Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rainy Day Blues

After several days of constant rain and storms I finally got around to setting up my new CycleOps Jet Fluid Pro Trainer that I won a few weeks ago.  The trainer set up is really simple and barely required instructions. 

My new trainer setup!
Monday night I hopped on the trainer for a workout.  My goal was to do about 90 minutes and I put on The Social Network to watch during the workout.  I was not really into the movie though and struggled with all the dialogue.  Next time I'll probably choose a movie with more action or activity.  I got super sweaty during the workout and created a new hairstyle.  That's one of my kitchen towels to keep the sweat from pouring off my face. 
What a look, right! It was handy since I can never find my Bondi Bands.
About 70 minutes on the trainer I ran into a mega oops. 

Somehow I ended up dropping my chain.  I've never had it actually come all the way off the rings before so it was a new experience for me.  I quickly had greasy fingers as I tried to fix it.  I googled how to fix a chain and even texted a friend for some help.  She and her husband tried to talk me through it but I was struggling to get the chain back into the guide.  After quite a few tries and some frustration I finally got it fixed.  Woohoo, my first official bike repair!
I think it is time to clean and grease my chain, don't you?
P.S. My parents were visiting town yesterday and during dinner my Dad asked if I was going to blog soon.  I told him I wasn't sure that I had anything much to write about and boy did that change once I got home.  Normally a trainer ride is very uneventful but that changed with me dropping my chain.  Too funny! Love you Dad!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Front Row...or not!

Well, today I had a funny misunderstanding happen.  Our local university announced that Blake Shelton was going to be playing a concert on campus next weekend.  Ticket sales began this morning so I promptly went online to purchase tickets.  I hadn't confirmed yet who all would be going but I figured it wouldn't hurt to get the tickets.

The tickets came up as 1-8, 1-9, 1-10, 1-11.  Any normal person would read that and think...FRONT ROW BABY! Which I believed for the day until tonight I got to doing more researching and discovered a big piece of information. The concert is all general admission seating since it a campus concert series.  What a bummer! It will still be a lot of fun but how cool would the front row have been.  I wish the online ticket office would have been more clear that the event was general admission because I might have chosen stadium seats instead of floor seats.  Either way the concert should be lots of fun. 

Now I have some fun motivation for post-race fun next weekend! Yep, 5K season officially starts next weekend with our local Race for the Cure event. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Swimming from the middle

The weather was looking a little risky tonight so my friend Kyla and I decided to switch up our normal Tuesday night bike ride to a swim instead.  We met up after work and the pool was packed with swim lesson groups and lap swimmers.  We shared lanes with some other swimmers for our warmup until a lane opened up for us. 

Here's the summary of our workout:
Warmup - 400 yd easy swim
First Set - 8 x 100 yd (back/free on odds, breast/free on evens) on a 2 min. interval
Second Set - 3 x 200 yd (free build within each 200)
Third Set - 300 yd kick
Fourth Set - 6 x 50 yd back stroke
Fifth Set - 10 x 25 yd sprints on the 40 (choice for stroke)
Cooldown - 150 yd easy swim

The wacky part of the workout was the fourth set.  I typically only do 25 yd of stroke work because my strokes tend to be slower than the friends I train with so I try to not fall too far behind and slow down the interval for the group.  During our initial set of 100's this meant that I did the first 25 as the stroke and then finished with 75 of free.

I mentioned to Kyla that I needed help in figuring out when to turn over for the back stroke in order to turn.  Kyla took this on and developed the fourth set just for me.  We started from the center of the pool in order to have 2 flip turns per each 50 instead of just one.  Before we started the set she had me practice a couple to count out how many strokes to go before turning.  For the record, I need 4 strokes past the flags before turning over to do my flip turn. 

It took the first two intervals for me to relax some and not freak out during the flip turns. The first few I was just vertically popping out of the water after the flip instead of pushing off the wall and streamlining.  I did the flips for all of that set but some weren't so pretty.  I really had to just slow down and relax.  It was good practice and I will definitely start trying to do more than 25yd of strokes at a time...well except for butterfly. That one still needs some work and strength!

Have you ever swum an interval from the middle of the pool? Kyla swore to me that it was normal for working on turns but I definitely felt a little goofy!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Hills Are Alive...Me Not So Much!

Today was my day to recommit to regular, weekly hill repeats.  The Rush Running crew led by Mike Rush does hill repeats on Friday evenings right after work.  We take a break from hills during the winter months because of how dark it is and it's tough to find a safe place to run in a group on a hill! But hills are officially back on the schedule and have been for a few weeks. 

I've had good excuses for why I missed the first couple...too close to a race, travelling, etc.  But this week I didn't have an excuse, I was going to run hill repeats.  I reached out to Mike and put in a request for Old Dump Road.  This is a gravel road that is a long gradual climb of about 1/2 mile.  When I made the request the weather was supposed to be cool but dry...I think you can probably see where this is headed!

Yep, the skies turned cloudy and there was a steady rain/drizzle going on.  Around 4PM the following showed up on Facebook:
I would say the gauntlet had been laid down and since I had requested this hill I took it personally.  As in I had better show up or I was not going to hear the end of it all season! You see Mike and I have quite the history when it comes to hill repeats.  I'm not the strongest hill runner and I have been known to mentally give up on hills.  My entire first season running with Mike I almost always shortened the hill or did fewer repeats than what he suggested.  I improved last year and did better at doing the hill as it was prescribed.  In fact last year I managed to do four full distance repeats on Old Dump Road (it's about a 1/2 mile repeat so 1 repeat equals a mile.)

Looking up Old Dump Road
I got to the designated hill and was the first one there.  Mike pulled up shortly after me and we proceeded to talk from our cars (at first with the windows down and then by phone since it was raining after all.)  He would kill me for telling you all this but he actually said I was excused and didn't have to do the hill due to the cold and wet rain.  Crazy right! I offered to wait and see if anyone showed up and at least try to do the hill.  My original goal before the rain was to try to make this my long run of about 10 miles with six miles in the middle being the up/down of the hill repeats. Obviously I forgot how tough hills can be and was unrealistic in that thought process.  

Matt Martin, me, Matt Blaty
Lucky for me the two Matt's showed up.  I made the stupid decision to skip a warm-up and started up the hill.  I paid for that with that gross taste of blood that you sometimes get. Yuck! I had to take a few minutes to regroup after making it down from the first repeat because I wasn't sure I could do any more.  I did make it all the way to the top for number one but sadly I only made it the full distance once.  I sent Mike a text telling him that one repeat might be all I had in me but that I would try for one more.  Well, take a look below and even though I shortened the hill I still did six repeats total!

It won't be long before all six are the full distance!
Now back to the weather part, I mentioned that this was on a gravel road so with the rain/drizzle the road was soft and mushy in some spots and rocky in others.  This resulted in messy calves and mud crusted shoes and socks.  Fingers crossed that next week the weather doesn't conspire against me and that I can keep building up my stamina for hills because hill workouts make a huge difference in my overall fitness.  I can't wait to have the rest of the team out on the hills too.  I'm so lucky to be a part of a team that is always supporting and encouraging each other.  Thanks to the two Matts for cheering me on tonight and thanks to Mike for not making a video of me trying to slog my way up the hill.  That would have probably been more painful than the actual hill to experience!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

This Week's Speed Work

Monday night was a perfect night for running.  Temps were in the low 60's and the weather was gorgeous...except for a little wind! This week's speedwork was focused on improving our 5K performance. 

The first step of the workout was to break out into pairs based on pace.  The goal was to have a partner with a similar pace to you.  Lucky for me Anne and I are perfect for these types of workouts! The workout was then shared with us as follows:

2 x 800 at 5K pace
2 x 1200 at 5K pace
1 min rest
1 x 800 at all out
30 sec rest
1 x 400 at all out

The catch to this workout was that the first two sets were to be done as individuals.  So partner 1 would start with their first 800, partner 2 would start immediately as 1 finished.  The rest equaled the time that your partner was running for the initials 800's and 1200's.  At the end of the 2nd person's 2nd 1200, the pair got 1 minute rest and then completed the rest of the workout together.  The 2nd partner had a more challenging workout since they only got 1 minute rest after their last 1200 whereas partner 1 had more rest prior to that.  The all out efforts were done together instead of separate like the initial sets. 

The all out efforts were really tough to have at the end of the workout.  Anne and I managed to get down to a 1:52 for our final 400 and we were working hard for that final sprint.  I struggled with maintaining pace during the 1200s but was happy with my times for the workout.  I think I kept every 400 below 2:15 or a 9 minute pace so that definitely qualifies as a good workout for me since my 5K PR pace is around a 9-9:15 pace.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spectating Party - Hogeye Marathon

Sunday was the 35th Annual Hogeye Marathon and Half Marathon in Fayetteville.  The Rush Running team hosted a water stop on the course.  The water stop was at miles 7.5 and 8.5 of the half marathon course and mile 22 of the full marathon course.  We had a great sound system blasting out the tunes and a fun party atmosphere to pump up the runners.  I think the runners appreciated the support and quite a few took advantage of the optional beer stop we offered too!  Here are some pictures of the fun we had!

Margaritaville according to the Rush Running crew!

Keeping runners like Cathy refreshed with water and Gatorade or the optional beer!

Super-soakers were used to cool down the runners in the hot temps.
Yes, a man in a hula skirt will make you pick up the pace!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Active Recovery, My A**!

Whoops, I don't know what I was thinking when I thought that our regular Sunday swim workout would be a nice active recovery for yesterday's half marathon.  Holy cow, it was a tough workout. My legs were feeling the run for sure.

We started with a 500yd warmup of just easy swimming.  For the main workout, we pulled from the workout posted for the Masters swim class with a few minor alterations. 

