Monday, February 21, 2011

Training Summary: Week Ten

The taper has begun- two weeks until Napa!

Monday: off
Tuesday: 6 miles of speedwork with Buffalo Chips
Wednesday: off
Thursday: spin
Friday: off
Saturday: off
Sunday: 22 miles on the Parkway

Miles this week: 28
Training miles: 237
Miles in 2011: 187

Longest Long Run

Yesterday, I did the longest long run I've ever done, and the last of my Napa Marathon training. In fact, this was the longest run I've ever done.

Wait- didn't I do the CIM? Well, John pointed out that since I walked 10 miles of the CIM, the 22 miles I did yesterday was in fact the longest run I've completed. I did 21 during CIm training, and walked part of that as well. So yesterday's run was not only the longest run of this training (and last before the taper), but my longest yet.

It went very well, just like last week. It was nice, but very cold, out. When I started, visibility was maybe a quarter mile- which kept the bikes off the Parkway! I warmed up a few miles in, and was fine in long sleeves for the entire run.

I kept my 9 minute per mile pace for most of the run, slowing down a bit after 20 to 9:20 or 9:30. I stopped three times to pee and once to loosen my shoe and fill my water, and still maintained about 8:59 pace overall. Not too bad!

One problem I'm having is with the Garmin. At mile 12, it shut off after scrolling through the screens and displaying the Low Battery warning. 100% charged when I left the house, and Low Battery after 12 miles??? I think pausing the run has something to do with it (just as I speculated that scrolling through the screens killed it during CIM). I did figure out that once it shuts itself off, when it displays the time again I can re-start it and it works fine. It shut off again later, and lapped at the wrong times, but I did get it to work for the remainder of the run. I am thinking of sending it in to be looked at after the race, but certainly not before. As long as I have my current pace, I think I am good.

Overall I'm feeling pretty confident that I can come in under or around 4 hours at Napa with little difficulty. I have done two training runs (20 and 22 miles) at an average just below 9 minutes per mile (around 4 hours for the marathon), and that is by myself in training, not at a race. I will have to be sure to maintain around 9- and not go out too fast. That would be a problem. If I can manage to stay between 8:50 and 9:05, I think I will sail relatively easily through the race.

One more thing- I actually did a practice run on Sunday of getting up at (roughly) as early as I will race day, and eating what I'll eat then. I got up at 4:30, had chocolate mile and a banana, then coffee at 5 (2 cups total), then cold oatmeal at 6:15. I think that will work well, both for fueling, and being in a hotel.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Article to Read: "A Thin Line"

I finally cracked open my March Runner's World today, and was nearly stopped in my proverbial tracks when I came across Peter Sagal's "Road Scholar" column "A Thin Line." The tagline reads: "The memory of being fat never subsides- even after you become fit."

Most people who have known me fewer than five years don't believe me if I tell them I used to be fat. Okay, so I wasn't all that fat, but at 5'2" my over 140 pounds in college really pushed me well into the fat-zone. Now, people also don't believe that I weigh over 120, which I do, but that is another matter.

I struggled my entire childhood with being a fat kid, then a fat teenager, and a fat college student. With the shame that went along. With the constant desire to eat, which I still have. I have always been, and likely always will be, obsessed with eating. This fact is what made Sagal's article ring so true for me.

He recounts starving himself in high school when he began running, thinking of all the things he would like to eat but never would. While I didn't go this far, I would think about food, then eat it and feel ashamed, or not eat it and feel hungry (even if I'd had enough to eat already). And as he details in the article, runners often "run to eat," justifying indulgence based on miles logged. I do that, and worry about injury which would curtail my ability to eat with near immunity.

What is so interesting about running is how it changes your body. I went from 135 pounds when I picked up running at 21, quickly to 120 when I was running 3 to 4 miles a few times a week, down to 112 when I first approached 15 mile weeks (with 7 as my long run). I was so excited to finally be thin, and able to run distances. I was excited to be a size 0, when I used to be nearly an 8. I was also really bony, and probably malnourished.

Conversely, now that I routinely log 30 mile weeks, sometimes 40, I have so much muscle that I can't seem to dip under 120. I was happy to be back up to 115 and healthy for the past few years, then excited to get back to that benchmark when I started training for CIM after a few months of injury. But it never happened. Despite the long miles, speedwork, and clean eating (for the most part), I stay at 120.

Like Sagal, when I look in the mirror, I still see the fat person I used to be. I'll think someone is my size, and am later told that they are much larger than I am. But I relish being fit, and relatively thin, and will work to stay this way, as Sagal concludes his article so eloquently:

"But deep inside I know I'm also running because with every step, I'm leaving (fat former self) Plumpkin further behind. And I'm afraid if I ever stopped, he'd catch me, and consume me in his unending appetite, and I'd have to look back into the mirror from behind his frightened eyes."

