Saturday, October 31, 2009

A hard 20 miles

Today I confirmed something I already knew in my heart. 20 miles is even tougher when you are not running it. Today I manned a water station for USAFIT Philly. I met with everyone at the start then headed off in my car to wait for them at my designated spot. Here I would see them twice. Once as they finished 9.5-10 miles and once on the way back at mile 14.5-15.

It's hard to sit and wait. Not just because it was cool and rainy. I wanted to be out there with them. I was bored! All in all the group did well. Since this was our second long run like this it was good for everyone to compare to the last one. Most said they felt better, stronger than last time. That's so good to hear.

I used the down time between runner sightings to think about this year and things that I want to see for the group next year. I should have written them down.

Tomorrow the Ben Frankling Bridge 10K. I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I went to the gym yesterday. The usual simple workout. Weights then 30 minuntes on the bike. Today I went out for 2- 2 mile loops around Media. Most of the distance was down Jackson and back up Edgmont. Edgmont is a nice long slow climb. Jackson is more rolling although mostly down in the direction I took it. I took my time and just kept moving. It felt good for the most part. My right ankel and hip bothered me some near the end but I was able to walk that off. Off tomorrow.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

22 miles.... done and in the books

I finished! Making a total of 33 miles for the weekend
I feel great. Yeah my muscles are sore but I am not exhausted and my spirits are high!

The alarm went off at 6 a.m. For about 10 seconds I thought about waiting another hour and decided against it. It was now or never. Breakfast was a bagel, a banana and some water and off I went.

Driving over I changed my route yet again. I would do the same route but decided on the 4 miles out to Norristown and back would be the first leg. This is a lot of new territory for running. I've walked that years ago but our training runs usually don't go past the 27.5 marker in that direction. I would be going 2 more miles before turning around. I decided I wanted fresh body and mind for the unknown. I think it was a good idea. I went out to 25.5, walked for the time it took to down a gu and some water, stopped briefly to stretch and headed back.

At 29.5 I headed down the the water fountain to fill my bottles, stretched, downed another gu and headed off in the direction of Oaks. When I got down the hill I turned left to add the exta mile that I needed. This was a very very very muddy 1/2 mile out and 1/2 mile back. The rains last night made a real mess of the trail. My sneaks are a mess. They'll clean up after they dry out but I threw out the socks. They aren't worth the effort to clean them. That's how bad it was. I think this is where running slow was a good thing. A faster runner would probably lose their footing in that muck.

So out to the dog park toward Phoenixville and back. After that, I walked back up the hill to the bridge across the Perkiomen Creek. I took a gu and water and at the top of the hill stopped to stretch. A little over 4 miles back to 29.5.

All along I had been thinking that if I got back to 29.5 and felt good mentally I would add another 2 miles. Well 29.5 arrived and I still had it together in my head tho my muscles were aching. My joints were good though. I watered up and decided I'd take it 1/2 mile at a time. I turned back toward 30...if I made it there and felt like it I'd go to 30.5 before turning around. Well I did make it to 30.5 and back. All that remained was the approx .75 back to the car.

The last half mile I was starving... really felt hungry..... like i would have eaten eggplant and lima beans which I HATE!!! So I didn't hydrate well enough. It was cool and I wasn't paying enough attention. I really only drank when I gued and that obviously was not enough. It also took a very long time to finish. I'll stil manage to finish Goofy in time to qualify for the medal(s) .... it will be a very long day.

I arrived home, showered, took an alleve and ate some salad. On the way home I had a peanut butter granola bar... and lots of water. I've been trying to make sure I get up and walk every 30 minutes or so if I'm sitting and although sore I'm not stiff. Of course getting out of bed tomorrow may be a different story.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rainy run walk

So the temperature was 68 when I left the house. By the time I arrived at our meeting spot at 7:15, blue skies were peeking through the clouds. I knew that wouldn't last and it didn't. Still all in all it was an ok run. We started out in about 99% humidity.. however close you can get to 100% without actually raining. It wasn't until about mile 5.5 that the rains came and by that time it was actually refreshing.

I think our total today was 11 rather than 12; but hey whats a mile among friends :). I started out with my usual. "I'll run until that hill and then walk a bit" The hills on this route were strategically placed for that I was lucky. I changed strategies though. About mile 6 or so Helen and Mark leap frogged me twice doing a walk run thing. 2 minutes walking 1 minute running (a la Jeff Galloway). Helen and Mary had used the strategy in the Baltimore Marathon and it worked well. After they caught up to me the second time I decided to finish with them. The 2 minutes running was faster than I normally run but it was ok, telling myself I only have to keep this up for two minutes and then I can walk for a minute.

