Friday, 27 March 2015

Weekly Roundup-March 23rd

I have been sorely lacking in motivation this week. It's Offical I'm on the struggle bus. By the time it got around to Friday I decided it was ridiculous beating myself up over it and I was just going to make this week an easy week.

Monday- Running 3 miles
3 easy miles after dark. My shoes have definitely reached some sort of tipping point where they've said enough is enough retire us, they felt really weird on this run. My calves were tight after running and driving home on Sunday so it was 3 very easy miles to get the blood flowing. 
I got to run past two does out grazing...its worth getting out and about just to have these wildlife encounters. They got a 'hi beautiful' on the way out and a 'bye beautiful' on the way back. Yes I do talk to random wild animals.

Tuesday -rest
Just lots of housework, dog grooming and food shopping.

Strength-Body Pump 7am
It was a good class. I'm getting a lot better at the tricep part of the workout, I can actually do more than a few tricep dips, victory!!! 
Lunges still feel hard..but maybe I just don't like them (who does?), I think the only thing I hate more is burpees but thank goodness they haven't appeared in a class yet. I've also discovered I have only one speed for push ups. Double time does not exist for me.

Running 3 miles
Finally after a days delay my new shoes arrived. I was a little disappointed they didn't have my size in the PureConnect 3 clearance sale but instead I got to try out the PureConnect 4s. They felt the same as the 3s and I did like the snazzy black color. The only thing I'm concerned about is the laces-they've changed those and it looks like one good yank would snap them!! My first run in them felt much cushion.

A little rain in the morning to wash away the layers of yellow pollen that had settled everywhere.
 I fell asleep on the sofa at 7pm, woke up enough to go to bed at 9 and didn't wake up until 9am the next morning. Guess I wasn't imagining the whole tiredness thing I've been fighting all week.

Strength- Body Pump 11am, running 4 miles
Weights body Pump- warmup 7.5 lbs each end of the bar, squats 15 each end, back 12.5 each end, biceps 5 each end, lunges 10 each end,chest 7.5 each end, shoulders 7.5 each end. Most of the other tracks were loose weights or body weight. Just a little record I can look back on and see if I've improved. Don't judge too harshly each body part gets 100 reps or so..its a slow process to build up the weight.

After a lazy start to the day it was all go. Body Pump and then a trip to the farmers market. We found a farmer who pasture raises everything organic. I spend the extra money for this with milk and eggs at Trader Joes so why not go ahead and cut out the middle man. It's not perfect but much better than battery raised hens that's for sure.
After that it was an hour of grass cutting, lunch and a rest before heading out with Boomer for a run. Did you know the new thing with running is to run a while and then scramble/fall/climb down to reach the river. Boomer isn't a dive into the water type dog but he is slowly becoming obsessed with the water.
Homeward bound but only after a frolic through the fallen blossom leaves.
Sunday 6.55 miles running
We went back to a more out of the way trail to run. It was refreshing to go somewhere different especially with how pretty everything is as spring hits. I miscalculated the distance trying to get (successfully) to see where the trail ended but we finished up with a quarter marathon :) I finished the week feeling a lot better than I thought I would. The change of scenery helped. Next week I'll drag myself out of my slump....stay tuned!
We got to see more deer, from a bit more of a distance this time.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Mike to Mike Half Marathon, Fayetteville NC 2015

On Sunday I completed the Mike to Mike Half Marathon in Fayetteville NC. This was a race organized by the military so it started in Fayetteville and ended in Fort Bragg. 
The military organization was clear from start to finish. So much so that I was surprised that this was only the second year of the race. Also surprising for a relatively new race was the size of the field
595 Full Marathoners, 1782 half marathoners and 759 5ks including 100 British paratroopers. The packet included a face cloth, Chapstick and a tshirt. The tshirt is a nice design but the seams are a little odd so the fit isn't quite right.

