Sunday, September 30, 2012

Week in Review

96 Miles
10 Runs
~ 23 Mile Long Run @ 7:00 pace (2:40)
2 Workouts

The highlight of this week?  Definitely the long run!  Laurie, Megan and I have continued our tradition of running long together in the dark, early morning hours from McAlpine and each run has gotten better and better.  By next week, I'll be finishing at 6:00 pace!  Of course, we are always surrounded by our entourage of male escorts, who ensure our safety from any stray animals or pranks from Billy Shue.  After 11 miles, we grabbed Alana in the parking lot, and somehow split from the main group once again.  It was after this point in which I was able to capture some of our mile splits by the markers and saw 6:40 and 6:50 pretty consistently.  I would say that we hovered around 7:00-7:10 for the first half of the run and then around 6:40-6:50 for the last half.  Greenapple's treatment showed its healing powers because I didn't feel my hamstring whatsoever, which most likely lead to the increase in pace.  My view on long runs is that if you feel like going faster, then do it.  Vice versa, if you feel like going slower, then do it.  Perhaps since my other workouts aren't as stellar as I'd like, I'm able to really shine on my long runs, so I'm not complaining!

The other really cool thing about this week is that I felt good about doing this mileage and came to it pretty much unplanned.  I approached this week differently than I ever have in the past, which typically consisted of planning out my doubles and workouts down to the exact minute of the day.  This time, I didn't double if I didn't feel like it.  I doubled when I wanted to (different than when I had time), and I didn't lay out exactly how I do my weekly mileage.  The end result was that I was happy doing it.  It felt easier than 6 weeks ago when I ran 100 miles because I just didn't think about it.  I let the runs come naturally, I listened to my body when it told me that it could go a couple more miles, and I also happened to get in my longest run ever.

Just when I thought it seemed most reasonable to turn my back on Philly, things are really starting to look up.  I'll make a decision probably after Army to see what is best for my own wellbeing, but right now, I'm feeling pretty optimistic!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Tempo Success!

10 Mile Tempo at 600-605

3 miles warmup
8 miles at 6:32 average (fastest split was only 6:20)
2 miles cool down at 7:00 pace

pm:  4.5 miles for 17.5 miles total for day

I could choose to look at this workout as a fail, but I chose to look at it as a success.  I didn't give up and I did what I could with what I've got.  And what I've got is low iron and an annoying hamstring.  Fortunately yesterday, Dr. Greenapple was kind enough to spend over an hour with me, performing ART, cupping, acupuncture and finally kinesio tape.  I know that the treatment will start working it magic in a couple of days, not overnight.  So, regardless, my hamstring was still a little tight and tired from general overuse combined with strength exercises from the night before by the time I met up with Aaron at McMullen.

Aaron's legs were tired from a couple of back-to-back high mileage weeks, so he was okay with whatever I had in the tank.  We ran through the perfectly flat trail at McMullen, not really looking at splits and still keeping up some semblance of a conversation.  I could still talk, but my legs felt like glue.  Sure, it was fabulous and I didn't hit my goal times, but I cranked through.  Right now, finding the motivation to complete a workout is tough since I know the time will be slower, but if I just get in the effort, everything will fall into place in a couple of weeks. I left this workout trusting that I got in a good effort (can 6:20 on low ferritin equate to 5:55 with normal ferritin?  I think so)

After 8 miles of work, we slowed it down a bit to cool down and both of us were equally happy to be done with the up tempo portion. Some days are meant to feel harder than others and today was definitely like that, but I still came out of it feeling really positive about how I approached the workout and how I got in some uptempo work!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Glimmer of Light (6x800m)

8x800m with 1:30 rest at 2:43-2:37

3 mile warmup
6x800m with 1:55 jog rest at 2:42/2:45
3.7 mile cool down for 10 miles total

PM:  1.5 hours of dance!

