Sunday, December 30, 2012

Workout Fail

I consider it a win every time I get out the door right now.  It's dark and cold and lately every run has seemingly been in rain and wind.

And every year I remember how difficult it is to get particular workouts where I am aiming for a particular pace in at this time of year.  It's cold so it takes me much longer to warm up.  I carry a flashlight and can't really monitor my pace too easily as it is just hard to see my watch.  I can go by how pace feels but when I'm cold or it's really windy, that pace feels different. And unless I'm 100% certain of my footing, I have to slow because of poor sidewalks, wet leaves, branches and potholes. 

I'm just fine with the easy miles being slower but I do look forward to the workouts.  I'd found a local high school track is pretty good for these cold and dark workouts early in the morning.  The footing is better than the old dirt track i usually run on and there is enough ambient light so i don't need my flashlight.  And the track is exactly 2 miles away which is perfect for the longer warm up I need.

I made it down to the track and started my workout which was a couple quarter miles, then 2 half miles and then two quarter miles at a top moderate/hard pace.  I did one quarter mile and felt awful.  Stiff and wheezy and barely able to move.  It was raining a bit and just a bit breezy but not bad at all.  What was up?  I didn't know.  After a bit of an internal debate, I realized i wasn't going to do myself any favors by trying to gut through this workout.  It wouldn't work.  I started back for home and barely made it above a slog.

And that was all I could do. Really?  I am planning on running another marathon in 2013? I can barely manage a jog uphill after a failed workout.  Maybe I am overreaching?  Maybe I need some more recovery time from the marathon about three weeks ago?  I debated switching teh workout to the next morning.  I had been looking forward to the rest day and sleep in.  Eh.  No.

I stretched well and just put it aside.  Let the failed workout go.  For whatever reason, it just wasn't my day. 

Three days later, I had my reasons why I'd been feeling so blah.  And the next day I had a great run.  I had to slow myself down and was a minute faster per mile with a lower heart rate.  And I'd had the same sort of issues at Dallas. it is nice to have the confirmation too.  Yep, I'm ready to be done with 2012 and looking forward to 2013.  I'm gearing up for the new year! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

My mom painted a small portrait of our former cat Legos who died over three years ago.  The painting is just awesome and this photo doesn't quite do it justice. 

The last few weeks of December have gone ever so quick.  Recovery has gone very well from the Dallas Marathon and with all the holiday fun and busyness, i was happy to NOT be running all that much.  I just ran twice the week following.  My feet were pretty sore for quite a few days. I limited running to non-consecutive days the following week and was happy to feel good overall when running.

ouchie toes!
It was also nice not to be running so much because the weather has been awful. Rainy, windy and cold for many days. We had snow one morning too. That means either running in the evening or more likely I take a cross training day (bike on a trainer) or a day off because it is just to dangerous to be out on the streets.  it's at this time of year I have to be most flexible getting in workouts. And sometimes those workouts are not quite what I'd want but anything is better than nothing.

I really did want to take a few weeks off of running and recharge. I'm signed up for a short 2 mile race series this winter and want to focus on building strength with core/weights.  I'm already looking forward to resuming more typical running mileage though.  I'm limiting mileage one more week though as I'd planned and that is a good call as my feet are still feeling a bit sore at time.  I'll be ready for the new year though! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Dallas Marathon 2012

Waiting for start of Dallas Marathon. Sleeveless in December!
What to do after the DNF at ABQ marathon? Sign up for a marathon of course!  "Of course" is not a given for me though. Did i want to run a marathon? Would I rather chose a spring marathon and train through dark and dreary winter?  What about waiting for a year?  What about now?!

I'd been to Dallas in 2008 and joined a relay team with online running friends and had a fun time.  I'd always wanted to go back.  A and N were willing to let me stay in their extra bedroom and play with their pup, so why not?  I signed up for the Dallas Marathon and felt it was the right decision. 

I'd had very solid training through ABQ with 10k race indicating that my things were going well.  After ABQ i took a week off and then was able to get in two solid long runs and following that with an even faster 10k on a harder course.  I felt very hopeful.  This would be my 4th official marathon (may 2011 was an unofficial marathon) and I'd had hopes of breaking my PR which was from my first marathon in 2006.  I felt going in though i had planned to be conservative after the DNF at ABQ.

1. Dream goal was 3:45 and I'd trained marathon pace under this plus marathon calculators for my 10k pace put me under this time.
2. Conservative Goal 3:55.  I turn 45 next year and this is BQ for me in 2014.  This would not be a PR by a couple minutes but I would be delighted with this nonetheless. 
3. Finish under 4 and run strongly at the end.
4. Finish. 

A and N were so wonderful. I had such a fun time and they were so generous to cart me around.  We woke up Saturday and I did have some positive running in Dallas.  N and I went running 4 miles chatting the whole way while staying out of sight  of Pepper the dog who was running with A.  I felt great and the weather that morning while a touch warm felt pleasant. They dropped me off at the 6th Floor Museum and i got to skip the expo as they picked up my bib for me.
7th Floor (not 6th Floor) view. X marks the spot.

This is a very well done museum about the JFK assassination and very moving. I loved being able to wander about the area and contemplate what had happened that day 49 years ago.  I'd wanted to go ever since I'd heard about the museum in 2008 but had not had time to go.  It is well worth a visit. 

After the museum, we went off to visit with D and her baby N who is just a joy. D and N were able to join us for lunch too which was great!  A had also arranged an dinner with 12 people total.  Very tasty food and fantastic company.  I knew everyone from various running events including new friends from ABQ.

