Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Workout Fail

2x3 Mile at GHMP

10x1 Min on/off at McAlpine

"Why do you always plan big workouts after vacation?  They never end well!"

That's exactly what Aaron practically spat out to me as he joined Laurie and I as we finished our adjusted workout of minuters.  And he was exactly right.  He also added that I never learn.  Maybe it's just that I am an overachiever and hope that each time it will go well.  Well, it didn't. 

Upon my return from California, I struggled to wake up in the morning and the humid air seemed like a shock to my system.  I, along with other Charlotteans, am probably adjusting to the full onset of summer weather that has arrived.  It's hot, humid and sticky.  Beads of sweat form all over my body and drip continuously down when I run; that's how I know it's summer.  All of that being said, the workout probably should have just been scrapped, but we decided to do minuters instead and to put all of our marbles in the bag for a hard long run Saturday.  This plan has worked for me in the past, and I just have to trust that all of my hard long runs since March will give me what it takes to run sub 5:55 at the USA Half Marathon Champs in 3.5 weeks.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Week in Review

75 Miles
Down Ladder on the Track
16 mile Long run
0 Days Off
8 Runs

After a quick turnaround after my stellar track workout on Tuesday, I decided to get my long run out of the way on Thursday morning.  An evening flight to California made it necessary to get this run out of the way before I left for the office.  My long run went by fairly quickly with Laurie and there really isn't much to report from it.  My legs weren't too tired from the track workout, but they didn't feel nearly as sprightly as they have in the past couple of weeks.  After the long run, I went to the Elizabeth Family Practice to get some bloodwork done that Dr. Price had called in for me.  Given that I hadn't taken my iron pills in a while and my poor performance at the NC 10k Champs, I already kind of knew what the results would be.  Sure enough, Dr. Price let me know that my Ferritin level was a 13. This is a bad number for most people, but it's an okay number for me.  So long as I keep my runs, workouts, and races within 10 seconds of my target pace, I don't go into oxygen debt.  Basically, I just need to race really smart and I can still run well.  Oh, and I need to take my iron pills, which I have been doing; I even brought my pills with me to California!

Speaking of California...the trip was amazing.  The weather there truly is unbelievably perfect and every time I go I wish I lived there--that is, until I hop into a car and sit on the freeway for two hours to go two miles.  My college roommate, teammate, bridesmaid, and all around best friend, Merry, flew from Tucson to hang out with my sister and me and we took advantage of our time together.  Every night we went to bed before 9PM, woke up before 7AM to get out the door for a run by 730AM, and hung out the rest of the day.  Our interests are so similar and it worked out perfectly for all parties because when we ran, it gave our gracious host and my sister a chance to relax and get things done around her place. We got the full southern California tour this time around, with a 24 hour stop in San Diego, a shopping excursion in Orange County, and a night in Silver Lake, near where some celebrities live.  We ate so much very delicious food that it saddened me to come back to Charlotte's dismal selection of healthy and local eats.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Down Ladder at the JCSU Track

2000m, 1600m, 1200m, 800m, 400m w/ 400m rest

2.5 mile warmup to JCSU
2000m (5:45 through mile), 1600m (5:29), 1200m (4:01 - all in 80), 800m (2:36 - 78/78), 400m (70), 400m (72) w/ 400m jog rest
2.5 mile cool down for ~10 Miles total

pm: 5 miles for 15 miles total for day

The 5:10AM alarm this morning was much easier to wake up to, knowing that Laurie was coming to my house for the warmup.  Given that there was basically no way out of this workout without dramatically affecting Laurie's workout, I hopped out of bed immediately to begin my preparations.  Somehow I had extra time to spare and I found myself sweeping the floor before heading out the door.  The warmup was uneventful, and we made it to the track where we found AJ waiting for us.  Not long thereafter, Aaron, Jesse, Charlie and Mike all showed up and the two separate groups began their respective workouts. 

Laurie and I were solo, so we alternated leads for each interval, and I was up first for the 2000m.  I took us out entirely too slow (93) and found myself making up for it on the remaining laps.  In the end, we came through in our target pace of 5:45.  For the mile, Laurie lead us through a solid time of 5:29 and I felt like my breathing was out of whack.  I didn't want the workout to be doomed due to my labored breathing, so I accounted it to the humidity and not my lack of fitness.  Fortunately, for the remainder of the workout, I felt comfortable and confident!  After the first 9 laps of works were completed, the workout was much easier to handle as we only had 6 laps left.  Since the boys had 400s, we waited for them for our last interval, and I tucked right in with Mike and took us out at what I would consider a blistering pace of 70.  In my Nike Pegasus trainers, that was basically all out for me, but it felt almost effortless.  I would actually consider it fun, which is an adjective I thought I'd never use in the near future to describe a track workout. Since I'm an overachiever, I decided to add on another 400m since the guys had one more to go.  Although this went against the prescribed workout, I didn't want to pass up another opportunity to potentially beat the guys.  This "una mas" interval wasn't as fast as my other one, but the effort was still there.

Overall, this workout is a positive indicator that my fitness is indeed where I want it to be.  I felt relaxed and maintained what I consider to be some solid times.  Admittedly, though, I am looking forward to a long weekend in California with my sister where I don't have to get up at 5:00AM

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Week in Review

75 Miles
0 Days Off
8 Runs
10x1 Min Workout
16 miles w/ 4 miles @ 553 pace

This week surprisingly did not start off with sore legs.  In fact, since I ran so slow at my race on Saturday, my legs felt rather spritely, so I decided to jump into a workout on Tuesday.  I didn't write a blog this week for my minuter workout because there really wasn't much to report besides the facts.  I ran with Caleb and Laurie in the morning, with no focus on the splits or the paces, and finished feeling like I got in some good speed.  After more runs with fellow CRCers, my week culminated with a 16 mile long run with some tempo miles at goal half marathon pace thrown in.  Brad and Laurie accompanied me on the faster part, and we shot off a little too quick, but ran 4 miles in 23:35, gradually dropping the pace.  I pulled away from Brad in the end (he has a marathon next week), feeling the strongest at the finish.

As Meagan noted to me on phone earlier this week, we've got five weeks to get into good enough shape to run enough consecutive miles at this same pace to earn a PR.  I'm encouraged that things are headed in the right direction, and I'm crossing my fingers that the air in Duluth will be much dryer than the air here in Charlotte.  Summer is coming on full force as the humidity levels are beginning to finally reach what's considered normal.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

(Down) Week in Review

53 Miles
6 Runs
10k Race in 36:49
No Long Run

This was a planned down week for two reasons -- I raced and I had 4 solid weeks of training at 65-70 miles on average.  I was hoping that the down week would ensure that I would race really fast, but that didn't happen.  While the race was a huge disappointment, I enjoyed the rest of the weekend by hanging out in Raleigh with Thomas, Michelle, Matt and Nick.

I'm also adjusting to my new role at work, which is taking up more time that in previous roles.  Sometimes I have to stay past 7pm, which for some people may not be a big deal at all, but for me, since I go to bed around 930 every night, it feels like all I do is work and sleep.  Additionally, since I'm in meetings all day, I haven't been doing a good job of eating since I don't take the time to grab my snacks.  I really need to focus on changing this bad habit so that it doesn't affect my running going forward.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

NC 10k Championships Fail

Goal #1:  Win
Goal #2:  Win $500
Goal #3:  10k Race in Low 35

3 mile warmup
10k race in 36:49 (552, 543, 559, 538, 621, 713), 3rd place, $150
2.5 mile cool down for 11+ miles total

I hadn't run a bad race in 2013 up until today.  I made up for that euphoric high I'd been on with a slew of positive race experiences over the past couple of months.  I think that the heavy racing schedule from April finally caught up with me and affected my performance today.  On the warmup I knew that today was going to be rough based on how my legs felt.  Unfortunately, my legs didn't lie and I struggled to maintain my goal Half Marathon pace in half the distance.

I even positioned myself perfectly by tucking in on the first mile and staying relaxed.  I stuck with the second place girl through mile 2, where we struggled with directions on the course as volunteers were lacking at the turns.  After the 2nd mile, the eventual winner pulled away from me (ironically in the very same spot that last year's winner ALSO pulled away from me at).  At that very point, I questioned why I even do this race because it seems that every year I always feel absolutely terrible and that the heat and the hills just rip me apart.

