Saturday, June 23, 2012

How a 5k kicked my butt!

Ok, you know the drill, excuses 1st. Next to no sleep the night before due to 3 year old middle cherub and feeling nervous about the race, 8am start which means it was already hot and humid (I asked about a possible 7am start in summer, they said they could do that - YES PLEASE!)

That's all I've got.

It was tough, but then 5k's are aren't they? I met with my 'mistress' group the one I cheat on my 'regular' group with at 6:30 and was driven in comfort and wonderful a/c to the Woodlands this morning. There were 6 of us, quite a crew and the whole journey was about running which I love. Goals were discussed, mine? I would love sub 19, 18:59 would be great. 

I warmed up well, jogged the course then a stretch and few strides. Then we were off, mile 1 6:07, same split as last time I ran this, mile 2 6:23, it really started to hurt at around 1.5miles, mile 3 6:34. So that's 19:47 and no where near the time I wanted, not even a PR today. I was 1st female and 4th overall for what it's worth. I was pooped, it was hot....I don't know. I'm trying to tell myself that things will get better come autumn/winter when the temperatures fall but I can't help feeling a bit frustrated. 

M asked me at the end what I thought went wrong. I told him I simply don't think I'm working hard enough. I emailed coach Doug similar thoughts a couple of days ago. I really miss the 5mile 'balls out' run I used to do around once a fortnight during those 1st 12 months back into running (now I know they are called threshold/tempo runs!) I think they are the main reason I managed to drag myself from 10 minute miles to 6:53 for the half within 12 months of taking up running again. I like to work hard and haven't been getting the same buzz from training for a while. I know all these track sessions will pay off and I think I'm just getting itchy feet to start on the marathon training for Houston, which begins next month. 

I do wonder whether I ought to run on holiday in the 8k I signed up for (Southampton firecracker, July 8th). We leave on Friday for Long Island and I feel like maybe I should take a break but will no doubt run. I will definitely go into it with a more relaxed attitude and enjoy it and take what I get. Plus the kids can come and watch and then we can get back to the serious business of enjoying ourselves on the beach.  

Also I missed Ramsay swim in his last swim meet, they got through the races more quickly this week due to less numbers and his usual 10:30 swim became a 9:30 one :( Neither of us PR'd, this was divisional's today and the 1st time he has swam at the High School. Anyway, he held onto the lane rope the whole way and told me he was scared as he thought there was a shark in the pool - and I thought I'd had a tough morning! Poor lamb, I told him he was very brave to swim the whole length, I'd have jumped straight out if I thought there was even a frog in there! 

Oh, this morning when I left we discovered a poster attached to a tree in the garden which read 'Go Ramsay, swim fast!'. Turns out the high school kids who help coach the kids had gone around Kingwood last night covering gardens and streets with signs and posters. I was so touched, what a great place to bring up kids. 

None of this helped my mother's guilt at getting a sitter and missing swimming, all to run what turned out to be a crap 5k. But we all survived, I'm not sure I'll do it again though (should have been there to save him from that damn shark!)

Oh, I did win a bag after the race in the raffle...... which I gave away. I have a strict policy that in order to compensate for my husbands hoarding tendencies I NEVER bring any stuff we don't need home! It's all that stops us from appearing on that show 'Hoarding Buried Alive'.

The real hero's of the day were P, who is 59 (female) and ran a 23:30 PR and L, who is 70(male) and finished a couple of seconds behind her. Incredible performances and in those conditions. They blow my mind actually, and take note running has some kind of Peter Pan effect because they do not look their age at all!

10 miles easy in the morning, well I hope it's easy but N didn't run today so she may (will definitely) push the pace, ugh. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Yahoo, a race!!!!!

With the exception of a couple of go's at my 800 and mile time at recent track events I haven't raced for what feels like FOREVER. 

May and June have been all about summer swim league, my sons (and all of ours) first. So Saturday mornings have been spent watching my 5 year old bring his 25m freestyle PR down from well over a minute to 40.6s GO RAMSAY!!!!! There is still one meet to go, Divisional's on Saturday but I have cracked! I am desperate to fit in one more 5k before we go on holiday at the end of June so have organized a sitter for my youngest 2 and my husband will have to cope with Ramsay AND being 'tent parent' for around 2 and a half hours on Saturday morning whilst I get my 5k on!!!!!! It's so close and therefore convenient  that I ought to be back in time to see him swim (cake and eating it!)

I have run the Woodlands 5k once this summer, I think it was around 2 months ago now and I am so excited to give it another bash and hopefully beat my last time (and PR) of 19:30. I have been doing my 2 track session a week for...weeks now and I am really hoping it will pay off with a new PR. Add that to desperate to race and I feel certain the heat and humidity won't stand a chance! 

I am going to take it easy this week so I feel nice a rested for Saturday. I am just going to go for it and try for 6 min/mile pace. I really don't know if I can pull it off and I may well die trying but I want to give it everything I have. N and M are going too so I'll have company and won't have to drive which is a bonus! M is going to pace N at 6:20 pace so she can get the kind of time she wants, so maybe they will come steaming past me in that last long mile, time will tell! 

I feel like I'm working hard and I can tell I gone up a level or 2 fitness wise in the past few months but don't feel I've really had an opportunity to test that feeling out in a race situation. I love to race but I also think it's important to treat races like special treats you give yourself just to make sure the hard work is paying off and as a reward for all that hard work. I think it's good to keep the desire to race strong which is hard when you're racing all the time but this spring has been very hard with next to no racing and as I've mentioned several times now I AM BURSTING to race!!!!!!!!!

I have even signed up for a race in December (rungirl half marathon, Deussen Park) just to try to get my race fix vicariously through...signing up! It worked, a little. Also the price goes up on July 1st and I am inherently mean so I'll admit saving $5 was a factor.

As an aside, I have been feeling a bit flat the last week or so and am wondering if my iron levels might be low. So I have googled 'iron rich smoothies' and as a result will be pumping myself full of spinach based drinks, so be prepared for some Popeye like photos in the near future! 
Oh, N has caved and is going to email Coach Doug, yay! I knew she wouldn't be able to stand it now H and I are both under his tutelage! 

Anyone out there have any good food/drink tips for me to pack some iron in? Also any tips to running 5ks, or is balls out the only way?! :D

Monday, June 11, 2012

Exciting times...

I had a great weekend of running, it was supposed to look like 12miles on Saturday with 3 at threshold pace and recovery 6 on Sunday but that morphed into 10 on Saturday with 3 at threshold and 10 easyish on Sunday. On Sunday I got to run with N, H and M (M is a guy I've ran with a couple of times now) and I really enjoy his energy and interesting stories (Sundays was about a relation of his and her impending boob job :D). 
It's so nice to get out and shoot the breeze with like minded people whilst 10 miles flash by virtually unnoticed! N and H had already done 10 when we met them so it was 20 for them.

Things said during those 10 miles include; relation X ought to go ahead with boob job, '50 Shades of Grey' is an appalling read, it's hard not to spoil you kids and have them grow up and be appreciative of everything they have living in the bubble that is Kingwood, a 'full C' is in fact a D, we want to find that feeling of running flow again.....I could go on but won't for fear of offending!

I also received an email from H asking if it was ok for her to get in touch with Coach Doug re coaching her! I have only been trying to get her and N to do that for the last few months! I am excited, hopefully if we're working to similar schedules we can try to hook up regularly, especially on a weekend, in the run up to Houston Marathon and beyond. The peer pressure will hopefully mean N will also bite the bullet and get in touch with Doug too. I am beginning to get my wish of a nice talented group to train with, it's pretty cool that they happen to be 30 something mothers of 3, just like me. I like it! We have a lot in common and understand exactly where each other is re kids and trying to fit running in around busy family life. We also have supportive husbands who put up with this running madness :)

I did an easy 6 on the treadmill this morning followed by some core work. This evening is an 800/200 track session, I might take the whole family along....maybe. 
I am also going to start to keep a training diary, I have been putting it off but it's time to keep track of all these miles I guess. 
I can't wait to get into some big miles, I am bursting to race again, I WANT a half to sink my teeth into. Come Autumn I will be fit to burst from lack of racing but hopefully that competitive side will be satisfied with some nice big PR's, in the mean time I just have to be patient (not my strongest point).

Friday, June 8, 2012

All Comers..... bluch!

Should I start with my list of excuses? Ok. Tired, heavy legs, stomach cramps....that's all I've got. The good news is I shaved a whopping 2 seconds off my 800 time from the last meet, 2:36. The not so great news, I ran the mile too (that's 1609m folks) and it took me 5:48 to drag myself round thus the 'bluch'. 

The meet last night was some championship thing? so there were way more people there and thus lots more heats of each event than on the previous occasion. There was probably around an hour between the 800 and mile which didn't help my already heavy legs but hey ho you win some you lose some. 

My coach was there last night and whilst I was a bit disappointed to have such a stinker in front of him I gave it all I had and that was all I had.

I used to beat myself up so badly after disappointing performances in my previous running life. Add that to holding yourself to a very high (possibly unrealistic at times?) standard and that means a lot of beating up. I still have high standards for myself, I still want to be the best runner I can be but I like to think that I have learned something over the 17 years of my life when I stopped running and maybe this is it. I am disappointed but I will keep doing what I'm doing, keep working hard and the results will come. They ARE coming, after around 18 months back into the sport I am in good shape and getting faster. Did I mention I shaved 2s off my 800 time?! Onwards and upwards!

I didn't get home until after 11pm last night and in bed after midnight so a VERY late one for me. I am shattered this morning and have swim practice with my kids then a day at the zoo planned, so I will give my battle weary legs a rare day off today (I am also getting better at listening to my body and taking a rest when it needs it). Then it's up at the crack of dawn (4am) tomorrow to squeeze in 12 with a tempo 3 before our last home swim meet.
I WILL get there, I WILL get there (not sure where 'there' is but I WILL get there!)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Time for another track meet....

It's nearly 3 weeks since my last and first Rice Uni Allcomers track meet and it's time to give that 800 and 1500/1600/mile (whatever they decide to run) another go. My coach thinks I have a better 800 in me than the 2:38 I ran last time and I think he's right. Despite being my event growing up, it's been a while (training not included) since I raced over that distance and I think I backed off a little more than I should have. 

I have a secret weapon this time too, H is coming with me! She is my sometime training partner who I especially like to hook up with at the track on a Monday evening. She will drag me round those 2 laps and I will try to let not that invisible chord joining us together get too long! I would like a faster mile time too and this could be my last attempt this summer for a competitive track meet. 
I feel more comfortable this time too having been once before and knowing a) where I'm going and b) what to expect when I get there and c) having a friend along for the ride doesn't hurt :)
I am desperate for one last bash at a 5k in June before it gets silly hot/humid but I'm not sure that's going to happen (I did find a nice 8k in South Hampton the same weekend we're planning on being there in July visiting my MIL so all may not be lost!)
Easy 5 this morning plus some core/arm work before this evenings track session. I almost feel like I'm running again, I can't wait until I can say I am running again! It's close I can feel it!!!!!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

It's HOT in Houston!

I have been trying to tell myself that there must be some benefits to running in these high temperatures and humidity, the fruits of which I'll reap come autumn/winter time with super fast half and full marathons! I just can't think what those benefits are? It's tough to go out and put in a descent pace during those long hot runs, despite being done by 6am most days. 
I'm not the kind of runner who worries too much about the pace and what the watch says. I do wear my watch (when I remember) but it is mainly so I know how far I've gone to make sure I'm getting the prescribed number of miles in. Oh, and so i can let my coach know my times from track workouts but I don't even bother telling him any other times. Once I have more routes in my head (I have just started running early and therefore outside as opposed to on the treadmill later in the morning at the gym) so I need to get 6/10/12 etc routes worked out from my house) I will more than likely ditch the Garmin for a stop watch and just keep a note of time I take but not necessarily on every occasion. 

I heard someone say recently that they didn't know what pace they were running as they didn't have their watch???? That is kind of a strange one for me as I think I always have a pretty good idea of what kind of pace I'm going and I don't need a Garmin to tell me that. I also think it's dangerous to get too dependent on the watch, I kind of feel like it's trying to tell me how I'm running whereas I am a mood runner and know if I'm feeling good or if I'm struggling. I don't like to force my running in the sense if I am feeling heavy of leg then I'll back off and take it easy and likewise if I'm full of beans I'll go for it! I guess I generally don't like being told what to do(!) and find the Garmin to be a mini dictator on my wrist! 

Running is most definitely about times for me, I am all about PR's and getting faster, as fast as i possibly can I just don't dig these newfangled watches!

Having said ALL of that here are my splits from todays early morning 12 miler! :D 8:54, 8:31, 8:21, 8:23, 6:55, 6:36, 6:24, 9:07, 8:28, 8:17, 7:58, 7:49. The three faster ones were my threshold miles, again I don't look at the watch whilst running just go for it and feel it out. I know that once the temperature and humidity fall the slower miles will naturally pick up so they don't worry me. 

A few photos too today, wow training times AND photos, this blog is on fire! 

 Happy birthday to me, with my 3 favourite little people. I have no good photos of myself but even I look particularly scary in this one! 

 I do some of my running on the greenbelts where I stay, this one is right behind our house.

One of 2 ponds close to our house, I don't run with the kids just thought I'd post these to show what I have around me :) 

Lake Houston, I ran part of my one and only marathon on this very bit of greenbelt...4 times! 

Maybe I'll post more training times, every now and again I might even get organised and start telling you what training I'm actually doing but I'll have to start to record it first before that happen. Yes, you heard right I do not keep a training diary. I have a heap from my youth but haven't got back into it yet. Maybe you can help me, I'm not sure I see the point? I have a coach who tells me what to do, I do it, tell him... the end. I have no idea how many miles I run each week, I mean I could add it up reasonably quickly but off the top of my head I don't know. I FEEL like I ought to be writing it down but again I'm not sure I understand why exactly? I guess if my coach were to ditch me I could look back and have an idea of what to do but I think we're good for the foreseeable future so don't feel any urgency! 
ok, here goes....6+10+5+4+5+6+6+12= 59 for last week, wow that's with 2 track sessions and tomorrow's 6 still to do so 65 for the week. I've been cutting back on my mileage and concentrating on speed work for the summer. Coach Doug told me we will shift the focus from speed to milage starting mid July, he also asked if I could fit 100 miles a week in 'YES I CAN!', touch wood my knee doesn't mind. 

I am so looking forward to sinking my teeth into some BIG miles (I never have) and setting some new half and full marathon PR's.....once this heat and humidity goes away of course.