Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Days 39 - 45: Home away from home

Despite the whirlwind trip of work and visiting with pals and generally not being as well behaved as I am in Cali, I managed to get all my runs in, which I was pretty proud of myself for.

Wednesday morning after our decadent dinner I managed to make it out for a run along the east river. It wasn't too cold, and the sun was shining. The city is *filthy* at the moment - I forgot how dirty it is between snow melts. No one picks up their dog poop in the snow for some reason, and as the snow melts it reveals little poopy landmines to be avoided. The garbage hasn't been picked up on a regular schedule and piles of it crowd the street. It's gross!

I ran again Friday & Saturday mornings on the East River. Since I've been gone the promenade was finished and it is lovely! Saturday morning there were so many runners out it felt like there was a race on.

Saturday my best friend from college surprised me and we had brunch in the city, then Saturday night the Park Slope crew got together for dinner. When I come into town, we gather at Giuseppina's for a delicious dinner of too much pizza and reasonably priced vino!

This was good fuel for my 6 mile run in prospect park.  We were out a little late so it took me a little while to get on the road after eating breakfast and waking up - about 2pm in fact. But once I was out there it went really well. I had a great run despite the hills that I am no longer very accustomed to.

Monday was an off day but I had a terrible night's sleep last night (woke up at 3am and so skipped this morning in exchange for some catch up zzzzzz. And now I'm flying west, very excited to be going back home.

Day 39: 3.5 miles
Day 41: 3.4 miles
Day 42: 3.1 miles
Day 43: 6.0 miles
season mileage to date: 80.5 miles

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Day 38 - New York, New York

The idea of an early flight is always a good one - leave early, wake up on NYC time so in theory you can combat jet lag, arrive early, have a little bit of the day when you land, etc.

But then the reality sets in the night before that you need to wake up at 4:30am and the sadness begins. 

K I'll stop whining about being sleepy. I should have run yesterday, but went on a little hike instead and, continuing the meh week I've been having, broke my phone face so needed to go get it fixed during the time I might have been running. 

So after a day on the plane, and before a dinner at my friend's restaurant, I had to get a run in. It is actually not terribly cold compared to what everyone says it's been like here so I really really haven't a right to complain. I suited up and headed east. The sidewalk was slick and full of people, so pretty annoying until I got to the river. 

Once I got out there though it was pretty nice to be back in the old stomping ground. It was a tiny bit sketchy (don't worry mom! i'm fine!) running over there at night, but there were a few other runners out so I wasn't the only crazy person out there.

The assignment was to run 40 minutes with warm up - I went slightly faster on the way back so shorted myself a minute or two, but felt good especially given how tired I was. Now, for dinner with the ladies at Corkbuzz - an awesome little wine bar with awesome food and really great classes like pairings with take-out! Perhaps I will carbo-load with some delicious pasta for tomorrow's run...which is definitely going to be hard tomorrow morning since I just ran this evening.

today's run:  3.4 miles
season mileage to date: 64.5 miles

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Day 36: a snotty Sunday solo

I intended to get to practice today but this sickness is really annoying the hell out of me.

I was a good girl last night, didn't go out, took medicine, drank tea, and ate this awesome pasta for dinner in preparation for the 5 mile run this morning (recipe via Smitten Kitchen - make it once and you have it memorized its so easy and delicious.)
But when I woke up this morning my chest was so congested I needed to take a good long hot shower to cough some of the grossness up before I went for a run. So I took my time, figured out where I needed to turn around to hit five miles, then headed out into the sunshine.

Lots of activity on the beach this morning - a million surfers were out, a lot of running groups and the usual characters you find in Venice. I took it very easy the first half which wasn't hard given the little coughs that kept occasionally plaguing me.  I felt very stiff at first, but chalked it up to my cold and worked through it.

