Tuesday, September 18, 2012

To cool to go slow

I have been told it won't last, that its just a temporary state but I don't care I am LOVING the cooler weather that's around Houston at the moment. I feel like I have just been gifted for the first time and all at once, all of the benefit from the hard work I have put in over the summer. I knew the heat and humidity made even the conservative long run pace of 8:00-8:30 seem not so conservative all summer long but it's not until now that I get to see just how much.

I feel like I've just been given 1 minute/mile for free. Ok, so I have said previously how, after a lot of questions and research I have come to understand and 100% accept that there are reasons Coach Doug sets the pace ranges he does for me and that it's very important for me to stick to them. AND stick to them I have, as I said it hasn't been too difficult because 8:00 - 8:30 for 15 miles when it's hot and humid can begin to feel a bit like hard work! 

I have the pace I need to run for a sub 3 hour marathon on my fridge and after some of those not so easy long runs at around 2 minutes a mile slower than the pace I need I have had my doubts. I mean I know I'll get there, I really really want it so badly and I am prepared to work as hard as it takes to get there. But some Saturday mornings I have trudged home, soaked to the skin, still 2/3 lbs lighter than when I left the house despite drinking a ton of water, feeling maybe it will take a bit longer than I had hoped. 

My 5ks have been very disappointing all summer, I struggle to keep with H and N sometimes on long runs and yet when I get on the treadmill I can pull off 6:30miles and feel relaxed and finish feeling like there's more in the tank. I knew (hoped) it was just the heat and come cooler weather I would start to show some progress and I am confident I will.

So last Saturday, despite my resolve to stick to the paces set, I lost my discipline. We started off for the 1st 5 of 15, timed so that we would meet up with the group at 6:30 for the final 10 mile loop and thus complete our 15. The 1st 5 were on target 8-8:30 and the 1st 3 of the loop were well behaved but I just felt so good, it was so cool and I felt like a different runner so I decided to throw down some faster miles. Coach would understand. 
Here's what happened:

8:57, 8:25, 8:11, 8:13, 8:12, 8:27, 8:13, 7:49, 7:13, 7:22, 7:52, 7:33, 7:27, 7:27, 6:43. 

I know these aren't hugely impressive but they felt so easy (well, not the last one, I felt that one!) I was working but I just felt like a different runner. I usually feel like I am weighed down, and drag myself round, especially the last few miles. These were light and bouncy. FUN. I CAN RUN! I thought I could, I mean I used to be able to and had hoped the ability hadn't deserted me! 

To put this in perspective, my last 5k was on a hot and steamy day a couple of weeks prior and my middle mile was 6:4?, the last one was 6:3?. I wasn't taking it easy, I gave it what I had I just feel like I'm treading water when I get too hot. I don't feel able to attack a run in the way I can when I feel cool, feeling cold is even better. It can't really get too cold for me running wise. 

So I have come to the conclusion that I need to move back to Scotland to get the most out of my running. Unfortunately my husband doesn't think this alone is a good enough reason to move our entire family - can you believe that? ;)

Hope you are all enjoying some nice cool running weather wherever you are. I wonder if anyone prefers it to be on the warmer side? Please send all your best 'cool' thoughts for my 10 miler which is 4 weeks away and counting!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Who wants to rub my feet?

Nobody, that's who. Nobody I don't have to pay by the hour that is. I am SORE, tired, HEAVY of leg and just generally wiped out and I would love someone to beat this feeling out of my legs and feet with a really good deep tissue massage. So much so that I've made an appointment but it's more than a week and a half away, only time I could manage between kids, kids and kids! 
I have done 66 miles in the last 7 days. It's more than I should have but due to missing Monday and Tuesday last week (sore foot) I did more on Thursday and Friday than I was scheduled to and then this week I have been following last weeks schedule so I could get in some much begged for miles! By the time Sunday comes it will be 91 miles in 9 days and then some more weeks of higher milage before Ten for Texas in 4 weeks.

It's all good though, I know it's nothing compared to what some of you out there are doing but I am just embarking on my own high milage journey and am very glad to have Coach Doug to keep me reigned in. My biggest fear is getting hurt. 

Running is way more than PR's for me, it gives me my only freedom and 'me time' from being a mother and wife. I get to be Vicky for a while each day and that's become a very important element in my day. So I do as I'm told and demonstrate patience knowing that the really big miles are in my not to distant future! 