I might be back!  Just maybe.  Caleb and I started a bit later this morning--at 6:30--to get some extra hours of much needed sleep.  We did just 6 repeats, two shy of my goal, but I felt positive about how I stayed mentally in the game.  I didn't look at my splits and even asked Caleb to not share the splits with me as we finished. I did cheat a little though by asking him what he ran, since he was a little ahead of me, I could still gauge how fast I was going.

I have to start somewhere, and I feel like this a great start!  I enjoyed the workout and felt very positive in my thoughts during each interval.  Positivity at this point is very important and definitely a step in the right direction. I'm finally beginning to believe that I'll start feeling like a new person--meaning, a person with normal iron levels--in just a short period of time.

I'm going to do a 10 mile progression run with the intent of putting in the full effort, even if it means the pace may be a bit slower than I would like to see right now.  Like Laurie told me on our Sunday long run, at least when my iron is back, I'll feel fantastic!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Week in Review

87 Miles
2 Doubles
20 Mile Long run in 7:09 pace
1 Workout Fail

Last week I ran about 88 miles.  This week I continued with roughly the same number.  It's funny because all I really did is take out 2 doubles from my week, and that's resulted in me feeling like I have so much more time on my hands.  I don't have to commit my entire evening to a run, or I have the option to sleep in if I feel like I need it!  This week, I focused on listening to my body and my interal sleep ticker.  If my alarm went off and I felt like I needed more sleep, then I turned the alarm off and went right back to sleep for another hour or so.  With the low ferritin level, I'm supposed to feel tired all of the time, and so might as well try to sleep as much as I can. 

Early in the week, I had a craptastic 10-mile-tempo-turned-into-5-mile tempo.  Initially, Mark had adjusted my paces to slow it down to account for the low iron, but that didn't even work.  I decided that I just need to focus on effort and not on time, and so at least going into next week I can do just that.  Leave the Garmin at home, and run based on time, without mile markers.  I threw out my second workout of the week (3x2 mile), opting instead to get in two runs and enjoy the beautiful fall weather at a slow jaunt. 

The positive note of this week was that my awesome long run streak continued as I ran 20+ miles with Laura, Megan, David, and Jason and felt amazing.  Running in the low 7's was a breeze and felt pretty great.  I've gotten in a decent number of 18+ mile long runs over the summer, and I think that will help me at Philly. 

In the act of full disclosure, I've got a pretty tight left hamstring and IT Band that I've also been dealing with.   I'm crossing my fingers that it holds up over the next couple of weeks as my iron returns back to normal levels and as I build up to longer tempos and steady state runs.  Because of this, I'll keep my mileage around 85-90, get in to see Greenapple as often as possible, and also perform my strength and stretch exercises.

Next week, I've got some 800m repeats, a 10 mile tempo, and a 18 mile long run with the last 3 miles at 6:00 pace.  I may drop one of those workouts and then try my first 10 mile tempo next week, but I haven't decided yet.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Week in Review

89 Miles
3 Doubles (10 Runs)
21.4 long run in 7:14 average
3 Hours of Dance

Technically, I'm not fully done with this week because I still have to complete another run this evening, but I'm assuming that I'm going to go ahead and complete that one.  This week could be characterized as one of those where I was working on getting myself out of a mental rut.  I actually devoted much of my time to focusing on all the positive things going on with my training right now and how I can still get in the work that I need to, given my schedule, to still accomplish a new PR at Philly.  My iron is low, but I'm not going to let that inhibit my own mental tenacity any more, as it had been over the last couple of weeks.

I tried running 100 miles a week in the summer, and now that I've had time to reflect on those three weeks, I realized that running that many miles is just too much for me physically and mentally.  I've decided to keep my mileage around 90, which will still be 12 miles more per week than what I ran on average during my Twin Cities training cycle.  Granted, I am running a 24 miler for the first time during this training cycle, and during that week I may be a bit higher, but the idea of running 100 mile weeks in a row is not comfortably feasible for me.  Additionally, I am going to alternate between running 2 workouts + 1 long run a week and then 1 workout + 1 long run the other week.

