Sunday, March 28, 2010

Getting the Green On!

Spring is here so that means soccer is back!  This is the pre-game parade to the stadium.

We went to the opening game Sounders v Philly Union and had a blast.  Ok, it was wet and cold and windy but it was still fun.  The Sounders played pretty well.  I think they have a bit of work to do.  Philly played rough. there were a lot of yellow cards.  We will probably only go to a few more games throughout the season but we are really looking forward to watching them again this season plus there is World Cup this summer! 

I like to get there early enough to see the players warming up.  This time I paid close attention and was really struck by the thorough warm-up they do.  Ok sure.  They are paid to do this and they are elite athletes.  But there is no way they can do what they do on the field without that careful warm up.  It usually starts with a little bit of jogging and they get a ball out and gently kick it back and forth.  Then they bring out these things which look like big road turtles (or bott's dots) and do these warm up drills.  Since I'm dealing with some tight hips/low back and hamstring issues right now, all i can think of is that those drills would really help loosen me up and i'm always wanting to try them.

Hmmm.  There is certainly a lesson here and one I'm trying to think about how to incorporate into my routine.  I've really noticed this training cycle that it is harder for me to get up first thing in the morning (i start running by 5:30 am after getting out of bed at 4:50-5:05) and get in a good faster workout. 

Friday I ran an easy 5 miles and at the end of that 5 miles i finally felt warmed up and then my workout is over.  That makes no sense.  for Saturday's long run, i ran 4 easy over some hills and then felt warmed up enough to start marathon pace miles.  It might of been good to do some easy drills then to get my hips/hamstrings looser before starting those marathon pace miles and the long run. 

Right now I try to do a few strides (gradually speeding up to not an all out speed but quick with good foot turnover) once a week.  I do a few high skips and skipping at the end of my run.  but I feel rushed as it is to even get in a quick stretch.  Hmmm.  So my goal in the next few weeks is to (gently) try running a few miles and trying a couple of the drills to see what they are like.  I can get up 10 minutes earlier.  Really.

And it's even worse when i'm about to race.  I run a mile or two very slowly with a few strides and do a bit of hip/hamstring stretching.  And that's it.  I don't think it's enough of a warm-up.  That reminded me of an interesting article on warming up in Running Times from a while ago.  I know it's easy to lose range of motion as we age.  I just think it's a good thing to remind myself that i can and will need to do more to keep that range of motion.  Use it or lose it!  

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


What a strange week.

Another month or so of heavy training and taper begins for the Lincoln Marathon.  I'm maintaining more miles and feeling good.  

Since it has been forever (May 2008) since I have raced a longer event, i really wanted to do a tune-up race within marathon training.  This is a "train through" event.  Meaning, I'd be maintaining mileage and workouts.  I'd cut mileage just a bit to rest but this isn't the key event.  It's a chance to race and work hard, see where I am at, test myself.

I was tired earlier in the week.  I'd gotten in the miles and even gotten in the speed work but was feeling it.  I was looking forward to the bit of the break before the Mercer Island Half marathon.  It has been 4 years since I last ran this race.  At the time it was my PR in this distance and the first time I came under 1:45 which was a very significant event for me.

It's hilly!  They've had a course change which I heartily approve but makes the finish of this race pretty difficult with a chug-worthy hill at the very end.   But the start was at the nice mercer Island community center with good organization for a race that this year hit record numbers for all events (half, 10k & 5k).  It was great weather!  Low 40's with a bit of a breeze.  A lot of the course is protected in teh trees though.  it's a windy course and you just never really get a chance to relax as there is always an uphill or a downhill to contend with.  

What could I do?  I am not in 1:45 shape for certain.  For that PR I was coming off of marathon training and was specifically trained for the half distance.  That is very different than what I've been doing now.  So?  8:15-8:25 seemed doable.  It was consistent with the 5k time I turned in last month and in keeping with my goals for a marathon.  

And?  Wow.  Was this a tough race.  I went out at the right pace.  The first mile is mostly downhill and i kept it in control at 8:10.  I was pretty well on pace until about mile 7 and then a slow decline set in.  Lungs were fine but legs just didn't have that half marathon gear in them.  I can see now that I maintained pretty even marathon pace splits even with the hills.  I did take a couple walk breaks to take in water and stretch out a hip.

NOT what I was hoping for and not what I was expecting.  It shook me.  I know i can finish a marathon but can i race it?  Well I'm not certain.  I was pretty upset by this race and felt pretty silly about it even when upset. Running is supposed to be fun, dammit!  

And it is but sometimes there are setbacks that 'cause you to sit back and think a bit.  

After some stressful family times (makes me really appreciate what I do have), some craziness at work (busy season, busy season, busy season), this week so far has been good.  I've recommitted to the training plan i'm working from and just leaving race day to race day.  it'll come and we shall see what happens.  

Bonuses from this race:

I had gotten a new nike running skirt which i like very much.  I got complimented on it twice while running.  Even if i was slow, i was cute!  

Seattle sure is a small place sometimes.  About mile 3, i got to chat for some miles with a former employee of where I work.  It was good to see him.  I got a shout out by name at 12.5.  I have no idea who it was!  And a forum friend who i've not met in person caught a picture of me coming into the finish.  

There were a lot of good stories from this race.  RPD's is among the top of the list. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Give Runner Thanks!

Another 50 mile week, ho hum.  No they are not anything I take for granted but I am getting used to the higher mileage.  I had some unexpectedly quicker runs this past week and enjoyed that.

And I had my first 20 mile run since 2008.  Now I think I would've been in a better position if I had built my long run late last fall to be 18-20.  it's amazing what a couple miles will do mentally and physically. 

I ran the first 14 miles with a relatively new runner.  She's done some half marathons but never gone over that distance.   It was quite rewarding to pace her to a new distance PR (over a very hilly course) and answer lots of questions about fueling and water and pacing.  I told her what works for me and encouraged her to start playing with things to see what will be best for her.

It made me realize how lucky (thinking of slomohusky's daily lists of happiness) I am with the great running support I have here, on the forum and in real life.  In real life, my husband lets me prattle on about running probably too much.  There are quite a few others who share my continuing obsession and i get great advice from them.

I do still remember a lot of my first long runs were with Coach Lesley who now has her own coaching/triathlon/fitness business.  i join in her group runs on occasion.  Lesley patiently answered tons of questions for me when I was that new runner and let me bounce ideas off of her.

Les also had an amazing grasp of how important core was and really helped me work towards a type of fitness a lot of runners don't think matters.  it literally took years to develop a sound core and that really pays off on hilly, long runs and any trail runs I do.  Heck, it doesn't hurt when working out in the garden or at work moving my costco order around either!

It amazes me all the things about running they don't really tell you.  Just run, right?  Well yes and no.  at it's best, running can be a powerful group endeavor where the group works well to bring everyone up to their best if you let it.  I'm doing my best to let it work for me and having a great time while doing it. 


(ps.  kitten photos provided for your amusement.)