Up first, 6 x 100 yds.  The workout called for all back but we switched it up and mixed in some IM and strokes.  I was shooting for 2 min on my 100's and Kyla and Brent were going on a 1:50 interval.  I was falling off the pace after my second 100 so I decided to switch to 75's for the remaining 4.  It worked out perfect so that I ended at the same time as the others.  I just shortened the interval time to around 1:30 and kept my heart rate down since I knew what was up next for the 2nd part of the workout. 

Our second set consisted of 20 x 50 yds.  We decided to work in sets of 4 so that we could keep track of our counts and also mix up the strokes.  Below are the sets that we did and to be completely honest I had to duck out on two of the 50's.  I skipped the first 50 of the 3rd set because I needed a breather after the fast free.  I also took a break during the start of the final set to go get a set of fins for the finish.  I was losing steam and needed the extra help of the fins to finish things out.  All of the 50's were done on an even 1 minute interval.  By the way, when I list out an interval time, that interval includes the rest time. 
1 - IM order for 50 on each stroke.
2 - Free - descending pace slow, medium, medium, fast
3 - Fly/Free, Back/Free, Breast/Free, Free/Free
4 - Free - descending pace slow, medium, medium, fast
5 - Fly/Free, Back/Free, Breast/Free, Free/Free

For the 3rd set, we did 16 x 25 yds in IM order on a 40 second interval.  I only did the first two fly as fly, after that I switched to free.  I've been working on my dolphin kick so fly is still a pretty tough stroke for me.  We finished up with a 100yd easy cool down and then hit the hot tub to complete our Sunday ritual! Total swim for the day around 2400 yds!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Bentonville Half Marathon Race Report

Today marks a special day...I've come full circle with one year of blogging.  Looking back my very first Race Report was for the Bentonville Half Marathon and today I completed the Bentonville Half Marathon again!

Bright and sunny start for the race.
Last year I spoke of the weather and how horrible it was with cold and wet conditions.  Today was far from that with temps quickly warming up into the 60's during the race.  I actually got overheated but still would pick today's weather over last year's any day!  The course didn't change so there was still the horrible hill to deal with at mile 12...in fact the last 3 miles of the course are pretty much uphill. All of the elevation change for the course seems to happen during the last 4 miles of the race when you drop down a steep hill throughout mile 9 to begin the climb back up at mile 10.  Just the spot where I'm usually feeling less than perky during a half marathon!

About 900 runners completed the half marathon.
Today was my 14th half marathon and I definitely am continuing to learn more about running these races as I go along.  I wasn't very motivated for the race and had a horrible training schedule. I skipped long runs and even had weeks with only 1-2 runs total during the week.  That lack of consistent training showed in my performance today.  I'm not upset with my time by any means just know that I'm capable of more (when I train for it!) I would like to lay out a more structured training plan for my long runs for the next few months.  I would like to keep up the longer distances and work at building up to fewer walk breaks and more consistent pace on long runs. 

Another big lesson was in some choices I made for apparel and gear.  I chose to wear capris, short sleeve tee, and singlet.  I should have skipped the tee and worn shorts because I was miserably hot throughout the race.  The second choice I made with my gear was to skip wearing a water belt.  I hate to wear them in a long, organized race since it is extra weight and things to think about.  However, from mile 10-12 all I could think about was water and how thirsty I was getting.  The final mile uphill was also tough for me and one of the volunteers had a stash of some Gatorade that really helped me out.  I will probably wear a water belt on my next half marathon for sure.  It's just nice to be able to drink when you want to. 

He was out playing some tunes on the saxophone for all the runners.
The race was well supported with awesome volunteers from a teen leadership organization called HOBY.  They were always cheering and had great signs along the course too.  There were a few music spots on the course including the high school band at the top of the dreaded mile 12 hill.  The finish line was 100 times better than last year because there was actual food this year and people stuck around and created a fun atmosphere. 

My sister outgunned me by 12 seconds at the end.  My legs just didn't have any get up and go left!
Overall, this continues to be a great race and something that I hope to be able to run for years to come. 

Today I ran the first 6 miles with my sister and my running partner Anne.  Anne then did some tempo work for a few miles and left Lindsey and I to finish the course on our own.  I was thankful to have my sister by my side during my low moments on the hill when all I could think about was how much my stomach hurt and how badly I was overheating.  She thoughtfully suggested I puke it up and get moving! I think my nutrition could have been better and that's why my stomach hurt...I was running low on fuel in the tank.  We took some walk breaks at water stops and then a little more frequently in the last 2 miles.  Time wise, she beat me by 12 seconds with an awesome finishing kick! My time this year came in at 2:27:39 (about 1:30 slower than last year.) It wasn't my best and wasn't my worst and I finished  (though the smile didn't come until after I crossed the line!)  My unspoken goal for any race is to finish with a smile! 

Any suggestions for my 15th half marathon?