as you can see in the Nike+ map below. There were SO many people that it was nearly impossible to run at a decent pace. Once we were over the initial bridge, there was more room. Our team’s plan was to walk through all the color zones, which is where you see the red spots on the map in the beginning.

Around a mile and a half (which I swear is where it always happens), I started to get a horrible side stitch. So much of the red that you see towards the end is either me walking through a color station or me walking because it hurt too much to run. I did manage to ignore the pain long enough to make a strong finish (well, strong for me; I’m slow).

the color run nashville 2013 map and pace

My before and after shots!

Photo Mar 30, 12 27 02 PM

When we arrived at the finish line, we all opened up the bags of color that we received at registration and dumped them on our team. Then we took a group photo and danced a bit to the live DJ while people all around us threw color.

the color run nashville 2013

Overall, it was a great time, and I can’t wait to do it again in the fall!