Slogging through speedwork

I went to the Buffalo Chips Tuesday Speed Workout again last night, and was once again challenged. I somehow manage to either eat too much or not enough before these workouts, and always pay the price. Yesterday, not only was I hungry, I was wired from late afternoon coffee.

I joined the B group again, and managed to keep up for the most part through 6 800s with 200 recovery. Almost 6 miles in total, which is a pretty good session for me. I'd love to be able to keep up better, and make it through the entire workout- I joined a few folks finishing after 6 reps, when some of the group did 8.

One more week of speedwork before the race- and I may take it easy next week to start the taper. The following week I'll be in LA and doing easy runs, then the race is that weekend!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Training Summary: Week Nine

Three weeks until Napa!

Monday: off
Tuesday: 6 miles of speedwork with Buffalo Chips
Wednesday: off
Thursday: spin
Friday: 4 miles on the treadmill
Saturday: off
Sunday: 20 miles on the Parkway

Miles this week: 30
Training miles: 209
Miles in 2011:159


This morning, I went out for my twenty mile run. I wanted to finish earlier than I would if I started out with the Fleet Feet group, so I went to Howe by myself and started at 7:30.

I tried to keep an even pace today, especially in the early miles. I usually go out too fast, then get significantly slower in the later miles. This is not helpful on race day- so not helpful- so I wanted to change my bad habits. I went for around 9 minutes a mile, which is still pretty fast for a long run, and is not too much slower than I plan to do on race day.

The first few miles went fast, as usual. I kept my pace, and was very happy that I went back inside this morning to get a long sleeve shirt (it was mid-30s when I started). I got to William Pond Park (about 5 miles in) with no trouble, took my first Gu (non-caffeinated), and went for the next five.

By about 8 miles, I found the Fleet Feet Shamrock'n group. I think they must have started out at Gold River. It was a bit strange to see a group out and not be part of it. Around then, I realized something:

This was my first run of more than 8 or 9 miles that I've done alone. EVER.

With all the long runs I have done, it was strange to think I've never done one alone. Before the CIM training, I didn't do more than 8 or 9 miles in training. During CIM training, I was always with a group for most if not all of the run. Since then, I've done all my long runs with the Fleet Feet group, either starting with the group and going longer, starting before and finishing with the group, or doing the whole run with someone from the Fleet Feet group.

So today's run was a big accomplishment. I ran a steady 9 minute per mile pace for the entire 20 miles, all by myself. I didn't rely on the group to pull me when I was tired, and I didn't slow down because I was by myself and didn't have to worry about losing the group. This was constantly an issue in CIM training, and in the race. It is really important that I'm able to stay at the pace I want alone, without the group to pull me. And I did it.

Another thing that I learned today is how much water I really should be drinking. I usually take my 10oz. handheld, maybe fill it up again, and that is all. I also usually have a headache all afternoon after my long runs. Today, I wore my water belt, with the 24 oz. TMT bottle. I filled it up again after about 10 miles, drinking maybe 44 ounces over the 20 miles. I then drank a bottle of gatorade when I finished, plus chocolate milk. I think I should be drinking that much during long runs, and I never do. As much as I don't want to wear the bottle pack, I think it would be a good idea for the race.

So, today's 20 mile run was a success. So successful in fact, that I might do 22 next Sunday.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Return to Schedule

I went to my second Buffalo Chips speed workout last night, after taking a week off of speed entirely while in North Carolina. I was a little sluggish due to my half marathon on Sunday, but overall it went well.

We did the warm up, and the schedule was 6-1200s, with 400 between. Our group ended up doing 5, with a bunch of the group racing this weekend. I was happy to quit as well. I was happy with the workout, could have worked harder, but I'll leave that for next time.

Here is our course:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Training Summary: Week Eight

Monday: off
Tuesday: 2 miles
Wednesday: cross train- elliptical 30 minutes
Thursday: 5 miles on the treadmill in North Carolina
Friday: off
Saturday: off
Sunday: Davis Stampede Half Marathon: 1:46:26

Miles this week: 20
Training miles: 179
Miles in 2011:129

Tune Up: Davis Stampede

Apparently, jet lag plus wind and heat plus half marathon doesn't equate to PR in a half marathon. But, I did get my second best time, even if I did run the last five miles significantly slower than the first eight. I did as well as I could, and I was just tired!

According to my Garmin, I came in at 1:46:26, which is about 3 minutes slower than my best, and 3 minutes faster than my second-best.

Here is my Garmin summary: