Category Archives: Running Log

Dopey promises…

12 miles, 1:59:47

Today’s long run marked the end of my first “official” week of Dopey Challenge training. I’m “roughly” following Hal Higdon’s Dopey Plan, with some adjustments to accommodate upcoming races and travel between now and the big weekend in January.

I’ve trained to run three other marathons (Las Vegas Rock-n-Roll Marathon, Walt Disney World Marathon, St. George Marathon), mostly with the goal of just finishing. For St. George I wanted to finish under 5 hours, since I was over that mark for my other two marathons.

The problem is, I have a half marathon time that says I should be running a much faster marathon. My PR of 1:58 this year suggests a marathon time of roughly 4:06. But I have historically under-performed at the marathon distance. Five weeks before St. George, I finished the Disneyland Half Marathon in 2:04. That suggested a full marathon time of roughly 4:18, a far cry from the 4:50 I actually ran.

Now I know that the Dopey Challenge in and of itself does not present an ideal PR opportunity. Far from it. BUT, I would still like to finish in a time that is, well, faster than 4:50, and closer to 4:10. Really. I know, it’s crazy, but I’m shootin’ for the stars here. But to do this, I know I need to approach my training differently. Following Higdon’s plan is the first step (before I put together plans based on a mish-mosh of advice from running magazines, running websites, and other running resources). There are other things I plan to do different; these are my Dopey promises:

  1. I will stick with the plan to the best of my ability.
  2. I will adjust my pace when the plan calls for it – race pace means race pace.
  3. I will monitor my weight – and not gain weight! (I have gained weight during every other marathon training cycle.)
  4. I will eat clean, eat nutritious, and eat smart.
  5. I will log my meals; I will adjust my intake based on my caloric output, meaning some days I’ll eat more, some days I’ll eat less.
  6. I will take the damn ice bath after my long run.
  7. I will ice sore muscles immediately after a run if they suggest they might lead to an injury (lateral shin splints have been my nemesis recently).
  8. I will stretch every evening.
  9. I will foam roll every evening.
  10. I will rest when it is time to rest.

I may be adding to this list, things like a monthly sports massage or reflexology. I just want to make sure I am taking care of my whole self as a begin this truly crazy, Goofy, Dopey adventure!

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August 20, 2013 – Thinking like a bad ass runner

4 miles, 36: 35

I had a bad-ass run this morning. I mean, it was just one of our mid-week 4-mile training runs, no speedwork or anything. But it felt fast, and I felt strong.

I remember going to bed last night thinking about the run, thinking that I wanted to really blast through it with some solid speed. My bedtime routine includes a 1-minute-ish plank, some stretching, goofy yoga poses and some foam rolling. Nothing too serious, usually the hubs and I are BS-ing about the day, or watching mindless T.V. Last night, as I was stretching and rolling, I thought about running fast. I thought about how good it would feel. I thought about how I could totally do it.

Cut to 4:30 a.m. I’ll never, ever honestly say I spring out of bed at 4:30 a.m with a smile. So whatever energy I’m feeling the night before typically doesn’t translate to the next morning. But this morning was different. Oh, I was tired, no doubt. But as I swung my legs out of bed, I remembered all that bad-ass chatter in my brain from the night before; I was going to feel strong, run strong, hit it hard, and so on. And as I got dressed and ready to go, the chatter picked right back up. By the time we hit the road, mentally, I was right back in the bad-ass running groove.

Is 36:35 my fastest 4 miles? Heck noooo. BUT. This morning was 82 degrees with 45% humidity; here in the desert that is very, very high humidity. So was that pretty darn fast given the time of day and weather conditions? F-ck yes!

It’s so easy to drop the positive mental chatter, but I find time and time again, that inner dialogue plays such a huge role, whether it be running, or dealing with difficult people, or a long day at work. I actually wrote an article about positive thinking once, many years ago; it worked at the time, but it’s so easy to forget to do. But I think if I keep in mind that becoming a runner didn’t come naturally; I had to force myself to stay with it, the same goes for any new habit, like cultivating a positive mental dialogue.

Day 6 of blog streak

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August 17, 2013 – When a long run sucks the life out of the rest of the day….

12 miserable, hot miles, 2:09:06.