I got up at a very early 4.45 on race morning to catch the race shuttle (from the host hotel) to the race start. The area was spread out over Festival Park in downtown Fayetteville. Lots of port-a-potties AND a genius little handwash station, if only all races had these. The race started at 7 am to the roar of a Howitzer.
Running through the smoke from the gun I knew I should have peed one last time. Never mind, I'd been sick with hay fever pretty much all week so I knew I'd be lucky to get through this one with a relatively ok time. I stopped at the first set of port-a-potties at mile 1.5 and waited a few minutes to pee. I didn't have to worry about cooling down as I hit a hill as soon as I started running again. 
This theme continued- hills and bathroom breaks as I had to stop again a few miles later...not feeling so hot. 
After that I settled into somewhat of a rhythm. I just ran fast when it felt good and slow when it felt bad. Although none of the hills were monsters most of the course was a steady climb towards the finish and my legs felt it in the last few miles. I also felt my feet burning like I'd walked in high heels for shoes are ordered. 
The course scenery was kind of boring and the on course electrolyte drink tasted awful, not good when humidity is over 90% and I'm only sucking down water. BUT the aid stations were frequent and well stocked (1 or 2 had fuel including Sports Beans, Shot Blocks and Gu gels...something for everyone), lots of marshalls (lots of miltary) out at the intersections and lots of potties. On course there was some music as well in including an army band.

What does get you, and got me even though I'm not American, is strong theme throughout the race of remembering the fallen soldiers. Besides all the military participants, people were wearing blue to remember the fallen, and there is a mile dedicated to fallen soliders lined by pictures and flags. I choked up a bit at this point. It was very emotional.
The cool part of it being a miltary associated race was getting to see the fort and some of the trucks and other vehicles parked up at the finish line festivities. They went all out with the medal for this race, it was massive and heavy. Finishers also got a big backpack which is a bit more useful than the usual string bags.
I finished in 2.05.44 with splits all over the place.

I walked around all the vendors at the finish area and then hopped on a bus back to the start and then another back to the hotel. I made it just on time to get a shower and get a hotel breakfast before checking out. We planned on walking around some shops etc but after some coffee we realized everything was shut for Sunday and by everything I mean everything but 2/3 restaurants were shut. Then it was home for a rest and a happy end to Sunday with some TV time. A solid race that I think will continue to grow in years to come.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Weekly Roundup

I've been going through a rough patch of pollen allergies. It was a bit too much this week, sinus headaches and a upset stomach on top of the usual sniffles so I cuddled with Boomer on the couch a few times instead of running.
 Previous years its been the initial flush of pollen that gets me so I'm hoping that in the next week or so I feel a lot better. Its definitely not as bad as some people get them so there is something to be thankful for!!

Strength- Body Pump 7am
I finally adjusted to the time change so I went to my regular class. It felt pretty good to be in there exercising before the sun had even risen.
Running 3 miles 10.32 min/mile
Very easy miles. I've been trying to bump my weights a bit so my muscles were tired.

Tuesday Rest-ish
It was in the 80s after work when I had planned to go to the track. I couldn't wait until after dark for the temps to drop as the track wasn't lit. The next day was much cooler so I shuffled my rest day(s) around.
Instead I spent an hour giving the lawn its first full cut of the summer. It was mostly just getting rid of spring weeds but still pushing a 50lb+ push mower around for an hour is a decent workout. I sat on the couch sneezing for hours me sneezy and grumpy.

Strength- Body Pump 7am
Two early mornings this week, that must be a new record. Between walking to the gym, doing class and getting changed the lunchtime class is taking too much time out of my work day. I'm not saying I won't go to an occasional lunchtime class but I'm going to try to make the morning class the more frequent one.
Running 4 miles with 6 x 400m repeats 8.29 min/mile
Fun times in the semi-darkness at the track but it was worth moving days around it was so much cooler and enjoyable.
Thursday- Rest
Felt awful.

Friday- Running 5 miles 9.25 min/mile
Didn't feel bad/good just hot.

Saturday- Rest
Boomers girlfriend stayed the night. So we dropped her at daycare before the farmers market in the morning and then a 3 hour drive to Fayetteville. A set of roadworks added around 20 minutes to our drive, because people do not know how to merge into a single lane. I had my first experience with room service and then tried in vain to sleep, HGTV has a lot to answer for. I can never have cable because I'd watch it all day. 

Running -13.1 miles at the Mike to Mike Half Marathon  9.32 min/mile
A steady climb from start to finish. Legs were trashed at the end.

An up and down week but not too bad! I've a 4 more races in the next few months, then I might just spend my summer mixing things up a bit more.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Re-evaluating training

I think I've come to accept that this spring and summer will have to be a rebuilding my body phrase, taking strength classes has made me realise how weak I've let all the major non-running related muscles become. Funnily enough that's not good for improving at running. I used to be freakishly strong now I'm weak like a baby!!