I don't run with music - I do usually have a marathon mix for the actual race, but I use it as a sort of...power boost that I'm not used to so that for the difficult times of the race I have something fun to fall back on. So when I run on my own without anyone to chat with, the scenery and people watching are the distractions that get me through the run. We have a very large homeless population here by the beach, and many of them get pretty creative in terms of asking for money or setting up their little homes. This morning, one gent was making his own living room carved out of sand, down to lamps mounted in strategic spots. Another had left his or her camp all set up on a grassy knoll unsupervised with a sign that read "testing the kindness of humanity".

The run itself was good, pain-free and I even got a few moments of runner's-high in the middle. Unfortunately it didn't last long because someone started feeding the sea gulls nearby which gets them into a horrifying frenzy and I got a little traumatized having to run under the hovering flock squawking and diving for bread crumbs all around me. Don't. Feed. The. Birds. People!! Gross.

I accidentally turned around a touch too early so didn't make it a full five miles but I'll take it.

today's run:  4.9 miles
season mileage to date: 61.1 miles

Friday, February 14, 2014

Day 34: Fighting the good fight

After my run yesterday, my cold got the better of me again and I went to bed early feeling stuffed up, coughing and sniffling my way to sleep.

I could sort of breathe when I got up and the sun was too inviting so after getting a few things out of the way I headed out for a :30.

I started off nice and easy trying to keep my pace back for both my legs and lungs sake. I was trucking along not thinking much about my pace because I was feeling good, and breathing easy even with the cold. I think the sunshine supercharged my legs, because I both got to my turn around spot 30 seconds faster than yesterday and also ran the 2nd 1/2 faster than the first, managing to tack on another .2 miles.

I know I know I've got to slow down but I am not feeling crazy at the end of these runs. I'm going to talk to my coach more about it this weekend, but I'll actually make it to practice as long as I continue to fight this cold / beat it by the time Sunday rolls around.

today's run:  2.9 miles
season mileage to date: 56.2 miles

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Day 33: At dusk

I left Portland yesterday and brought a relapse or new breed of sickness back with me. I'm blaming my run in the rain - smart move given that I was just getting over the cold. Also what is with this winter? Everyone I know that has gotten sick just can't kick it - me included. And being sick makes me soooo whiny. I was extra so yesterday with the fever I had forcing me to miss practice.

Today I was feeling better tho so decided to head out for a run around sunset.

It was lovely and aside from the tickle in my throat the whole time, felt pretty good. It's really mild here and it was a very pretty sunset this evening.

Before I started my calf was still a bit sore from Tuesday but it actually loosened up as I ran and felt better than it did all day. I took a good long time stretching, watching the sun drop into the sea, glad I made it out.
I better kick this damn cold (again) fast.

today's run:  2.7 miles
season mileage to date: 53.3 miles

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Day 31: Braving the elements

The sidewalks were still a slushy-mess, but the roads looked reasonable so I through I should stop being "soft" and head out for a run.  The cold has dissipated and its probably about 45 degrees, which is actually around my favorite running temps because I hate running when its hot and/or sticky out. And while it was raining, it was that spitty, misty rain which is way more bearable than a down pour.

I geared up and decided on a general direction. Today I used the Run Keeper app to track my time and distance because I figured I was not going to be able to keep track of where the hell I was running.

In addition to it being slippery and wet, it was also hilly - what a lovely combination!

My pace was tres slow as I dogged puddles of un-identifiable depth and patches of snow and slowly attacked the hills. My running route is pretty much flat right now, so a little hill training probably did me some good.

Since I was going soooooo slow and I had missed Sunday's run, I decided to extend the run by 15 minutes to make up some of the miles.  I definitely could have run for longer and it was nice to be reminded that when going slow, I can run for a long time.

When I got back I did my strengthening exercises which, after a run, definitely aren't as easy as they probably should be - especially that heel walking stuff.