Blog streak: Day 3

Summer is by no means over. At least not in the greater Vegas area. Yes, I’ll admit, I did not set my clock early enough today, so I could have made it easier on myself had I left the house about an hour and a half earlier. But ya know, sometimes you just gotta sleep in. For me, this meant waking up at 5:45 a.m. and getting out the door at, oh, 6:20 or so. It was already 82 when I stepped outside, running due east and into the blinding sun. And it only got hotter (and felt more humid) with each step. Even at the turn around, when I thought I might get some relief from having the sun in my face, the heat of the sun pounding down on my back grew more intense with each step.

Normally I try to convince myself to go faster, to get such misery over with. But this was day 3 of back-to-back-to-back workouts, so my legs were not feeling it as I tried to convince them to move faster. At mile 11 there is a park with a wonderfully freezing cold drinking fountain; I must have drank a gallon of water – it’s no small feat for me to gain a pound when I return from a run like this, but my scale registered a full pound heavier than yesterday.

The rest of today was pretty unproductive. I made myself presentable enough to get to a haircut I’d scheduled. But I’ve spent pretty much the rest of the day on the couch. And it’s strange, because mentally, I feel very energized and alert, but the rest of my body from about the neck down is wiped out. So it’s been me, Tony Soprano, and my couch. All. day. long.

Is there any way to prevent a long run from taking over the day? Whether it’s 12 in heat and humidity (I can do 12 miles in 60 degree weather and build a piece of furniture from Ikea after with no problem), or 18-20 in preparation for a marathon (this will be in my near future). I just don’t know.

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August 16, 2013 – Day 2 of blog streak

6 miles, 1:03:45

I’m in the middle of back-to-back-to-back runs. I didn’t mean to run three days in a row, it’s just worked out that way. Yesterday was 4 miles, today was 6, and tomorrow will be 12. I think this will be sufficient preparation for the upcoming Dumbo Double Dare, as I am running the 5k as well as the 10k and half marathon. Today’s run was hot and humid, at least for me: 82 degrees with 27% humidity. I took it very, very easy; I listened to a podcast (rather than up-tempo music) to help keep my pace in check. I tend to ramp it up when I listen to music.

After my workout, I went shopping. Whole Foods, which I used to avoid at all costs, has become my new go-to grocery store. Yeah, it’s pricey; I find that I shop carefully now, and I’m not likely to just toss items into the cart without carefully considering how and when I’ll need/eat it. That’s helped balance out the increased price. Also, and maybe it’s just in my head, but I do think that eating foods that have fewer/no chemicals, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, etc., has really made a difference in my overall health, and has helped me keep my hard-earned 20 lbs off.

It’s not that I’m crazy-healthy (although I was just described as a health-nut the other day by a co-worker); once in a while I’ll eat something that is “not” necessarily clean, and I certain will have fast food now and then. I do try to make smarter choices, even in those situations.

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Getting back to Whole Foods. Okay, so back in July when we visited WDW, we were having lunch at Contempo Cafe at the Contemporary Resort, and I decided to try a Bud Light Lime-a-Rita. (I really wanted a “real” margarita, ala La Cava del Tequila margarita, but again, it was lunch, it was quick service, so I worked with what was available.) I found it to be surprisingly refreshing and tasty, with a nice, crisp, lime flavor. I tried it a couple of times since, and really liked it, but in the back of my mind I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of chemicals were involved in making this “malt beverage” taste like a margarita. So I stopped drinking them.

But today, at Whole Foods, I stumbled upon another margarita-styled malt beverage. Cayman Jack Hand Crafted Margarita is made with all natural flavors: organic lime juice, real cane sugar, and 100% blue agave nectar. It really is refreshing (like the website says), with a great lime taste. Although I’ll always be a tequila girl at heart, this is a fantastic alternative, especially on a hot sunny day.

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What is the magic formula for a solid long run? Tequila? Hmm….probably not

12.6 miles, 2:00 hours.

When I fell asleep last night, I never, ever would have predicted feeling so great during my long run this morning. Full disclosure: I was enjoying a nice Peligroso Anejo, and maybe I enjoyed a bit too much. No, not rip roaring drunk; more like, enough to make me aware of how dehydrated I was feeling, even as I feel asleep. I did what I could to drink water while I sipped my tequila, and I got to bed plenty early, but it still felt pretty darn early when my alarm sounded off, and I awoke feeling parched.