Weight lifting is definitely making running a bit more of a chore (due to soreness) and maybe even putting running specific training on the back-burner a bit more than it should be. I don't lift heavy weights at all and the fact that I'm continuing to be very sore afterwards has made me realise I need to focus on strength. The thing is I'm enjoying the change and the challenge.

Running in some ways is still very challenging, for example upping the intensity in training or racing is hard physically and mentally, because I'm lazy like that, but in other ways its so familiar to my body that its easy enough when not injured to just run the miles and not challenge myself. 
Don't get me wrong I still very much enjoy running, especially on the days that it just flows. I'll continue to keep a good base mileage so I can run halfs, 10ks and 5ks as often as I'd like but for the next while I think PR efforts at the half marathon will be off the cards. At least until I have rebuilt some strength and flexibility. Is my love affair with the half marathon over? I'm not saying that if the right day strikes and I feel amazing that I won't go with it but I think for now I need to take a bit of pressure off and focus on having an all around healthier body. 
Maybe I'll do a few more 5ks and 10ks so I get used to harder efforts over a shorter distance. I'll have to work harder and earn some AG awards if I want some bling!!

It sounds funny to be thinking of old age when I'm 31 but from watching my grandparents last years I know that I want to be as independent and mobile as possible until the day I drop dead. Lifelong fitness and strength are the best things you can do for muscle strength (aka remaining mobile) in old age. 
The next decade for me really is the time to focus on building muscle mass and flexibility because once you hit 45 yrs old you lose 10% of your muscle mass per decade....unless you work really hard at maintaining but you have to have it to start with. Man, my Ph.D on muscle ageing scared me slightly, ha ha!!

I'm already seeing improvements. My muscle tone is improving, even though I'm carrying a few extra pounds, I've had no ITB related pain and my weaker shoulder is slowly improving (I only feel the difference in strength when I'm really tired now).  

I'm a total convert to weight lifting just don't be looking out for me on any bodybuilding magazines any time soon!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Weekly Roundup Feb 9th

Running 3 miles
3 easy miles. I didn't go to Body Pump. As much as I'm loving the brighter evenings I think I need a week to adjust to the time change in the mornings before getting up early. We took Boomer out that evening and he had a great time strutting his stuff.

Strength Body Pump 12pm
Finally got to Body Pump. We had the option of 45 mins or an hour. Everyone went with an hour and I pushed hard.
Running 3 miles including 8x hill repeats
I think doing Body Pump and my harder running days together is in a strange way easier. Even though I'm tired after a class, soreness the day after weight lifting is worst and really makes me not want to do hill repeats or intervals.
I went out after dark since it was in the high 70s. I ran a huge hill, one I hate to walk up it its so big, since my usual one is being ripped up for road works. I managed 4 repeats on the big hill, then as I found myself fading too much towards the end of the 4th repeat I headed to a less steep, shorter hill and did another 4 on that one.

Running 5 miles
Another hot run (80F). I took it easy.
Boomer got his teeth cleaned today (bad teeth must run in the family), he was so snuggly all evening after the anaesthetic.

Strength (not really)-Body Combat 12pm
The class schedules are messed up because of spring break. I ended up going to a class thinking it was Body Pump but really it was Body Combat. It was way more cardio than strength. It didn't do much for my legs but man my arms were sore after all those punches.
Yoga 6pm
Yoga started with crunches..a bad sign but it ended up being a good class.

Friday rest

Saturday 3 miles Get to the Green 5k
A new 5k PR yay!! Then an almost day long marathon of Game of Thrones...we will be ready for the new season.

Sunday- 12 easy miles
I could have gotten up earlier or run later but it was nice to get out and feel the sun on my skin all 78F of it. I got my dose of vitamin D to make up for a few weeks of overcast rainy skies. Everything felt good until the last 2 miles when I started to overheat a little, a good dunk under the cold tap at the park solved that problem pretty fast.
Even when you don't think your route is hilly in Columbia it is!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Get to the Green 5k, Columbia SC

After over a year I've finally run another 5k. What a nice one to run...tshirts, medals and food at the end.

