Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Training Week 12

I was pretty darn sluggish/tired/physically "spent" this past week.  Don't know if my body knew it was a step down week or what, but it was a slow going week despite being one of my lower mileage weeks.  I got up 5:30 a.m. Tuesday and went out for my 5 mile loop and just didn't have the legs and towards the end the back of my right knee started not feeling right, so I cut the run short and ended up doing 4.5.  The next morning I planned to do the same 5 mile loop and again I had tired legs, but no knee pain so I made myself do the full 5.  Then, as you past blog post readers remember, I had my issue with my new cool GPS watch not working on Friday and I ended up doing a 8.68 mile run (instead of the 10 I was suppose to have done) in the morning on Friday.  So when we headed to the rec center to go and swim with kids and husband after work/school I had to get my full 10 in for the day so I hopped on a treadmill and did 1.5 miles.  Then my last  run of the week was one of my slowest, but it was slow for a good reason.  My son and I participated in the "Get Moving for Healthy Kids" 5K.  This race raises money for school run health clinic that serves the uninsured, etc.  Some of my colleagues staff the clinic so a great cause and way to support friends.  Last year my son and I just attended the race, but this year the whole family went.

Race day was extremely WET!  There wasn't lightning, but it was a steady rain and I was soaked to the bones by the end of it.  My son and I got our goody bags and bibs and huddled under my daughter and husband's umbrellas until we had to go down and get ready for the start.  I had already taken our bags back to the car when I realized people had timing chips on their shoes.  Total bummer- I hadn't checked the bag out indepthly and they had never used timing chips in the past so I was caught off guard and we didn't have time to run back and put them on, so no official time for us two.  We did o.k. the first 0.8 miles, but the rain really put a damper on the run and my sons shoes were soaked and the middle of the race was somewhat slow going.  However, he kicked it in at the end and we finished strong- like his mom and dad like to finish :).  Following the race my daughter participated in the 100 meter dash and my son and daughter participated in the 400 meter dash.  My little girl did awesome.  She got third place for her age group in the 400 meter and my son got fourth for his age group, which I thought was great considering he had just finished the 5K with me.

Wish it hadn't rained so much so I could have gotten action shots of these awesome young runners.

 Another week of training down- my cross training has stank and I'm really being honest with myself and don't know that I have desire to put it back in to the weekly work out line up, but deep down inside I know if I don't I'll question did I give this year's training my all. 23 miles for week 12- Training To be continued....

Friday, August 24, 2012

What happens when you rely on technology

So this week is a step down week and I only needed to do 10 miles for my long run.  So I had planned to do the run during little one's preschool time.  So everything was going smooth, until I went to link with my Nike Plus GPS watch.  It would not link= I wouldn't know my mileage.  I had not plotted  my run prior because I have been running with my watch and was planning on relying on it for my route/mileage.

My awesome Coach (aka Husband) gave to me as a gift after finishing the Rock N Roll 1/2 in Chi-town.
I really love it- it is user friendly and has everything I need (miles, pace, time, stopwatch, etc).  I had been using my "coach's" Garmin and just felt like I wasn't going to use enough of the multiple functions Garmin offers in their GPS watch.  It is quite a bit more money than the watch I was given and that is due to all the extras you are paying for.  I'm not an "extra" person and the basics are just fine by me.

Here's my new running buddy- I love the look, super light weight and love the blue color.

So I have been using my watch for almost a month and have never had the problem I had this morning.  Instead of just standing there like a deer in headlights I just started running.  I had a basic plan of route and so was going to stick with it.  I felt really good on the first half of the run and when I thought I had gone about 5 miles and based on time I decided  to turn around.  I thought I was probably a little short of the 10 miles, but all the time I wasted trying to "link" the watch along the way and prior to starting I was nervous about getting the run done in time before picking up the little one from preschool.

I headed back the same way I came to make tracking the distance easier.  The second 1/2 was hard.  My legs felt so tired and my arms were sore too.  So when I returned at my car and only 1 hour and 36 minutes had passed I figured I was under my 10 mile goal.  If I run about 10 minute mile it should have taken me more like 1 hour and 40-45 minutes with the breaks, etc fiddling with the watch.

Well I went home and "mapped my route" and sure enough I was short, by 1.3 miles- UGH!  I totally believe in getting your long runs in each week- you can cut the other runs short during the week, but not the long run.  So now what?  Well I'm heading to the  rec center with my kids to swim after school so I may just jump on the treadmill and get my 1.3 miles in so I can feel like I did 10 miles today.  I have to let go that I didn't get it in all at one time/run.

