Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Feeling pretty defeated today

I met up with a couple RT friends today. I thought it'd be fun, and hadn't put a lot of thought into how much faster they were than me until a couple days ago. It was 92 degrees when I left for my run and to be honest I was pretty nervous. I knew that these two were first off both males so more than likely a heck of a lot faster than me just based on those pesky Y chromosomes! That and the fact that they are experienced marathoners I had a feeling this might be really tough. I kind of knew I was in trouble when one of them said he ran with his wife too and could slow it down to her slower pace of 9:30/10min miles. To be honest, I think they are both great guys and I hope if I ever get the chance to run with either of them again I can kick some butt and keep up.

Anyhow, off we ran. And for a little bit I was thinking okay I can do this. This will be a speed workout, but I can do this. I can keep up if I'm running with them at their slow pace I'll just drag along. And for a little bit I *was* keeping up. I wasn't feeling like a big fat loser. I wasn't feeling like a super slow poke. I was feeling like a real runner. First mile rocking and rolling in the heat. I was breathing, but I was keeping up. Mile 1 - 10:10! Rock on mama! Right? Second mile I was already thinking I can't keep up at this pace, but I don't want to be a big old baby and I'm trying to slow down. It was just hard slowing running next to them. They kind of throw off your slow pace because to be quite frank, not sure they are capable of running at my slow. I kept plugging along and thought okay they were only planning to go 4 or 5 miles I can do this. Let me just get to 2 miles and we'll turn around. Mile 2 - 10:17. Still a pretty good pace for me and um yah it was um 90 degrees!!! Keep plugging along. Starting to worry about how I'm going to finish and at this point was thinking we'll turn around at 2 1/2 miles, but somewhere along the way we got past that and I thought oh I can make it to 3 miles. I can't remember if I told them I needed to slow down or not, but I think I did because we were picking up a pretty good pace. I saw my HR creeping in the 180s so I told them I'm going to have to slow down and at some point we agreed that we'd take a walk break at 3 miles. Third mile was 9:50! That is just FAST for me. Not for them, but for me. I think when your fast like that it's hard not to naturally creep faster.

We walked a bit on the third mile and then ran some more, but honestly I felt like crud. I couldn't keep up. My heart rate kept hitting the 180s and I told them to go on without me several times. I didn't want to try to keep up any more. They were really cool about it, but I still felt like a big loser. We wound up having to take walk breaks about every 1/2 mile for the last 3 miles because I was just spent! I mean really spent. The last 3 miles times were not anything impressive, but considering I walked a lot they weren't that bad. I felt awful making them run at a 12 minute pace for one of the miles, but I just couldn't find any more energy in me.

I am determined I am going to become a faster runner! I have a plan and I am going to stick with it. I do not have a super ambitious goal for my September marathon as I don't have enough time to get to where I want to by then, but I have my eyes set on Kalamazoo! I have a plan and I am going to get there. September I've set a goal of 4:45 or better. I'd love to see 4:30 and that might be possible, but with little time as I have in front of me to get ready I am trying to be realistic.

However, I am probably out of my mind, but I am aiming for sub 4 for Kalamazoo in May 2012! I got a plan running through my brain. I ordered Phil Maffetone's The Maffetone Method. I am planning on doing some mega low heart rate training as soon as I'm done with my fall marathon. I know there are nay sayers on this, but I think these are the people that already have a good aerobic base and don't need it. I know I do not and I know that I need to improve this. I love working with my coach and he's been awesome, but probably going to take a break from coaching and just stick with low heart rate training from end of Sept - Jan. Come January I am going to decide whether to join the Borgess Run Camp or go back to using online coaching or do my own thing. Don't have to decide that quite yet. Anyhow, this is getting long, but feeling like I have a plan in place makes me feel a lot better about today's sucky run. I want to keep a mental note of this one so this time next year I can look at it and reference it and hopefully have a kick butt post to go with it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Boston in July (marathon that is)

Stupid thought for today inspired by a question about google searches. Well, not entirely, but partially. I just googled this one "Boston in July", followed by "Boston Marathon in July", followed by "Boston Marathon summer". None of these resulted in anything, but it was my dumb idea for the day. I actually thought of this one while driving home from Charlevoix as well, but forgot about it until now. I didn't have access to a computer at the time and wanted to google if anyone else had actually thought of this idea before so I could see if I was the only lamo to think of it.

Anyhoooo (yes, I say that a lot, oh well, my blog, I can ramble)... I was thinking they should have a Boston in July. You know for the wannabe runners. The ones that aren't fast enough for Boston. The ones that may never be fast enough for Boston. The slow pokes, the turtles, the old farts, the young farts, the late bloomers, you know those of us average runners that really would love to run the course just to say they finished it. It could be done differently. By lotto or something. I am sure the Boston Marathon is a big money maker. Not sure that a "Boston in July" would be as big of a money maker, but surely somebody would be interested in running it. This was kind of inspired by all the Christmas in July sales. Yes, they are kind of stupid and lame, but you know I still shop them. It could be fun. The winner gets a free beer or the top 10 winners get a guaranteed entry into the real deal. I don't know. Of course the truly fast people might find the fake Boston winners a bit too much. There are plenty of stupid people out there that might not realize there is a difference between the two Boston's, but you know stupid people are everywhere and I've given up on controlling that.

Well, that's my stupid thought for the day. Oh, and I promise my next blog post is going to be all about my run for the day. I am actually running! I promise. I just haven't had anything exciting I wanted to share.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Eureka, that's how they are faster than me

The past couple months have been really eye opening for me as a runner. People that have been running their whole lives have probably figured a lot of this out, but for me things are just clicking lately. I still have a lot to learn about running. Anyhow, as I was driving home from the Charlevoix Half Marathon is when it really hit me. I ran that race differently than my others. I actually really enjoyed the race! I didn't run it to the point I felt like I was going to keel over, but rather fast enough to keep the pace the whole time and enough energy to kick it up for the last 4 miles. The whole time I was thinking this is what running ought to feel like.

You see I have always hated running fast. You know running to the point you feel like you're going to puke fast. I just always assumed the fast runners just were tougher than me and got better tolerating that I want to die feeling. And yes, there probably is a little bit of that, but after my Charlevoix race I realized I don't think that's their secret trick. I mean who would keep running mile after mile after mile if running only made them feel like puking? Then I came home and was watching a video clip on my facebook page of a fast runner running her marathon. Things clicked a little more. She did not look like she wanted to keel over and die. She didn't look like she was gasping for air. She didn't look tired. She didn't look ill. In fact, she made it look easy. She looked like she was having fun! Wow! The thing is I think that's the trick. Not that it was easy for her. I'm sure that it wasn't, but this whole time I've had everything ass backwards.

I shouldn't be running harder and harder and harder trying to convince my body that feeling like death is easy. Their trick is that they are FASTER when it is EASY. I mean I don't know why I didn't see that sooner, but their easy is way faster than my easy. Their slow is my fast. So my new goal for the year is to get faster for my easy runs. I am still doing speedwork and working with my coach. I would still like to see my faster get faster and work on tolerating running faster better, but I even more than that I want to see is my easy pace to increase. I figure when running gets easier is when I will get faster. Anyhow, that's my brilliant insight for the day. Not even sure this totally made sense, but it made sense to me so that's what matters.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Running motivation

Feeling terribly unmotivated today. Of course, today is my rest day so I guess that's a good day to be unmotivated. However, I think I've taken the word rest a little too literally today and honestly have not even gotten out of my pajamas today. I was laughing as I got the pizza delivery guy at the door and realized I was still in my pjs. Quite sad, but heck we all have those days. (I think anyways.)

I am not one of those naturally motivated runners. I, mean yes, I go through spells where I am very motivated, and then I go through spells where I go through the motions. I also am not a whiner. (Ask my husband and he'll probably say otherwise. I do whine, and often, but let me explain this a little better.) I do not look for others to motivate me. I do not expect motivation to be external and realize that drive has to come within. When I don't have it I will try to fake it and roll with things until I find it again.

Today, is one of those unmotivated days. It's one of those days where I ask myself why exactly it is that I run. It's one of those days where I don't feel like working hard and want to be content with being mediocre.

Now what will drive me out there tomorrow morning for my long run. Where will my running mojo come from? I have a good feeling about tomorrow's run. With that I figured I'd make a list of reasons for me to run tomorrow. I figure it's good for other runners to read that sluggish days happen to the best of us and maybe my list will inspire someone else to get out the door tomorrow. Most importantly hopefully it will motivate me right out the door.

1. I don't want to have a bad race! It is so depressing reading a bad race report. You know where the runner did not finish or crashed and burned on their run. I don't want that to be me. I think about this often and feel guilty fueling my run off of other's bad news, but it does motivate me. I hate that feeling of not finishing strong. Not doing as well as you had hoped. I have felt that way before myself and come September I want that awesome feeling of finishing strong and knowing *I* did this.

2. Well, I generally don't use food intake to motivate my running. I'm not one of those that will run x amount of minutes to burn off x amount of calories I consumed, but today I am going to make an exception. I am having a Rolos McFlurry and I had another gluten free bread experiment today and consumed more than my share. I was kind of super hungry today so no guilt with this, but it might motivate me a little out the door.

3. The heat - Hopefully this will motivate me to get out early and "get er done".

4. Back to the strong finish, this one pops in my head often when I am struggling to get out the door. This is also why I have to have a race in front of me to keep me motivated. Whatever finish time I am aiming for I will put a mental picture of the race clock with that time on it. Sometimes, I will even make crazy ambitious time goals, but still that clock and picturing me finishing work a good portion of the time.

5. Music - Now this isn't a thing to think of for motivation, but when I'm in a rut I will get some new music to run with OR I will make a new playlist with power songs. I'm kind of goofy with what I listen to so Rocky music and other songs will find their way onto my play list.

6. Retail therapy! I admit it I love shopping for running stuff. When I get in a rut buying new toys, clothes, or gear helps. I love buying new clothes to run in, but am careful to keep things in check with that. Nothing like a new tank and shorts to run in to fire up my run.

7. Remind myself where I started. Remind myself how quickly I can turn right back into a slug. Kind of like Cinderella and her glass slipper. I like where I am at with my fitness level and I know that sticking with it is what counts. It doesn't matter if every run is a good run. It matters that I am doing it.

8. Run a new route! Oh must do for me. Sometimes I just need the safety of running the same streets over and over again, but when burn out is upon me anything to change things up helps.

9. Pick a mantra or keyword. I do this a lot. Shoot I am known to talk to myself outloud. I will pick a word or phrase and repeat it over and over and over to either get me out the door or get me through my run. A couple of my often repeated phrases "put one foot in front of the other", "stick with the plan", "slow..steady..slow..steady", and occasionally will use "you're not a quitter".

10. My final thought is to just get dressed and put your shoes on even if you aren't motivated. Step outside. Walk. And usually if I get that far my motivation will quickly follow.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Running skirts and big old booties don't work!

I really wanted a running skirt. You see I am a girly girl. I grew up in a house full of brothers. Except for my twin sister we were totally outnumbered. I then proceeded to have 3 boys before having any girls. Now our house is kind of 50/50, but pink and ruffles is me. Natalie's not all in pink, but poor Christina, my first girl, was overdosed in pink. So when I first started seeing running skirts popping up I really wanted one. I thought they were cute and feminine and just plain cool. I looked and looked and looked at runningskirts.com. I decided I wanted one to wear for my race. I read all the rave reviews on them and why people loved them. I had it my head that this would be just awesome. So I waited, but then as a mama to 7 I am more cost conscious than others and I just had a hard time justifying that kind of money for a skirt to run in.

