Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fall Training Week of September 22

Week 3 - September 22-28, 24.6 miles

In sum: in a down week, ran a sub six minute mile, then ran a 5k quickly. 

Monday Afternoon - 3.1 easy, 8:17 pace
Post-nap malaise was an odd feeling, pretty afternoon run on a weekday was odder. Looped right where I normally go left and went down streets I've never seen before.

Tuesday AM - 30 Minute Tempo, 3.81 miles, 7:54 pace
Warmed up a bit, then went until I reached my abode. Bit more starting and stopping than normal for before 6a, but something requiring multiple emergency vehicles at that hour more that receives road priority as far as I'm concerned. 8:18, 8:02, 7:29, 6:15 (.81)

Wednesday AM - 3.15 easy, 8:46 pace
I pretty much have nothing of note. A day later and I don't recall anything worth babbling on, so that's as good a sign as any.

Thursday PM - 2.7 warm up, 5:58 mile time trial, cool down
Tossed around a few ideas for what I wanted to do in lieu of non-existent hill work: 1200s, a ladder, maybe 800s. But I took my interests from last week and decided to see what I could do for a solo four successive laps around the track.

To try and remove my headspace from the suckfest that is my 9-5, I usually walk and wander about the loop during my lunch break. This afternoon I was more flustered than normal, kept walking until I ran out of road where Randolph looks over Lake Shore Drive. Only notable as I didn't change out of my rather tight and completely unsupportive flats, so my feet were not as happy as they could be for around three miles on the pavement.

Warmed up, feeling "meh-ish." Tight feet, sore hip, and mentally frazzled...I was just happy I went out instead of opting to fall asleep on the couch with the sun up. That is always an option, sadly.

Shifted my watch to auto lap every .25 miles, but once I rounded that first curve after taking off, decided to not pay attention to time and just let the watch do the math for me to look at later. It's strange adjusting ones vision when running with a bit more purpose in the darkness, and between people walking and tables and benches from collegiate practices strewn about in the innermost lane at a few spots, I based things on internal feel and focused on not tripping myself up.

Few runs in with the Newtons have been great (even if its only due to the fact that its a much lighter shoe than I am used to) and I do feel like I have been running more upright and taller, which can lead to newborn baby foal moments of no coordination whatsoever.

Kept myself mentally focused with whatever pace I was locked in on and decided not to really pick things up for the final 200 or so, just wanted to stay where I was pace-wise and create a benchmark for myself. Certainly had some more in the tank for a final burst, but decided to maintain instead...

400      800                  1200                mile                   1600
1:27.6/2:57.2 (1:29.6)/4:26.8(1:29.6)/5:58.29(1:31.5)/6:12(14.1)

...and I kinda wish I had dug a bit deeper for a quartet of sub 90 second .25 splits with my normal closing kick, but that is a oddly particular specific after the fact-ism to be chapped over.

No complaints, pretty much where I felt like I should be, based on inner stubbornness. McMillan agrees with me, thus am totally validated or something.

It's funny where confidence comes from. Not even a mile in on my warm up and not feeling all that grand, I was already stockpiling excuses if things didn't go well: afternoon crummy coffee consumption, my lunchtime power walk and the state of my feet, the scent of air freshener from the car that drove by. But I thought to myself well, what is the point if I'm already defeating my efforts prior to actually doing 'em, exactly. And now that first week of 400s seems like a really piss poor effort and the notion of sub 7 minute average during a 5k seems doable.

So, will it be?

Friday - Off. 
Night before race dinner = slightly greasy standard-issue chicken sandwich, waffle fries and a beer. Nothing sounded better.

Saturday AM - Park Ridge Charity Classic 5k - 20:28.37 
In the aftermath, there are sesame seeds all over the place. Didn't realize it at 5:30 in the morning, but my bagel scattered 'em in the kitchen, in the bedroom. Found one in the bathroom sink, though I can't recall mindlessly chewing a sub-optimal circular bread product in there. Bagel and slightly watered-down coffee and I'm out the door a touch after 6ish.