I head back to LA tomorrow and will make it to my first practice! We are doing my *least* favorite practice which is more or less running as fast as you can without killing yourself for two miles. It promises to be good times!

today's run:  3.4 miles
season mileage to date: 50.6 miles

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Day 30: Portland on ice

Portland is a crystalized chilly mess at the moment. The snow from the last three days turned to frozen rain and ice, leaving everything crunchy and slippery. There was no way I was going to be able to run today so took the opportunity to start the strength-training routine one of the coaches gave me.

I'll be doing these bad boys three times a week and in 5-6 weeks time the coaches say I should feel a noticeable difference, and in the meantime working my way towards being stronger, more stable and less injury-prone.

Here's my little routine complete with some quality demonstration videos:

Body Weight Squats - 2 sets of 10 reps

Step Ups - 2 sets of 15 reps for each leg

Heel walking - 3 sets of 45 seconds

IT Band Strengthening - 2 sets of 12 reps for each leg

The step ups and the heel walking were hardest - the step ups I started on a chair that was definitely way too tall and did the second set on some steps. The heel walking is awkward and gets painful towards the end so can totally see how that is going to get my calves in shape.

Hopefully things will melt enough for me to try out running over here on the other side of Portland tomorrow.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Day 29: A mile leap

I'm headed to Portland later where all are experiencing a lovely snow storm. Given that, as my boss likes to say, California has made me "soft", I decided to do my long run today, then tomorrow I'll only have to run 30 minutes in the ice and slush.

As I always am when there is a mileage leap - yeah yeah I know its just one lousy mile! - I was a little nervous because I just hate getting to the end of a run and feeling like I'm going to keel over. I kept that in mind as I tried to keep my pace nice and easy. I deliberately held back, even when I was feeling good enough to go faster. I left my phone at home (I still haven't found my damn watch) and just enjoyed the clear morning.

I did a down and back route and was pleasantly surprised when I got to the turn around point - I was there before I had two long to think about it, and I was feeling like I definitely had another "half" in me without a problem.

From there it was pretty enjoyable, each landmark bringing me closer to the finish (aka my apartment) AND I felt like if push came to shove, I could run another mile. Which is how you're supposed to end one of those runs - yay for me!

And now...PDX, take two.

today's run:  4 miles
season mileage to date: 47.2 miles

Friday, February 07, 2014

Day 28: Simmer down

I finally got the sickness everyone's been coping with across both coasts, and being sick makes me real whiny. I was down for two days despite drowning the cold with multiple doses of juice and spicy ramen. (sad face)

But! I woke up this morning not completely recovered, but well enough to try for a little not quite...run but trot this morning. I was still a bit snotty but had tons more energy this morning. I also figured not being able to breathe at 100% would help me slow down - orders from my coach.

One trick she gave was to sing while running to keep the right pace. Between that and the congestion, it seemed to work. She said I should aim for 2.5 miles in 30 minutes instead of the 2.8 I ran Tuesday. I sang at a few times during my run which I had already started at what felt like a very conservative pace and it seemed to keep me more or less at the right speed.

today's run:  2.6 miles
season mileage to date: 43.2 miles

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Day 26: A Monday in disguise

This morning was meh.

I've finally got the cold everyone's had or has. I'm still fighting the good fight but I woke up flemmy a bit congested. Gross. Then I didn't lay out my running stuff AND I can't find my stop watch anywhere. I spent an extra 10 minutes looking for it before I gave up and decided to carry my phone.  Annoying. 

The run was neither great nor bad - except for the part that I spit on myself instead of the ground. Was a pretty morning if a little chilly. 

