Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What a journey so far!

I did my long run yesterday--8 miles with an average pace of 13:48, which is my fastest long run pace to date and rivals a few of my short runs. I have to say, around mile 5.5, I started getting really tired. So I slowed down a bit, but then I got a second wind and finished without wanting to die. I was a little worried there for a while, because I hadn't run since my long run the week before, which I didn't run all of because of the heat and my ankle. I was relieved to be able to pull it off!

I have 10 miles this weekend, and I have to admit I'm a little nervous about it...but kind of excited at the same time. I am definitely seeing a shift in my attitude toward running! In just about two months' time, I've gone from hating running to enjoying it, being nervous about running four miles to knowing I can do eight. This process has really been huge for my outlook on life and myself: every week I have to challenge myself to go further, and every time I have risen to the task (even if I didn't rise quite as well as I'd hoped last week, I still made it). I get emotional about it sometimes when I think about it too much. I feel like a rock star, and it feels soooo good to feel this good about myself!

Total for the summer: 83. Closing in on my 100 mile goal!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Body, don't fail me now!

I probably need to thinking about stretching more. My Achilles tendons, particularly on my left leg, are starting to protest. I've been icing and using ibuprofen, but Saturday I tried to do my long run (supposed to be 7 miles) and only got two miles in because of the pain. Gave it a couple days off (I did swim, but since I do breast stroke the tendons aren't aggravated), then tried again yesterday. I taped both ankles up with KT Tape and hit the trail, sporting my new water belt and armband cell phone holder.

The first mile was pretty fast (for me), but then I started feeling some minor pain so I stopped and stretched on my walk intervals. That definitely helped, but the tendons continued to bother me. I continued on and went the full 3.5 miles out, so I was committed to the whole distance. It got to the point where I had to stretch on every walk interval. And then the heat started getting to me because I got out there too late--it was only maybe 78 or 80, but that's hotter than I'm used to. I ended up just ignoring the intervals and running on the flat and downhill portions and walking the uphills. Thankfully, the extra walking really helped and it got to the point where my leg didn't really bother me anymore and I was able to keep running in small distances (1-2 minutes at a time) all the way until the end. Now I'm going to take three days off in hopes of it being better for my 8-mile run on Saturday, although I may swim tomorrow. I just hate it when I have goals and my body doesn't want to keep up!

I do think the swimming in between is helping me a lot. It seems like each time we up the distance or change the intervals to be more challenging, it's not as hard of a change as it used to be. Not that it's easy to run 7 miles yet, and not that I'm not huffing and puffing and sweating and getting tired, but somehow it's all easier. I don't get nervous about running further because I know I can do it. If I made 7 miles yesterday in adverse conditions, I know I can do 8 when I'm feeling right. I also want to add biking soon, but maybe I should give the tendons a chance to heal. I'm also going to try doing some yoga to help with flexibility and such, so maybe that will help.

Total miles for the summer: 75. 3/4 of the way to the 100 mile goal. Cake!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I learned a new trick

I learned a new trick yesterday while running on the dreadmill. I had gone 2.5 miles of 4 since we upped our distances this week, and I was thinking about how much further I had to go. In a way, on the treadmill a mile and a half doesn't seem like as much as it does when I'm at the park, because I don't have the visual laid out before me to show me how far it is. On the other hand, when I'm outside and I can see my goal but don't know the actual distance, sometimes that is an advantage...

Anyway, so I was thinking that 1.5 miles was still a long way to go, and I thought about the time it would take to do that and wondering if I could make it. At the pace I was going, I figured it would be no more than 20 minutes. I thought, "Oh, that's not too bad! I can keep this up for another 20 minutes!" so I did. Even at a 14:00 pace, it only takes 14 minutes to finish that last mile...and that's not really that long, especially when you've already been going for 40 or so. And I was going faster than that, so I finished a bit earlier (nothing like under promising and over delivering to yourself!). I also do things like think, "Well, if I go slow it'll take me an hour and a half to do this 6 miles. That's just like teaching two private lessons. I can handle that!"

So basically, it's just another way to trick myself into keeping going and not despairing at how much further I have to go or letting myself slow down!

Monday, July 14, 2014

God help me, I think I'm addicted

Since my last post, I've finished two races--a 5k and a 10k. While the first was basically my short training run for the week (with more hills! ack!), the second was the length of my long run the week before so still a little bit of a challenge for me. Plus, it was at night so it was a little warm when we started and there were a couple big inclines as we crossed the highway twice.

It was really a cool experience to line up with 600 other people (just in my wave!) and all hit the trail together. There was everything from people just out for fun to serious runners who wanted to win and everything in between. I loved being a part of that.

Being a competitive person, it was  hard to watch people pass me left and right. Of course, I know I'm only so fit and so fast, so I had to keep reminding myself I wasn't there to race, I was there to finish and meet my goal of not having to skip any run intervals. But I couldn't help feeling satisfied when I passed others...what can I say, I'm human. I did meet my goal in both races, and as  bonus I finished both in just under a 14:00 pace and still had some left in me. Of course I want to be faster, but that will come with time and training.

After I finished the 10K, I got really emotional. I realized that two months ago I wouldn't think I could run that far that fast. It was really awesome to be able to accomplish that! It made me feel like I can do anything. I'm actually looking forward to doing seven miles this weekend, because I know I can do it. That is just crazy.

Today it's swimming, and tomorrow I up my short distance to four miles and up my intervals to 3:00 run, 1:30 walk. Eep! But I know I can do it.

Total miles for the summer: 59

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Pre-event thoughts

So tomorrow is my first running event, the Folsom Firecracker 5K. I suppose you could call it a race, because they do give awards to the fastest runners, but my goal is just to go do it, have fun, and get a feel for what it's like to run in a crowd and in front of people. I doubt I will ever be a competitive runner, but there is definitely a winning feeling that goes with taking on a challenge and completing it. This is just one step on my journey toward the marathon! The distance is easy enough as it is the same as what my short training runs have been for the past couple of weeks. My goal is to finish with a sub-14 minute pace, which I should be able to do, although Kim has warned me that if it's really crowded I may not have much control over the pace. So, I can't get too hung up on it.

It was really cool to go pick up my packet today. It was at Sports Authority in Folsom, and there were a bunch of other people there picking up their bibs and t-shirts. It was neat to be one of them. I've joined this whole community of people from all walks of life who all run. I've found that most of them are very supportive. Out running, especially on the American River Parkway, it's common for other runners to not only say good morning, but to offer words of encouragement. I think they all know how hard this sport is, especially when you have a body like mine, and they encourage each other to keep at it. I love that. Anyway, I walked around the store for a bit to see if they had anything I wanted, and I felt really proud carrying my bib and t-shirt. I'm part of something. And that something is happening tomorrow. It seems a little silly being so hyped up about a little 5K run, but I am.

I used to tell people I hate running. In fact, just last week someone said, "I hate running. I suck at it." and I replied, "I do, too. That's why I do it...I hate being bad at anything!" and you know what? I don't hate it anymore. It's not as hard as it used to be, although it's still hard enough, especially when we up the distance or the interval. But even though it's hard, I end up getting through it. And that feels awesome. I can run two and a half minutes without stopping, and that's more than I could a year ago. I can run/walk five miles and still sprint at the end. I couldn't do that a year ago. Remind me of that next time I talk about how hard it is, ok?

Here's to my first event tomorrow...going to get a good night's sleep tonight!