So weird that I ran 17 miles last week and felt good and this week I felt like I was dragging tree trunks up and down the route and didn't even do the full 10 I was suppose to.  Onto another week of running in about 3 days- always good to have a fresh start.

Moral of above: if you want to make sure you get specific miles in always good to "map run" before run and not just rely on technology- that way there can't be excuses other than your own lazy/tired/sick, etc excuses that prevent you from getting the mileage done.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Training week 11

This past week has been a good training week.

I started out with a four miler on Tuesday morning.  It has been nice and cool so the morning runs have been very enjoyable.  The next morning I ran 8 miles early- another good morning run.  I listened to music/radio both days and felt like my running cadence was back to the normal pace 9:20-10:20 min/mile.  I took two days off of running and went swimming one day ( well O.k. so not the typical laps swimming I was doing prior to tri, but does swimming laps in the lazy river- going with the flow- count :)- the kids and I enjoyed the relaxing pool time).  Saturday morning I started about 5:45 a.m. and ran 17 miles.  I had recently conquered the eaudiobook system at my local library and was finally able to download books to the Ipod easily so I started "The Paris Wife" and really after 17 miles I feel like I could do my own "Ryan Hall Moby Dick- audiobook commercial"- you know the one that was constantly playing during the Olympics.  I listened for 2 hours and 58 minutes- about 13 chapters into the book, which I'm enjoying and I kept an eye on my pace and really tried to stay within the 9:20-10:20 mark hence why I ran 17 miles this past Saturday in just about the same time it took me to run 15 miles last Saturday.

Digression- After you run any real length of time and also throw in some hills into that run, because around where I live there just isn't flat terrain, other than the track- anyways- you get sore from the up and down and just constant hitting the pavement.  I've found that the only way I really don't "crack/fold" under the soreness after the long run is to keep moving.  So I cleaned bathrooms, with the help of my oldest, cleaned out the good old "fish tank"  with the help of both kidos, and went to the park with the family in the afternoon.  Not until later that day when I finally sat down did I start to feel sore.

Sunday I did a nice 3 mile recovery run.  Tried to run one of my flatter routes and ran it somewhat hard.  The only annoying thing about this run was I was heckled three times by the same SUV with 3 teenage boys yelling obscenities at me.  It really stinks when you go out to run a nice recovery run in the middle of a Sunday with great cool/sunny weather and have to be on guard for people yelling at you.  Despite the fact I was listening to more of "The Paris Wife" I still jumped the second time the car drove by and the testosterone filled males yelled out at me- boy did I look jumpy I'm sure.  Anyways, I made it home and again only after a little siesta on Sunday did I feel sore, mainly in my quads from the aftermath of the hills I ran the day before.

It was a good week- 33 miles!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Two Women with big Passions...

are highlighted in this post on the two most recent "reads" in my life.  The first one I just finished today.  I really enjoyed it and felt it was very well written.  It's a memoir- which I kind of ignore that word when I see it because I've never fully understood what memoir means.  To me a memoir is fiction, maybe it could be classified as "historical fiction" because if in fact parts of the book are true than it is history.  However, this book I read more like Nonfiction Travel Log of one person's quest to find "Laura's World" and become apart of it.

The following is a summary of the book.  However, I don't know that I totally agree with the last line.  I think part of the enjoyment of this book and "getting" this book is that you have to be a LHOP fan (that's Little House on the Prairie for those who don't know Wilder text lingo).  My dad read the LHOP books to my sister and I growing up and I really enjoyed the, but don't know that I specifically know them well enough to tell you which one is my favorite.  I do look forward to rereading them in upcoming years with my children.  Hopefully they will enjoy the stories like I did.

From Publishers Weekly (starred review):

★ Obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House books about an 1880s pioneer family, children’s book editor and memoirist McClure (I’m Not the New Me) attempts to recapture her childhood vision of “Laura World.” Her wacky quest includes hand-grinding wheat for bread, buying an authentic churn, and traveling to sites where the Ingalls family attempted to wrest a living from the prairie. Discovering that butter she churned herself was “just butter,” McClure admits she “felt like a genius and a complete idiot at the same time.” Viewing a one-room dugout the Ingallses occupied that was “smaller than a freight elevator” prompted McClure to admit that “the actual past and the Little House world had different properties.” McClure finally tells her boyfriend, “I’m home,” after recognizing that her travels stemmed from her reaction to the recent death of her mother. Readers don’t need to be Wilder fans to enjoy this funny and thoughtful guide to a romanticized version of the American expansion west.

