Saturday, February 26, 2011

Week in Review

~45 Miles
5 days of Running
4 Days of Flu
101-102 Degree Fever

So, what was I doing running 45 miles this week? Well, I got sick. After running a great workout on Tuesday in Greenville, I had high hopes that my week would turn out really well. After my Thursday run ending terribly, I knew that I was getting sick because it was taking me longer than normal to recover and I felt a terrible itch in my throat. I was right. By Friday, the flu had hit me with full force. I developed a bad case of the chills and felt feverish yet cold at the same time while struggling to work remotely on Friday in Greenville. I took my temperature and the thermometer read 101.3. After I crawled into bed, I checked it again...102.5.

Since it wasn't the most ideal of circumstances to hang out with Garrett while I was sick, I said my final goodbye to him in what could be described as a rather sad "bromance" hug since I didn't want him to get my germs. I then drove back to Charlotte in a rush to get home on Friday night, back in the comfort of my own bed, with the company of my cat Cicero.

Who would have known that a temperature would disrupt a running schedule so much? After two days of rest, I was faced with a decision: Do I attempt to run my scheduled 17 mile long run or just play it by feel? Using my Wake Forest trained brain, I played it by feel. I ran 6.5 miles on Sunday, and my body felt weak as can be. My legs felt like they were lifting an additional 10 pounds as I sludged through the McAlpine trails with Chad and John. In the end, I made the right decision. After all, even the professionals like Kara Goucher and Lauren Fleshman take days off and run easy until they feel strong again if they have the fever.

I ended my week with quite a scare tonight. Unknown to me, Cicero snuck out the front door when my friends came over. He was so quiet and stealth about it that no one even noticed him slip out, into the wild abyss. Well, two hours later, when I was about to go to bed, I realized I hadn't seen him in a while. I asked John to search his room and we both began our search in every imaginable crevasse and hiding spot in our house (including the trash can, the dishwasher, his closet, the sink, etc). After I checked outside a couple of times and called his name, I really was starting to freak out. I looked again inside and headed toward the front door again, prepared to walk around the neighborhood and to call for him.

Right as I was about to have a major panic attack, I opened the front door, where Cicero was now standing! He then sprinted inside and seemed quite content that he had two solid hours outside to explore the unknown land outside our front door. Thank goodness Cicero came home because I would have been an emotional wreck if I hadn't found him because he means a lot to me. Also, I was really grateful to John for helping me look and for preparing to set out on the kitty hunt with me. After that, I went to bed with a relieved heart and a happy explorer kitty.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

8x3 Min with 2:30 Rest

8x3 min at 5:30 or faster with 2:30 jog rest
3 miles warmup
8x3 min at 5:11, 5:26, 5:22, 5:21, 5:26, 5:28, 5:25, 5:25 pace with 2:30 jog rest
1.1 mile cool down for 10 miles total

That's right. I just posted a picture of the ECU Pirates. Why? Because I did my workout in ECU country, in the heart of Greenville, NC. Fortunately I did not wear any of my Wake Forest gear, for fear of being insulted or having things thrown at me while working out. I'm staying at the Bullocks house for the next five days to say my final goodbye to Garrett before he goes off to Florida and other destinations to play minor league baseball for 7 months. I'm mentally preparing to not see him for at least two months, so I figure I deserve to spend some quality time with him before that long distance clock really starts ticking.

Fortunately for me, I was able to easily recruit Garrett to bike alongside me for this workout. I had mapped out a 900m loop right outside of his house, which added to the convenience factor for Garrett. I had set a goal to run at goal 5k pace or faster for these intervals. This was before I discovered that it was relatively cold and very windy. The temperature was hovering right around 40 degrees and, with the wind chill, it really felt like 35 degrees. After I warmed up 3 miles on my own, I concluded that the wind was not going to force me to adjust my goals and met Garrett on his bike at the designated starting line.

I won't bore you with the details of each and every interval, but let's just say that on the first one both Garrett and I went out way too hard (5:11 pace) and this made me hurt a lot more on the intervals that followed. Despite the speedy first interval, all of my paces were below my goal pace and I ran 300m-900m into a significant head wind. Mu slowest interval happened to be when a car was coming at us and we had to slow down.

Admittedly, I walked for a little bit during the rest on the last three because I was sucking wind and hating Garrett for being on a bike and for having it so easy. All the same, I was really grateful for his presence because it motivated me to keep going fast when all I really wanted to do was call it a day at #6. After I shouted "una mas" to a perplexed Garrett, I finished the final interval and cooled down for 1.1 miles - just enough to get me 10 miles for the day. This is another workout in the books that I can't really complain about. I'll walk away pleased with this one, and feeling ready for my 10k/5k double next weekend.

Next up: 30 minute tempo on Friday

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Week in Review

70 Miles
7 Runs
15.2 Mile Long Run to pace Allen to a 1:29:20 Half
10 Hours of Driving
3 CRC Champions and 1 Runner-Up at Myrtle Beach

Wow, a lot happened this week! This week started off with a great workout and ended with a great weekend spent with friends. I couldn't have asked for more. Earlier this week, I read Allen's blog post about wanting to run a sub-1:30 Half Marathon at Myrtle Beach. I immediately texted him and told him that if he gave me a cookie, I would pace him to a PR in his half. He graciously accepted my offer (Side note: I never got a cookie, but I carelessly lost his 2009 race bib, so we're even).
After picking John up from school at 3:15PM, we set off in the Redbirdmobile, with Myrtle Beach in our (far) sights. While I had examined the map before getting in the car, I did not realize until we were four hours into the drive how much it really was going to suck. Back roads, stop lights, slow moving tractors, and the South Carolina low country do not make for a pleasant or speedy drive. By the time we were 20 minutes outside of Myrtle, John commented that I definitely was not made for road trips. Not at all. I'm a jet kind of girl; jump on the plane and get to LA in five hours. Wham, bam, done. Get in a car, use a tank of gas and stop at 1923 stoplights and arrive at the Myrtle Villas, where John was staying with Ben and Megan Hovis.

In the end, the drive was worth it. I got to spend three days in SC with Garrett and some of my greatest friends and watch them all accomplish their goals. Since Allen recaps his race in his blog, I won't go into any detail regarding that. However, the after-race experience is noteworthy. After I made it back to the finish chute, where Allen was wearing his medal, I was thanked by six people for being so encouraging throughout the race. They told me that my comments helped them achieve their goals and that they were so grateful for my positive presence. It was a great feeling to know that I had not only helped Allen, but several other runners of whom share the exact same passion for running as I do.

After that, I found out that not only had my roomate John Compton won his first ever Half Marathon, but that Alice Rogers had won in the women's race and that Megan Hovis had followed close behind. Ben Hovis placed sixth overall, which is pretty impressive considering he is only running four or five days a week right now. Allen Strickland broke his own PR and qualified (I think?) for the NYC Half Marathon. I'm sure there were other Charlotte Running Club members in the half marathon, and I applaud their efforts as well. It was a great day for CRC!

The success didn't just stop there. After we changed our clothes, I was able to watch a woman run 2:40 to win the Myrtle Beach Marathon, with Billy following behind. I was able to capture a photo of his finish below. Scott Helms finished the marathon as well, falling just short of his goal due to the heat and some hurt legs!

After Billy's race, we headed over to the HM awards ceremony, where Alice and John were bombarded by questions from a reporter for the Sun Times. After they received their awards, we made our way back to the Hovis' place to pretty up and eat cupcakes before lunch. We meandered over to Margaritaville and enjoyed a "team" lunch with Garrett, Allen, John, and the Hovii. In a celebration of Ben's birthday, we played a 18-hole round of putt-putt and enjoyed the 70+ degrees. Despite John's terrible golfing form, he was able to hit three hole-in-ones, propelling his team to victory over myself, Garrett and Allen.

All in all, it was an amazing few days to be in Myrtle Beach. Everyone who competed in these races ran their little hearts out and deserve to be recognized. Most importantly, they should all be commended for their comraderie and their sportsmanship that was showcased. John cooled down with the guy who got second in the Half, Billy congratulated Kathleen Castles for her outstanding effort to win the entire marathon, and the entire group cheered in the marathoners. When I ran at Wake, I was proud to be a Demon Deacon and I feel that same pride in my city of Charlotte because of the intricate web of runners who support each other. Let's keep up the great work!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

4x9 min with 2:30 rest

4x9 min with 2:00 rest starting at 6:00 ave and getting faster each one

3.75 miles warmup
4x9 min with 2:30 rest at 5:52, 5:48, 5:41, 5:39
1.8 miles cooldown for ~12.3 miles total

After Matt and Thomas arrived at my house and complained about doing a long warmup, somehow I still managed to lead the way and get in the longer warmup that I wanted. We met Will along the Sugar Creek Greenway as we took the long way through Freedom Park to arrive at the Dilworth Speed Loop. The plan was to do the 2 mile loop, but cut off the 800m part so we would really just be running on Worthington and Tremont. Matt and Will would drop off at the mile mark, and Thomas would continue with me, and then we would all meet back up somewhere around where we started.

We stripped our clothes, threw it all in a tree, and toed the line. Before our Garmins beeped, I noticed what an eclectic group of runners we had:
Matt - shirtless with bright green CRC shorts with the logo slapped on both cheeks
Me - with a sports bra that matched Matt's bright green shorts and my winter pale
Will - shirtless and rocking his winter pale to keep me company
Thomas - shirtless, six pack, arm sleeve tattoos, and so tan he could pass for Native American compared to us whities

I laughed to myself at the oddities of our group and appreciated their company. The Garmin finally beeped and we were off. While it felt like we were going at a relaxed pace, we were a little fast at 5:54, but all of us were still able to chat a little bit throughout. We went through the first mile and I made a game time decision to pick it up after each mile split. Thomas continued with me and his company proved to be much needed towards the end of the workout. We finished that interval and before we knew it, 2:30 was up and we were ready to roll again.

For the second interval, we went through the mile in 5:54 again, but Thomas and I picked it up probably a little too much for the last portion. According to Thomas' Garmin we split the last 3 minutes in 5:37 and we both felt pretty tired after that one. During our rest, I told Thomas that it was fun to run each interval a little different than the last one to mix things up. Doing so helps break up the monotony of intervals and also helps practice different race tactics.

On the third and fourth intervals, I finally began to hurt. Granted, we did pick it up going through the mile by over 10 seconds. I really felt my hamstrings and quads tighten in the last 3 minutes of each of these, and I account this to the fact that I lifted the night before and was still sore from that at the start of the run. Thomas was a huge help as he really pushed me.

After we chugged some water, threw our clothes back on, we ran the short way back to my house very, very slow.

Writing this now, I cringe as I move my leg and continue to procrastinate to avoid foam rolling because I know it's going to hurt. However, the pain was worth it because I'd say that this was one of my first real workouts in a long time that went quite well. Now to get ready to pace Allen in his half...

Monday, February 14, 2011

15x1 Min

15x1 min with 1:15 rest at 5:00-5:15 pace

2.5 miles warmup
15x1 Min with 1:15 rest at 5:00-5:10 pace
2.8 miles cooldown for 10 miles total

While a minuters workout may seem easy, such thinking would put you in for an unpleasant shock after about the first 3 intervals. I began this workout with Matt, after I completed a slew of requests at work. Running outside in 70 degrees with Matt was a great way to end my work day and shake off the stress that resulted.

After our 2.5 mile warmup, I could already tell that I had not hydrated enough throughout the day. The higher-than-normal temperatures and the wind made me feel like I was fighting with a lot more factors than I wanted. My legs felt heavy and I hoped that once we began our minuters, my legs would feel that spring of energy and speed. The plan was to have Matt run every other interval with me - all of the odds - while I did the entire 15. We started in Freedom Park and ran to the end of the Sugar Creek Greenway and rounded back into Freedom.

After the first interval, we ran 5:00 pace, and I concluded that since my legs still felt pretty tired, I needed to introduce some mental tactics into the workout to ensure I would finish it. I would break it out into 3 sections of 5 intervals each. After the first section, my legs began to feel better while my breathing began to feel more labored. I will account that to the heat and to the cotton mouth that plagued me throughout the entire workout.

As we entered the 3rd section, we spotted Will Isenhour, who had gotten out of work after we had left. By pure chance, we literally ran into him and he kept Matt and I company for the last 5. I think that his presence gave me additional motivation to keep the pace honest and just as fast as when I started. Once I got home and looked at my garmin, that surely was the case as our fastest intevals were from 10-15. Staying strong at the end of the workout is an important feat that I would like to achieve in all of my workouts. This will train my body to do the same when I race.

After I completed all 15 of the minuters, we ran back to my house at a slow clip and battled the wind with every stride. Upon our return, Matt biked to the Dowd to lift, and I tidied up a bit before Meagan arrived. We enjoyed a nice Valentine's together and ate cheese, hummus, and pizza as she summarized her Olympic Trials qualifying experience at the Mercedes Marathon. In return for her buying me the I Love Trader Joe's Party Cook Book, I rolled out her calves...twice! Now that's what I call a great Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Week in Review

55 Miles
6 Runs
1 Day off
12 Mile Long Run
3 Days of Lifting
2 Massages

This was a successful week 2 of my training plan. After last week's low mileage, my legs are feeling light and fresh, even with the addition of a weight lifting plan that Mark Kane developed for me. After doing body weights at Carolinas Rehab on Tuesday, I did more weights (low reps) with Mark on Wednesday at Pura Vida Fitness, and then decided to lift again on Saturday for fun. With Mark's advice, I will only be lifting twice a week once I'm hitting over 70 miles a week so as to ensure I do not tire my legs out any more than needed. I believe that lifting twice a week, combined with a massage once a week from Byran at Zenriffic Massage and Wellness, will increase my chances of staying injury free.

The best part of this week is that I ran over an hour for each of my runs. This is to increase my endurance as I prepare to run 80 miles a week in March. I enjoyed a minuter workout with an entourage of some my favorite guys and a long run with Megan Hovis this week. I trust that the next couple of weeks of training will go as well as these past two because my mind is in the right place and my body is responding well to the increase in mileage.

In non-running related news, I enjoyed five days with Garrett as we try to get in as much time with each other before he leaves for Spring Training on March 4. In an effort to convert my friends to vegetarianism one meal at a time, I cooked orange ginger tofu stir fry over rice and invited Matt and Jordan over to share in the delicious treat. I also cooked stuffed eggplant, parsley potatoes, asparagus, cauliflower, and kale salad. We enjoyed a birthday dinner with our friend Ottie and also did so bad at Brixx trivia that we left at halftime as we were in last place.

Quite possibly the best news of the week was finding out that the super secret squirrel Meagan Nedlo qualified for the Olympic Trials Marathon with her time (2:44xx) at the Mercedes Marathon in Birmingham, Alabama. It must also be noted that Mark Hadley coached athlete, Mike Kahn, followed her in 2:45:xx. In an effort to keep things under wrap to avoid any additional pressure, Meagan proved that she deserves her spot at the line in Houston 2012. This makes three women from Charlotte who have qualified! It will definitely be a special weekend.

I wrapped up the weekend with the CRC Valentine's Day Run and took a nice shot of the entire group, as you can see below. I posted the picture where I told members to "touch their neighbor." I think each person's personality shines through quite well!