On the plaque outside the Texas School Book Depository.
Sunday dawned right with forecasted expectations unfortunately.  it was 70 degrees with very high humidity.  the sun was not supposed to make an appearance but it would be windy.  I knew from previous experience in Dallas that the wind could really be tough and dry you out.  I pulled back on all goals and just hoped to treat this as a long run.  I'd start out around 9:15 - 9:30 and just hope to hold on realizing I'd be slower the last half as I'd have to be concerned about getting enough water.  I planned on carrying a small 12 oz disposable water bottle and figured i'd fill it on course at the aid stations. 

It was a disaster getting to the marathon start.  Not only did Pepper steal my socks and spirit them upstairs to her bed (haha!), A forgot her bib so N was racing through the streets of their town in a huge hurry (haha! runner nightmare!) and  we ended up being stuck trying to get off the freeway in stopped traffic for almost an hour.  Really I was so not concerned because i was just out there to finish so no biggie. We all needed the bathroom though. N and I were making plans to just jump out while A would just park. Fortunately we ended up getting a prime spot just a block from our corral.  it was so warm that there was no need to check any clothing nor have any throw away clothing.  N and I just parked ourselves on the ground and hung out and chatted. A went back to car for something and then back to portopotty lines.

5k: 29:17 (9:25 pace) The corral went out fast but i controlled my pace and just relaxed. It was so humid that I felt it was very hard to breathe. I've not been in that sort of humidity at those temps in I couldn't remember.  It certainly never feels like this in Seattle.

10k: 58:51 (9:38 pace this 5k) At mile 3 I all of a sudden felt so hot and could feel myself flushing. I figured we might've turned out of the headwind and sure enough as we came to the new bridge, the cross breeze felt so good. I was really glad I was carrying water as the water stops were not announced before and all of a sudden people are darting across to get water.  I did see other friends  E and her husband M in here and that was wonderful!  E trotted with me a bit and promised a refill of water around mile 16 and I knew that would really help me a lot. 

13.1: 2:08:28 (10:05 pace this 6.9 miles) At mile 6, i looked at my heart rate and realized I was very high for my pace like 10k pace high.  N and i had discussed wearing a heart rate monitor or not for this race and at his suggestion I went with it.  I'm glad I did because it was just obvious how much the heat was affecting me.  I slowed down deliberately after mile 6.  I stopped to refill my water container in here and also saw A at the split where half marathoners returned to the finish.  She was focused though and didn't hear me shout. I was warm but not uncomfortable.  Unfortunately I started to feel super achy and my feet were really starting to hurt by mile 10 or so.

20: 3:29:25 (11:44 pace this 6.9 miles).  As promised, E & M had a fresh bottle of COLD water for me around mile 14.  That was a big boost and felt great. Knowing that I'd be able to easily get more water, I'd use a bit extra to splash on my face. I did not dump water on me though as I was worried about my shoes getting wet.  My feet started hurting more and more and I was really annoyed by this.  Even with the extra water from E&M, I was still grabbing water from aid stations and would walk a bit to make sure i got in salt tabs and fuel hoping that would help the aches. It didn't really. At mile 17 I went into survival mode.  Walk 30 second, run 5 minutes.  if my garmin lapped in that time I'd still have to run 5 minutes.  My "running" at this point slowed to a crawl but it was still vaguely faster than walking.  I'd barely make it to the end of the 5 minutes and my feet would be on fire.  Walking helped and then starting again was excruciating. I could not figure out why my feet hurt so much. 

26.2 4:52:04 (13:29 pace this 6.2 miles). And yes it got worse.  I kept the run/walk timing but i'd run out of water in my bottle and made the mistake of tossing it out. I'd walk through any water station that came along.  and now since i was moving so slowly it just seemed like forever until they came.  E had promised a water refill at mile 22 and i was so happy to see her. I hope i wasn't too grumpy but i wasn't thinking all that clearly.  I'd lost the ability to focus on my audio book and just wanted to be done.  At mile 24 I realized that if was able to get into some semblance of a run and Not Stop for 2 miles, I'd finish under my personal worst from the 2010 Seattle marathon.  I did run the entire last two miles in a blistering 13:00 minute pace (this is from my garmin) and was just so relieved to finish.  I ended up with many blisters on my toes and will lose a couple toenails.  i can only guess that is from the heat and having my feet get all sweaty.  It's not something I've had happen before. 

It really amuses me that i still ended up finishing just a few minutes faster than the average overall women finisher's pace for the marathon. And i was just dead smack middle of my age group.  Tough day and much tougher than I'd ever imagined.  I have a new and very healthy respect for anyone who runs in the summer in Texas!  Done!  N had reassessed his goals and had a very respectable finish just 15 minutes off his goal pace.  D had suffered a lot more because she had not changed her goal pace.  Every race there is a decision to be made and we all make the best decisions we can for where we are on race day.  This race only reminded me that is a very important part of training. 

Overall the weekend itself was just so much fun and I had a great time. I'm really glad I went! The running sucked (except for a fun shakeout run with N on saturday) but it is what it is.  I'm not all that invested in finishing a marathon just to finish either so i don't really see any need for congratulations or anything. yeah, I finished and that was my goal so I am glad i accomplished that.  Next! I don't know what that is yet but that's fine.  Truthfully I just love the training in general and getting to go to races especially races with some GREAT and INSPIRING people are experiences to be treasured. 

runango report posted