I’m Running a Half Marathon Tomorrow

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It kind of snuck up on me, but I’m running a half marathon tomorrow!  The Martian Half Marathon to be exact, right here in Dearborn.

I signed up for this race intending it to be my last long training run before tapering for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon.  In the past couple of weeks I’ve thought about trying for a PR, but I haven’t tapered and I’d rather just get in a solid long run without blowing up in mile 8.

There’s just one teeny tiny problem.

The course is currently flooded.

Yeah.  While everyone east of us has been enjoying beautiful summer-like temperatures, it has been cold and rainy here.  It seems winter has not quite finished with us.  We got a downpour this morning, and a good portion of the Martian course runs through a park that also happens to be a flood plane.  It was designed to flood to keep rising waters out of more populated areas and does so with some frequency.  But that doesn’t mean I want to run through standing water.

The race organizers have assured us that if the park doesn’t dry out by Saturday (which it might do since there’s no rain on tomorrow’s forecast), they’ll reroute the course.  And the 5K/10K courses won’t be affected.

Whether the course is rerouted or not, the weather looks kind of crappy for Saturday.

Not the nicest forecast I've seen before a race.

Not the nicest forecast I’ve seen before a race.  SNOW???

And here’s another reason why I am still thinking about going for a PR attempt.  This is my last long run before the race in DC.  I REALLY want to PR at that race, and with a lot of guts and lot of luck, I think maybe I can do it.  But I’m not experiencing the same spring that DC and other points east of here seem to be experiencing.  I’m afraid I’ll get to race day in DC and it will be 70 degrees (or warmer) and I’ll have done ALL of my training in temperatures closer to 30 and 40 degrees.  The heat I won’t be acclimated for would probably be enough to kill any hopes of a PR.

So attempting a PR on a cooler day on a course I know is tempting.  Probably I’ll just try to run a solid training run.  It’d be the smart thing to do.  But I’m not always smart…

In the mean time, I’m volunteering at the expo tonight after work and hoping the forecast changes for Saturday.

 

Catch-Up

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I hadn’t meant to wait a week since my last post but… I guess it happened anyway.

This past week has been both busy and not so busy at the same time.

On Thursday, my dog Faith had knee surgery for a second time.  The good news is that she has no more knees to blow out.  The other good news is that so far her recovery has been smother than last time (knock on wood), but there is still a long 11 weeks between now and her being completely better.  Or as better as she is ever going to get.

Faith after surgery #2

Faith after surgery #2

Even the cat comes to say Hi when Faith comes home.

Even the cat comes to say Hi when Faith comes home.

And Layla pouts when we won't let her lay down with Faith (to protect the healing leg)

And Layla pouts when we won’t let her lay down with Faith (to protect the healing leg)

On Friday, we had a training session.  I had a lot of thoughts about this.  It wasn’t one of my better sessions and made me think a lot about giving up vs. what I’m actually capable of.  The trainer had us doing bear crawls and tried to make a game of it by telling Ron and I to race each other.  Except I very quickly started struggling and when he told me Ron was going to beat him I responded that I didn’t care.  In the end, I did half of the bear crawls that Ron did, and I’m fairly certain that was the limit of what I COULD do on that day.  The rest of it went OK though.  He also said that from now on he was going to do full body workouts instead of specific muscle workouts since we see him only once a week.  I’m glad – I wish he’d done that sooner.

Saturday was another 10 mile long run and I broke down in the EXACT SAME SPOT as last week – Miles 8 & 9.  The only excuse I have is that I was running straight into the wind.  But that’s a pretty weak excuse and it left me frustrated.

Might have been 2 minutes faster, but still not my best long run.

This says it all (source: Runner's World

This says it all (source: Runner’s World)

Tuesday was another track workout – the main set was 3×800 (4:37, 4:31, 4:30), 2×600 (3:22, 3:20) and a 200 (2:00).  With a long-ish warm-up and a cool down I ran 5 miles in a little over 49 minutes (only counting running time and not recovery time between the track sets).

This morning we once again saw the trainer.  And once again, it wasn’t my best performance.  We’ve started going in the morning – because the trainer stopped offering appointments in the afternoon.  But mornings really aren’t my thing, and I had next to no energy.  I was even struggling with an easy treadmill warm-up.  My legs just did not want to move.