We finished at an average pace of about 11:35 per mile. Had I kept running I would have slowed down (without the benefit of the walk breaks) and probably finished at a slower average and well behind them. I felt good when we were done too. I felt like I ran well and recovered pretty quick.

It'd be nice to try this tomorrow on my 20 miler but I don't wear a running watch so I'd have to figure the intervals on my own. I could do it by feel. Run a quick pace for about 10 seconds longer than I think I can hold it (which is how it felt today) and then walk until I can just about catch my breath again (which is how the walk break felt). We'll see.

I've changed my mind on the route for tomorrow. The route we took today was partly new and I liked it. If I had gone all the way to the end of the one path it would be 6 out and back to the start. So I think I'll do that but when I get back to Betzwood I'll go 4 out and back toward Norristown to get the final 8 in and then head over the bridge to the start. Two water bottles should hold up until returning to Betzwood where I can refill.

Stay tuned :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Still rain in the forecast

The forecast for tomorrow gets grimmer by the minute. Still about 70% chance of rain and probable thunderstorms but I haven't really heard any committment as to when the thunder storms are coming. Let's hope later in the day because we will have to cancel the run if it does.

On another but still running related note, i've decided to organize some cheer zones for the Philly Marathon for USAFIT Philly runners. I'm doing the Half that day and so are some others. We have some phillyfitters who are not running at all due to injury or maybe they did a marathon earlier. I'm hoping to get some of each of these groups to form some cheer zones for both the half and full marathon runners that day. I can think of half a dozen spots we could cover. Even if no one else steps up I plan to stay after finishing my hafl to cheer on the full runners. It wil be fun.

I am blessed to have family at most of my races. My husband has been to all but one so far and both he and my daughter stood in the freezing temperatures at last year's marathon. Not everyone has family though and they've worked so hard for six months. And even if they do have friends and family along the route so extra cheering will alwasy be appreciated.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Two in a row

I opted for 3 miles on hills today. Again another awesome run. I had to work for it and it felt great. I need store some of this great for Saturday run. 70% chance of rain, likely thunderstorms and about 65. At least it will be warmer than the past two weekends.


I'm still debating the route for Sunday. I can go in to the city and run the river between the Art Museum and the Falls Bridge. 8.4 each loop. I'd need about 2.5 loops to get the miles in. The pros with that one is the water fountain at the boathouse means I dont have to carry a full water belt which would be nice for such a long run. The cons is boredom. Running almost three times around might drive me nuts.

Choice #2 is to do an out and back along the Schuykill River and Perkiomen Trails. The big con to that is lack of water stops. I'd have to carry a full water belt. The pro is the familiarity with the trail

Choice #3 is to chunk it up into four out and backs with Betzwood Park as the center. Water and bathrooms at Betzwood and the four chunks are different lengths to keep it interesting. Interesting is important when running 20 alone. I don't use an ipod.

I'm fairly certain it's going to be choice #3.

And first to get through 12 miles in the rain on Saturdy.... and keep the morale of the others in the group on the positive. I love a challenge! :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Awesome run

Today I swapped a gym day for a run outside. What a great run. 4 loops of the neighborhood for a total of about 5.6 miles. 65 degrees, DRY and sunny. I've had so many crappy outdoor runs in a row I needed a good one.

The first loop my shins were tight; no doubt a leftover rebellion to the Sunday treadmill run. After the first loop they loosened right up and the next two loops went by smoothly. No pains in the ankles, knees or hips. I wasn't breaking any land speed records (well let's face it I never do) but I was moving a nice comfortable pace that didn't feel like I was dogging it either. On the last loop my right ankle (the one I sprained) and knee started to twinge. I was so excited and feeling good I couldn't let that stop me.

That got me to thinking; the key to this running thing is good hydration, nutrition and a good mood. Without those, the little twinges make you want to stop.

The weather tomorrow and Thursday is forecasted for just as nice so I may avoid the gym altogether this week and take advantage of it. I'll try to do 3-5 on both days before resting on Friday. Our group run on Saturday calls for 12 miles (and it's supposed to be raining again with possible thunderstorms...*Sigh*).

I have to start giving some thought to my Sunday run that follows that. I plan to do 20;back to bcak with the 12 this will be the first test for Goofy. The question is where to run the 20.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

10 miles on a treadmill

I can't think of too many things that are more boring, tedious and just plain awful than that. But I was not in the mood to go out in the cold rain again. The skies cleared up while I was at the gym but the winds picked up and I wasn't in the mood for that either.

