Monday, August 30, 2010

Week Four Summary

The fourth week is complete! Here are my stats:

Miles run this week: 20
Total marathon training miles: 60
Total Miles in 2010: 362

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday: Tempo Run!

This morning we did our first tempo long run, which the training program calls "Steady State." My pace was listed in my chart as 8:10-8:24 per mile. The workout was 2 miles warm up, 4 miles at the steady state pace, and 2 miles cool down. Here is our approximate route:

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Man was I tired when I finished! My warm up was around 9:15 per mile, and my first two tempo miles averaged 7:50. Oops- too fast! I was trying to keep up with the group I ran with last week, who were about 20 feet ahead of me most of the run. The third tempo mile was 7:51, then 8:15, and my cool down miles were 9:07 and 9:26. I finished with four strides and stretching.

So overall, I did a good job. I went a bit too fast, but I did just fine and didn't feel too stretched during the run. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Feeling the heat

Yesterday it was a record 108 degrees in Sacramento. I was anxious about the Wednesday workout, both because of the heat and because it was supposed to be half mile speed with short breaks. How would I do that in the heat?

About a third of the group showed up to the workout, and we were told to not worry about mileage, and run loops about part of the park for 25 minutes, then stretch and be done. Man was it hot. We stayed mostly in the shade, but even my water was boiling.

I think I did around 3 miles, but it could have been a bit less. I'm calling it 3 though. I have to have something to write down.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Gym disappointment

I have been going to spin at least twice a week for about the past two months. When I started, they were using fill-in instructors since the usual instructor had moved. They got different instructors for the three weekly classes, two of whom I really like.

Connie's class on Tuesdays is great, and Chuck's on Thursday is really challenging and fun. Three weeks ago, Tuesday was canceled. Connie works nights and didn't wake up to drive from Fairfield. Last week, Tuesday was canceled again. I ended up doing the elliptical for 30 minutes, which is not as good.

Yesterday, I called in advance to see if there would be class. They told me they let Connie go because she hadn't shown up several times. Now there is no Tuesday spin class! Boo!

I'm pretty disappointed in the gym, because they really just haven't found permanent instructors since the last person left. Getting someone to drive in from Fairfield doesn't seem like a fantastic solution in the first place- there is always traffic. And now, they have just canceled the class! I was counting on having spin Tuesdays and Thursdays to do my cross training, running M/W/F and Sunday, and having Saturday off. Now, I have to decide how to reorganize my schedule. I really get a lot out of spin, and don't want to move back to weights or rely on the elliptical. I also don't really like the Saturday class, or being at the gym early on the one day I can sleep in all week.

I hope they get a new instructor soon for Tuesdays,  because this really messes me up!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Week Three Summary

The third week is complete! Here are my stats:

Miles run this week: 19
Total marathon training miles: 40
Total Miles in 2010: 342

Third Sunday Workout: 7 miles

This Sunday's workout was in Natomas. We started out at the Natomas Racquet Club, ran down to the American River Trail, out 3.5 miles and back. This is the course:

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Since we got our pace charts, I really wanted to stick to my 9-10 minute per mile easy/long run pace. I fell in behind a group of guys who are usually a bit faster than me, and did all the miles between 9 and 9.5 minutes per mile. After the run, we did two strides, then stretched.

When I finished the run, I wasn't tired at all. I am used to going fast during long runs, totally wearing myself out. I could have run more! Later in the day, I was just as sore as usual, telling me that the distance was challenging. I think I am getting closer to doing workouts how I am supposed to.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Workouts this week

This week has gone pretty well so far. Here are my workouts this week:
Monday: Ran 3 miles, at around 8pm, near home
Tuesday: 30 minutes on the elliptical because spin was cancelled
Wednesday: 5 mile group run (2 miles of speed intervals)
Thursday: spin with Chuck!
Friday: Ran 4 miles in the morning near home.

I really didn't want to get out of bed this morning, but I kept my easy run pace of between 9 and 10 minutes per mile. I'm glad I don't have to go tonight.

Tomorrow is my day off, and Sunday will be a 7 mile group run in Natomas!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Second Wednesday Workout (speed)

Wednesday was the second speed workout day, and we followed the same course as the first: once around the ball fields, once around the golf course, and then once again around the ball fields. This week, we did one minute of speed and one minute off, instead of last week's thirty second intervals. I did a better job of doing an actual warm up, and so the speed intervals were much more productive.