The second book is about a different kind of passion.  A passion for birds and really more so the nests and eggs of the birds.  I know what you are thinking- has ChattyNatty totally fallen off the wagon- nope I'm just really into people who write passionately about things they love or are interested in.  This book is all about how one girl's passion drove not only herself, but her loved one's to help her develop a book that some have called "one of the most beautiful books in the world".

Below is an excerpt from the author's website in describing what the book is about.  The pictures in this book are unbelievable.  The story however, in the very beginning of the book is even more amazing to me.  The author, Joy Kiser, has done a wonderful job taking the previous book, which was Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohio and sharing these vivid images with the current world.  Also the Smithsonian has its own info/site on America's Other Audubon and if you want more of the story and/or picture of plates go to: http://www.sil.si.edu/ondisplay/nestsandeggs/CF/thumbnails.cfm 
Plate II- Wood Thrush
Illustrated by Genevieve Jones

   Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohiowas created by the family of Dr. Nelson E. Jones, a remarkable group of amateur naturalists and artists who intended for it to be used as a companion volume to Audubon’s Birds of America. The book was their daughter, Genevieve’s idea but the parents were reluctant to support the undertaking of such an ambitious and expensive project until Genevieve became despondent over a broken engagement.
           Concerned over her fragile mental state, they encouraged her to begin the book as a distraction. When part one of Genevieve’s work was issued, leading ornithologists praised the illustrations as being even more beautiful than Audubon’s and former President Rutherford B. Hayes and then college student Theodore Roosevelt added their names to the subscription list. When Genevieve died suddenly from typhoid fever, her family took up the completion of the work in her memory.
           In 1935, Genevieve’s book was described as one of the most beautiful books ever created in America but very few Americans have had the opportunity to see it.
           America’s Other Audubon relates a little known tale of American ingenuity and resourcefulness; about a family working together to overcome grief by funneling their talents, energies, and financial resources into the completion of a masterpiece.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Training week 9 and 10

Sometimes I feel like there just aren't enough hours in the day.  Don't know where the time has gone, but getting ready to enter last week's training update I realized that I hadn't put in Week 9.  So here  is a brief recap of Training week 9: Knee was sore from the 10 miler I did 5 days after the Chicago Rock N Roll 1/2 so I took it a little easier and only did 5, 5, 3, and then my tri on Sunday.  I did a 5 mile bike the day before the race and 10 laps.  It was a good week before the race and I think backing off helped me not have problems with my knee or any other body part on the day of the race.

Now onto this past week: Tuesday a.m. ran 7 miles (1hr 16 min)- not bad, Wednesday speed workout at track with Running Wild Group (1 mile warm/up, followed by 400's repeat x 6 with goal of 1 min 40-50 sec finishing time- rest of about 3 minutes between each 400, followed by 800 cool down- total 2.8 miles), then I took two days off- no cross training/swimming/biking/etc (does walking at the state fair count as cross training :)?).  Saturday a.m. I ran 15.4 miles, but the weird and strange thing is it took me 2 hours and 56 minutes to do this run. I didn't feel that slow during the run.  I walked only when I took my Sports Beans around mile 9, but still my clock when I returned was the barer of bad news- I was horribly slow on this run. I'd like to have so many excuses for this, but I really can't use ("oh those hills" or "my knees were so sore"- which they were, but still even the good old blame it on the "I was listening to a book on tape and just got caught up in the story and the narrator's cadence was so slow it slowed me down" excuse).

Coach (aka Husband) was worried about me.  He knew how far I was running and was concerned it had taken me almost 3 hours to run 15 miles. Now remind you- I don't sprint my long runs on the weekends, but come on- why can I run a 1/2 marathon in the blazing heat of Chicago in almost 2 hours and it then takes me on a beautiful cool sunny Saturday morning almost 3 hours to do 15.  I still am boggled by this experience and I've decided that I can't over analyze it because it won't change anything.  I just have to keep plugging on.

The following day I went to the gym with the intention to run 4 miles on the treadmill- this was a total cop-out.  It was a nice day, I should've ran outside, but instead I did the good old- "go to the gym" excuse. Deep down inside I knew I was still mentally getting over my horrible slow time the day before.  I ran 3 miles in 29 minutes on the treadmill and as soon as I saw the 3 miles mark I was done.  I didn't mentally have it in me to run that 1 more mile.  This is disappointing, but again I can't dwell on it and I start back tomorrow.   This is another higher mileage week and I'm hoping that the 17 miler I do this coming Saturday goes by a little bit more quickly.

