The Last Month of Training

Fitness and Diet

I’m already less than a month from the Seattle 1/2 Marathon, and training is getting more challenging in both mileage and otherwise.

The biggest issue is getting the exposure protection handled.Salomon Women’s Fast III Jacket is a recent addition to my gear, providing some easy on/off for windy, cool mornings. It does some rain protection, but it’s not to be counted on. I’ve also (shock!) switched to my Brooks Women’s Adrenaline GTS 10 from my awesome, totally recommended Five Fingers Bikila. This is mostly due to warmth and friction, as that I’ve had some nasty little blisters form lately that have made the long runs a little hard to deal with.

Training in conventional shoes again have my knees aching a bit. Then add that I’ve started going on hills in the dark (mainly because the routes are better lit), I’m hurting a bit. My training schedule up to the race, as provided by the Runner’s World SmartCoach app on my iPhone, is as follows:

11/01-11/07
Tues 5 mi @ 11:10 pace
Thurs 4 mi @ 11:10 pace
Sun 5 mi @ 11:10 pace

11/08-11/14
Tues 3 mi @ 11:03 pace
Thurs 6 mi w/ 1 mi warm up, 4 mi @ 9:33 pace, 1 mi cooldown
Fri 2 mi @ 11:03 pace
Sun 6 mi @ 11:03 pace

11/15-11/21
Tues 2 mi @ 11:03 pace
Thurs 7 mi w/ warm up, 3x1600m (1mi) @8:56 w/ 800m (1/2 mi) jogs, cool down
Fri 2 mi @ 11:03 pace
Sun 9 mi @ 11:03 pace

11/22-RACE DAY
Tues 3 mi @ 11:10 pace
Wed 3 mi @ 11:10 pace
Thurs 5 mi w/ w/ 1 mi warm up, 3 mi @ 9:33 pace, 1 mi cooldown
Sun 13.1 mi @ 9:42 pace

Phew! I’ve got a lot to work on. I’m starting to do some work on the treadmill just when the weather is particularly awful. I’ll consider this race the end of the season for me, then it’s back to doing cardio/weights/yoga until spring!

Running in the Dark

Fitness and Diet

There is no attractive way to run in the cold, damp dark of Seattle. I’m just over a month away from the Seattle 1/2, and it’s getting chilly and wet out there, and the light is definitely not there in the morning, and won’t be there for long in the evenings after work. I have purchased my exposure protection, however, even though they all have reflective striping, they all come in fashionably dark colors, so unless the drivers are looking for Tron-like costumes, being seen is nearly impossible.

Not to mention that I’m pretty sure that NO ONE driving at 6:30am is looking for runners. They sure as heck aren’t stopping at stop signs, and even after I saw a man stop, look both ways, and nudge into the intersection, looking both ways again (and towards me), he still ended up clipping me, requiring me to place my hand on the corner of his car to scoot myself out of the way. I looked at him, he was stunned, and I yelled something like, “Stop sign, Asshole!” and jogged about two meters past, tripping, and skidding myself on the left side forward on the asphalt. I called my husband for a pick up, limping a bit, bleeding from my knuckles, hand and knee, with a few abrasions in between. My hip was deeply bruised, and I was a bit shaken up.

It’s dark and lonely, and a bit scary to run that early in the dark. I’ve noticed that my usual early morning companions have dissipated – perhaps they’re all electing to go into work a bit later. I need to find a better solution as I prepare for this race, and it turns out the best solution might be a gym membership near work, that might allow me to road-run during lunch, shower, and be back to work at a decent time. Treadmills for over an hour are dull as dirt. I did that yesterday, since the forecast was for nasty weather, and I had procrastinated towards dusk.

It’s tough. Even if I was wearing electric yellow from head to toe, I wonder if I would be seen. It’s scary out there, solo, female, cold, damp and in the dark. I’m increasingly convinced that they don’t make running gear for Northwestern runners in mind.

Issaquah Run at Salmon Days

Fitness and Diet

Last Sunday I did the Issaquah Rotary Run at Salmon Days. I completed the 10K in 57:27, according to the official chip time. This meant I was a bit slower than average, and way slower than the first place runners, but it was an awesome race, and I really enjoyed it. My pace was faster than I ran for the Livestrong Challenge 5K back in June, and the Runner’s World Smart Coach actually had me running slower for the race, so I beat what I guessed my time would be. The Smart Coach app on my iPhone is predicting a similar pace for the Seattle Half Marathon at the end of November. I laugh to think it is even remotely possible for me to sustain less than a 10 minute pace for 13.1 miles, but it doesn’t mean I won’t try!