At the end of the speed session, I followed a group during the cooldown. We ended up going twice around the ball fields for cooldown instead of once, so I added close to an extra mile. I followed them mainly because the coaches said last week some folks cut the course short, and I wanted to be sure not to do that.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pace Chart

The pace chart is here! The pace chart is here!

I received the anxiously-awaited pace chart in my email this afternoon, and it was somewhat surprising. According to my two-mile timed assessment, my predicted race times are the following:

1 mile: 6:40
5k: 23:08
10k: 48:04
Half Marathon: 1:46:55
Marathon: 3:45:29

Wow! I knew that my lack of real training was limiting my race speeds, but I was hoping to do the marathon in 4 hours. According to the pace chart, I should be able to do it in 3:45 if I train correctly.

This begs the question, why not 3:40? That would qualify me for the Boston Marathon. I will see how training goes, and if stepping it up even a bit more would be possible. I don't want to be greedy or set unattainable goals, but that sure would be awesome if I qualified for Boston in my first marathon.

I think the Urban Cow Half Marathon is the next assessment, so we may get revised charts after that, or at least be able to track progress by comparing the time estimate to the actual time.

Monday, August 16, 2010

First casualty

My first casualty of the training season is upon me. After my river trail run yesterday, I noticed a red, itchy patch on my left leg. I confirmed today with an outdoorsy colleague- I have my first case of poison oak.

I'm usually not careful about brushing up against bushes when I run, and I guess I should be. The good news is, it is only about the size of a nickel. I won't be able to wear pants or shave that part of my leg for a week or two, which stinks. On the plus side, I'll be forced to wear dresses, which I love but don't do often enough.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Week Two Summary

At the end of my second week of training, here are my stats:

Miles run this week:16
Total marathon training miles: 21
Total Miles in 2010: 323

Assessment Run

This morning started at 6:30AM with an (optional) form clinic. I did pretty well- they said I should move my arms more, which I am pretty sure I do when I'm actually running and not being watched. My posture, foot strike and turnover is pretty good. They said to time footstrike for 30 seconds, and try to get close to 40 to 45 on one side per 30 seconds. That equates to 180 or so per minute overall, which is the ideal rate for any distance.

Today was the first assessment. We started out at the same part of Land Park, running up to the levee and about 1.5 miles total to Le Rivage hotel. They marked a mile back north on the trail (toward Miller Park), and we did a times out and back 2 mile run. I ran with the first group, which was people timing themselves.

As usual, there was one girl and about 10 guys out in front of me. This time, two other women ended up passing me- one who was there last week and probably pacing better than I was, and one who was new. I came in fourth (not that it is a race) in the self-timing group, and then ran the 1.5 miles back to Land Park.

My two mile assessment time was 14:15.

I'm really excited to get my pace chart, and start working on longer runs!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

First Wednesday Workout

Yesterday, I had my first Wednesday evening group workout, and it was a speed workout. We started in the same place at Land Park, and did a warm up mile around the baseball fields:

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We started the speed work at the entrance to the Fairytale Town parking lot, and did 30 seconds speed 30 seconds moderate for two miles, around the golf course:

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Then a mile cool down around the baseball fields, followed (of course) by stretching.

I went out a bit too fast again in the warm up, and struggled with the speed after a few cycles. I may have also struggled because I was working hard and not walking during the 30 seconds of moderate pace (like some were). It was fantastic to have my watch beep at me to speed up- it really kept me honest.

I ran alone again, but having the rest of the group out is motivating. Plus, I am fine with the 10 or so guys and one girl being ahead of me, but I do try to keep ahead of the rest of the group.

So far, training has gone well. Here is a summary of the week so far:
Monday: 3 miles easy in the morining
Tuesday: spin (moderate) after work
Wednesday: 4 miles with the group after work

And today will be a hard spin class with Chuck!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Week One Summary

I plan on doing a weekly summary post for my training, and in the spirit of completeness, I will begin with this first week (even though it included only one day of training).

Miles run this week: 5
Total marathon training miles: 5
Total miles in 2010: 307

I reached 300 for the year on the first mile of a 3 mile 8PM run around McKinley Park with John last Friday. A run that I completed slowly, because we ate pasta with sausage only an hour and a half before the run.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

First day of training

I got up bright and early at 5:45 this morning for the first day of my training program. I had my coffee and cereal, and was to Land Park by 6:50. Everyone was very quiet this morning. After a brief introduction to the program, we began our first training run at about 7:05. From the starting point (around 13th Avenue and Land Park) we headed down 13th Avenue to Riverside, then over the freeway to the river trail. From there, we ran to Miller Park, turned around and came back.

