Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful that's behind me!

As much as my miles keep going up, so it would seem does the intensity of my track sessions. I am in the middle of a 90 mile week, the most I have ever run and today marked the latest tough track workout. It went like this:

2000m, 10 min active rec, 8x800 2-3 min rec, 5min rec then final 2000m. Total miles 10.

I hit the times I was set, mid range, thus:

7:40, 2:50, 2:51, 2:52, 2:51, 2:53, 2:52, 2:51, 2:52, 7:35.

I'm happy. It was tough but I completed it and on target, can't ask for any more right? I like a full recovery so the big rests between these helped lots. I was solo for this session (what's new) and despite thinking I'm pretty good at hitting paces it took me the 1st 2000 and next 800 to find my feet again on the track. This was my 1st track session in a while but once I found my groove it was game on! 

I find these big sessions to be such a balancing act between pushing whilst knowing there's still lots more work to come.I told myself on each rep that 'this is all there is, just hit the pace and worry about the others whilst running them'. I think today showed me that I do have the strength to get through a session like this so might be able to push each 800 a bit more in future? (big talk is easy after the fact!)

With every session I am becoming more and more astounded by my new found strength. It's not so long ago that all I could manage were 3 miles at 10 min mile pace, a session that had me bent over double at the end and feeling fairly sick. I know that nothing gets harder than that 1st run. In my opinion it just gets easier and easier until you reach where you want to be. To others it looks like you are so tough, how can you complete a session like that? But it's just chipping away bit by bit and it comes, it has to.....right?! There is no big secret, the only thing you need to be able to do is work hard. Boy am I beginning to work hard! 

Pat on the back for me, hey somebody's got to ;)

Not a very welcoming sight for me at 7:30 this morning but they need to try harder than that to keep me out :D

If you're offended by profanity LOOK AWAY NOW! Took this and sent it to Coach Doug once the job was done! My hands were frozen thus the magnificent writing :s

Have a good one!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The price of a 20 miler

What does a 20 miler cost?..... $50 of course! That's what it cost me today to have one of my running buddies daughter come and feed my kids breakfast so I could go out to play! My husband is still offshore thus the sitter. 

Today was wonderful. I left the house t 4:45 and started my run at 5am, running the 1st 4 miles solo then hooking up with H who needed 16. We ran the 1st 6 (10 for me) at around 8min/mile pace but then picked up the last 10 as planned. Our range is 7:15-8:00 and we wanted the last 10 to be at the faster end of the range. We succeeded! It felt fantastic, the whole run was in the 40's and my stomach problem that has been bothering me for the best part of a fortnight has gone. It is so nice to run pain free and not have to ditch in the trees...well that's not true, still had to ditch but my bladder will never be the same after 3 kids ;)

Whilst my thighs felt heavy the entire time, full of lead heavy, I still felt good. Fast and strong. I am getting stronger, there's no doubt. I have never been able to keep my pace so strong and have it feel easy with my legs feeling so full of junk. All I could think was 'what could I do if my legs felt good?!'

My splits for last 10 were: 7:34, 7:21, 7:17, 7:15, 7:19, 7:10, 7:00, 7:04, 7:03, 6:52.
And thus concludes an 82 mile week. 

I ran my mile reps outside across the bridge on Thursday. They sucked. They were slower than they prescribed 6:10-6:15 but it was windy and as I think I mentioned flat it is not, I mean they're not up Mount Everest but an incline is an incline during a mile rep right?! I missed the finish on the 5th of 7 and ran way past it. I could be heard shouting some profanity, to nobody in particular as to where the beep my stump had gone (a tree stump marks my finish line in one direction). 
This session has 1 minute recovery and wipes me out like no other session. I mean todays 20 has nothing on this session. On the inclines all I could think was 'fiery balls of fire' as my calves were burning up nicely and I felt places in my rear end I didn't know existed - good stuff! I think these contributed to my heavy legs during todays run.