Drove to Park Ridge with a few Oak Park Runners Club members with ease, passing unknown parts of Chicago that felt familiar all the same. Pick up a shirt (a cotton shirt! huzzah!) + bib with plenty of time to spare on a clear and calm morning, getting a chance to chat with some folks I haven't seen in awhile. Warmed up a bit, debating between utilizing my training buddy option on my watch or not. Turned it off, lined up and off we went.

Slight decline as the course dipped beneath an underpass in the first half mile combined well with my tendency to go out a bit quicker, seeing 6:1X on my watch after the first buzz on my wrist. Didn't panic, had no reason to.

Hmm, alright then. Now that such is out of my system, let's calm down a bit and find a solid rhythm until the turn around. Mental boost from my time trial made a pre-race goal of 6:40s not sound or feel nearly as daunting, and I just wanted to attack a race with confidence for ONCE, seeing as I felt like I had the legs and the head (for once, the Greek chorus should repeat) to do it.

Guy called out splits a mile one was audible from a ways away, but I didn't want to get caught up in anything that would come as a shock and be excuse fodder for later on.

Kept moving well and stayed dialed in as the turn around was in sight. Looped down and around with a slight group of people...but was in no-man's land the remainder of the trek towards the finish. My momentum around the curve of cones was that much greater than that of my race compatriots? Strange, especially as I was slowing down a bit yet never got passed from that point on.

Caught up to a gent who was slowing down considerably and I momentarily lost focus, slowing down  and keying off his pace along side him. He completely stopped to walk after a minute or so. I shook of the thoughtless pace and pressed on towards the finish. Tried a last gasp sprint to catch a guy at the chute, but ran out of real estate.

Stopped my watch, 3.13 miles. 20:31 for a 6:33 average. That's more like it. 6:29/6:34/6:44/:42. One of my more even-keeled efforts, and I'm starting to wonder what my lifetime PR is, the one from a Mesozoic era of lithe and unbroken body parts. I'm old now, haven't kept that number in the frontal lobe for awhile. Still thinking about it, waiting in line for my race print out. I may be close.

With result in hand, I pull up my race result collection via Ath Links. I know exactly what I'm scrolling towards, the 2001 ALS 5K Cross Country For a Cure. I remember that race kinda, went with my HS teammates and ran a good amount with one of the nicer coaches who was only around during my junior track season. Because the world is small, he was a founding member of the OP runners club. Clung to his pace until the final stretch, kicking for a third overall, third in the age group. Finished in 20:28.

Couldn't go .5 faster, eh

I know that I in theory may have set a PR. But the existence of that .4 (.37 per the online results for even more hair-splitting insanity) seconds have me hungry more so than sated. 

As I'm walking back towards the car, I'm already contemplating adding a late November 5k to my slate. What an asshole. 

Sunday AM - 5 easy, 8:04 pace
Felt light, but excessively sweaty. Had to re-tie my left shoe about three times. Might swap in some different laces.

Next week: Week four has some 400s (at 5k pace! I know what that means now!) and a 3/1 90 minute long run, which will be done at the Run for the Hills half at Moraine State Park, which is about three counties away. Pretty course with some inclines on limestone and paved trails, happy to go back after doing such last year. I'll do the first nine at an easy longer pace and push the final four.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fall Training Week of September 15

Before a day-by-day breakdown:
Used to be deeply attuned to the world of running shoes on a very nerdy level, mainly because it beat doing homework or accomplishing anything of actual value. That interest fell by the wayside during college, especially as my dissatisfaction of the swoosh began to manifest.

Even when I wasn't running, I stayed connected to what was going on at the professional level. Liked what the Hanson's were doing and stood for, so I stuck with Brooks for awhile, most recently with a long string of Adrenaline 12s (exacerbated when I got about four pairs at DSW for stupid cheap).

I spent this spring and summer in a pair of New Balances that I got for free last year, mainly because I had them around and I thought that the Adrenalines contributed to my inflamed tendon foot woes of the spring. Fairly worn and not really providing the cushioning I feel like I needed, I knew it 'tis time for something new.

Enter my first pair of Newtons. Many folks SWEAR by them, which makes me nervous that I'm entering some sort of cultish world. But I type this wearing a Ragnar sweatshirt, so perhaps its too late for me.

The ridge isn't obvious when I tried them out, which surprised me. Nice and light shoe, and I was sold on the notion of this being an entry (...gateway?) model to grow accustomed to the different structure. I'm a bit lighter and run more efficiently than when I first started back running consistently last winter, so I'm happy to see how these work out. Only concern is making sure the bone chip in my left ankle doesn't feel jostled. Gotta keep our broken pieces appeased.

I will say this: I have not spent this much on a pair of shoes since whatever model of Nike Air Max was released in 1999. Damn feet, why does it cost so much to house you in things.

Criminy, so garish. I love them. 

Week 2 - September 15-21, 32.4 miles

Monday AM - 3.24 miles, 9:11 pace. Stretch, Myrtl. 

Tuesday AM - 45 minute Tempo Run, 5.49 miles.  
Hard to get moving. 10 minute warm up, 25 min tempo effort, 10 minute cool down.
8:47, 7:53, 7:50, 7:41, 8:33, 4:30 (.49)
Sort of morning where the cool tingle takes awhile to leave ungloved hands and you are reminded that you can see your gasping breath for part of the year. 

Wednesday AM - 4 miles, 8:21 pace. Stretch.
Woke up super early for no particular reason, so waited for a tinge of sunrise to head out for some easy miles.

Thursday PM - 3x1600
1.5 mile warm up, a trio of four laps around the track with a 400 jog inbetween, 1.5 cooldown.

Well shit. Sorta didn't want to do anything after a crapfest of a day. The lack of hills in the immediate vicinity is giving me creative license in changing up the three workout sessions that call for such into other speed sessions on the track. Flipped a coin between 1200s and 1600s, but four laps will always have the upper hand in my heart.

Decided to drive to the track and warmed up there, which worked out as I got things moving a bit quicker compared to running over to Concordia. Feel like I get right down to business when contained within a specific area for repeat efforts. Different mindset than aimlessly wandering on the roads, for certain. Used the last lap or two for some strides and remind myself what quicker turnover is. I've been liking the way my stride and turnover has been feeling this summer, more running than shuffling.

I didn't really have much of a time-focused plan heading in, especially after my previous session of low 1:30 400s and an opening mile of 6:53 at my 5k last week. Figured 6:45s would be a good point pace-wise to aim for.

Mile 1: 6:36 (1:34/3:14/4:53)
Mile 2: 6:39 (1:39/3:18/4:58)
Mile 3: 6:25 (1:34/3:10/4:49)

Felt controlled but pressed myself pretty well throughout. Didn't really think to set up my lap splits on my Garmin, so I wasn't living and dying by whatever numbers were being displayed or buzzing upon every passing by my starting point. Based things more on feel. I think I'll give the workout creation option on my watch for next week, seeing as I never have used that feature, so why not.

Looked at my wrist upon finishing the first one and felt sorta non-responsive. "Uh, ok I guess." Should I be ecstatic? Scared?  Not sure if that was going to be a dastardly starting point that would doom the remaining two 1600s. Felt more conservative for number two, but not by much.

Final go around was in the pristine post-sunset blush with minimal stadium lighting and I sped up for the final 100. It felt good to be moving quickly. Cooled down, over-thinking what this means/what I should be aiming for. No idea. I'll take myself out at 7 in next week's 5k, and then keep pressing. Or more likely go out far too quickly and die.

Looking back, the last time I did mile repeats was last June. 7:03/7:21/6:58. Glad I didn't look that up prior to this workout. 

Was so close to stripping down to just my sports bra for the final repeat, but too damn self-conscious. What would all the walkers THINK?

Would love to get a solo mile in now and see how it stacks up to the end of this training cycle. Will make that happen next week where applicable.

Friday - Off. 

Saturday AM - 9 miles, 8:34 pace.
Not sure why I felt so off. Weather was wonderful but I was sweating as if it was about 85 degrees and 90% humidity out, which was very much not the case. Felt like I had no energy, even though I gave myself time to completely digest a Clif bar. Hip started feeling a little tighter than I felt comfortable with, so I reached a nice round number and walked my remaining mile home.

