Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Born to Run?

Today one of my friends gave me a copy of the book Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall, along with an iTunes gift card. It's truly one of the most thoughtful gifts I have received in a while and it has made me smile all day thinking about it.

This friend has heard me talk of my "motivational" fears as I go into my long runs. I love running to music, but it's not keeping me going mentally and my mind needs other escape routes to keep me going. As I have mentioned, I am currently training on a treadmill and so I not only have a machine keeping me going, but I also have the benefit of reading the closed captioning on the TVs in front of me, or occasionally glancing down at a magazine that I am using to block the screen displaying time and distance. I have tossed around the idea of downloading books or podcasts to keep my mind active since I would be paying attention to new material and not losing myself in familiar lyrics and tempos. I would love to listen to some of the Dexter books (yes, Showtime's Dexter) or a couple of the Sookie Stackhouse novels (True Blood is based off of these) but I have to admit I have not taken time to see what is really out there in an electronic format. This weekend brings a 6 mile run so I would ideally like to have something to test then. 5 miles went REALLY well last Friday; I wonder how much can be attributed to the fact that I was watching/playing Wheel of Fortune along with the TV for 30 minutes of the run?!? I am still keeping the "1 mile at a time" mentality which is also helping. Anyone else got any tricks out there?

In other news, today was my last day of work for the week but I have a to-do list a mile long to accomplish tomorrow, so I'm not sure if I will try to get my run or errands done first thing. I am thinking "errands" to hopefully avoid some of the traffic that will inevitably increase as the hours tick by tomorrow. Most concerned about getting to the mall (one last thing! everything else is wrapped), the monogram shop and Whole Foods...the bank, dry cleaners, car place and nail salon are all close enough to home not to be affected by traffic. I'll also be moving my long run to Saturday since Christmas is Friday and I really don't see the logistics of getting 6 done then given the visits from out of town company, etc.

Last week, accomplished everything on the schedule, though I'm not sure that driving to Atlanta and attending my aunt's Christmas party counts as "active recovery". My walking/running buddy was out of town last weekend so I traded 4 miles for working at Matt's townhouse for 8(!) hours cleaning and painting and getting it ready for being put on the market (though we have a LOT of work left to do...thanks, previous tenants!)

Here's the breakdown of this week:
Sunday: work on the townhouse, did not get in the usual 4 miles
Monday: 3 miles 11 min/mi pace (1/2 mile warm up/cool down)
Tuesday: rest day
Wednesday: 4 miles moderate pace
Thursday (Christmas Eve): rest or cross train (may go to the gym early and do the bike for 20-30 minutes since I will be inactive the next couple of days)
Friday (Christmas): rest/enjoy holiday festivities
Saturday: 6 miles (long run pace)

It's lower on mileage and activity but I am glad to stay active and to stick to somewhat of a reasonable schedule. Probably some modifications coming next week as well.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Injury Report (BOO)

Let me say, first of all, that nothing has kept me sidelined yet! However, last night I noticed what felt like a little hard lump on the side of my right heel. It's still here today and slightly sore to the touch. I think it may be plantar fasciitis but also think it may be from wearing slightly unsupportive moccasins in my marathon (6+ hour) shopping day on Saturday. *Keeping fingers crossed b/c it's really not comfortable to wear any of my work shoes (i.e. heels or other flat dress shoes) right now*

So I hit the treadmill tonight (2.5 mile moderate run, 1/2 mile warm up/cool down) and felt the heel pain slightly and then also felt a funky (very specific description there) twinge in my left leg. Luckily both went away quickly, but I admit I was worried for a few minutes. I popped a couple of Advil tonight and combined with a hot shower, I have been nice and relaxed while writing out my Christmas cards.

I have a 2 mile run that is supposed to be on the docket tomorrow and I have to admit I am wavering, which is not a good place to be. I should celebrate the short run and also should be able to knock it out pretty quickly but combined with the heel pain and the fact that I won't get to leave work until after 8:00 pm tomorrow (lovely 12 hour day) AND have a 3 mile run for Wednesday, I'm worried. I WILL make a pact to pack my gym bag tomorrow and will play by ear. I'm absolutely committed to the 3 and 5 mile jaunts I have on tap for the week, though.

Speaking of the schedule for the week:
Sunday: Walked 4 miles with running buddy (trail)
Monday: Ran 2.5 miles (11 min/mile) and 1/2 mile warm up/cool down
Tuesday: schedule--2 mile run
Wednesday: schedule--3 mile run
Thursday: REST!
Friday: schedule--5 mile run (long run pace)
Saturday: REST (and family Christmas party!)

Some upcoming topics I have been pondering: hydration/nutrition, clothing/gear, mental stamina/motivation, running for weight loss, interesting observations at the gym...Anything specific anyone would like to ask/hear about?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Intro Post

I have decided to start this blog to document my training for my first half marathon, hopefully to be completed on February 14, 2010! By writing this down, I hope to avoid friend "burnout" b/c really my non-running friends don't want to hear about hydrating, my sore legs, running calendar, etc. My motivation for running this race has partially come because I just had a significant birthday (30, if you must know) and I really want to prove to myself that I can do it. Although I've been active since college (dabbling in everything from co-ed flag football to yoga), I've never really been known as an "athlete".

I am somewhat of a newbie runner, and my goal for this half marathon is just to finish! OK, not "just" to finish, but finishing in about 2 1/2 hours would be great :) I have been reading info on certain running website message boards tonight and I am shocked at those who finish in just over an hour or so! There are really so many elite runners out there and I think it can be an intimidating forum for those of us who would like to "slog" through at an 11-12 min/mile pace. It doesn't make me or any of us any "less" of a runner, though!

I have been running for a little over a year, and got started by following a "Couch to 5K" program with my first race since college being a Susan G Komen 5K in October 2008. I have worked out consistently since college, dabbling in running some "back in the day" but not necessarily with any purpose or plan. I did another 5K last Feb and the Komen again this October, with an approx pace of 10 min/mile on the latest race.

I don't intend to race the half that "quickly" though b/c while that 5K resulted in a PR, it was ROUGH and at this point, I am not in shape enough/do not have enough time in my training plan to be concerned with keeping speed. At this point I am running my regular runs at an 11 min/mi pace and the long runs at 12 min/mi. I am also training on a treadmill at this point which is controversial, I know, but it's cold and I am not going to run by myself in the dark (before or after work) b/c I don't have a death wish to go along with the half marathon goal. I'm currently doing my long runs on Friday nights to accomodate the busy holiday season but those will transition to Saturday mornings (and outside) at some point after the New Year.

This past week's training looked like this:
Sunday: standing running/walking plans with a friend...we usually do 4miles on a local trail (Supposed to be a "rest" day)
Monday: 2 miles (11 min/mi pace) plus 1/2 mile warm up/cool down
Tuesday: rest day (though I was running all over campus in heels so my calves felt it on Wed)
Wednesday: 3 miles (11 min/mi pace) plus 1/2 mile warm up/cool down
Thursday: rest day
Friday: 4.1 miles (12 min/mi pace) plus 1/2 mile warm up/cool down
Saturday: supposed to be rest or active recovery (I have plans to do Christmas shopping and get a pedicure! May take the dogs for a short walk, weather permitting)

So that's where we stand! Looking forward to keeping up with this, "for better or worse"