Fast forward a little. I found a runningskirt skirt sold on one of the running forums I frequent selling for 1/2 the price it would cost me to buy it new so I seized on the opportunity to try one. I waited for it to come in the mail and was so excited to get it in my little hands. It was super cute and super short! I'm not old, but I am a mom of teenagers. I debated and debated on whether I felt comfortable wearing this as short as it is. I felt like a teenager way back in the late 80s early 90s trying to sneak out the house in my little skimpy mini skirt. I even went as far as to bend over in front of a mirror in this thing to see if my derriere would show. Well, thankfully it wasn't that short.

I finally decided to try this bad boy out on a run. I put it on and went outside to find my hubby and ask his thoughts as to whether it was too short. I married a very smart man, hahahaha. His answer "it's up to you hun". He never partakes in the "does this make me look fat?" or "do I look bad in this?" questions. He always cracks me up how well he does at dodging them. I made it as far as back into the house to get my waterpack before I am already adjusting the undies built into the skirt. Adjust once. Go to get my Body Glide and put that on. Adjust again. Walk to get my watch and there they go creeping. Walk outside about to take off on my run and creep four. Then I start thinking about this forum post I read about someone's sports bra where she said something to the effect of if your sports bra is bugging you before you walk out the door it will be bugging you more at mile 4. Getting that quote wrong and too lazy to look it up, but you get the idea. After yanking these undies down from crawling up my butt for the 4th time I decided you know it's really not that important for me to wear it. If I can't even get out the door with it I don't think I really want to run with it. I went inside and changed into my comfortable shorts and called it a day.

Now I also tried another running skirt. This one the cheaper Champion brand I found at Target. In runningskirt's defense Champion's brand did no better. They came with compression shorts built in that were even worse. I am not fat. I wear a size 6 in most clothes, but I am curvy. I have a small waist and bigger butt. Always have and probably always will. You can't spot reduce and that's just the way my body seems to be distributed. If I get one that fits in my butt then it's falling off my waist. I have had similar problems with jeans, but have a few brands I've found that fit me well now. I am a little sad as I really would love to find a running skirt that fits me right. Maybe one day I'll get back to learning to sew and make my own, but for now I think I'll just stick with my comfy running shorts and call it a day.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hi ho Hi ho another run I go

Finally a good run! My heart rate was sucky, but honestly I didn't even look at it on this one. I just needed a good run under me and didn't need any distractions. I like heart rate training. I like the science of it, but some days you just need to run. Today was one of those days. I got a few personal stressors going on and I needed a good workout to blow off some steam.

Today I went right instead of left. I ran a hill instead of flat. I just needed something different. In the 3 years I've been running I have never ran towards downtown. I don't know, just didn't think that was a route I wanted to take. Today I just couldn't fathom running the same roads again and needed something different so I went left. Passed the cemetery on the left that has a very long hill. I knew when I was running it on the second mile that it was all downhill right now and that I might regret taking this path on the return. (This hill is one of the reasons I never run that way.) Anyhow, ran with the intentions of running out 2.5 miles and returning for an out and back of 5 miles, but my watch only hit 1.75 miles before I was right smack downtown. No real sidewalks at that point and too much traffic to keep heading that direction so headed back.

Heat and all - did I mention how HOT it was today. I was running at almost 8pm to keep from croaking in the heat, but even at that it was still hot. Anyhooo, headed back up the hill and dang it was long. I know with the hill training I've been doing it's been on a shorter hill where you could power all the way up it. This one not the case. I'd catch myself speeding up to power up the hill and then having to slow back down when still not done with it. I think I must have powered up and slowed down 4 or 5 times before being done with this hill. It's not super steep the whole way, just long.