As well as lots of easy miles and a couple of threshold days a week I have been trying to get more consistent with my core work for the last few weeks. I have even ventured onto a machine or two at the Y and have to say I am beginning to notice a difference already. I don't think I'll ever feel comfortable enough to wear a short crop top whilst running but I would LOVE to. Its so hot here and the less clothing the better but stomach flab and a tendency to feel a bit self conscious means I'm always covered up! Of course vanity is not my sole reason for wanting to get more serious about core work, I believe it will help my running too. I have been planking for ages now but have always felt more burn in my shoulders and arms than core area. A slight adjustment of my feet (I just moved them back a bit further and got right up on top of my toes) has resulted in me feeling it where I'm supposed to. 
I do 4 different exercise and 2 sets of each, I just want to add one or two more to the routine and I'll be happy. I do these every time I run on the treadmill at the Y so 5 days a week at the moment. I'd like to fit them into my weekend too maybe when I get home from my runs although I'm not sure my kids will allow this to happen. 

It's been all about starting school for us at the moment. Ramsay started Kindergarten, Beth is now going 3 days (8:30-1pm) and I even started Harry for a day! He just turned 2 and is way younger than when I started my other two kids. I'm sure he'll hold it against me for the rest of my life :s He goes on a Wednesday to the same school as Beth and for the same time. I have been in so many minds about whether I was doing the right thing or not and when it came to dropping him off I was a mess. When he realized I was leaving he tried to get out the room and then cried his eyes out for a while (yes I was hiding round the corner peeking and listening and feeling my heart break). I was so close to going and getting him, I did it with Beth, put her in for an hour and then went and broke her out of there! But I made myself give it one day, just to see how I felt. I have been needing a break for quite a while now and felt I owed it to myself. 
So I left (after calling my hubbie from the car in the car park and crying about how I thought I might be damaging our baby boy somehow by abandoning like this!) Then I went to the Y for my threshold 6 miles at 6:30 pace (8 total 1w/u, 1w/d) nothing like a bit of threshold to help take your mind off your troubles. 
Then I went home and I felt......fantastic. Really fantastic. I didn't feel guilty, it felt so freeing to be in my house ALONE! That has NEVER happened before! It was so quiet and I put my feet up and watched movie........Of course I never did that, I cleaned the bathrooms, folded the laundry and put it away, cleaned and tidied some more, ate my lunch ON MY OWN and didn't have to make any for anyone else! Then I went and picked them up and he was happy and came bounding out of the room without a care in the world. I think he's going to be ok ;)

Back to running. I am, as always desperate to race. As I mentioned it's only 4 weeks until Ten for Texas and I'd like a good one, after all the disappointing 5ks over the summer I feel I'm owed. I've never raced 10 miles before but I love that kind of distance, you can really sink your teeth into a 10 and fight with it in a way I can't with a marathon (well not yet anyway). If I get a cool day I know I can pull off something good, if it's hot and steamy I'm *******! 

I also want to go back to Scotland next summer and do the Dundee marathon which is in July. I grew up in the area and my dad ran it when I was about 6. I begged and begged to go with him on his training runs and he always said 'no, it's too far, you wont manage' etc etc etc. Even at age 6 that was like throwing fuel on a fire, it made me so determined to show him and thus began my early running career. It would be pretty special to go home and win it.

 This is what 3 kids going to school in the morning looks like!

I'm not sure conservative could be used when describing how my kids dress....

Made in Oz, born in Texas but still a Scotsman!  

He's kind of used to being told what to do, school will be a breeze.

Monday, September 3, 2012

What a difference a day makes

Last night I set the alarm for 5:45am so I could go meet H at the track for our 1000's and 200's session but had a strong feeling I wouldn't be running when morning came. I have had a bit of a problem, nothing major in my left foot/ankle area but last night it just got very stiff and very sore - totally out of nowhere! I was actually lying on the coach watching a film about Western States when it happened. I iced it and went to bed deflated but also completely hooked on the idea of running an ultra - something i NEVER thought would happen!

I met H at 6:30 as planned, ran the w/u then bailed on her. There was no way I was going to manage and I didn't want to make it worse. So on H's advice I iced and took ibuprofen, and iced and iced and iced and it is so much better already. I think it's tendonitis and am hoping it will be very short lived, I won't run tomorrow no matter how good it feels. I am not the kind of gal who wants to go turning a little problem into a big one. That and I have promised myself I can make up my lost mileage by doubling up later int he week, when I'm hopefully feeling 100%. 

Ok, back to Western States. M and N who I run with mostly at the weekend are part of a group that contains some serious ultra guys. M has himself run a 50 and I think a 100, too. I  have honestly never paid too much attention to their tales of vomit inducing 100 mile races, it held NO appeal to me whatsoever. I mean why on earth would you want to do that to yourself - you'd have to be completely nuts, and I, ladies and gentlemen am not completely nuts. 
But oh my word. That race is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I cannot get over the effect watching these guys race - RACE 100 miles has had on me. Am I going to run the Western States before I die, of course I am! It would be stupid not too! 

I grew up running through fields, climbing fences, trying to avoid the bull in the field of cows, etc etc etc. I love to be present in the moment when I'm running and to feel free. I can't imagine feeling more free than being let loose on 100 miles! Ok, so I definitely have a romantic notion about all of this, I know the reality will be anything but romantic but I am so excited that I have now added this realm into my running goals. 

I have pencilled in 2017 for my Western States debut, if I pull it off (you have to qualify right, by running a 50?) it will be my 40th birthday present to myself. 

Then what.........an Iron Man of course! 

I very rarely surprise myself but my complete flip on ultra running has shocked me! It's a good lesson for me to be more open to opportunities rather than ruling them out because I 'know' they're not for me. 

(Sooooooo excited!)

I'm still giving myself 5 years to get that marathon time as fast as I can ;)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

New Training Schedule's in!

It's probably silly how excited I get when I get my next few weeks in from Coach Doug. I immediately scan to the end of each week to see what the total miles are, then I check out what my long runs are and then it's Threshold Monday and Wednesday that holds my interest! 

This week has been the highest mileage at 53. Tomorrow heralds a 10 mile recovery run and so beings a 58 mile week :) 

The next few weeks look like this mileage wise:

58, 37, 63, 50, 69, 41(this week has Ten for Texas so involves a taper). 

Long runs go :

15, 10, 15, 12, 17, 13(Ten for Texas race day)

There will continue to be 2 threshold days a week in there too. I am excited to get these runs checked off and see what's next! I want big miles so much and long long runs but will have to exercise patience. 

Today's 14 miles was tough. It is HOT out there and humidity is sky high again but I got them done and on target pace so I'm happy. Ran with M, H and N which I LOVE. I popped an Allegra beforehand and think it helped a lot. I couldn't manage 10 miles the previous day, felt like I couldn't breathe and had to keep stopping but whilst today was tough because of the temps otherwise it was a much more solid run and I didn't feel like someone had chopped off half my lungs as I had the previous day. 
I went into Kroger afterwards to fill up my water bottle and must have looked a sight in my socks and dripping wet, I got a few glances from the early morning shoppers. I wonder what people must think of us runners - completely off our heads I imagine, maybe they're right! M was talking about all the people he sees out running at 10, 11am and we were all in agreement that they were crazy - it's sooooo hot by then. I pointed out a lot of people might think we are CRAZY to be out here sweating our proverbials off during 14 miles in this heat and humidity on a holiday weekend - one persons happy is another persons reason to be committed! 

I have 10 recovery to look forward to tomorrow so I get to feel like I'm running decentish miles this weekend AND it's with H and N so good company too.  

I need new trainers so badly. I've had my high milage ones since May and the soles are worn right down at the front, the heels and middle look good as new, it's funny to think I'm paying all this money for what feels like a few mm's of sole at the toe end of these shoes! 

Got some wearables in for the running group I started, going to meet some of the ladies tonight to hand them out. I am such a social recluse, it's Saturday night and I'm kind of dreading having to venture out (we're meeting at 7pm) but I'll only go for an hour and then back home to chill out before an undoubtedly early bed. I will have to agree to watch the 2nd Sherlock Homes with my hubbie tonight though, I have been putting it off all week, by the time I get the kids down and then watch a movie it's way past my bed time (which has been 8:xx all week!) I think he feels a little cheated, he married a bit of a party girl and now he has 'tucked up in bed by 9pm girl'. 

Running team gear, thank you Middle Sister!