The CRC Group at the Valentine's Run

Cicero hanging out the square of sunlight!

Friday, February 11, 2011

"Long" Run with Megan

12-13 miles

12 miles at 7:10 pace

Today, Megan Hovis was kind enough to drive all the way from her home near McAlpine to join me for a long run (medium run for her!) on the concrete sidewalks of uptown and Myers Park. She had just come off a solid tempo run with Bill Shires and I had just come off a solid day of absolutely no running. However, my weak marathoner body was still sore from my weight lifting session with Mark Kane, where he gave me a lifting regime to do 2 times a week. I can barely get below my hips when doing a squat and we determined it stemmed from a weakness in my abs! If you stop by Pura Vida Fitness, you'll see me doing "stir the pot" and "inch worms." Gotta love the names of exercises.

Back to my long run this morning, Megan and I both agreed that we needed to take it easy, which we did for the first mile: 7:46. After our legs woke up, we began rolling at 6:50s-7:00s the rest of the way home. The conversation was so good that I never even looked at my watch to see what kind of pace we were going. Before I knew it, we had already passed through the entire Sugar Creek Greenway and covered the 3 mile Booty Loop!

I was most happy with how easy and relaxed running 7:00 min pace felt for 12 miles. The goal for the next three months will be to increase this pace for some of my steady state long runs and, based on today's effort, I don't believe I will have any problem accomplishing that. Overall, it was great to catch up with Megan and to hear about how her training is going. As always, she is peppy and ready to run many miles in 2011!

On another note, I found out that both Megan AND Ruth will be running the USA 25k Champs in May. Now I just need to convince Meagan Nedlo to skip the track season and meet us on the roads. Regardless, it looks like the three of us will have a lot of fun racing in Grand Rapids, Michigan in just 3 months!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Start of the New Training Cycle...SUCCESS!

10x1 min with 1:15 rest

6.31 miles warmup
8x1 min with 1:15 rest (had to adjust because I had to be home in time to make a massage) at 5:00-5:30 pace
1.88 miles cooldown

Hoorah! Hoorah! While 8x1 min is a minuscule workout in comparison to those workouts I will be doing in the near future (ex: 4x9 min with 2 min rest), this was a great way to start off my training cycle for the USA 25k Championships. I recruited Matt, Will, and Eric to join me for this light workout and, after staging meeting areas at three different locations, the four of us managed to find each other to begin our workout together at JCSU.

We began the minuters above the track on the road and made our way into the cemetery and up the road toward the NC Music Factory. The four of us worked together really well on the first four repeats, as we clustered together to shelter ourselves a bit from the nasty headwind. I felt fresh and relaxed as we cruised from 5:18-5:28 pace for the first four. Matt must have felt the best of all of us because he bested all of us on one of the intervals that ended with an uphill.

Once we entered the last 4 intervals, I began to feel even better. My breathing was controlled, my rhythm was in sync, and my stride was getting longer. Even with a slight incline, we managed to run 5:00-5:13 pace for these final four. Either my garmin was wrong, or we really were running at what I consider a blistering pace. It's a blistering pace considering I ran 32.6 miles last week! I don't know if I've ever run that speedy on a minuter workout, so I'll take it! It was really helpful to have the guys there to push me through, especially considering the wind and the hills that we conquered. While my regular training buddy Jordan is off frolicking in California, Matt is coming around the corner and getting back into shape rather quickly, which is good for both us.

It was exciting to start off my new training cycle with such a positive experience in my first workout. The next big goal in sight is to run 6:00-6:05 pace at the USA 25k Champs. Considering that I ran a marathon in 6:10 pace and a 15 mile simulation run at 6:11 pace, I think that this goal is realistic and will be an indicator of whether my fitness level has increased over the past six months and will allow me to assess my goal for the Olympic Trials.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Week in Review

32.6 Miles (wowsa!)
4 Days of Running
48 Hours in Las Vegas
12 Hours in an airplane or airport
1.5 hours of TheraBand Exercises

I have never been more proud of a 32 mile week. After taking three days off, I started my running week on Wednesday with an easy 8 miler with Matt, Michelle, and Billy. Before I knew it, my running week would be over after just four straights of running 8 miles a day. I managed to get in an hour of easy running in Las Vegas with Selina, on the beautiful trails of the Red Rock Canyon.

On Friday morning, I ran easy with Justin and Meagan in the 35 degree rain, put in a half day's worth of work, and got a ride to the airport from Matt and Vanessa (not my sister, Matt's girlfriend). After a 4+ hour flight, I was whisked away from the cold, wet, dreary weather and placed in the middle of sunny, dry, beautiful Las Vegas. My sister was kind enough to pick Selina and I up and so began our 48 hour adventure.

Now, most of you would think that I proceeded to enjoy in a weeked of total gluttony. In fact, it was the exact opposite. I spent just over $100 and we went to a health food store to buy $30 worth of groceries so we didn't have to eat out. We got over 7 hours of sleep each night. We also ran and hiked at Red Rock Canyon. All of the above items make it overall a very healthy trip.

On Friday night, the five of us ladies didn't even last until after midnight, and on Saturday night we got home at 1:45am, which is early for Vegas. We were escorted into the clubs both nights because we got in contact with escorts who work for Marketing firms. Essentially, they are paid to bring ladies in for the customers that actually pay lots of money in the Club. With this sort of setup, we would meet the escort at the bar in the casino and then they would escort (aka herd us in like we are going to the slaughterhouse) us to the club, checked our IDs, and left us to play on our own. For those looking for the hookup, let me know and I'll point you in the right direction.

While we had a great time, we agreed that Vegas is too busy and crazy for us to go that often. If I ever do go again, I will spend the day at the spa, go to the shows, and avoid the clubs.

on the way to surrender night club

Running at Red Rock Canyon on Saturday

I ended up taking the day off on Sunday because I didn't feel like running along the Las Vegas Strip, which sounded absolutely dreadful. I figure a true down week happens when you take days off when you don't feel like running. I was pleased with how the week turned out, especially considering that my leg is finally getting better.

What to look forward to next week? Running 50 miles, spending FIVE days with Garrett, getting another massage from Byran at Zenriffic Massage and Wellness, taking one day off from running, getting a weight lifting plan from Mark Kane, and going to Trivia Night at Brixx Pizza! A fun filled week for sure.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Three Days Off and Still Busy

After Houston on Saturday, I decided to take three days off from running. With my newly found free time, I have filled it to the point that I haven't had much to time to be at home. On Monday, I scheduled a lunch with my former roommate, Meenal, for 6:30 at Sonoma so we could use up a Groupon that was about to expire. Before I met her, I spent 1.5 hours studying for the GMAT by doing practice problems assigned by my tutor. Once I returned home from dinner, I had just enough time to see Cicero get into John's beer box and then to hit the hay.
On Tuesday night, I had a 1.5 hour massage with Byran at Zenriffic Massage and Wellness with my CRC discount. Starting this week, I will be making massage a regular weekly activity in my training regime. I think this will be a way to help prevent injury as I increase my mileage. By the time I was done with my massage, I barely had enough time to jet over to Trader Joe's before it closed. By the time I had paid for my groceries and had gotten home, it was well after 9pm, and I still needed to eat dinner.

It's funny how you assume that if you aren't running, you'll have all sorts of additional free time, but that's usually not the case because you fill it up with stuff you don't normally get to do. This weekend I jet off to Las Vegas for a quick trip with my sister and some of her friends from Cali. It should be good to see her, but I know that I'll be exhausted upon my return! After that, it's go time! I've fully enjoyed my three days off from running, but I'm definitely ready to get back into the swing of my normal training again. It works out quite perfectly because Jay is just now coming back and we can sync up several of our easy runs together.