So that has caught me up in the past week.  A couple of good workouts interspersed with a lot of downtime taking care of Faith.  But there are some more interesting things happening this weekend…

Track Workout 2

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The running club I ran with last week moved their track workout to Thursday this week.  For various reason, I couldn’t make the Thursday session, so opted to do a little track workout of my own on Tuesday Wednesday.

Track in the setting sun

Track in the setting sun

I wore shorts!  Granted, I was cold the whole time and wish I’d worn a pair of pants, but my point is that it is almost spring enough to wear shorts.

I did a 1 mile warm-up which sucked.  I was left wondering if I would even be able to finish the workout.

I did two laps of strides which was basically running the straight edges at a sprint and then the corners at a jog.

Then 4×800: 4:16, 4:31, 4:29, 4:29.  The first 800 was too fast and I obviously couldn’t sustain that.  But the other three were where I wanted them to be.

Then 0.5 mile cool down.

Then I went home and made dinner, which is a big deal only because I really wanted pizza.  (Spoiler alert: I may have won the battle on Wednesday, but Pizza was consumed on Thursday.)  After my weekend in Pittsburgh, I really need to get back on the healthy eating wagon!

Pittsburgh

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Pictures from the weekend spent visiting Pittsburgh:

At the bottom of the Monongahela Incline, ready to ride up!

At the bottom of the Monongahela Incline, ready to ride up!

At the top of the Monongahela Incline in Mount Washington.  This is where Ron proposed!

At the top of the Monongahela Incline in Mount Washington. This is where Ron proposed!

View of Pittsburgh on the way down the incline.

View of Pittsburgh on the way down the incline.

The Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh's campus.  My Alma Mater!

The Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh’s campus. My Alma Mater!

The great Hall in the Cathedral of Learning - viewed from the 3rd floor

The great Hall in the Cathedral of Learning – viewed from the 3rd floor

Go Panthers!

Go Panthers!

From left to right: Polish Room, Israel Heritage Room, Romanian Room, Indian Room, Swedish Room, Syrian Room

Nationality Classrooms in the Cathedral of Learning from left to right: Polish Room, Israel Heritage Room, Romanian Room, Indian Room, Norwegian Room, Syria-Lebanon Room

The Nationality Rooms (actual classrooms) are one of many very cool things about the Cathedral of Learning.  Go here to learn more about them and see pictures from other rooms.  Other cool things include that interior (still love it after all these years, makes me think I’m in a castle!) and the fact that it is the second tallest educational building IN THE WORLD.

View from the street I lived on the summer between my junior and senior years.  There's the Cathedral of Learning again.  It is the tallest structure in this part of Pittsburgh and a beacon from all over the neighborhood!

View from the street I lived on the summer between my junior and senior years. There’s the Cathedral of Learning again. It is the tallest structure in this part of Pittsburgh (Oakland) and a beacon from all over the neighborhood!

View from my favorite spot in Schenley park.  On the far left is downtown Pittsburgh and on the far right is the Cathedral of Learning.  This picture doesn't do it justice but is the best I could get fitting both spots in.

View from my favorite spot in Schenley park. On the far left is downtown Pittsburgh and on the far right is the Cathedral of Learning. This picture doesn’t do it justice but is the best I could get fitting both spots in.

Ron and I on our favorite jogging/biking path in Schenley Park.

Ron and I on our favorite jogging/biking path in Schenley Park.

We had a blast visiting Pittsburgh and all of our favorite spots again.

 

Lately

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First, Happy Easter!

I’m in Pennsylvania for the weekend, so I made sure to get my long run in before leaving Michigan.  But let me back up a bit.

After Track Party Tuesday, I ran a slow three miles as a recovery run.  Following my recent pattern, my calves were tight and painful.  It seems I can run faster or longer without my calves bugging me, but when I try to slow it down, they throw a fit!

On Thursday we had a training session and it was unfortunately legs day!  My legs were still dead and I had 10 miles to run the next day.  Ron asked the trainer to go easy on us.  Although he agreed, none of it was easy!  At the end, he suggested we do 45 minutes of cardio.  My legs were jello, so that was NOT what I wanted to hear and not what I was planning.  But I hopped on the treadmill (the idea of 45 minutes on the elliptical did not sound fun) and ran/walked 4 miles.  Ron later told me that the 45 minutes were to help our legs for our run in the morning.  Not sure if that was good or bad advice, but I did it anyway.

Ready to Run and the sun is shinning!

Ready to Run and the sun is shinning!

10 miles on Friday.  10 miles seem to be my mental threshold where I start to balk at the mileage.  But early Friday morning we headed out to the trail head to get the miles in before heading to PA.

This run was actually going really well until I hit 7 miles.  I was running 10:40s/10:30s and feeling as good as could be expected after a pretty heavy (for me) training week.  Then I started the 8th mile and I stopped to take in some more fuel and things kind of fell apart.  I lost all motivation and miles 8 and 9 were over 12 min/mile.  I managed to pick it back up for the last mile, but I was so ready to be done.  And the aftermath wasn’t pretty, my legs haven’t been THAT sore after a run in quite awhile.

10 Miles Done!

10 Miles Done!

About a year ago, I ran a 10 mile race in just over 2 hours.  I may still need to work on my stamina late in the race, but I am getting a tad faster!

 

Track Party Tuesday

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I’m borrowing the title from Sarah, whose blog I stalk read.  It just so happened that my first real official track workout was on a Tuesday!

But let me back up for a minute.  I haven’t blogged since the Shamrock 10K, and part of that is just kind of figuring this blog thing out.  But anther part is because during that run and previous runs, I’d started to feel a few moments of a sort of burning sensation on my left heel.  It was NOT intense and didn’t last long, more annoying than anything, so I mostly chalked it up to nothing.  But after consulting Dr. Google, I thought it might be a little more than nothing so wanted to take it easy for a week and see what happened.  I intended to cross train but one thing led to another and… I just didn’t most of last week.  Ooops.

Now back to Tuesday!  I’ve been on the distribution list for a local running club pretty much since I moved to Michigan (so about 5 years).  They host weekly track workouts when its not winter as well as run a few local races with most of the emphasis on one in particular.  So when I got the notice that track workouts were starting this week, I decided to put on my big girl pants and go.

I don’t know if I mentioned this the few times I ran during lunch, but changing into running clothes at work is AWKWARD!  I don’t know everyone in my office – far from it – and the dress code is business casual.  Wicking fabric and running shoes definitely do not fit in.

So after deciding to conquer my shy girl tendencies and actually GO and THEN changing at work, as I’m driving to the track it starts to rain!  And then if that weren’t bad enough, the rain turned to snow!  I was having some second thoughts about this whole thing, but I was already dressed and on my way.  Luckily, I wasn’t the only crazy one out in the still-not-spring weather and it stopped raining AND snowing before the workout began.

The workout itself was 8-16×400.  There is nothing impressive about my repeats, unless you’re me and then they seem speedy-for-me.  I only did 8 because, well, this was my first real track workout.  I’d feel pretty good the first half of the repeat, then it’d get kind of iffy, and then I’d finish strong.  And despite my doubts, I did actually recover enough during the recovery parts to try again.

Here are the splits – the repeats start with #1 and go every other one ending at #15.  The ones in between are rest intervals and #17 was a cool down.

Splits from my first official track workout!

Splits from my first official track workout!

I’m sore today!

One of the fears I’d had that stopped me from trying track workouts in the past was not knowing if I would be able to finish a workout.  Yesterday I proved that I could!  And I was glad to have other people there because I was never really sure how the recovery parts worked.  So I just followed the others which worked out well!

I enjoyed doing this track workout more than I thought I would and I’m pretty sure I’ll be back next week for more fun/torture.  Hey, if it helps me get faster…

Shamrock N’ Roll 10K

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This Sunday I ran my second St. Patrick’s Day themed race, the Shamrock N’ Roll 10K. I will admit that I first decided to do this race for the medal… and also for the possibility of earning another medal if I complete three of the races put on by this company over the next year. But the more I train for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, the more convinced I am becoming that a half marathon PR might be within my reach. But I wanted to see if I could hold goal pace over a long-ish distance. Since long runs should be run slower than goal pace and tempo efforts usually aren’t that long, I figured a race would be the perfect place to try it out.

The weather this past weekend couldn’t have been more different than the weather for the Corktown 5K. That weekend, it seemed spring was right around the corner. This weekend winter reminded us that it isn’t quite done with us yet.