Sunday PM - 4 @ Pace, 7:26 pace.
7:26, 7:29, 7:26, 7:23
TOO FAST (I think). Like a skittish small animal, I bounded about on my first run in my new shoes, feeling fleet of foot and strong. Haven't run in a shoe so light (7.9 oz) in a very long while. On the plus side, I didn't feel too strained in maintaining a pace that is about 10 seconds faster than desired, and the hardest part was the ever-present starting/stopping of an afternoon jaunt. Again, need to utilize the bells and whistles on my wrist and set up pace things. 

Next Week: Park Ridge Charity 5k. Claims to be the fastest 5k in Illinois, never been. Breaking 22 is the expected outcome, close to 21:30 is the goal. Trying to use smaller (and cheaper!) races + workouts to regain a sense of confidence when racing instead of swearing at myself for being a head-case.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Fall Training Week of September 8

Decided to change things up before I got too far into a fall training schedule that may not be the best approach for me to take this fall heading into racing season. Opted to utilize Hal Higdon's advanced build up as I think it will be a more appropriate schedule for where I'm at; challenging but not as overwhelming as far as milage is concerned.

I am a fan of the online schedules he has at pretty much every level, and I liked the layout of the week a bit better than what I was using. I'll at least keep myself accountable on some semblance of posting weekly round-up sorta things. I'm sure I'll get to general running bitchery at some point as well.

Week 1 - September 8-14, 33 miles

Monday AM - 3 miles, 8:30 pace. Stretch, Myrtl. Tennis in the evening.
Still feeling off from a warm Thursday 5k and an aimless easy eight miles on Sunday, so I decided to keep it easy. Dark and cool morning. Making me look forward to fall.

Tuesday Evening - 7x400, give or take a minute rest in between. 
2 1/2 mile warm up
1:34, 1:30, 1:32, 1:30, 1:35, 1:35, 1:31
2 1/2 cool down

Would have driven had I gone in the morning, but laziness prevailed and went to the Concordia track for the first time this year on foot. Probably for the better to be honest, as the warm up (at about 8:30 pace, it always amazes me how different the same pace feels at different times of day) felt like the perfect length to get blood flowing, head in the right place mentally after a crap work day and muscles warm, instead of feeling like the first few intervals were still part of the warm up process.

Dodged a few charmers who didn't quite understand walking on a track in the inner lanes protocol, but felt pretty good and controlled throughout. Felt like I still had some in the tank instead of totally spent, which confuses me.

As I left the track, someone from within a group that was starting to warm up called out "great run, Ragnar girl!" Took me an embarrassing long time to realize this was in reference to my shirt. Guess I forgot that other runners are aware of races. I run alone too much.

Wednesday Evening - 3.5, 8:05 pace. Stretch, Myrtl.

Thursday Evening - 4.8, 8:36 pace. Stretch. 
Was contemplating taking the day off, went out on a whim. First late(r) evening run in the dark, took a bit to get my old eyes adjusted.

Had been toying with the notion of registering for a nearby/low-fi/low-cost (the greatest race triumvirate, really), and with my new schedule calling for a tempo run on Thursday, I rationally signed up, opting for a speedier Saturday.

Friday - Off. 
I'll probably play off days by ear, either taking things off completely, opting for a good stretch or getting in some rowing when feeling antsy.

Saturday AM - Makin' Tracks 5k: 22:05 (7:05 pace).
Fourth lady, 2nd in my old person age group (27th overall, super tiny race). I don't think I'll wax on the effort more than this: It's a benchmark.

Sunday AM - 90 minutes (11.32 miles, 7:57 pace).
The long runs within this training build up are based on time, which is fine by me. The way some of the days are set up are what good ol' Hal labels as 3/1, with the first three quarters at a decent clip and the final portion at an increased pace, near race pace.

Was planning on heading to a forest preserve for unimpeded milage, but I slept through my alarm and frustratedly took to the streets of OP/FP/RF with a Clif Bar in my gut. I've had a lot more success kind of dialing in to a consistent pace once I find a groove during my long runs this year compared to last, so I liked how it felt today for an easier long effort. I'm also getting better paying attention to form and actually feel like running, compared to more shuffling.

First six: 8:28, 8:08, 8:07, 8:02, 8:05, 8:05
Last five: 7:48, 7:41, 7:41, 7:31, 7:39, 2:40 .32 (crossing Oak Park is the worst)

More to come.