All you need to know is my legs felt heavy and tired, I got beat by the same girl that I beat just one month ago at the USATF 8k Champs (a very tough competitor) and I fell out of contention for the win after the second mile.  It wasn't my day, so I'm moving on as I know it's not a true indicator of where my fitness lies and is merely a small bump in the road on the way.  And, hey, at least I got to meet an awesome new runner on the scene (Stevie) and was able to spend some quality time with Thomas and Michelle!  On that note, I need to go celebrate the birth of Thomas at the pool, and I know such celebrations will not disappoint!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tempo + 400s

Pre Race workout with tempo + speed

3 mile warmup
4x400m in 72, 73, 73, 72 w/ 1:30 rest b/w and 3:00 b/w set
2 mile tempo in 11:09 - 5:36, 5:33 (4:00 rest)
4x400m in 73, 75, 75, 74 with 1:30 rest
3 mile cool down for 10 miles total

Today Garrett left for baseball for the entire season, so it was silly of me to think that I'd actually wake up to do a workout with Laurie.  After a fitful night of sleep because I was undoubtedly thinking about Garrett leaving for 5+ months, I woke up to cancel on Laurie and sleep for an additional 2 hours.  By 8AM, Garrett dropped me off at work before embarking on a ten hour drive to Indiana to begin his baseball season.  Our goodbye went something like this as we left the house:

Garrett (heads for the door):  Alright, let's go.
Caitlin:  Uh...don't I get a hug or something.
Garrett (perplexed):  Oh, right...
Caitlin (gives Garrett a hug):  See you in July, I guess.
Garrett:  Yeah, I'm so excited to start pitching.

...In other words, peace out, wife!!  And Garrett left like giddy kindergartner on the first day of school while I remained the dejected, unpopular kid left behind.

Having said all that, I ran my workout in the evening with Caleb and Eric on the Dilworth Speed Loop.  I was really excited about all the splits I ran and felt really comfortable, but as I cooled down I realized that the times may have been a little too aggressive for a pre-race workout.  I'm hoping to win the 10k on Saturday, so I should have put on the brakes a little bit so I didn't feel so gassed after the workout.  We'll see what happens!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Week in Review

65 miles
Mile repeats in 5:30 average
16 mile long in 6:50 average
7 runs
2 lift sessions

After coming out of last week feeling a little tired, I opted to make this week a medium down week so that my legs could recover a bit from the past three solid weeks of training.  This week, I had 2 runs of 6 miles or less, which seems to be exactly what I needed to get some spring back into my step.   I felt much more energized in two solid workouts with Laurie as we continue to get into PR shape for the USA half champs. There's just 7 more weeks until the big June race, and I'm excited to increase my mileage a bit to get that strength and endurance up.

Next week, I'm hoping to take a nice down week, featuring a day off and a 10k race in Raleigh.  After that, it's basically smooth sailing to the half as I only have one more race - the China Grove 5k.  While I wish that I had been able to find a fast 5k course in early April to achieve a road PR, a 5k just two weeks before the half will have to suffice.  I trust that I'll still have enough speed within me to break the 17:00 mark for the first time since college.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Back to the Track: Mile Repeats

4-5x mile with 400m rest gradually getting faster

2.7 warmup
4xmile in 5:40, 5:35, 5:30, 5:20
2.3 cool down for 10 miles total

Prior to this morning, I hadn't been on the track for anything longer than 400m repeats since the CRC 100x5k back in March 2011.  I was excited, yet slightly nervous, for this adventure on the track for mile repeats.  I had mile repeats on the schedule, but Laurie had a different flavor of the same workout, so I opted for hers.  The goal was to get faster on each one and to end around 5:20 pace.  Laurie met at my house and we ran to JCSU to start our workout in the dark.  Charlie showed up a few minutes later and started his own workout at a faster pace than us.  Laurie and I alternated leads on each repeat, and it is amazing how we nailed the paces.  Every single lap was basically perfect...and by perfect I mean right at 85 for the 5:40 mile, plus or minus .2 seconds.  On the last one I had to lead us to a 5:20, so the pressure was on.  Fortunately we nailed it! I was tired after that fourth one and admittedly it was a little hard to run 5:20 in the trainers on the track.  A part of me wished that I had worn my racing flats, but it didn't really matter.

It was definitely great to have Laurie and Charlie out there because if they hadn't been there, I would have ditched the track after two lonely laps and opted for the roads.  Surprisingly, I rather enjoyed the time on the track and wouldn't be opposed to heading back out to JCSU in the near future for another speedy workout.