Sunday, 24 April 2016

Heart and Sole 5 miler, Columbia SC 2016

The Heart and Sole race (3 mile walk and 5 mile run) is a women's only race to raise awareness about heart disease in women. The need for awareness is because symptoms of heart disease and or heart attacks are a lot less obvious in women than men for some reason. A lot of women have heart attacks and might not even realize that it's happening. Since most of my grandparents died at relatively young ages, 1 from cancer and 3 from heart attacks, this is an area of health very important to me and a good race to remind me to keep a check on my heart health.
The start area was at a local park and I walked up there from the ample parking at the riverfront. About a half an hour from the race start they had a recent heart attack survivor come up on stage and describe her experience and how it's changed her life. Scary stuff! Once all the serious talk was done, everyone jammed out to some Prince music. 
Around 8.30 we started to run. The morning of the race was hotter than last weekend (mid-60s at the start) and humid. I thought it was going to be awful but I wanted to run around goal half marathon pace to get some slightly faster miles run.
 The start was fast and as usual I started out too quick and eventually found myself with the 8 min/mile pacer. I did think about trying to stick with her but my gps was saying she was running faster than she was supposed to. That was taxing my system a little too much so I let her go. I was running faster than goal pace regardless but went with it. I ended up running a 7.45 min/mile for the first mile and the second one...but the 8 min pacer was still ahead of me....what's up with that. Those two miles felt hard but actually pretty ok, so it's looking good for my 5k in May if the weather isn't too hot. 
For mile 3 the wheels came off a little, ok maybe a lot, with avery looong climb up Gervais Street, probably around half a mile of climb. Did I mention there were aid stations every mile and I walked through almost all of them. Well in this mile I also walked a couple of other times to get my breathing under control. Mile 4, I was slowly getting my shiz back together when I seriously thought I'd need a bathroom stop, then a fly decided to commit suicide by flying directly into my eye. I stopped to get the thing out but I was now worried more about bug parts in my eye, than poop in my pants...thanks bug, 8.41 mile. Mile 5, there were no more big hills or kamakazi bugs so I managed to pull my fastest mile of the race out of the bag with a 7.41. Finish time 41.21. The downhill finish helped with the last mile.

 So what I've learned is that I usually run my best when I don't expect to. I ran a big PR (7 mins if looking at a 8k time, 9 if comparing with another 5 miler). I don't place too much stock in that, as nice as it is, because both of my old times are very old but it is a nice reminder of how much I've improved since I started running. What is nicer is that if this had been a 10k and I could have keep a good pace for the last mile, even anything below a 10 min/mile, I would have taken more than a minute of my 10k PR, sweet. The first time in a while I've had some encouragement to keep training in the form of race results.

At the finish I got a medal, a long stem rose and a nice bottle of water.  In the park they had lots of food, the usual race stuff but also some tasty chocolate covered strawberries. Then a ton of vendors, a lot health related. I got my blood pressure checked (cause why not) and because I finished nice and early I got to get a free massage without having to wait!! I was sweating up a storm...I left an imprint of my race number on the table in sorry you had to touch me massage lady but thank you.
I didn't win an age group prize but stuck around until 10am because the bottom part of my bib was an entry for door prizes.
The age group prizes where a nifty towel thing that can cover you for changing or be a car seat cover etc. depending on how you zip or Velcro it...very useful prizes. What was really great was the age range of runners the oldest runner got 3rd in her age group and got an extra prize for being the oldest finisher at 78 yrs old...I want this to be me. Now the door prizes they were something else...massages, free entries to local races, garmins, dicks sporting goods vouchers, fleet feet training programs etc...alas I didn't win any but I was happy with my PR. Obviously this race has not only good organizers but some generous sponsors. I'll definitely run this next year if I can, it was really fun.

Then once I got home, since Sundays are now all about getting ready for the work week, we took off to the beach for the day to make the most of our Saturday. Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Quarry Crusher, Columbia SC 2016...and stuff

Hi all, Sorry I'm being an infrequent poster I'm settling back into this work lark! Needless to say I haven't stopped running. I'm pretty much following my usual 25-30 miles a week.
On Saturday I ran the Quarry Crusher run. This is in my neighbourhood(ish) and as I mentioned I was intrigued by the idea of seeing the quarry because their blasting actually causes my house to shake sometimes.

The race is a local one but they have now set up a few others in other cities, e.g. in Atlanta and Baltimore, with the same into the quarry and back out. The race started at 8am and I ran a mile and got there at around 7.45. The entrance to the quarry was only a quarter of a mile into the race and we soon found ourselves running on sand, packed dirt and/or gravel. 

Crazy guy

I seriously considered gloves for this race but in the end I managed not to fall :) I did see a number of bloody hands, knees and even a tush, ekkk!! The way down was steep but I held back a little until I got more confident with my footing... by the time I hit the bottom I was hitting 6.30 min/mile pace. At the bottom was a military band and a quick loop before we ran back up. 
The weather was really nice (55-60˚F)  so the multiple aid stations were appreciated but not really needed. The way back up was a slog, not in a bad way...I like suffering with others :P I wasn't even halfway up when I was passed in the opposite direction by the 'double crushers', masochists I call them. I ran-walked, changing over between the two very frequently. As I'd mentioned my body has not been behaving very nicely so it was more tight legs that got me on the way up than breathing (altho if I'd ran more I'm sure I'd be huffing and puffing with the best of them).
Lots of walk breaks
Once I hit flat ground again I was able to get my legs pumping for a nice fast finish.  Overall I was a big ole slow poke...around 10 min/mile but this was a novelty race. Not one I'd repeat but a really fun interesting experience. The distance changes every year depending on how much material has been removed. This year it was just over 3.5 automatic PR, a distance I'm unlikely to run again ha ha. I rounded out the run to 4 miles for a total of 5 for the day.
I got a nice medal and cotton t-shirt. Lots of food was available at the finish. A really nicely organized race.