One idea I have is to work on a new playlist for my long run this coming weekend.  I've really not been listening to music lately and I'm wondering if changing it up a little from my books on tape to some energetic, get the blood flowing music will liven up my step.

If anything this past week of training has reminded me of how humbling running can be- just when you are on the high of placing in top 3 for age range for a mini-sprint Tri you get brought back down to earth with a 15 miler at a 11:28 pace.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I tried Triathlon

That is the name of our hometown mini-sprint Triathlon.  I had intended to participate in the Triathlon last year, but due to the "fish bowl" accident I didn't participate and watched from the sidelines as my husband, sister and brother in-law participated.  A year later and a year healthier with no "fish bowl" accidents and I entered the pool 44th on this past Sunday morning.

The swim was tough for me this year. The swim is such a small portion of most Triathlons, but it can be the toughest for many athletes. All I had to do was swim 250 yards or 10 laps in our community pool.  My breathing has been off most of my training and this breathing thing is pretty important when you are expending energy.  I have felt like a whale in the water not a slick moving swimmer during training and so it shouldn't have surprised me that about 4 laps of the pool I started to feel this kind of panic set in.  I even stopped my free stroke and did a couple of breast strokes just to keep my head above water and breathe easier.  I regrouped and finished strong.  I was so excited to pull myself out of the pool.

Onto the bike- 6 miles on a flat course.  The bike historically has been my worst part of the Tri the last two times I did the event.  The first year I rode my bike on a pretty flat front tire; so basically I was turning my wheels as fast as I could, but not going anywhere.  I didn't realize how  flat my tire was until I saw a picture of me on the bike and the front tire looked totally flat.  The second year I participated it went better, but I still didn't feel great about my ride.  This year I felt better prepared and I borrowed my father in-laws bike which was a smooth ride and I really felt a lot easier to move on.  I didn't get passed the entire bike and I passed a few so that is always positive and I knew I was pushing it because my quads were burning.

Last was the run- short one- 2.1 miles.  I wanted to finish strong and feel like my run is the strongest part of the Tri.  Getting off a bike and starting to run hard can feel really funny.  It is like you know you are running, but you can't feel your legs that well. Like your legs went to the dentist and got some shots of "numbing medicine"- you can feel, but you can't feel.   I didn't really feel my legs until a mile into the run.  I kicked it in with a 1/2 mile left and passed a couple of ladies which felt good, but most importantly I finished strong kicking it in at the end.

I felt good about my effort and I felt a definite all over body fatigue.  Husband came in after me, he started in the 68th slot.  He finished strong too.  We waited around for the kids tri, which both the kids you now know participated in.  Before the kids Tri the awards were handed out.  I was pleasantly surprised to be awarded 3rd place for my age division  for women (30-39 y.o.).  Husband also got third in his age division for men. Pretty cool to both have matching plaques.

My official time was 49:49     Swim 5:14.6      Bike 26:29.3     Run 18:05.1

1st place in my division was 48:39.1 and 2nd was 49:36.1, so I wasn't far off 1st or 2nd by much.

If I could go back and do anything different I would've done more time in the pool and worked on increasing my breathing capacity so I would've made up some time in my swim portion.  Bike and Run I really felt like I gave it my all.  The feeling after doing even this mini-sprint is very different than even the recent 1/2 marathon I did.  My quads were still sore the next day, but I had an overall body fatigue, not just legs.  That's what is great about Tri's- it is an all body workout.  Now let the fun begin- big time long runs and training for Chicago.  I hope to still throw in a swim or bike a week, but now focusing on running long and increasing speed.  I'm hoping it will pay off in October.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Mommy's Project 52: active

I think I've been avoiding this final "mommy's project" post because I have so enjoyed the weekly word/theme to post on.  I have decided that I will continue the mommy's project with where it started in 8/4/2011.  I joined late in this project so I will have some more weeks of topics to finish up on.  After I'm done, who knows, maybe I'll come up with my own list of Mommy's Project themes or maybe it will be more like ChattyNatty Project 52 :).  So here is the official last one- ACTIVE.