Running in a tutu – Shamrock N’ Roll 10K

We were a tad late getting to the race start (but we remembered our bibs this time!) and just missed wave 1 taking off. It ended up working out well because we were able to squeeze in near the front of wave 2, right next to the 70 minute pacer. I knew I wanted to run a tad faster than that, but he was the only pacer I saw.

Pretty soon our wave was taking off! It was really COLD the first mile and I did some weaving, which normally happens, and tried to settle into my pace. Mile 1 was 10:15, a little fast, but not much. Mile two I just kept cruising. I was running even a faster than mile 1, but I decided not to worry about it too much. I think it was in this mile that we saw and overtook the 65 minute pacer. I thought about slowing down and running with them, but figured I wanted to see what I could do on my own. Also, the sun was starting to come out and I warmed up some. OK, I warmed up a lot. I was regretting my decision to wear a jacket.

Ron killing it.

I don’t remember a whole lot about mile 3 and 4 except running through a lot of neighborhoods.

Mile 5 things started to fall apart. I was quickly tiring and slowing down. Still above goal pace, but not pushing quite so hard. It was so cold I wanted nothing to do with any of the water stops on the course. At one stop around mile 5 there was ice forming on the road from people throwing down their water cups!

Early in mile 6 things were looking grim. I suddenly felt a tad nauseated and knew I was going to need to slow it down some. By the end of mile 6, I was able to rally and pick the pace back up, but I didn’t quite make it back to my goal pace. This was the only mile over my goal pace.

Splits from the Shamrock N’ Roll 10K

Finally we were rounding a corner and it was time to kick it into as high a gear as I could go. Ron has unfortunately learned that I do this at the end of races and apparently has a higher gear than I do because he routinely crosses the finish line first, unless he’s busy filming the finish.

Official time was 1:03:35 for an average per mile pace of 10:15. Since that is faster than goal HM pace, I’ll take it, but I really prefer my Garmin time above, which is even faster. (Note, I understand that I’ll usually run a course long because of turns and weaving and the like. I just like the faster average from my Garmin. And since I use it for all my training runs, its data is consistent).

Finished!  (ugh.  The shadows in this picture.  Please excuse).

Finished! (ugh. The shadows in this picture. Please excuse).

Turns out that coat was needed, I was FREEZING walking back to the car. Probably my only complaint about this race was the wait for the post race food and water. It was in a tent though, so that was nice, but I can’t tell you how much I was dying for some water after crossing the finish line.

Overall, I’m really happy with how this race turned out. It was the confidence boost I needed to finish this training cycle. There was no way I could run twice the distance at that pace… yesterday. But with 4 more weeks of training, a proper taper, and fuel before I run out of energy? It might just be possible.

The gold at the end of the rainbow – the Medal!

Corktown 5K

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Today was the 31st running of the Corktown 5K, which is run before Detroit’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.  All week long the forecast called for rain, but we lucked out with a gorgeous day and not a drop of rain!  Our car dashboard was reading in the high sixties by the end of the day.  Spring is in the air!  (If only that snow forecast for later in the week is wrong…)

The race didn’t start until noon, but with all of the traffic for the race and the parade, I wanted to get down there early to be sure we found a parking spot.  We had our tutus, our wigs, our headbands, our phones, we were dressed… good to go!

Tutus and wigs and headbands oh my!

Tutus and wigs and headbands oh my!

We got to the race area and saw cars parking and runners walking around.  They had something we didn’t have… race bibs!  ‘Doh!  Ours were back at the house, on the fridge where I wouldn’t forget them.  Luckily, it had only taken us about 15 minutes to get from our house to the race area and we still had an hour and twenty minutes before the start.  So we went home to get them.

Hanging out before the race.

Hanging out before the race.

We still had plenty of time to find a random sketchy parking spot on some side street, get to the race area and hit up the porta-potties.

Our bibs put us in the last wave, so with 15 minutes until race time we squeezed our way into the start area.

I decided I wanted to actually race this and see what I could do.  That was actually my plan at last year’s race too, but I did much better this year!  The start was super congested, but eventually I found a running lane.  My energy ebbed and flowed, I was working hard and kept slowing down and then speeding back up.  But in what looking back feels like no time at all, we were rounding the final corner, I was passing two guys and we were sprinting to the finish!

Splits from Ms. Garmin.

Splits from Ms. Garmin.

