Wednesday, August 28, 2013

4x2 Mile with 2:00 Rest

4x2mile with 2 min rest @ 6:00, 6:00, 5:50, 5:50

2.5 mile warmup
4x2 mile with 2:00 rest in 47:36
5:58 / 6:00 - 11:58 (2:01)
5:53 / 5:58 - 11:51 (2:00)
5:52 / 5:58 - 11:49 (2:15)
5:58 / 6:00 - 11:58
1.8 mile cool down for ~13 miles

Honestly, if it weren't for Billy and Phil, I definitely wouldn't have done this workout.  I went to bed last night with a sore ab, and I just thought it was a tummy ache at that point.  Little did I know that the pike ab exercise I did on Tuesday morning would such a negative effect on my pathetically weak ab muscles.

On the warmup, it felt like someone was stabbing my lower ab with a knife.  My form was all messed up and I felt like I was hunching over to accommodate for the pain.  I decided to do the warmup and try one interval and assess the odds of my workout success after that.  Before starting, I performed a little self massage on my lower right ab and reluctantly toed the line with the boys.  Surprisingly, the ab wasn't too bad on the first one, so I decided to go for another one.  On the second, it still wasn't great, but not noticeably terrible like it was on the warmup.  Somehow I was able to finish all four of the intervals without pulling any ab or fainting from pain.  These weren't at the times that I had been hoping for, but given the circumstances, I was really pleased with this effort.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Week in Review

76 Miles
16.7 mile long run
7 Runs
0 Doubles
2 Core Sessions (unloading week)
10x1000m @ 3:34 average
10k race in 37:12

On paper, this was a pretty tough week with a long workout on Wednesday morning, a race on Saturday and a semi long run on Sunday.  Oddly enough, I felt good for six out of the seven runs this week!  The worst day was my 10k race at the OrthoCarolina Classic.  I just didn't have it in my legs to go as fast as I would have liked (was aiming for around 36:30), indicating that Wednesday's workout must have taken more out of my legs than expected. I forgot how hilly this course was and how there's never really a chance to recover from the previous hill before another one appears.  I had two mile splits that were over 6:00 pace, which really threw my time over 37:00, but all my other splits were 5:45-5:55 which is good considering the terrain. Today's long run was absolutely wonderful as the temperature has cooled down significantly.  In fact, this entire month of August has felt more like September, but I'm definitely not complaining!

For the rest of the day today, I plan on waiting anxiously for the results of the Quebec City Marathon (there is no runner tracking sadly).  John, Matt, Nick and Joey are all racing to get a Boston qualifier.  I helped create John's 8-week plan leading up to the race, and I just want him to come out of his debut marathon with a positive relationship with the distance.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

10x1000M with 1:00 Rest

8-10x1000m @ 5:45-5:48 average (3:34-3:36) with 1:00-1:10 jog rest

3.1 mile warmup
10x1000M @ 5:44 average (3:34/km) with 1:00-1:20 jog rest
1.5 mile cool down for 12 miles total

3:37 (1:00)
3:34 (1:20 - water)
3:29 (1:03)
3:33 (1:04)
3:35 (1:19 - water)
3:34 (1:00)
3:39 (1:10 - fell asleep)
3:33 (:59)
3:36 (1:03)

As always, this run took place before sunrise, as both Laurie and I departed our houses and met halfway on East Blvd. Typically, our pace increase 60+ seconds from low 8:00s to low 7:00s once our paths meet, but this morning was different.  With an unspoken agreement, the looming monster of a workout prevented our legs from going any faster for the warmup.  Perhaps the humidity played a role as well because it was definitely sticky out there--Laurie even stated matter-of-factly: "Today, it's 100% humidity."  I wasn't particularly thrilled when the warmup ended and inevitably the workout had to start. When it did, we started out perfectly on pace.  Then, of course, we got a little excited and ran the fastest interval of the day on #3.  I hoped it wouldn't ruin the rest of the workout for me.  The 1000m speed loop proved to be a perfect location for this because the finish line was exactly a 55 second (brisk) jog back to the start line.  I averaged around 6:05-6:25 pace for the miles with the rest included, so that indicates how truly fast the rest was.

After the 5th, Laurie headed home and the rest of the workout was left up to me.  I should note that finishing a workout of this magnitude never happens for me. Sure, I can run 16x400m all day, but anything over 800m in distance and over eight repeats in duration...typically I wimp out after six. Perhaps in the past, I was too aggressive on the pacing, so I reminded myself of this fact throughout. 

Indeed, today truly was different.  I found an inner resolve (that's definitely not normally present) to complete this workout, no matter what.  Doing eight repeats?  Not even an option--only ten!  That little voice inside my head that I talked about last week?  Gone. 

The only thing that didn't go right happened when I fell asleep on #6, which just turned on another switch in my brain to push harder.  I focused on running fast without straining and knew, even when it started to hurt the most--around the 9th one--that I was going to finish this. This workout was definitely tough to mentally force myself to stay on pace, but it wasn't tough from a "Will I finish it?" perspective. 

It's this type of workout that will make me mentally stronger during miles 7-10 in a half marathon.  It was almost a good thing that Laurie left halfway through because it forced me to find the ability to dig deep out of my own volition.   Only positive feelings came out of this workout, which is yet another sign that I'm moving in the right direction. 

Next up:  OrthoCarolina 10k

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Week in Review

74 Miles
7 Runs
5xMile in 5:55 with 1:00 rest
4 mile tempo in 5:57 ave
18.5 Mile Long Run
2 Lift Sessions

This week was everything last week wasn't.  I came out of this week with my confidence back and my motivation at what could be considered an all time high for this year.  I executed my plan almost perfectly.  The only glitch happened when I threw out my double for the week, a lousy four miles, mainly due to the rainy, cold (cold for August = 63 degrees) weather. I actually really didn't want to take another shower and knew I would have to if I ran in the rain, so I ditched it.

It was a very solid week of training, with three quality workouts or long runs with great company.  Again, Laurie came out as the winner for my running buddy of the week as I believe I got in over 50% of my mileage with her right alongside me.  Her arrival in Charlotte last September was quite possibly one of the best things that has happened in my running life since Meagan Nedlo left.  Most importantly, this was the first week where I really felt like a half marathon PR is entirely possible.  Like I said last week, I'm definitely making progress to a successful fall racing campaign and my mind is in the right place to make that happen.

Friday, August 16, 2013

4 Mile Tempo with Laurie

4 mile tempo at 6:10 pace (should not be physically or mentally taxing)

3 mile warmup
4 mile tempo in 23:50 (5:57 average) in 5:56, 6:10, 5:47, 5:57
3.1 mile cool down for 10 miles total

A four mile tempo at 6:10 pace was slated as my secondary workout of the week, so I treated it as such mentally.  I didn't really think too much about it except when I texted Laurie the night before to see if she'd be interested in joining me.  Fortunately she was, and we met up the following morning at 5:45AM in Dilworth to start the workout.  To switch things up, we decided against doing two loops of the Dilworth 2 Mile Speed Loop. Instead, we started on East Blvd's nice downhill and turned onto the flat terrain of the Sugar Creek Greenway.  We chatted it up on all the miles except for the fourth one, where the workout finally started to feel a little difficult.  I was supposed to go a little bit slower overall, but the legs felt good so I just followed the signs of my body.  I figured if Laurie and I could still talk that this meant it was a good pace for both of us.

Laurie and I both joked afterwards that we need to approach all workouts like this one--relaxed and not over-thinking it--because we ended up running faster than we expected.  Even though this was only a four mile tempo, I've really struggled with the 4-5 mile tempo ranges in the past because I come in with such high expectation and leave them feeling depleted and defeated.  Sure, the pace wasn't blazing fast, but I came out feeling confident which is the exact outcome I want/need to have.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

5xMile on the Speed Loop

4-6xmile @ 5:55 with 1:00 jog rest

3.6 miles warm-up to Dilworth Speed Loop
5:56 (1:00 jog - .1mile)
5:56 (1:00 jog - .1mile)
5:54 (1:00 jog - .1 mile)
5:55 (1:45 jog /water / pee break - .1 mile + stop)
~ 2 miles Cool down for 11 Miles total

After a 5:08AM alarm, I was alert and mentally ready for my workout literally one minute after I hopped out of bed.  I just hoped that my legs would respond in the same way that my mind wanted them to.  By 5:30, I was out the door for a longer warmup before meeting Eric on the Speed Loop at 6.  Of course, my legs felt sluggish and heavy on the warmup, which carried over into the first interval.  We started out pretty slow in the first 800m (~6:10 pace), but I knew that I would make up ground on the downhill on Lexington.  I felt best on the second interval but basically survived for the third and fourth.  At that point, I was utterly convinced that I was done for the day.  Even Eric  was so convinced  I was done that he left to go do some 400m repeats.  There I stood, in an RBC Bank parking lot, contemplating how I only did 4 intervals while sipping on cold water.  After Eric took off, I secretly decided to do another interval so that I wouldn't feel like such a wimp.  I created my own route and didn't look at my watch and just ran.  This ended up being my fastest one for the day, but I cheated a little because I had an extended rest period in between with lots of water. 

