Monday, September 28, 2009

Play by play

In England a couple weeks ago I was doing some 'train the trainer' training and we focused heavily on chunking the information. Only giving trainees the information they need to know right then - trying to keep from overwhelming their brains!! I've been doing this more and more on runs - I'm sure I've always done it to some extent - I'm just more aware of it now.

For instance on my 8 mile run last week - around the same lake as in the last post (16 laps - think pond - not real lake) - I broke it up first into 2 lap segments. I didn't focus on having to do 16, merely on the two that were lying directly in front of me - literally taking it one mile at a time. This particular day it was raining (not pouring, not sprinkling - just a steady rain). No one else was out - no rabbits to chase so I had to bring it back a little more internal - focus on myself and of course my music. Because of the rain I was able to break my run up even further - there were 4 sections:
  • Section 1 was an area where snails had decided to slime there way out onto the path (note: I hate snails/slugs!!) - this area was where I focused my energy solely on NOT stepping on one of them. I hate them, but I couldn't bear to hear the crunch or think of the slime on the bottom of my shoe, or just kill anything really!
  • Section 2 had a uniqueness that didn't come to me till later - about 4 laps in I realized what I thought were rain drops hitting me were really bugs - a wipe of the face confirmed. From then on my goal during that section was to avoid them - duck, weave, whatever it took.
  • Section 3 was the curves - just a little area where it made a few turns back and forth. This area was my chill place - it felt a little like a forest and there was a white egret and a great blue heron in this section. The egret did not seem happy about the blue heron and both seemed suspicious of me!
  • Section 4 was the parking lot area - nothing special to it, but I would scope out the people that had stopped to sit and wait out the rain and the boy who was practicing on his skateboard while his Dad, I assumed, watched from the car.
Now add in the music to this - my mind was overly occupied and the miles seemed to fly by. Not to mention I really get a kick out of running in the rain if it's not too cold. I need to post my playlist from this run - it was unique for sure!

My second instance of the chunking on a run came on Saturday - the big day - 20 miles. Seriously, I wasn't sure if I would make it this far. My chunks for this run were a bit larger:

  • Section 1 was a 6 mile (I thought - turned out to be 6.6) loop that I made out to the golf course and then back into town to meet up with Brooke at her house at 8am. I utilized my iPod and mini-race day fanny pack to carry along my fuel. Upon arrival at her house I indulged in a raspberry clif shot and water.
  • Section 2 was getting to run with Brooke - I dumped the iPod and mini-fanny before we headed out on a 7 mile loop that included a stop at the Y for a drink, lots of chatting, a few stretch breaks, and another gu & water when we got back to her house.
  • Section 3 was the loop to my house from Brooke's - not the direct 2 mile path, but the 4ish mile loop through the neighborhoods. I put the iPod back on for the trip and rocked it out a bit. I took one short walk/stretch break.
  • Section 4 started at my house - it began with 1/2 a gu and some gatorade G2 (love that stuff). Brady was dressed and ready so he headed out with me for what ended up being 2.5 miles. I was starting to lock up at this point (I'd already done 2 miles more than my longest run to date) so he coached me through it. We started out running 6 - walking 1 minute until I was feeling better then we went to running 3, walking 30 seconds. It worked (except for a random calf cramp going up a slight grassy incline???). I was able to run it in and felt good when I saw my Garmin slip over to read 20 miles!! Happy day.
After the run to keep walking we went down to a rummage sale on our block - found a record player AND a cool decanter. (Needless to say there was some time spent Sunday rocking out to some oldies, but goodies!) Mom, Jar and the kids came over after I'd showered and we decided to grab lunch - the kids and I walked the mile there & back - that was probably the best cool down/post run stretch!!

So, anyway, I'm breaking it down into bits and I'm going to make it through Chicago one leg at a time. With some breaks I ran 20 in 3:30 so if I can fit in the other 6 miles in 3 hours (6:30 cut-off) I'll be good!! :-)

I'm taking a break tonight to catch a concert - whoohoo - DragonForce & Sonata Artica. Till next time...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Not the Plan