I set the treadmill up for 60 minutes and 12 mph for the first block. When that was over I took a few minutes off and went to stretch out my back. I went back to the treadmill for another 5 miles and by mile 7 I was wiped. What made me think I could do 10 mile without nutrition. I would have had it on the road. Duh..... I plodded through setting the incline and walking most of the last 3 miles.

So it wasn't a pretty workout but I got it done. I really need to get in some better workouts if I'm going ot survive Goofy. I'm not in that one for time but I do want to have fun and finish strong.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cold cold rain

Last November we ran 26.2 miles in the cold... 26 degrees of it to be precise. On that day, however, it was sunny and dry. Today the temp was about 41 when I left the house and it was cloudy, gray and rainy..no sun to speak of.

Last night there were some emails exchanged; should the run be cancelled? 15 miles is about 3 hours for the red group.. that's a long time to be exposed to the conditions we expected. It was decided that we would send out a warning email but show up and see who else showed up and take it from there. Well 12 people all told showed up at 7:30 at the Valley Forge Visitors Center parking lot. In hindsight I think we could have predicted the 12! LOL.

The yellow group (8-10 minute milers) decided to stick it out for the 15 miles. The red group (10 minute and slower) opted for the 5 mile loop and to re-evaluate after that. I think we knew going into it that we would only do the five. So off we went.

Once you get moving it 's not so so bad. I do not have a proper rain hat and I felt the effects on my head pretty quickly. My shoes came untied twice.... After the second time I double knotted them. I usually don't double and they stay ...plus doubling them makes it harder to get them off as they seem to tighten up. But I guess the rain made them more slippery. I stuck with Brenda and we finished a little of 5 miels in 57 minutes. Not bad for such crappy conditions.

We headed straight for the washroom to change into dry clothes and that helped. I did not change my socks which was a mistake and the chill took hold of me pretty quick once the rest of me cooled off from running. I need to invest in a proper running rain repellent hat and jacket. Maybe at the Marathon or Gooffy expo I'll find a decent deal.

So five miles in the books today. Not the planned 15 but compared to how I felt this past Wednesday it was a good run. I need to get some distance in again soon though. Tomorrow is supposed to be just as messy as today so I may opt for the gym rather than go through this again.

Glad it's over. Now on to some needed Kohl's shopping (with a 15% off card) and then home to watch football and catch up on shows I missed during the Philies games.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tues, Wed, Thurs

I've been so busy I've forgotten to update this blog. Fortunately not too busy to get my workouts in. On Tuesday and tonight I went to the gym for workouts on the weight machines and the bike and the elliptical. ON Wednesday I ran out side around Media. I completed 5 miles. I felt sluggish. It was as if my feet were hitting the pavement with loud thuds. I'm not sure why it was but I never got into a comfortable rythm. But I finished the run so that is good.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday 5 miler

I slept in today. I finally rolled out of bed at 9 a.m. I ate breakfast and waited until about 10:30 to head out. I was waiting for my daughter and her friends to wake up so I could say goodbye to them before they headed back to college. Finally I went out, leaving them a note and as it turned out they were still here when I returned.

I ran to and from my house and over my modified version of the Media 5 mile race course. The added distance to and from my house keeps the total distance at just over 5 miles. The course is two loops. I ran in the opposite dirction of race day first. This takes me down the dreaded 8th street hill but gives me two long slow climbs up Olive and Edgemont. Those don't bother me as much as the incline on 8th. I stopped after one loop to stretch and then reversed course promising myself that I could walk up 8th street if I ran the rest of the way. I did that, stretched one more time and picked up the pace to finish the distance to home.

Nothing hurt, my pace was slow... I figure just under 13 minute miles....which includes the walking and stretch stops...but I was definitely going for sticking with a plan today.. and I did. :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The morning after....

The morning after a blood donation is not a good time to run. I think I knew that even as I was in the bloodmobile but I also knew that missing today's run would not be the end of the world either.

I left home around 6:45, it was 70 and humid. I arrived first at the meeting spot and unloaded the snacks, gatorade and water and found a more or less dry spot under a tree. Being one of the last ones in usually I didn't want to leave it all locked up in my car. I think all told only 10 of us showed up today. I imagine that is in part because of the drop back week; some felt they could do 10 on their own so why get up early in the rain. I also think we've lost some people because they were locked out of the marathon so they've stopped coming. That's a shame but possibly true.

Renee gave us a good talk on safety and we headed off to do the loop and then a 2 out and back on the Schyulkill Trail for a total of 10. Halfway into the loop I knew I was in trouble. I wasn't going to make 10 miles. I took numerous walk breaks and after completing the loop I headed back to the meeting spot rather than go out and back for the remainder. My muscles tired easily and my breathing was difficult. So note to self; no blood donations in the middle of training. Or at least not the day before a scheduled long run.