This was a local race to coincide with the St. Patricks Day Weekend Festival. I signed up the day before feeling tired with some majorly sore arms and shoulders, so I had pretty low expectations. It was raining and cool walking to the race, so I ran a half mile warm up. Then once we were told to start I took off fast. My watch went to sleep and then didn't catch the statellites before we started so I didn't realize until I hit the mile marker that I ran the first mile in the low 7 min/mile range. 
Ekk no wonder my legs hurt and I felt like I was going to get sick, ha ha. I reined it back in a bit and held a constant pace for the last two miles. I didn't feel like death when I finished but I doubt I could have given it a whole lot more so I'm happy enough with my pacing and time.
I crossed the line in 24.32, I think that's around a 40 second PR. A few less hills and a bit more rest I could shave a bit more off that time. BUT under  25 minutes baby. I waited in the rain for a few minutes for Martina to finish (I convinced her to run) before going to check my Offical time. The nice printed slip of paper also told me I was 3rd in my age group..a bit of a shocker in a big enough race. Maybe some faster runners started their St. Patrick's Day celebration too soon.
We walked for what seemed like forever back to the car, went home and changed and then went back (more appropriately dressed for the rain) for the awards. Turned out the top 2 female finishers were in my age group so I got 1st in my age group in the end. I got a sweet little shamrock award!! 
85th/942 overall
4th/86  AG M/F
17th/520 Females
Pace 7.54 min/mile

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Run Hard Half Marathon, Columbia SC 2015

This week I ran the Run Hard Half Marathon. I knew large portions of this course from running around Columbia and I knew that this course would be HILLY!! This was for me a tough training run.
The expo was near work for me, on Friday, so I popped up there after work to pick up my bib and t-shirt. The expo was small but if you forgot anything there was enough there to pick it up. The t-shirt was unisex and a cotton/synthetic blend. I didn't realise it was unisex so I ended up changing sizes-shirt exchange was at the race finish.

The race started on Saturday morning at 7.30am. I got up a 6am, ate and changed and left the house at 6.50am, can't beat a home turf race. I drove for all of three minutes and parked on street about 2 minutes walk from the race start. All the meters were free all day so all my parking was free, even better. Being close to the race was great because the weather had swung back to being freezing. It  was around 30 at the race start. Not bad but you don't want to stand around for hours in it either.

The start was pretty low key. After the national anthemn we set of mostly downhill to start, running right by my work building.
 Within the first two miles we hit Saluda Avenue. This is a monster of a hill and will be the site of my hill training when the evenings are longer. Its close to half a mile of steep hill. Normally I don't walk within the first few miles of a race but I took a walk break on this beast. 
These guys from the RWB club must have had some sore arms by the end.

There were aid stations every 2 miles with water, gatorade and fruit. Aid stations also came with port-a-potties thank goodness because again I had to stop pretty urgently at mile 7. Every so often a paramedic would patrol by on a motorcycle and then there were cops at almost every intersection. Offical course support was spot on and unoffically there were a fair few supporters out there cheering us all on. For the most of the course the hills were constant but small enough. The last few miles were punishing though. There was one looong climb and then another killer hill at around mile 10. I ran every step of that last big sucker though. It did make me feel sorry for the full marathoners though since the full course was a double loop.

If you can see the arrow that'll let you know what the next few miles were like.

I pushed myself for the last mile. It was hard after that course but I managed a pretty nice kick for the finish stretch and passed a good few people. I came across the finish and received one of my favorite medals so far.  The finish had bagels, fruit, gatorade and water. I grabbed some water and exchanged my tshirt before jumping in the car and going home. 
The signs were decorated by kids from a local running program.
The awards were presented right on the state house steps.
My splits were all over the place but I didn't look at my watch just running by feel.

My friend ran the marathon of this race a couple of years ago (before it changed management) and finished near the back of the pack. I remember at that stage it had been all packed up and noone was there to cheer on the finishers.
 So with that in mind after I showered and put on my new t-shirt we headed back up to the Soda City Market on Main Street. This market is a farmers market that runs every Saturday but it was on the other half of the road where the finishing stretch was. 
We went up and I grabbed a quick breakfast and coffee. We alternated walking around the market with Boomer, who said hello to 100s of dogs, and stopping at the barriers and cheering for 5 or so minutes. Market browsing done we headed to the finish and stayed cheering for a while. It was slightly different atmosphere compared to my friends finish with an awesome DJ mixing up some good songs. I was the embrassingly loud cheering person, giving out the occasional high five. It was just as fun cheering as running. 
This was a very well organized race, slightly no-frills and a hard course but fun. They really stepped it up with the medal and the finish. It's totally worth might not be the best first marathon but it'd make a good 2nd or 3rd marathon and a good half at any time!!! They do some great registration offers at times so follow their FB page if you are thinking about running it.