Here is the course we took:

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Ignore the weird loop near Riverside and the freeway. Google added it to get me to the bike trail and wouldn't let me take it off.

From the start, I was close to the front of the group (which seemed to be about 50 people). I ended up about 20 feet behind a group of about 5 guys, and was passed by one girl about half a mile in. I was going a bit faster than normal, which I will have to work on. I have to remember that it isn't a race, it is training!

At the overpass, I fell a little further behind. Throughout the run, I kept the pace, with about 5 or so more guys passing me before the end. Unlike most of the group, I was alone for most of the run.

I ended up finishing the 5 miles in a little over 42 minutes, a bit faster than I usually go for a Sunday run. That was fine for today, but I will have to work on toning that down for future longer runs.

The course was very pretty. I liked it a bit better than the American River Parkway, but that might be because it wasn't a crowded race so I got to look at the river more.

Back at the park, we did stretching for 10 minutes or so, which was great. I need to work on that! All in all, I'm glad I joined the program, and I'm looking forward to the next workout!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fighting mediocrity

I just read an interesting article mentioned in RW Daily (Runner's World's daily blog) about mediocrity in running. The premise is that today, any ambulatory person can run; to be celebrated, one must only complete a short race. Real accomplishments, such as fast times, are sought by few. The article, Nice Guys (and Girls) Finish Last, can be read here.

I have often noticed this trend in my short time running. Everyone does 5ks and 10ks, and touts themselves as a Runner. Many seem to not care about time, running etiquette, or improvement. Sometimes, I feel that my (small) accomplishments mean nothing when mixed in with this milieu.

This is not to say that I am a fantastic and accomplished runner. I am not. However, I am far from the recreational 5k-er that might walk half the race. I average close to a race per month, and train at least at a moderate level. I've worked to improve my times a lot in the past year, and constantly work to get better.

A few things resonated with me about this article, and made me think of my pet peeves with recreational runners:

1. When I start a race, I expect people to line up at the correct pace markers so that everyone can efficiently (and safely) start the race and get to goal pace. This means that if you plan on walking, DON'T LINE UP AT THE  6 MINUTE PER MILE MARK.

2. During a race, don't make it impossible for faster runners to pass you. (This happened to me a few weeks ago, when a group of about 6 people held hands across a road about 1/4 mile from the finish).

3. If I am talking to someone about doing a marathon, I really don't appreciate my effort being compared to a walk-a-thon fundraiser for cancer. It is not the same thing.

Project Fit

When I was at packet pickup, I saw a flyer for a fundraiser at Chipotle for Project Fit. Project Fit is an afterschool running platform started by Fleet Feet Sacramento to help kids become more active (and prevent childhood obesity). They are working especially to help low-income schools. What a great program!

They are having a fundraiser tomorrow (Thursday, August 5) from 6 to 9PM at Chipotle in Land Park at Freeport and Sutterville. Sounds yummy!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Packet Pickup!

I just picked my packet up! So excited! According to my training schedule, I was supposed to run yesterday. Oops! I'm excited to start this Sunday.

Here is the hat that came with the training:

And here are my new shoes:

They are the same as my current pair, but now purple and pink instead of blue!

The Count Down

I'm starting to get excited! My training officially begins this Sunday, but today I will be picking up my training packet and doing an orientation.

I joined a training group run by Fleet Feet to train for the CIM, and I do have mixed feelings about it. I'm excited to be training for a marathon, but do have the feeling that I should be able to train by myself. I feel like it is a bit of a cop out to join a group, but also feel that this way I might be able to get help not injuring myself, stretching properly, fueling properly, and maybe have more fun being with a group. Plus, I will be motivated not to skip a run since I paid for the program.

Now that I've signed up for the program and the race, and training is about to start, I'm getting excited and anxious. I want to be close to the race soon, but it isn't until December. I'm sure it doesn't help that the San Francisco Marathon was two weeks ago, so I keep seeing posts about it. It makes me a bit impatient for my marathon.

In preparation for training, I'm buying new shoes today. I'm likely going to get Mizunos again, since my last two pairs have been great. I've run about 300 miles on my current pair, so it is definitely time to trade them in.

So, shoes and orientation today, then training starts in five days!