Let's be honest here -- I am anal-retentive and I'm planning a wedding...which means that I'm probably putting in too much work into the details of the wedding. On top of that, I'm working full time, acting as Vice President for the CRC, taking dance lessons, and preparing to be a wife for the time in my life.  I'm exceptionally passionate about all of these "extra-curriculars" and I don't want to give up any of these so that I can successfully run 100 miles a week. Instead, I'll keep doing them all and just run 90 miles, and trust that this change will be the catalyst to getting me back in the right spot mentally.  I already have noticed a positive change in my outlook just in this past week by incorporating these changes.

Enough about that.  The highlight of this week was definitely my long run on Saturday with six other people, which is a small feat in itself considering that nearly every CRC member was racing either Hit the Brixx 10k or the Run for the Green Half.  For two hours and thirty five minutes, I covered all of the trails in McAlpine with Laurie, Jason, Charlie, Anna, Megan, and Josh.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous for a long run and the company ensured that we had lots to talk about since we had two newcomers in the group.

One thing that has remained strong for me throughout this training cycle is my long run.  I haven't had a long run yet where I felt like I couldn't finish it, and I think that's a sure sign that I'm still in good shape and ready for a marathon.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

16x400m Repeats

16x400m with 1 min rest at 78-83

3 mile warmup
16x400m at 78-83 with 1:00 rest
2.5 mile cool down for 9.5 miles total

pm:  4.5 miles for 14 miles total

After learning that I've got low iron and that I'm trying to do too much at this point in my life, I decided to do 400s.  Why 400s? Because they are easy to handle mentally and I didn't have to even look at my splits on the speed loop.  I was fortunate to have the company of Spada and Caleb for this workout in the early morning hours on the Dilworth Speed Loop.  We started off and I felt okay, not too winded but not a walk in the park, either.  I let Caleb and Spada speed ahead in front of me, and felt no worry. I didn't look at my splits, which helped a lot.  Towards intervals 10, 11, and 12, I felt terrible, and when I looked at my splits after the workout, my times reflected this (81-83 splits here), but then I was able to pull it back together by the last set.  In fact, I really wanted to quit after 12 intervals, but I vowed to myself prior to the workout that if things started getting tough that I would just slow it down.  I didn't even have to slow it down once I reached what I thought was my breaking point; I just needed to get my mind focused and in the right spot and I was able to fight through my own mental shortcomings.  All in all, the focus of this workout was to run fast time.  Instead, it was to come out of it feeling mentally stronger than when I went into it, and I achieved just that.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

(Wedding Shower) Week in Review

75 Miles
16 mile long run
1 Tempo Fail (third time in a row)
4 Doubles
4 Days in Carbondale

As you tell above, there's a couple of common themes going on here: (1) that I keep failing at workouts and (2) that I've been busy with a whirlwind of wedding festivities.  My wedding isn't anytime soon...not until December 29th, but it's more fun to have these types of things in the beautiful fall weather.

So, about number (1).  On my long run with Garrett, I realized that I'm in the exact same spot that I was in back in November of 2011, before the Oympic Trials.  In fact, if you go back and read my blog from that month, you'll notice that the tone was tainted with a bit of negativity, because running just wasn't easy.  I realized that I had really low iron during that period, so it was nice to have an answer then.  I haven't gotten my iron checked yet, but I'm just going to go ahead and assume that iron is the issue.  Right now, my mind isn't in the place it needs to be in order to finish a marathon.  I want to toe the line in Philly knowing that I'm in the best mental and physical shape of my life.  I know that I've been running an average of 80-90 miles over the summer and that I also haven't been injured for a prolonged period of time since 2005.  Those two factors combine probably point to that the fact that I am physically in shape, but my mind and my iron aren't where they need to be.  The challenge of running is to fight through it when it gets tough and mentally challenging.  This is a big year for me--competing at the Olympic Trials Marathon, starting a new role at the Bank, and planning a wedding all in the same year is quite a lot.  All great things, of course, but I am such a planner and over-thinker that sometimes I put too much stress on my mind and body that for a couple of weeks every year, I just crumble and feel tired and whiney.  Everyone has their moments, and this is mine. I hope to get it out of my system by like, oh, tomorrow, in time to fully enjoy this beautiful fall weather that Mother Nature has finally bestowed upon us in North Carolina.  Of course, I'll take my iron pills, continue my ab regime, keep on taking dance lessons, writing the CRC newsletter and the other stuff I cram into a day while working full time at BOA and cross my fingers that it'll all come together by the time I get to Philly.

So--enough about running.  Let's talk about getting married! Getting married is quite possibly one of the best things ever to happen in your life not just because you marry your very best friend ever, but also because all of your family and friends treat you like you're a princess.  Seriously, I thought I was spoiled already, but I REALLY got spoiled this week.  Everyone is so very nice and throws big parties, makes delicious food, and buys very nice presents.  I felt like Cinderella after she met the Beast, when she got rich.  Bachelorette parties and wedding showers are so much fun and I am so blessed and grateful to have such awesome family members to host fabulous events for Garrett and me as we embark on a life together.  After my sister organized a trip for 8 girls in wine country, she continued her mastery by helping my mom organize a scavenger hunt and dinner for 30 guests at our Carbondale farm.  My mom and dad picked 50 cucumbers and cut 100 watermelons from their own garden for us to enjoy.  My other parents--Scott and Ann--drove all the way from Greenville, NC, which is a 16+ hour drive, to see us and to partake in the festivities.  It was definitely and great weekend with terrific weather and even better friends and family.  Thanks to all who came out...I'm so grateful to know you all!

Looking forward to even more wedding events as the date draws closer...and also to better running!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

(Bachelorette) Week in Review

78 Miles
3 Doubles
3 Runs with Wake Girls
11 Mile Long Run
3 Mile Tempo Fail

So this week started off with a terrible tempo, which seems to be the theme for me the past couple of weeks.  I had a goal of running 5 miles, and I only ran 3 and felt awful.  My left hamstring was still preventing me from getting the full range of motion and I just felt like it wasn't worth it to push it.  It was also exceptionally humid, which didn't help my breathing.  I've also come to the self-diagnosis of having low ferritin because I get this feeling like once a year and I hate running, feel terrible, am tired all the time and take forever to recover and absolute crap workouts.  In a nutshell, that's how I feel.  I know that with a couple of week's time, I'll get over it and feel more confident again, but such is the ebb and flow for running for me right now.  Of course, since the week started off on a mediocre note from the running perspective, I was more than ecstatic for my bachelorette weekend in California, where I would be reunited with Michelle, Selina, Liz and Marley--four of my former teammates at Wake.  Also, my sister, Athena and Anna would be making the trip from California.  By the time I got off the plane in San Fran, the crisp, cold, fresh air greeted me with a great welcome and I immediately knew running would be better here.

Debauchery occurred on Thursday night at the bars in downtown San Fran, and then after that, a much more low key and relaxing trip commenced.  We made family dinner every night, floated the river in our backyard with deflated tubes, hiked in the redwoods, winery-hopped in Sonoma County and relaxed in a hot tub.  I felt like I was back in college because every morning the five of us trekked outside in the 50-degree weather to run together...even if it was only for 45-60 minute runs, they were a blast.  On Sunday, we made our way to Sonoma Coast State Park on the beach, in hopes of running along a trail on the cliff of the ocean.  The first six minutes of the run were up and down a cliff, and we were all huffing and puffing, secretly hoping that this wasn't going to be the entirety of the run. Fortunately, the terrain leveled off and we were left in the dense fog that was blocking our view of the expanse of the ocean only 500 feet from us.

By the time Monday came around, I didn't want to leave our blissful river cabin in Guerneville, California, but I knew that the Democratic National Convention was calling my name back to Charlotte to witness some of the mayhem going on back here.