This is my bridge, look it might not look like a hill but I'm telling you I feel it, I think the photo is deceptive ;)

Spoke to Coach Doug about recovery runs and paces and he told me not to worry about the pace but to make sure I run them EASY. He said he knows it's hard to run that slow but I will benefit as it will allow the fast stuff to remain fast whilst maintaining a high milage. 
I have been taking them easy but I'm such a jerk sometimes. I have ditched the treadmill and have been running over the bridge above all week (we're not allowed to go any further from the Y if we have kids in the creche). Over and back, over and back, over and back you get the picture. Anyway, I found myself racing people the other day. Thoughts like 'I wonder if I could catch her by that sign', or 'I bet I could catch them before I have to turn', etc etc etc. What a neep (Scottish for turnip, and in this case idiot) I am. So what was supposed to be easy started getting in the 7:30 range the day after mile reps. I WILL behave in future (I did catch them though :)). 

So, to surmise, I feel great, tired, legs full of running but great. I knew big mile would give me the boost I needed and I'm only 2 weeks in with lots still to come. I just need to keep healthy and I'll be in good shape come Houston. 

Tomorrows recovery 12 marks the start of a 90 mile week and the most miles I've ever run in a week. Alas no mile reps, instead Thanksgiving see's me on the track with a session comprised of: 2000, 8x800, 2000. Gulp, might actually miss those mile repeats ;) I just need to find someone to watch my kids.........

Random thought time. I HATE my doorbell. With 3 kids, there is never a good time for anyone to ring it. I have tried and failed to take it to bits with a screwdriver so last week resorted to this:

Today the postman had a parcel for me and he KNOCKED at the door. When I opened it he asked in a slightly scared voice 'did I wake the baby?' Yes he was sleeping, no he didn't wake him. Ha, success! 

I keep adding to this post but I forgot to ask a question. Today I ran these 20 miles and had zero water (not a single mouthful) and didn't eat anything. It was really cold and I did carry water for all of 2.5 miles (from miles 10-12.5) when I ditched it behind a tree. I did have toast and marmalade and a cup of tea 45 mins before I started. My question is this: I have problems any time I try to drink any sports drink or take any of these power blast type things. I mean they mess me up badly and I HATE it. I can suffer all day after just having some gatorade. Do I NEED to take these things during a marathon, I mean if it's cold as it was today and I'm really not sweating much? I am half tempted to try but don't want to run out of steam. I am so clueless on this area of running. help!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Chugging along

I am tired. I have complete week one of my 10 week run in to Houston Marathon with a 77 mile week which included a killer mile rep session, 7 mile threshold run and 20 mile long run.

The mile reps really hurt, I opted to do them outside over the bridge at my YMCA. It's a little bit up and down and there was a bit of a breeze and boy did I feel every one of them (there were 6). I was a bit off target with a couple but only by a couple of seconds and it felt like one of the toughest session I've completed so I was pleased. It was one of those sessions when I find myself questioning what on earth I'm playing at. Thoughts like 'I'm 35 years old, I'm a mum of 3, why am I killing myself here to the point of wanting to throw up?!' But I knew those thoughts would vanish the second I completed the session whereas the disappointment of not getting it done would linger on and on and on so failure was not an option.

My long run pace has picked up to be between 7:15 and 8:00 min/mile now which would have been daunting a few months ago when the summer heat and humidity was high but I'm finding my happy, natural, running by myself pace is 7:30 at the moment so wasn't too concerned. I averaged around 7:30 for the 20 but had to stop 3 times due to stomach problems. I took my 1st ever imodium before the run (I have been having problems all week with stomach cramps) and without it I'm certain I would not have completed the session. So good news is I think I can count on imodium to get me through races although I'd prefer to solve the problem but I think I have some kind of weird stomach bug...thing this week. My stomach felt good for the last 4 miles of the 20 and I brought them in a little faster than I ought to 7:00-7:10 but it was so good to be running pain free that I just went with it and enjoyed it. 

I also genuinely feel, for the 1st time, that a sub 3 hour marathon is possible after only 2 years back running. The thought of 6:50's x 26.2, whilst still daunting is now, I believe doable. If I can handle the schedule I've been set and lose some lbs (I think my weight will be a deciding factor in my success) then I now believe I can do it. Bit of a breakthrough moment.

After the 20 miles, the real work began with our 1st soccer game at 10am followed by the library, lunch, grocery shopping then 2nd soccer game at 1pm. All of the in and out of the car/car seats and carrying of lawn chairs, sports bags etc whilst pushing a stroller solo is pretty exhausting. I am amazed by how much energy running actually GIVES me though. Once we got home and I had put the baby down for his nap and settled the eldest 2 with a snack and movie rather than flop in a heap and watch the movie too I found myself outside in the garden filling bin liner after bin liner with the leaves that have accumulated in our garden. Then back indoors to make dinner, I feel like I deserve a virtual pat on the back for all this hard graft...anyone? Maybe all the weekends activity is catching up with me now as it's all I can do to punch the keys on the laptop. That night I treated us all to a new Christmas movie (Arthur Christmas), we had all earned it. Great movie but I am a big Christmas fan and am as such probably very biased.

I'm now 2 days into the new week and have 82 miles comprised in part of more mile reps (7 this time), another 20 miler and todays 10 with 7 at threshold. 
Today was tough, the toughest threshold ever. My pace has stayed at 6:30-6:40 (due to these sessions being longer than 30 mins) and normally I enjoy this run and it's more easy than tough but today was VERY hard fought. My calves and back of my thighs (I have very poor knowledge of specific muscle names :s) were screaming from the word go, so much so that after 4.3 miles I dropped the pace from 6:30 to 6:40 where it remained until the last 0.6 where I picked it up again. 

I don't have any single digit runs until taper time and I admit I do wonder what a 100 mile week will make me feel if 70+ feels like this. But as my husband is away for 3 weeks (1 down 2 to go) maybe having my 3 cherubs solo is a factor although he works such long hours they're ready for, if not in bed when he gets home anyway but I am used to a little help at the weekend. So in his absence most sessions are on the treadmill although I have organized a sitter for very early Saturday mornings so I can get my long runs in in the great outdoors which makes me very very very happy.

I made a very exciting purchase today - a rice cooker! I am a terrible rice cook, I never seem to get it right so I loaded it up between picking up my middle cherub from preschool and going for my eldest from Kindergarten and when we got home, it was done! AND it's cooked to perfection! I see a lot of rice in this family's future. It's currently in the freezer awaiting being tossed in the wok for todays chicken fried rice which I am contemplating making and eating very soon and it's only 3:45.

I am so hungry all the time but, as mentioned I'm trying to lose a bit of weight so am attempting to find the right balance between eating everything in sight and having a bit of restraint. I also bought a slow cooker or crock pot as they call it here and N has given me some nice bean recipes which she makes a large batch of at the start of the week and then has it during the week when she's hungry. She adds a boiled egg or avocado or chopped up pepper for variety and hey presto a healthy, filling snack to tide me over until meal time. 

Now I have 2 days to decide whether those 7 mile reps on Thursday will be done on the treadmill or over the dreaded bridge.....I kind of hate that I know me being me means they'll be over the bridge. ugh. Sometimes I wish I would give me a break. Are you your toughest task master? 
This has reminded me of a woman in the gym today who I had the misfortune to hear bitch and moan her way through her session. She complained about EVERYTHING. I was very close to announcing 'we're all hurting, we're all suffering just shut up and get it done or go home'. Did I mention my threshold run today really hurt and may have added to my no nonsense mood ;s 
Why come and do something so half arsed and complain the entire time? Maybe there was an invisible gun to her head? (I'd have pulled the trigger...) Her training buddy looked suitably annoyed and tried her best to ignore her whilst busting her gut to complete the session. Today the loneliness of the distance runner was a blessing, I could never train with a complainer! I wonder if any of you run with a whiner, good motivation to get faster I guess!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Miles and miles and miles of smiles!

This is what I have been waiting months for, my new schedule from Coach Doug for the last 10 weeks run up to Houston has arrived. I have been asking for big miles for what seems like forever and he has asked that I demonstrate patience and has assured me 'they are coming'. 

They have arrived. I actually talked him up a bit from the original schedule he sent through. It had me down to run in the Rungirl half in early December but despite us 'running through' that one it still showed dropped milage the week before and week after and the 1st 3 weeks were not as high as I'd have liked. So, being the negotiator that I am I asked for more miles and told him I was willing (sad but willing) to drop the half if it meant more miles were possible. I think he is happier with this plan as it sees an uninterrupted build up to Houston and I am happy I have the kind of miles that are going to kick my fitness level to where it needs to be come January. 
Just a side note here, I have been base building forever now and Doug is VERY strict about the 10% rule for weekly total miles and long runs. I feel like I am pushing against him all the time to do more and I know that's one of the reasons him having the final say on what goes is so important, he is not reckless with my health. 

So starting next week my weekly milage looks like this:

77, 82, 90, 78, 99, 100, 102, 93, 68 and 24.

This is HUGE for me. I have only run one marathon before and there was no plan. I also don't keep a training schedule but from memory know I was only doing around 50 miles a week. My track sessions were equally unorganized and consisted of around 3/4 800's with maybe a mile thrown in every now and again. On that preparation I ran 3:13. It will be very interesting to see what I can run off of this type of work. 

I also asked that I get to 'taper hard' as I can't stand not running! It throws my routine out and especially over the Festive Period when school is out and my husband is at home and our routine goes haywire anyway, I need it to hold onto for the sake of my metal health and the general safety of my entire family (I need those endorphins) ;) (winking but actually 100% sincere!)

The track sessions have been moved to a Thursday for logistical reasons that involve a locked track, knowing someone with a key and having company on the MONSTER sessions I have been set! Unfortunately the guy I was hoping would keep me company on these sessions is out of town for most of November but as my husband is also going offshore for 3 weeks I will be treadmill bound anyway. That or I might venture outside the Y and mark up the greenbelt with some chalk and get the sessions done that way. 

I am happy with the balance of intimidation (blind terror) and excitement I feel looking at this schedule. Just getting through some of the individual sessions will be a victory (the 'Gut Buster' looks particularly fun!) Also stacking up all those miles will not be easy and I'm not taking anything for granted. If anything starts to hurt or I'm just not coping I will let Doug know but I am relishing the challenge. 

If successful I know that I have given myself the best possible chance of standing on the start line come January 13th feeling 100% confident that I have kicked my butt into the best shape possible in what will be 2 years back into running. That's very important to me, if my head knows I've done the work then my body can't help but agree. 

But talk is cheap, time to get to work! 

Very happy camper.

I think I mentioned before that I also want to drop a few pounds before the marathon. I have been watching what I eat more closely than I would otherwise (the only monitoring I did before was watch whatever I fancied go in my mouth) and am hoping that and the increased milage will take care of the junk in my trunk! I get a mixed response when I mention I want to lose a little bit of weight. Some people think I'm nuts and BELIEVE me its not for aesthetic reasons, I feel more attractive with something to actually put in my bra but who wants to carry extra for 26.2 miles? Not I! 

In other matters H, N our respective better halves and myself are having an extremely rare night out tomorrow night. I have stocked up on International beers and ales and we will have our own late Octoberfest at mine before hitting the local It is going to get messy, no doubt. We have 9 kids between the 3 of us, we are runners and not HUGE drinkers (well N might be ;)) and we are stay at home types, that can only lead to carnage on a rare night out. It will be fun to relax with these guys in a different setting from our usual one and it's not lost on me that it will probably be the one and only time we get together in this way with H before she and her family leave for Colorado. I am pushing that thought to the back of my mind. I miss her fast ass already.