Looking at the training schedule ahead, it’s not too crazy. My biggest fear is the waining light in the morning, as well as the rainy weather. My feet were definitely cold in the Bikilas while I was warming up for the race last Sunday. I tend to like to run with very little exposure protection because I do heat up so fast. I don’t ever understand the people who run in long pants and long sleeves on 50°F days. Granted, I’m cold when I leave the house, but all it takes is a block of running at a moderate pace and I’m plenty warm. The rain/mist is more of my concern, as well as the slick, oily roads I’ll be crossing in the morning hours. And people drive like idiots, and I wonder what good visibility will do me when most people in Seattle ignore the laws of physics (ie. just because you have the traction to go 45 mph in slick, low vis conditions, doesn’t mean you can stop easily when you absolutely have to.)

I’ve been toying with the idea of re-upping my gym membership for training on a treadmill. I know that I won’t get the kind of training I get from road running, especially locally, because any run means hill training. I’ve also been hoping to hold out in case I get hired at my current internship, because then I might get a free gym membership close to work, making mid-day runs more feasible.

I would love to find some training buddies locally. I don’t want to be ridiculously serious, but I really just want some people to share my hobby with. I’ve always been a bit of a loner, and it’s my nature. It’s something I’m thinking about, at least.

Now, to go shopping for weather related gear. It’s supposed to be a cold, wet winter. I wonder how my running will survive!

Week in Review: Training for Races

Fitness and Diet

I’ve been adding to this post throughout the week, so if it’s choppy, forgive me, I’ve been busy!

Week before last, I was battling creeping anxiety and poor sleep. I hit just over nine miles on my long run on last Sunday, and it took me forever to drag myself out to run, and afterwords, I felt like poo. Similarly, Monday night as I was prepping my things for my morning run, I was dreading going out. This all seemed too familiar. I realized that like earlier this summer, I have reached exhaustion. I’ve been going too far, too fast and I need a break.

I decided to use the Runner’s World Smart Coach to generate a hypothetical training program for my upcoming 10K and 1/2 marathon. The resulting training schedule was a lot lighter than my recent one, leading me to believe that yes, I’ve been overtraining, and perhaps for my best performance, I should back off and try something new.

My Tuesday run was sluggish, but good in retrospect. It was a lovely challenge to go just under 12 minutes a mile, and it was nice and quick before work.

My Thursday run was a five-miler, with 3 miles being at around 10:18 pace. It worked out fairly well, and I came back damp from the early morning mist/fog.

I skipped another 2 miler like my Tuesday run on Friday. I just didn’t have it in me. Meanwhile, I spent those last few days of the week eating crap food. It’s a bad habit, but training makes me really hungry. I’m getting comfortable with my size, and slacking on the restrictions. I should probably get back on track… right?

Saturday, I guess you should say I did some cross-training. I did two dry-suit dives, my last cold water dives before I hit Hawaii this coming weekend. I definitely got an upper-body work out!

Today, I did a 7 mile easy run. It was really nice and light, despite the crazy weather (torrential rains this morning, sun break, gusts of wind and sporadic sprinkles). I chomped my new favorite endurance enhancer, Clif Shot Bloks Cran-razz. They definitely keep me from feeling so crazy ravenous the rest of the day.

I’m using my current water system, Ultimate Direction Women's Strider Waist Pack, is cumbersome, but keeps me hydrated. I’m hesitant to change it up, especially given the cost. I also use Ultimate Direction Fastdraw on my shorter runs.

I know I’ll dial this stuff in a little more as race time approaches. Another thing on my to-do list is find a good vest/jacket for the coming rainy season. I think it’s time to wrap this post up. It’s taken me a week to write it!

Upcoming Races, Gear and Training

Fitness and Diet

Last week I dropped about $100 just on sign-up for two races.

The first race, which I’m most excited about, is the Seattle Half Marathon. I have never attempted 13.1 miles running. I’ve walked that distance before, and I’m running 8 mi plus, now, for my longest runs, however – I’m a little excited and skeptical at the same time. Not to mention the fact that I’ll be running in late November, which means that the weather could be absolutely horrid for the adventure. Nevertheless, I’m excited, and this is going to be my birthday present to myself.

The second race I’ve signed up for is just less than a month away. This is the Issaquah Run at Salmon Days, a 10K, which is another race I’ve never done. I can easily run a 10K, and do for my interval run. I’m not the fastest, but right now, I’m focused on finishing.