I've adjusted my schedule yet again. Due to today's poor showing I'm going to go for 5 every day this week through Wednesday, the gym on Thursday and then rest on Friday before joining the group on Saturday for 15.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Phillies lose I win....

So I came home from work and watched the end of the Phillies-Rockies game. Phils lost 5-4. Despite almost falling asleep again (I really should learn to watch TV sitting up I guess) I went to the gym and had a great workout; much better than I expected considering how I felt.

Off tomorrow. Scheduled 10 miles with Phillyfit on Saturday. The forecast is for rain in the morning on Saturday and a lot of people are sick and some are still recovering from the 20 miler last weekened. I wonder how many will show up!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Running against the wind...

... and with the wind and across the wind. It was windy tonight.. did you get that?

I came home from work and watched the end of the Phillies game (we won 7-1). I closed my eyes between innings and almost fell asleep. I had dressed for running though as soon as I got home to hedge against just that.

I decided to do four laps around my neighborhood, about 5.5 miles. I felt awkward the first lap but by the second I had hit a rhythm and felt pretty good. As I started the third though my hip started to bother me. It was like a burning more than soreness. I walked a few steps and it went away. I stretched and continued running and it returned. So I did a walk/run thing for the rest of lap 3 and called it quits.

Oh and I did got the the gym yesterday for an hour.... weights and bike.

Monday, October 5, 2009

More thoughts on Saturday's run

The thing that is so great about it is that not once did I feel like I was not going to or could not finish. Last year when we hit 18+ miles I finished each run feeling totally spent and depressed. It was scary to be out there and feel like you shouldn't be there. That happened in the marathon too. Everyone said, "You hit the wall". Ok, but what did that really mean. On Saturday I didn't hit it.. and now I know what it means. I had read about it, I had been told about it but I never really got it. Until I had something to compare it to.

Properly hydrated and fueled was as much necessary for my brain as it was for my body. I hurt in the last miles of Saturday's run. But I was able to deal with it and work with it. I was able to think my way through it. I don't think I'm explaining this well but it's an amazing revelation.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The day after

Ok I woke up this morning and stepped gingerly out of the bed. My quads are very sore and my ankle a bit too. I opted right then not to run today. I think I knew that even when I went to bed last night but any shred of doubt was gone in the morning.

I am pleased to say nothing is damaged. I think I knew that too. I was doing a mental check of all my body parts as I ran yesterday. I wore my ankle brace for the day today and tried to keep moving; tried to avoid sitting for too long stretches. I tried to go up and downstairs a few times and do some slow gentle stretches too. As the day wore on it took fewer and fewer steps to feel comfortable. Although walking downstairs will still take another day I think. So all in all I think I've faired well after the long lay off. Today and tomorrow are all about recovery then and I'll be back to routine, I hope, on Tuesday.

Let's hope I can stay healthy now and not have to go through this again!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

USA Fit Philly: The longest 18 miler ever...

First let me say that I am proud of today's run. I am proud of all my runs and 'races' but I take special note of today. After ten days off - my last run was five miles on Tuesday Sept 22 then I was overtaken by a cold/flu thing and didn't have the energy - I finished today's workout.

I knew it would not be easy after the long layoff. So I chunked it up into 5 mile pieces 5+5+5+3. I would run five miles miles taking an electrolyte pill at about 3.5-4 and at mile 5 I would walk for the time it takes me to down a GU and water chaser; probably about 60-90 seconds. Just enough to rest the muscles before picking up the pace to running again. And repeat for the next 5 miles and so on. That was my plan and I was able to stick to it very nicely for the first 10 miles. The good news is that my brain and my energy held up beatifully the entire run. My legs though were feeling the effects of the layoff. After about mile 11 I took numerous stretch breaks and walked pieces of the final miles. No shame whatsoever.... this was going to be a tough run by definition.

Still when it was all over I was happy, alert and still had energy. That was so important.

Upon returning to our meeting spot I discovered that we actually covered 20 miles!!!! There are spots on our route that are not measured and the guestimate was off. I actually suspected when I was chunking the run up in my mind last night but I assumed I was misjudging the unchartered spots and adjusted them accordingly. Apparantly I was not. The runners in our group who have running watches all came in at 20 miles + or -. On any given run the watches will record a range on either side of the target but not by more than a few tenths. It depends on who took a detour to a bathroom or who zig zagged etc. But not a difference of 2 miles; and not on so many watches for sure. Sooooooo today we ran the longest 18 miler ever.......... until we screw up the measurements again that is! LOL