The next day I felt like from halfway down my shins had been beaten with a baseball bat. Shins, ankles the whole lot. I spent a couple of hours doing yard work and then 45 minutes in the pool, instead of running which I'm sure would have done me no favors. Some of it was the surface and some shin splints. I'm giving in and I'm going to get Pure Flows at the end of the month instead of my Pure Connects as they have much the same specs but more padding and might help with the shin splints. Not complaining and I'm not looking for sympathy, I just wouldn't want anyone to think I'm just wimping out on running for no reason.

Next weekend I'm running a local 5 miler before my last planned half at the end of the month. After that I might try settle into a summer routine.
Swimming this Sunday made me think about it and I like the idea of not doing long runs but swimming/cycling instead. I would however like to put the effort into continuing to keep a ok mileage and do speed work just while keeping my run maximum to 6-7 miles when its so hot. That way I'm not giving myself heat stroke or losing all speed just trying to get in miles. I am excited that I'll have a gym right beside my new place come July so that'll help a lot with working out.
How do you change your routine up for summer? Or do you need to?

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Training Log

This week was my first week back at work but it was also a lovely week for running. The weather which has been causing snow etc. up north has given us a really nice cool week.

Body Pump I got myself up and ready for BP at 7am. Showering and changing at the gym got me into work for 8.30am...perfect!

4 miles @ 9.12 min/mile I ran a mile with Boomer and then 3 by myself it felt good and I got faster as the run went on.

7.25 miles @ 8.27 min/mile.
Pyramid style workout 1 mile warmup 2x 400m (7.15, 6.48), 2 x 800m (7.18, 7.13), 1 x mile (7.24), 2 x 800m (7.23, 7.37), 2 x 400m (7.39, 7.23 min/mile). All had 400m recovery except after the mile - it got 800m recovery as I had to run to the bathroom and back. An unofficial 10k PR with this run.

The week before was 800s with a mile at the end so I knew I could do a decent workout at this pace and wanted to take advantage of the cooler weather. As I was warming up shin splints (left shin) were hurting and at one point I had such a sharp pain in my shin I was going to stop. A few strides later it was gone and the achy pain of the shin splints went away as I warmed up. I was extra pleased that I stuck it out.


3 miles @10.08 min/mile A slow run with the dog. He likes to sniff around, pee and poop before really getting going with his run...just like his mom.

5 miles @9.20 min/mile River trail running enjoying some music.

8 miles running @ 9.43 min/mile I cut back my long run as everything has been feeling very off for the last couple of weeks. I'm super ready for new shoes and a massage at the end of this month

First Week back at work

Since I did a first week at home post I thought I'd write a first week back at work post. Man, I forgot how short the days are when you are working...hello I haven't written a blog post all week. 
My new most used lab tools

My new lab is small but it's intense. Everyone works really hard. That's great, I've always been a hard worker but it's so much easier when the people around you are motivated! It's a bit intimidating for the new person though. 
I've been assigned a big experiment, something I've never (or anyone in lab) done, so it's been hard sitting round all week figuring it out, ordering stuff and waiting for cells to grow. I feel like I'm twiddling my thumbs but I'm having to be patient, let things go at their own speed while I learn the lay of the land. However, if I get the experiment to work it'll be a great start to a new job. I'm just hoping any reservations I have are just the nerves of the first few weeks. 

As far as running and working out goes, it's been pretty good. I've not been sleeping great, nervousness and a change in routine, so I only made it to one of my planned three body pump classes. I missed one because I barely slept the night before and one because it was cancelled. As for running I've been tired but I always am so it's not been that different just a case of getting out the door. 

I'm excited for next week when I should get some real work going and get to know my workmates better.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Race registration regrets

I think this is probably the only time I've ever even thought of regret in relation to registering for a race!! My double half marathon weekend is coming up and I'm having issues. Not running ones, no logistics. 

When I signed up I didn't think I'd have a job, we'd just drive up to Kentucky, run, go to Ohio, run and go home. Tiring but fun and affordable. Well I'm starting a new job on Monday and the races are in four weeks. I'm not sure asking for a day off in my first month is the best idea...or will give the best impression. 
I could fly up but that has two main problems 1.) I'd still have to take a half day off (to get to the Kentucy expo on time, no one else can pick up the packet either 2.) flights are looking like they'd be around $500 and I won't get paid for a month (and I don't want to commit that much of what is meant to be my first paycheck fun money to flights).
The upshot of all this is I don't think I'll be doing the Kentucky race, we'll drive a little on Friday night and Saturday to get to Cinncinati for the Flying Pig half marathon. I've diddered back and forth about this, its paining me to give up running in a new state but this way I'll get to actually see some of Cinncinati, somewhere I've never been, and when I eventually get to Kentucky it'll be the same. At the end of the day registering for the double has made me train more which is why I've signed up.

I'm going to hold onto the bib for another week in case I change my mind and then sell it (allows transfer) so if anyone wants to buy a bib for the Kentucky Derby Festival Half marathon let me know.