Feeling no pressure to perform (I just needed to run at any speed for two hours) I hopped out of bed, made a cup of Guayaki Yerba Mate Greener Green Tea, had an oatmeal cookie (I know, breakfast of champions; again, low expectations). Mixed up some Cytomax for the road, stuffed a Honey Stinger gel in my belt and off I went. 

Right off the bat, it was a beautiful morning. The sun was just peaking over the horizon, it was a cool 72 degrees (very cool by Vegas standards), and there was no wind. Just a still, peaceful, and cool morning. I had two episodes of the Another Mother Runner podcast loaded and ready to go (I always listen to a podcast when I do not want to run fast; chit chat does not make me feel like running fast).

Physically, I felt terrific; I’d rested my legs for two days (read: no running or any other exercise). But I’d spent 11 hours in a car picking up my kid from XC camp in Southern California, and spent about 6 hours lazing about on the beach, so overall I felt pretty dormant, and my lower back was sore from all the sitting. Feeling great when I woke up this morning to run was a complete surprise.

I guess my legs enjoyed the rest though; they felt downright springy as we bounded down the path. I actually had to make a conscious effort to not go to fast: if 9:00/mi is my goal HM pace, I should be running 10-10:30/mi for my long runs. But I’d often look down to see 9:15, 9:20 on my Garmin. At first I figured I’d tire out and my pace would slow down, but I didn’t. From my lungs (which were still coughing up some phlegm from my recent nasty cold), to my legs, I felt energized.

I managed to cover 12.6 miles in those 2 hours. At that rate, I would have finished a half marathon under 2:05. Now, a year ago, I struggled STRUGGLED to be under 2:10. In fact, despite my best effort, my HM finish time at the Disneyland Half Marathon last year was a little over 2:07! I know I’ve had a couple of sub-2 hour HM’s this year, but I consider those performances outliers, and really have just been hoping to dance around the 2:00 mark for the next few races.

Even, now, 8 hours after the run, I feel great. I didn’t feel like I needed a nap, and I ALWAYS need a nap when I run longer than 90 minutes. So what are my lessons learned?

Greener green tea is a great pre-run drink? Well, maybe….

My legs feel great when I do NOTHING for two days before a run? Probably…

My whole BODY feels great when I run at temps in the low 70’s and lower? Oh, yes…

It’s a good idea to indulge in tequila the night before a long run? Umm…

 

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Tough on the outside…

Had a kick ass long run this morning, 15K in 1:28:56 (my RunKeeper said 1:30, but it didn’t pause for my bathroom break, so whatever, I’m going with the Garmin). It was warm at 75 degrees but nothing too horrible. I’ve got a hot run next week, Running with the Devil, although with a 6:30 a.m. start hopefully it won’t be too terrible, and I’m definitely not going for any records, just survival. I might even run-walk the race; I’m not up for post-race soreness.

So I’ve been more of a blog- and twitter- lurker lately than an actual contributor. When things are bad, I tend to not want to write (well, other than angst in my personal journal). I don’t want to be a whiner or complainer, so I figure if I don’t have something positive or happy or inspired to write about, I won’t. And I haven’t. Instead, I’ve been trying to “feel” inspired by other running bloggers/tweeters/instagramers out there. Sometimes it works; it’s like a much needed blast of “stop feeling sorry for yourself” in my face.

On the other hand, I started wondering if I’m doing myself (and my health, both physical and emotional, and my husband and kids) a disservice by “sucking it up” all the time and burying my feelings about the turmoil I’ve been dealing with at work. I mean, the past few months have been surreal at work; like I’m keeping my head down and focused on my work, and out of nowhere these daggers are flying toward me, and since I wasn’t expecting them, I didn’t know to duck, and so I’ve taken some pretty painful hits.