I never worry about our family being inACTIVE.  We like to stay moving- all of us.  This past weekend was no different.  Our whole family participated in a triathlon back home.  Husband and I both participated in the sprint tri and then the kids did the Kids tri following.
Oh to be young again and try something for the first time- Daughter's smile due to her being so darn excited to be old enough to participate with her brother in the Kids tri.

 Kids listening to rules/regulations for the Tri.  My little one was excited, but also sat next to her big brother like glue.  He was great with her.  Even though they were put in different heats he helped her line up and get in the pool.  
I didn't take my best action photos this race, must have been the lack of sugar in my noggin following my own Tri participation.  Here's my daughter tearing up the bike!

My son kind of cracked me up- he was somewhat coasting during the bike portion, almost like he was enjoying the ride.  He didn't tear it up quite as much as his younger sister.  

Here is our ACTIVE family.  Our kids have been great cheerleaders for us during our races over the years.  It is fun to be on the sidelines cheering for them now.  I hope to continue being an ACTIVE family- together.  

Side note- after we got home from our weekend away I was exhausted, not the little Triathletes- they were practicing for our own mini- Olympics that will be held this coming Thursday.  The kids have come up with appropriate laps around the blocks on bike, run (laps determined on age), basketball (how many baskets you can make in 2 minutes), soccer ( youngest no goalie, oldest and me have to go against "the coach" as goalie).  Boggles my mind how they have so much energy- guess I'm getting old.  

Sunday, August 5, 2012

July Running

Can't believe where July has gone too.  My training has been good this month.  I got in 88 miles of running.  This puts me at 535 miles total for 2012.  In order to meet the goal of 1,000 +++ miles I will need to average around 78/month for the next 6 months.

As I've done in the past here are some of my favorite quotes from "The Runner's Book of Daily Inspiration" by Kevin Nelson

"I've learned to read my body very well.  By staying healthy I hope to run for the rest of my life.  That's the big goal now." -  Anne Audain, masters runner
Something to remind myself about as I continue on with my running/training throughout this year and the years to come.

"There are three goals in marathon running: to finish, to improve, and to win.  Which goal you strive for depends on what level of running you're at." - Hal Higdon, runner and writer

This man has been my first coach and continues to be my coach as I follow his training plans each and every year that I've trained for Chicago Marathon.  I think if you run enough over the years and train long enough for races you will agree with his thoughts above.

"If you want to win a race, you have to go a little berserk." - Bill Rodger, marathoner

I think my family and friends can attest to the above- that I'm a little berserk during training.

"Life is simple, however complex the organism may be; and everything goes to pieces when the living truth of the central simplicity is lost." - Rabindranath Tagore, philosopher

I thought this quote was simple and beautiful and so true!

"Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation." -Oscar Wilde

I know this sounds more like a quote for marriage counseling or something, but what this quote is in reference to is when you are running you may see other runners and normally even if you are an extrovert like me you keep your thoughts to yourself. Oh sure I give a wave and sometimes a "hi", but I'm not a chatter unless BRB is with me.  However, Kevin (author) writes " two people, engage in a similar pastime, exchanging a few brief pleasantries.  That's all it was.  But sometimes that's pretty cool- and all you need at the end of a run.  Why take a vow of silence when you run? Just a brief exchange of pleasantries can be uplifting."

Training week 8

Don't know where I was last week, but I was preoccupied an am a little behind with my training posts.  This post is the week after the Rock N Roll 1/2 marathon.

I decided to take 2 days off after the race and then did 5 miles Wednesday morning.  I took it easy and felt good.  The next day I swam 400 meters in prep for upcoming sprint tri.  My swimming has been tough this year.  I haven't felt as confident with my swims and have struggled with continuous, no stopping for breaths or fixing goggles, etc laps and so felt deconditioned and out of breath this swim too.  Six days after the 1/2 marathon I did 10 miles.  I decided to punch it up a couple of miles.  In the past I only did 8 miles after my 1/2 marathon race in June.  I decided to increase it because I'm feeling a little behind on my long distance runs in prep for the marathon this fall.

Well maybe the 10 miles was too aggressive because the next day my right knee- actually the back of my right knee felt tweaked and sore.  Almost like I had sprained it.  So on Sunday instead of running and biking I just did a 25 minute spin on the bike at rec center.  Coach (aka hubby) questioned my pushing the mileage after doing the 1/2 6 days prior.  I am finding it hard to find a balance to trying to push a little bit more in regard to mileage and speed while not negating the importance of rest days and avoiding injury.  I'm hoping to walk that fine line throughout this training season and come out on the upside of the line- keep you posted.