So, the intention was to run 12, 16, 20 - then taper as usual. The 12 was a little rough, but OK. 16 turned into 13 because of real issues with arches and ankles. :-(
No way to go up to 20 without the threat of injury. I opted for 16 the following week and made it - went a little further with my walking recovery. It was a good run though - not much walking during the run - could have done a much better job of fueling, but the belly was an issue. This seems scary to me, but since I'm not in it to win it (or for time) I'm going to try to go from 16 to at least 18, but hopefully 20 on Saturday. That is 3 weeks out from the big day - eeeeeekkkk!! Anyway, should be interesting. I'll knock it down to a 12 the week before to allow for recovery, then hit it. Again, just to finish - no time goal!!!
After my 16 this weekend (that was sandwiched between a trip to the UK - sunday through friday night - think 6 hour time difference - and a trip to Ennis, TX that required leaving again on sunday afternoon) I took a day of rest on Monday then did 5 tonight. It was a good run around a 1/2 mile lake. The weather was nice and I felt good. I ran 5 miles and averaged 8:51 per mile. Still slower than I would like, but faster than I've been in months!! I felt like a rock star lapping the slow walkers in 2 laps, the fast walkers & slow joggers in 3 and everyone else at least once in the time I was there. They were my rabbits and they were appreciated.
To give an idea of how well my head has NOT been screwed on lately - I forgot my running clothes for this trip!!!! Seriously, I've never done that before. Craziness!! I ran to the local Hibbet's store - less than a block from the hotel and luckily they carried the Nike Tempo shorts I love in about every color. I went with a new one - dark grey with orange stripe - awesome!! Great for fall. ;-) They were super and I washed them out to wear for tomorrow night's run!!
The way the week is going I should be able to get home early enough thursday for a serious bike ride then I will plan to relax friday and hit it hard for my long run on Saturday!! Let's just hope all goes well!!
Till then!! :-)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Playlist dreams

I guess all the thoughts about putting together the perfect marathon play list was embedded in my head when I hit the pillow last night. My dream was one long play list ending up with 'The Hand that Feeds' by NIN's when the alarm went off. I don't think I got great sleep because my brain was churning through songs, but that's alright - it's better than some of the other kooky dreams I've been having lately. What causes kooky dreams anyway??

I finally got my run in yesterday evening. It was pouring and 60 degrees when I got up to go out yesterday morning and I pulled out the sissy card. At noon it was only drizzling, but I knew I couldn't really get more than 4 miles in given the time constraints so I opted for the after work, and in this case after visiting Gpa at the nursing home run. It was a bit after 7pm when I left I think- I ran 6 at a 'fast for me right now' time of 54:55 with an average pace of 9:09. It was dark when I got home and the President's speech was just finishing up. I had forgotten about it so I had to take some time to get caught up on the happenings, eat a bit of dinner, shower, and read a bit before crashing into my play list clouded slumber.

I did it again today, got up to run, but didn't. This time I pulled the 'my body's still tired' card which I think was legit. I didn't completely sissy out this time though - I got up and worked my abs & upper body. Now I just have the run looming over my head for the rest of the day. I was planning to bike tonight as well - so, looks like leftovers for dinner!! Anyway, I think I'll try to get them both in so I can take a day off on Friday to prep for my 16 miles on Saturday - oh how I will miss my running friend that day - sigh!!! :-(

I need to start working on a new route for the run - after doing this running thing for so long I think I know about all of Carthage on foot. It's so good to switch it up though. Having said that though - I was thinking the 6 mile loop I did last night was really one of the prettier runs around. I should take a few pictures. It's up and down two of the more well known roads in town for beautiful old Victorian houses, then there's a detour through the campus of Chi Dong Dong Cong and the gardens there (seriously a little hidden treasure of Carthage), finishing up with a grand view of the Courthouse. Not too shabby!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It's so easy, it's so easy...

Yeah, yeah, yeah! Ok, not always - running isn't always easy. That's why it's a challenge and rewarding I guess. I've been easing my way back into the groove. I got in 4 & 6 last week - that made me feel pretty good. Sunday I went out to try for 12 - I did make it - but talk about slow. I was still having some issues so just finishing was good - there are those days!
Sure makes a girl worry about finishing 26.2 in...let's see...4 weeks from Sunday - ouch!! Argh, I did make the commitment to just enjoy this one. The man friend asked me my goal and I jokingly said 6-1/2 hours (the cutoff for Chi town). He was trying to pump me up by saying lots of peeps would be happy with that - or to even finish and I remember those days, but it's hard to go back isn't it??
What is seriously realistic though?? I don't really have a clue. My best marathon is 4:09, my last marathon in super windy weather with stomach issues was 4:30 something (I don't remember it exactly b/c it didn't make me happy). My first marathon ever - that I trained for with no guidance, in the middle of a SW MO winter (for a Florida race in which it got up to 85 degrees), with a bad case of tendinitis was 5:47. I walked a LOT of it and was so dehydrated at the end I basically passed out - not too mention I really couldn't walk normal for a week. Am I really looking at a repeat performance of that?? I don't think so - I do know what I'm getting in to this go around, I know to hydrate and fuel. The weather should be nice and cool. I am just under trained. My plan is to try to run 16 this weekend and 20 next then do a slight taper with 15, 12, then race. That's increasing my long run mileage by 4 miles a week instead of 2, but I'll go slow as to avoid potential injury. Let's hope that's enough to do it. I just need to do better about timing myself to see where I really am.
My other question - to plan to walk or not?? I did the run/walk in St. Louis (my second marathon where I ran a 4:39 - much better than the initial 5:47). It's a great thing I think and it may be what I need to do to get past this hurdle. It's just a little depressing knowing I can run that far and intentionally walking. But, if you've read any of Jeff Galloway's stuff he says if you are going to run/walk it's best to do it from the beginning. So, maybe I'll try for a 10 minute run, 1 minute walk?? That's what I'll be contemplating between now and Saturday!

As anyone who's done an Adventure Race should know - you have to enjoy the journey. I intend to try. Going to take my camera, try chatting it up with new people, update my iPod play list so it's rockin', and plan on a sightseeing adventure around the great city of Chicago.

Speaking of updating my play list - I was thinking at the end of my 12 miler the other day about how weird it is what songs motivate you when you are tapped out. One marathon I got hooked on Gin & Juice (that's what I get for getting uncensored songs from friends, but it was fun), another race I listened to Tina Turner over and over and over, Copperhead Road is usually a hit, Kayne West's song Stronger featuring Daft Punk, Carry On by Manowar, and lately a little Alabama Mountain Music. When I'm sprinting or out for a fast run I love the harder stuff, like Metallica, Oomph!, Dragonforce, Black Tide, etc., but they just don't do as much for me for the distance runs. I think when I finally finish compiling my play list for the run I'll post it too - just for fun - before race posting and a post-race posting to see how they work for me! :-)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Here we go again

Sometimes things happen in life that keep us from doing what we want to do and force us into doing what has to be done. Rarely do I allow those 'have to' things to come between me and my running - there are always more hours in a day type of mentality. For at least the last week, and really a bit longer than that I've come across something that has actually kept me from running. It's not a running related injury, but it is a health issue. I'm not feeling the need, or desire yet to go into much detail - just to divulge the fact that it was a side-liner - mostly to allow me to get back to my blog.
So, coming off of that side-liner is where I am now. It was harder and more emotional than expected. It makes my stress fracture feel like a silly little runners injury that I can't believe I had to shed tears over (although that was a 3 month 'break'!!). I know I could have forced myself into running days ago, but it just felt 'weird'. I couldn't put my finger on anything really serious - just not right. I tried a 2 mile(ish) walk/jog with Brady and I just wasn't 'feeling it'. At this point I am leaning towards it being mental and I think this may have been one of the first times I have let a mental issue keep me from pounding pavement. I usually just force myself out there and tell myself that if I'm not into in 10 minutes I can go back in and curl up on the couch. That never happens - once your out there, in the clean air, feeling more alive than you feel the whole rest of the day - it always sucks me in. This was different I guess, but no mental issue was going to keep me down for long. Health wise I knew I was basically released (as much as modern 'practicers' of medicine will allow) so I finally jumped the hurdle. Of course it was through a bit of nudging and unintended peer pressure. I knew it would be coming - hoping and dreading all at the same time...
The text that read 'want to run tomorrow?' (Just as an aside - I love Brooke - it's a whole other post probably, but it sure is great having a such an awesome 'running friend'!!)
It was about 8:30PM and I was chatting with Brady and reading a book (multi-tasker that I am). I just looked at him and and said 'should I?' I don't know if he knew either - it was a toss up. I haven't been sleeping well and running requires getting even less, and we discussed it might make it even harder for me to make it through the (in my opinion) already too long work day. Argh, who cares, work days are hard to get through when you feel swell - might as well try it. I agreed - planned on leaving our houses at 5:45am to meet up at our 1/2 way point. It was a pretty slow 4 mile run with a few side-stitches, but it was also great. It's one run down and I feel ready to go again. Not one to slack too much I also have planned for road ride tonight and another run tomorrow. We shall see. I'm optimistic that I'm back.

In addition to my post about running with Brooke I will have to write another post based on my lack of training so far for Chicago marathon and how I intend to handle it (since I don't know yet). Also about coping with a seriously good (possibly non-existent) potential of not meeting my goal time.

Also, another aside - not even running related at all, just a bit fun...
The 'man' is super into playing instruments and music of all types. I love music - most all types, but have only ever played the flute in band (I know, band geek extraordinaire). Not sure why, but the banjo has always seemed like a fun thing to me. (Yeah, seriously not sure why - for those of you who know me well, or have known me through the years know that I am generally into a bit harder stuff - think Metallica, Ozzy, Tesla, GnR - yep, I know that dates me, but I just don't care - love the hair, love the metal - hehe!) I didn't want to go to the expected line though - Brady has all that - keys, guitar, bass, etc. - so the banjo it was. He went and picked it up the other night - I've been 'playing with it' - much, much different than actually 'playing' it!! But, it's a hoot. Just now learning 'rolls' - very interesting and fun. Like I need another hobby, but hey you only live once...

By the way; 'Battlefield Running' I didn't remember until after this purchase that you were a 'semi-professional banjo player'!! I knew you played and traveled to listen to some blue grass - might have to hit you up for some pointers! :-)

Till next time...