It’s difficult to know why anyone decides they are going to take their frustrations out on another human being. But here I am, not sure what I did to draw the short straw and become the target. Well, except for put my foot down and make it clear that I won’t put up with the behavior. Bad Kim, bad, bad, bad; never stand up for yourself, never, ever, ever, bad…

But I think my bigger problem is, well, it’s the running. As I was running along the path this morning, trying to make myself STOP fretting about my job and co-workers, I thought about how strong I was feeling. Yesterday, the day I was planning do to this run (and I just cannot remember the last time I missed a long run, really, never) but instead I never got out of my pajamas. Yup, I didn’t even drag a comb thru my hair; I was up all night stressed out about the latest drama at work, and I literally sat on my couch and did nothing. I think I ate once, but that was all. Thank goodness my kids, totally in summer vacation mode, didn’t take notice as they were wandering around in THEIR pajamas all day. My UP registered a whopping 685 steps for the entire day. To put that in perspective, today I’d registered 16,890 steps as of 7:30 a.m. Yesterday was a lost day. I did manage to watch the first 5 episodes of season 1 of The Sopranos though.

At work, I hang my race medals on the walls of my cubicle; not all of them, just the recent ones, along with some posters. My cubicle is MY space, and I hang these things (along with pictures of my family) to remind me why I’m there; to work for the things I love in my life OUTSIDE of that cubicle.

There aren’t any other distance runners in my department. One of my reports enjoys her boot-camp workouts, and I think one of the other moms does a few 5ks now and then. But by and large, the women (it’s a mostly female department) I work with are not avid exercisers. I hear a lot of talk about exercise (and there is a small group of them that take walk breaks – I think that’s great), but most are sedentary, and deal with the kind of health a sedentary lifestyle often leads to (obesity, hypertension, etc).

So for the most part I do NOT talk about running, or my achievements, at work (I think I told 2 people about my HM PR, such a HUGE triumph in my life outside the cubicle). I imagine, though, that on the outside, I seem pretty tough; able to endure a lot of pain. And really, I am pretty tough. Runners are tough; you don’t run 26.2 miles without a LOT of toughness, both physical and mental. Same for running 13.1.

So what I’m getting at is, even though my supervisor and a few close peers are aware of my situation at work, I have to wonder if my outer layer of “toughness” is masking the enormous amount pain that I am feeling; do they think that because I “look” okay on the outside, I must be okay on the inside? Is it right that I should be expected to take more crap than the average person, just because I’m tougher than the average person?

I’m fighting the urge to throw my PJs back on and crawl back into bed for the day. If this was a marathon, I feel like I’m at mile 18 of an uphill race, with no aid stations in sight, totally depleted yet determined to NOT DNF. But another important lesson that running has taught me, is that I do have my limits. And I sense am getting pretty flipping close to my limit now.

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Summer Hibernating

4 miles, 37-ish minutes

It occurred to me today that my summertime running routine reminds me of what people who live in very cold climates describe during their wintertime. The outside running conditions are a, ahem, challenge. I’ll still try to gut it out in the heat rather than hit the dreadmill. I’m really just trying to maintain my base, and rather than getting faster, I’m just trying to not slow down.

Whenever I read about runners who live in cold, snowy climates who brave the elements and hit the road for a brisk winter run, I’m jealous. I imagine that, despite the cold, it is a wonderland out there, what with the glistening snow, the quiet roads, the frosty air.

On the other hand, there is absolutely nothing romantic about running in the desert heat. It is hot. The wind is hot. The pavement is hot. The sun burns through everything. I have had stop mid-run and crouch down beside a bench to gain access to a few feet of shade, just to get some relief. The harder you breathe, the more hot air enters and attacks your lungs. Oh sure, it can be amusing to get on the scale and see a magical weight loss number – but like everything else in the extreme heat, it’s just a temporary mirage, which disappears as soon as you re-hydrate yourself.

I’m looking at my race schedule this year, and it’s a bear. I’m trying to run a HM each month; I just ran a PR in May, but I think my PR days are on hiatus for the summer. The name of my June race is “Running with the Devil.” I’m not going for a PR. I’m going for survival. After that? A midnight HM in August, the E.T. Full Moon Midnight Marathon; at least the sun won’t be pounding down on me–but I am slightly afraid of a being abducted by aliens.

I guess my point is, I guess no matter where you live, there has to be a “downtime” season. A time of year where running is just for the sake of running; not going faster, not going longer. Just running for the sake of running.

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