After the hill I was kind of toast, but still had a couple more miles to go to finish the 5 I had planned. Managed to finish that out on the same old same old roads I've been running. That part was kind of sucky except for seeing a gal who I think was doing a couch to 5K program because she would run for a little bit and then walk. It kind of helped me keep my mojo up though seeing her out there trying.

I suppose that's it for today. Not a real enlighting bit of information for me to share today.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Run Charlevoix (half marathon) race report!

Well, due to my vacation this is getting up really late, but I really wanted to write this all down as it's always fun to look back at later.

The days before the race went pretty smooth. I had a few really good runs up north and with the cooler temperatures up there I was feeling pretty confident going in to this race. I was a little nervous as to how to pace myself. I would have loved to PR (personal record for my non running friends) this race, but I knew I wasn't in as good of shape as I was the last time and I've only been running again since March. That and thus far every race I've run since Natalie has been born has been considerably slower than where I was in 2009. I didn't want to run too slow that I didn't have a chance at PRing, but I didn't want to run too fast where I wore myself out and wound up walking. Last time I ran this race I knew that I wound up walking parts of it so going into this one I had set a goal to pace myself better so I didn't wind up walking and could finish strong.

I've been working with a running coach this time around (Thank you John for all your help! You've truly been awesome to work with.) I went back and forth on the coach thing, but knew that I didn't know what I was doing as far as tempo runs, speedwork, and all the other running workouts. Up until now I really have just run with no specific structure on how to do my running workouts. Since I was interested in heart rate training and knew that I have had a sucky heart rate during exercise for a while and had a pretty good idea that this is part of my problem with getting faster. Working with John, I realized my training paces were all wrong. I was running them all the same pace, a lot of them too fast, and some too slow. I felt going into Charlevoix though I had a much better idea of what I was doing. I knew that I needed to be realistic with my pacing as I've only been running consistently since March and shoot in March it was still taking me 40 minutes to run 3 miles and with a lot of effort at that. I figured I'd just go into it with an attitude of having fun with it and practicing my pacing with the goal not to walk and finish strong.

Now onto the race. Showed up at the race, talked to a few runners before the race, did my usual pre race potty break, and got ready to run. This time I didn't line up in the way back like I did the last time because I knew I wasn't super slow. I lined up more in the middle. I figured I'd just play it by ear on my pacing. I had my training paces in my head, but thought maybe I'd be able to run faster since it was cooler and Charlevoix is a relatively flat course. I also decided to wear my heart rate monitor this time as well. I wasn't sure at that point if I would use it to guide my pacing or if I'd just look at it afterward. The race starts and within the first mile I'm looking at my heart rate and realizing it's not super high like I was expecting and from my previous running logs I knew I could sustain that pace. It was actually pretty comfortable, but my speed on my watch was showing faster than I thought for that heart rate. At that point I decided what the hell I'm going to use my heart rate for a guide as to when to go faster and use my "perceived effort" on when to go slower. I decided I was going to aim for a HR of 165 and try and keep myself at that level throughout the first 9 miles and then step it up the last 4 miles.

This strategy worked pretty well for me and with the slight decline for the first few miles it helped me feel confident in going faster than the pace I had initially planned. At mile 3 I passed a band (like a school marching band kind of) and they were playing something. I can't remember, but it just made me smile. I thought how cool for these kids to come out and play music like that for the runners. Kept trucking along, felt really good. I passed a sign on the road that said "Run Faster" and of course that made me giggle because my 12 year old son always says that to me. Kept running still feeling really good. I watched my watch periodically to check my pace and heart rate, but at this point was in a pretty good groove and just tried to keep in a good rhythm.

Mile 5,6,7, all good. Around mile 8 there was a slight incline. I won't quite call it a hill, but it definitely took more effort. I was watching my heart rate and seeing it creeping up. I also remember that last time I ran this course I pushed hard at this point, but wound up walking around mile 10 so with that I decided instead of pushing hard right now to back off my pace a little. I slowed down a little and got my heart rate back down to 165 and just kept a nice even pace thinking hard about mile 9. I wasn't for sure if I wanted to step it up at mile 9 or mile 10. I knew I did NOT want to be walking through the finish this time. I kind of mentally decided to split the difference. I figured I'd increase speed a little at mile 9 and then push things harder once I hit the 10 mile mark.

I was quite proud of myself once I hit the 10 mile point. By mile 10 I was kind of sure I wasn't going to PR this, but it was still there in the back of my head and I set a new goal of 2:15 and figured whatever happens happens. By mile 10 I was giving it pretty good effort. I felt real good as I was watching people starting to walk at this point and reminded myself that these people weren't faster than me they had been running the same pace as me up until now and just maybe they had wore themselves out and I could finish strong and ahead. There was a hill on the 11th mile (the same one that was the decline on the beginning of the race that had me crusing faster). I powered right up the hill and just kept thinking about how that hill work I have been doing was paying off. Once I got past the hill I just tried to keep my pace as strong as I could and just kept looking for the finish line. I was still running all the way to the finish so I felt real good about meeting that goal. I didn't PR this, but I felt really good about my finish and had a lot of fun with this race. definitely want to run this one again as it's still one of my favorite races.

Now to the splits and finish time - Official time for this one 2:18:31. Not too shabby for me. I'm almost back to where I was pre-Natalie (my darling littlest one). HR info in parenthesis as I logged that too.

1- 10:21(157)
2- 10:03(164)
3- 10:39(164)
4- 10:48(164)
5- 10:55(164)
6- 10:18(164)
7- 10:39(165)
8- 11:15(166)
9- 10:56(164)
10- 10:21(168)
11- 10:31(171)
12- 10:07(174)
13- 10:05(174)

I wish I had photos, but my cheering crew has lost interest in my races and went out to breakfast instead.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I learned this new handy abbreviation the other day and that definitely fit the day for yesterday. GOTFD - Get Out the F'ng Door (excuse the profanity even semi disguised I do try not to swear, but there are exceptions.) Anyhooo, yesterday was particularly challenging. We had been driving all day on Friday and then a bunch more driving Saturday to get home from our vacation. I was tired. There was tons that needed to be done and it was HOT. I spent the last almost 2 weeks up in the upper peninsula of Michigan, better known as the UP here. It was the opposite of hot. It was cool. It was beautiful scenery. It was everything you wanted for a run, except maybe some pesky mosquitoes. I knew I was going to have to run late in the day because my hubby and kids weren't waiting 2 hours for me to get my run in to get out the door towards home and I wasn't getting up running at 5am in an unfamiliar area either. With that said that left my 10 mile long run for Saturday afternoon/early evening.

I am not sure how much time I spent ho-humming and procrastinating to get out the door. I looked up the temperature and the weather forecast umteen times trying to find some hour of the day that might possibly not be so dang hot. I thought about running on the treadmill. Then the thought of spending 2+ hours on the treadmill was just unfathomable for me so back to option A running outdoors. Come winter the treadmill and me may become friends again, but the heat I figured I could conquer it. With my 15th check of the weather I realized it just wasn't going to get any cooler so might as well head out the door and hope for the best.

Needless to say my run kind of sucked. There really was no getting past the heat, but I got the job done. It was one of those runs where you just kind of concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other and don't really think about anything else. Most of the time I like running, but I am not insane. I don't love running in the heat, but keeping my eye on the prize and the goal in the end usually keeps me focused through the bad runs. I was thankful while I was running that I signed up for a fall marathon in Ste Saint Marie at that. No worries about heat for that one. Of course find me mid winter and I am sure I will be whining about the cold. If only every day could be 60 something degrees my running life would be bliss.

I guess this is getting rambly now, but wanted to get something up here. Charlevoix race report is coming next. I hope I can sit down and type that up later tonight or tomorrow (or the next day...)