In assessing this workout, my paces were most likely all over the place during each interval as I would start out slow before letting a trigger go off in my mind.  "Get it together, Caitlin Work hard, push the pace."   I'm not sure if it was the voice inside my head or Eric's actual voice that pushed me below 6:00 for each mile.  Regardless, I am pleased with my resilience and determination to hit my targets, but annoyed at how hard the workout felt.  It could be due to a lack of fitness.  It could be due to being sick last week.  Or, it could just due to the 100% humidity in the air.  It's clear that I just need to put in the work and be patient because I still have just under 8 weeks until the half in DC, which is plenty of time to get strong for the longer distances.     

Sunday, August 11, 2013

(Sick) Week in Review

60 Miles
16 Mile Long Run
0 Workouts
8 Runs
1 Day off
2 Days in Asheville

Well, I got a stomach virus for the first time in 10+ years this week.  I came into the week with high hopes of nailing my first workout provided by my new coach, Terry Shea and, instead, I lay in bed doing absolutely nothing.  It all started in the middle of the night on Tuesday.  I took after my cat and channeled my inner nocturnal tendencies--namely highly developed senses of hearing and smell.  My hearing was exceptionally acute to the rumblings of my stomach and, later, my sense of smell was keen on remembering the particularly putrid scent of my vomit.  While the greater part of the night was spent with my head looking down in my toilet bowl (which, by the way, I had considered that dinner of  black beans, rice, mushrooms and broccoli to be very delicious until that very moment when it all stared right back up at me), the greater part of Wednesday was literally spent all day in bed as life's basic activities such as eating were put to the wayside.  I would count showering as a basic life activity but, let's be honest, we all know that showering is one of my lower priorities.  In the span of 24 hours, I consumed seven Saltine crackers, drank 96 ounces of sparkling water and took two 3-hour naps.  Oddly enough, my stomach never growled for food.  I listened to the signs from my body and didn't protest the lack of food.  I began to feel a small semblance of "normal" late Wednesday evening, at which time I courageously ate a cup of rice.

The rest of the week was spent mustering the courage to eat normal, fibrous foods again and trying, albeit not finding,  the strength to get my normal schedule back.  My body felt tired, weak and achy and runs were absolutely dreadful.  Earlier in the week, I had planned a trip to Ashevillefor Saturday and Sunday, but by Friday, I still didn't know for sure if I could go.  Fortunately, I began to feel normal again on Saturday, and after a long run that was fine enough, I hopped in the car with my Wilmore crew to meet up with Thomas and Michelle in Asheville.

I consumed enough yummy food this weekend to make up for the deficit of calories from earlier in the week and returned home tonight feeling fulfilled and fully recovered (oh, and without a wallet, which I lost somehow this morning...for all I know, it could be in a ditch off the Blue Ridge Parkway).  One thing for sure is that next week can only be better than this one!   Round 2 of the first week of half marathon training starts tomorrow and it is going to be a success!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Week in Review

73 Miles
5x1000m @ 3:22 ave
5k Race in 16:46
13 Mile Long Run
9 Runs
1 Mini-Lift Session

For the second week in a row, I broke the 70-mile mark and felt great doing it.  The week was highlighted by my second straight sub-17:00 5k performance on Saturday night, which did confirm that the China Grove 16:36 5k was indeed not a fluke. I am truly strong (or fast) enough right now to run sub-17:00 consistently!  I haven't been at a place like this since my college days, so I undoubtedly am extremely excited about what this means about the other distances I race in the future.  Despite getting a bit too excited in the first mile--where I sprinted out to intimidate the other female racers to blaze through a 5:11--I was able to keep a steady pace for the second and third miles (5:30 for both) to come in at 16:46. This was just ten seconds off my China Grove time and 57 seconds under the previous course record.  Walking away with a check for $500 was the icing on the cake.  I'm really encouraged by these latest developments in my 5k times and I am motivated to get in a good track meet to see if I can break my collegiate PR.

Taking a look back in time, this week last year I was returning from my trip to London to watch the Olympics.  I was also in the middle of hitting 100-mile weeks and feeling like total crap doing it.  The reduction in mileage this year has resulted in more energetic legs but also faster 5k times.  I'm pleased with where my training is headed and excited to get my new plan from Terry.