I did 2.8 miles and emailed my coaches the distance and got an email back later today. Coach Emily thanked me for telling me about the stress fractures, and her email at least made me realize I'm not totally paranoid ;) Here's an excerpt:

"Stress fractures (though healed) are a very important thing for us to keep an on eye as you work toward Seattle. As I'm sure you know or have been told as you've dealt with them, they are an overuse injury. There are things that we can do to minimize the risk, and then there are things we just can't control - ie ... women are more prone to them than men. And people who have had them are more likely to get them again than people who never have had them. So, let's plan on controlling the things we can control (your training) to the best of our ability. The first thing I want to emphasize to you is that the first six weeks of the program are focused on injury prevention. This means very slowly building our mileage base. And, based on your comment about working on mastering your conversational pace, for you these first six weeks are going to be about SLOWING DOWN! :) For the next three weeks at least, I want you to run much slower than you have been. "

 So, yeah. Need to slow down a bit and I'm going to chat with her after tomorrow's practice about some daily leg strengthening exercises.

today's run:  2.8 miles
season mileage to date: 40.6 miles

Monday, February 03, 2014

Our 11-week schedule

Today is an off-day which is great considering Superbowl madness (Sorry Denver...well, not really.)

I've been meaning to share the training schedule with you - the one I've been freaking out about.  It takes us to 16 miles in 11 weeks! So our weekday runs are mainly by time and then Sunday long runs by mileage. I'm trying to compartmentalize and not look at the 16 just sitting towards the end of that calendar. I don't remember it going that fast! But that is probably wishful thinking...after all, my first marathon season was over six months, and not to mention 7 (WHAT!?) ago so I probably just have nostalgic memories of it.

I'm kind of intrigued, because there is a full 7 weeks after this schedule before the marathon. And if we're running 16 - 20s for 7 weeks before the race...which is I guess where this schedule will go...assuming I don't break my legs, my time should be pretty sweet.

I think I'll talk to the coaches as we get going and see if they think I should go a little more slowly or if I should go for it. We shall see!

Week 1 - 11

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Day 24: Solo long run

I kept my plan to skip practice and run my own. Practice was going to start at 8, and I knew it would be at least 9:30 before I got out of there and that was not going to work since I was behind schedule before I even got up. Peeps were coming over at 2, and I had to clean...pretty much everything as well as hit the farmers market and get some cookin' on.

I had mapped out my three miles the night before and headed out. The cloud was full of puffy clouds and the sun was breaking through. I made a concerted effort to run at a slower pace although I confess I'm having a hard time telling the difference between a 10:30 and an 11 minute mile at the moment. In truth I should probably be taking my long runs even slower, more like an 11:30. A three mile "long" run is whatever - when we get to 8 and 10 and more, a mile a minute is going to make a big difference.

The run was a touch wheezy but other than that felt pretty good. about two and a half miles in I thought about if I felt like I could run 4 and that seemed...a stretch. But by the time I got close to finishing my legs got a second wind and another mile didn't seem as impossible.

today's run:  3.0 miles
season mileage to date: 37.8 miles

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Day 23: Against the wind

This week is kiiiiiilling me. Travel. Lots of meetings. Peeps from NYC in town.

Then Thursday we had an event downtown that was a bit on the late side so I decided to leave my car at the Standard and ride home with friends.  Half way home, I swore vehemently out loud. I had left my house keys with the car keys...with the Valet.

So luckily my friend Casey took me in for the night and even luckier we're similar sizes in clothing and feet so I didn't have to have a total walk of shame look going in to the office Friday morning. But I was still thrown a bit and yesterday was one of the longest days in a long while. I was beat.

Since I missed a day or two of running I dragged myself out of bed not too early, but early enough for a Saturday to hit the beach path.

My pacing was all over the place. I started off too fast, so tried to steady it. Then it was super windy and that wind was coming from the North so for the first half of my run it was in my face, and I felt like it was very slow going. But by the time I turned around I fell into what felt like a good pace, and the second half went easy enough. I was running by time again, and I knew by the time I got to the path I was running faster than normal because I still had a minute to go.  I grabbed coffee and when I got home noticed I had what I call "red exercise face" - and found I had been running 10:20s. Too. Speedy.

Practice starts tomorrow but I think I need to run on my own - I'm having a little superbowl gathering and I have to cook and my house is kind of a disaster. Yay. So a three mile solo it is then.

today's run:  2.9 miles
season mileage to date: 34.8 miles