This year, early on, I really wanted to run a 1/2 marathon, even before I was running 5K races. This year, I hope to have up to 1/2 marathon done, with a finisher medal or shirt or something commemorating.

The next step is to make sure I’m appropriately geared up, and trained up. I intend to keep my schedule mostly as is, and as far as gear, I’m having to run with a water bottle to make sure I’m hydrated. I’m considering also running with some easy-sugar, though I deign to see what that looks or tastes like. I’ve invested in some awesome earphones (Sennheiser Adidas PMX 680i) to go with my newly purchased Nike+ iPod Sport Kit. I am testing it out on my husband’s old Nano, with the thought of maybe upgrading to the brand new iPod Nano. I got a Marware Sportsuit Sensor Case to attach my Nike+ sensor to my Vibram Five Fingers Bikila.

I’m wondering if I will end up switching to the neoprene KSO’s for the 1/2 marathon. I’m also wondering about a proper belt solution, not to mention, a good solution for the iPod, as that clipping the new one on might work, but not so well in the rain.

I’ve got a lot of gear to consider. Visibility being something to be mindful of, as that light is waning in the mornings. I’ve got some reflective strips, but I wonder if that’s enough. People are completely stupid driving in the mornings. Stop signs seem to mean NOTHING to them.

I hoped for a longer entry – but this is what I got for now. I picked up the latest Runner’s World, and I’m glad to read it, though I’m also glad to not have a subscription. Also, Women’s Running (I think that’s the magazine I perused) is total, bird cage scraps crap. I choose my running gear based on performance, not on color (though it helps!) and the only reason I wear make up when I run is because I was at work earlier in the day and I didn’t take it off before I went for a run. I’ll save my beauty tips from Allure and Marie Claire. In a magazine for running, I want information on running. Period. While reading Runner’s World, I couldn’t help but get choked up (though this was after my long run, when endorphins were still high) – running is such a gift for me, I’m so glad I can do it. I’ll do it as long as I can.

Birthday Plans

Fitness and Diet

This year, the Seattle Marathon is on my birthday. What better way to celebrate than to run a half marathon?

I really am serious. By the end of this week, I may be signed up.

I have had a week of fantastic runs. This morning, in the cool rain, I did a fast run in the neighborhood – my fast run being 32 minutes at an average pace of 9:18 and average HR of 168. It’s my best time as of yet, though I purposely ran less hills for this run.

I’ve decided that since I’ve taken to running up Phinney Ridge on at least one long run that I will use Phinney Ridge for my interval runs. That’s a 350ft gain in something like 4-5 blocks.

My last long run was almost 8 miles, and it felt great. The only problem was that I had to take two bathroom breaks! I blame this on pre-hydrating a bit too much, and coffee. Other things I’ve learned is that I need a hand-holster for my water bottle.

I think the next few weeks I will be figuring out what my Fall exercise schedule is going to look like. I’ll be working full time at least until January (when my internship is up) and I will be in class two nights a week. I’ll also have to adjust for the changing light.

Lots more to come. I’m loving running right now. I especially love running in my Five Finger Bikilas. They’re the best shoes I’ve ever worn! Looks like they’re still in great demand, though. I feel lucky to have gotten mine. Thanks, See Jane Run!

Running in Chicago vs. Seattle

Fitness and Diet

Yesterday I probably walked over 5 miles – it was wonderful, especially considering the amount of fried food I ate yesterday was more than the past month combined. Today I went for a light, long run – it’s a break week, so I only did about 45 minutes for the run. My pace ended up just under 11 min for the entire run, and I ended up doing just over 4 miles. The biggest treat was going along the lake in the bright summer sun. It was a bit breezy and, of course, hot – but it was wonderful. Running in Chicago makes me feel like I could run forever. It’s amazing what running up and down hills in Seattle will do for your perception of effort. My heart rate was pretty low for a run (around 120-140 a good part of the time) due to a lack of effort needed. It was a fun vacation run, to say the least.

Today was also my first run in myVibram Five Fingers Bikila . They are definitely an improvement over the Sprints – and I’m glad to once again be running a minimalist shoe. My knees ache so much less after a run. The only problem I seem to be having is that my big toe on my left foot gets a little unhappy – similar to the problem I had first with the Treks. At least I’m relatively certain these are the right size. Not too big, not too small. It will take a few more runs before I’m certain – but I think the Bikilas are likely the winner.

Now – back to my break!