I’m clearly awesome at pacing.  While this isn’t a 5K PR, it is faster than I’ve run a 5K in years!  Maybe by the end of the year I’ll even be able to break 30 minutes in the 5K…

We collected our medals and some water and hung out waiting for Katie to finish.

IMG_1559In the end, we decided not to stay downtown for the parade.  It was getting a tad chilly and the skies looked like it might rain.  Instead we said a prayer that our car would still be in our sketchy parking spot (spoiler: it was) and headed home for lunch and a low-key rest of the day.

The former Michigan Central Train Depot, at the start/finish of the race.

The former Michigan Central Train Depot, at the start/finish of the race.

Saturday Fun

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My sister Katie is in town this weekend!  We’re running a 5K tomorrow, but I still wanted to get a long in on Saturday.  8 Miles was on the schedule.  I was a tad nervous about it because after Wednesday’s tempo, my foot started hurting.  I took it a little easy on Thursday and spent some time on the elliptical before and after our training session.

So anyway, we all slept in a little this morning and then headed to a local park(s) to get in our respective runs.  I told Katie she couldn’t get lost, all she had to do was keep following the trail.  Turns out that wasn’t quite true, there is a section where the trail goes in two directions.  On direction continues the other ends pretty quickly.  Luckily she figured it out.

And it turns out that my long run was pretty good!  Once again I was aiming for 10:48/mile.  The first half went by pretty quickly, but the return trip was a tad more troublesome.  We were running straight into the wind!  At one point, Ron pulled ahead of me to let me draft off of him.  Usually I hate running single file because it makes me dizzy watching someone run right in front of me, but this helped cut down on the wind and I was grateful he offered.  I felt like the whole second half involved me slowing down because of the wind/because I was tired/because of ice… and then speeding up to try to make up the time.  Not quite the even paces I’d like, but getting better about it.

And then there was this.

Yeah, I'm going to walk through this part...

Yeah, I’m going to walk through this part…

Ice!  Luckily only a few patches.

Here are the splits from the run.  The 11+ minute miles are the ones I had to walk over the ice above.  And I was a quarter mile into the run before I realized I hadn’t started my watch, so the total reads a quarter mile short.

Splits... plus 0.25 and approximately 2:40

Splits… plus 0.25 and approximately 2:40

Overall, really happy with this run!

After, we decided to head to Slow’s BBQ.  Detroit isn’t really known for its BBQ, but Slow’s has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives as well as Man vs. Food and probably in a few other places.  It is really good… but also really busy.  I knew there would be a wait!

Luckily, Astro Coffee was just a few doors down and we spent some of our hour plus wait sipping coffee (me), hot chocolate (Ron), and tea (Katie).

Saturday in Detroit

Saturday in Detroit

Finally, it was time to eat!  It turned into an early dinner, which was actually perfect since none of us had eaten lunch.  Delicious food for all!

Slow's scenery

Slow’s scenery

We rounded out our day by doing some shopping and watching a movie.

In the morning we race!

 

A Good Run!

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Tonight I headed to the gym to attempt a tempo run on the treadmill.  I half expected to need to bag it if my legs were hurting, but it ended up being fine.  I didn’t set the treadmill to an incline.  I know you are supposed to to simulate outdoor running, but I find sometimes that it really fatigues my legs.  I figured a tempo run was all the fatigue I needed for one day.

I ran 1 mile for a warm-up at about a 11:30 pace.  Intentionally keeping it slow.

Two tempo miles at a 10:00 minute pace.  The whole reason I went to the gym was so that the treadmill would force me to keep on pace.  I tried covering up the time/distance so I would just run and not obsess about how much longer I had to go, but that didn’t really work out.  Also… I paused the treadmill for about 45 seconds 1.5 miles into the tempo.  It was partly because I had Ron’s water bottle (he mixed water and an energy drink and I thought it was gross) and partly because I was struggling (mentally) to finish the two miles.  I wish I’d just powered through it, but those 45 seconds really rejuvenated me to finish the tempo.  So I’m going to call it mostly a win.

1 mile cool down at 11:30 pace and I was done with the treadmill.

I wanted to get some time on the stair climber, so I went to that section.  There was a bit of a wait while I stood there sweaty, but eventually a machine opened up.  I did 15 minutes and climbed (according to the machine) 100 floors.

Tomorrow is training day!  Its going to be a scramble to get from work to the gym and warmed up before the appointment.

I’m glad today was a pretty decent run!