Weekly Running Report (7/14-7/20/2014)

I’ve gotten a little behind on my posting, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been running.

I’m considering myself done with my “rest” period following my last half marathon and have moved on to my summer training. I signed up for the gym at work, so I can now do some of my running indoors at the end of the work day. I’m even planning on doing most of my long runs there during the week until it cools off outdoors.

Softball has also picked up. We’re suddenly playing all sorts of games to make up for previous games we had missed because of rain, so I haven’t gotten in as much running as I’d like. I only got to run twice last week, but I expect to do a little better this week, despite having a lot of softball to play. Early in the week I did an 8 mile run on the treadmill which went really well. I felt strong and even made it a 3:1 run. For the last 2 miles, I picked up my speed and was actually going quite fast by the end. I finished in around 1:22.

Saturday I went out to work hills. It didn’t seem too bad out, but I still struggled. I slogged my way through about 5.5 miles, but had to walk a little to keep my heart rate down. Just because I’m done with my “rest” doesn’t mean I’m pushing myself super hard. I still want to have a relatively easy summer.

One of my big plans for the summer is to do a lot more speed work. Even though I didn’t do any this week, I did get in an interval run and a tempo run the week before. I’ve always prefered to do my speed work on a treadmill anyway, so that’s a good fit for the summer when I’ll be doing about 2/3 of my runs indoors.

Weekly Running Report (6/22-6/28/2014)

Two weeks ago was pretty boring, so I didn’t even bother to do a report. This week was at least a little more interesting. I did 3 runs total. Monday was just another short run. Wednesday, I got on the treadmill and did some interval training. I hadn’t been in the workout room in my apartment in several months. Since the weather has gotten nicer, I’ve done all of my running outdoors. Interval training is one of those things I don’t mind doing on a treadmill though.

Last time I was in the workout room, one of the two good treadmills was broken. I figured that in all this time, they would have fixed it. It appears that their solution to the problem of this broken treadmill was just to get rid of it, despite the fact that the treadmills are extremely popular and always in use. In addition, the air conditioning was broken, so the temperature was just as hot as it was outdoors. I was pretty conservative with my intervals. I did half miles at about 9:00/8:30/8:00 minutes per mile. I did pretty well and got through them pretty easily, despite the heat and the fact that a 3.5 mile run has been a non-trivial distance lately.

I had softball on Thursday and Friday. I haven’t gotten to play much, so I’m happy to do it, but I could tell my legs were tired going into Saturday. Speed training on Wednesday plus two days of softball means that I was running a lot at speeds that were higher than I was used to. I could even tell on Friday night when I went to be that my legs were tired. The weather was pretty moderate, but I struggled nonetheless. I made it to 5 miles, but did a little bit of walking near the end. Hopefully, my body has had time to recover and will do a little better next week.

Weekly Running Report (6/8-6/14/2014)

This week was a light week–as planned. After the race on Saturday, I took time to rest and relax and didn’t get out there until Wednesday. My legs felt tired, as expected, so I only ran about 2.5 miles. I got out again on Saturday for 3.5 miles. My legs felt better, but my heart rate was up a bit. I was happy to quit by the time I was finished and was definitely glad to not have to worry about training for anything.

I’ve got another easy week of running scheduled and don’t really plan to do any long or hard runs over the next 3 weeks. Next week I might increase distance a little and I hope to start doing some speed work as well.

Lola’s Lake Waconia Half Marathon

I had a rough run the Saturday before my race, and it left me with a lot of questions about how fast I could go and whether or not I’d even be able to finish. It felt like I still might be sick, and even if I wasn’t, my training over the past 4 weeks hadn’t been good. Over that time, there was only the 10 mile run which had felt like it went well, and even that had a significant portion of run/walking.

I took it easy for the entire week. My throat seemed to get irritated every time I ran and dried up. I didn’t want this to happen during the race, so I opted out of running the night before as I usually like to do.

We got up early and drove to Waconia in a light rain. By the time we got there, the rain was coming down harder and I had seen a few flashes of lighting. I walked about half a mile to the start in light rain and found out the race was being delayed by half an hour. Fortunately, this meant no lines for the toilets. I have so frequently suffered from GI issues during my long races that I was happy to get in there before the race. I then headed back to the car with my parents to stay dry for a while.

There was no mention of further delay or cancellation, so I headed back towards the start with my mom. When we got there, the 10 mile race was just starting and soon enough we were lining up. It seemed like the worst of the rain was behind us and it was cool and lightly sprinkling.

The race started and I didn’t feel too great right off the bat, but I kept a decent pace. My heart rate was up a bit, but I told myself I’d make it to the first water stop before doing my first walk. From the map, it looked like it was around mile 2, but didn’t come until closer to mile 2.5. I was going to do a longer walk of about 2 minutes, but when I saw the 2:15 pace group come by, I decided to try and keep up with them for a while.
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Weekly Running Report (5/19-5/26/2014)

I didn’t get out to run until Wednesday, but had a short but good run. I was still worried about possibly being affected by my illness, so I had been taking it easy. Every time I had tried to get out, something didn’t feel quite right and I was starting to get worried about being ready for the race in a couple weeks. However, my pace seemed to be back up and my heart rate back down, so I felt pretty good about my condition going into the long weekend.

After my good run on Wednesday, I decided to try and do a medium length run on Friday, followed by a short run on Saturday morning and then push my long run back to Monday since I had the day off. I was really glad for the day off, since it allowed me to get a little extra time to prepare for my long run. The longest distance I had run since Kentucky was 8.5 miles and my illness really set me back, so some more recovery seemed good. It also allowed me to taper a little bit less for the race. I’ve felt like a 2 week taper is maybe a bit too much for a half marathon, so I don’t mind having my long run one day closer to the race.

However, my plans went in the toilet when I went out on Friday. I’m not sure what was wrong, but my legs felt really weak, so I aborted the run after only 2.5 miles. My plan was to try and get up on Saturday morning and do a somewhat shorter run. My original plan had been something like 7 miles/3 miles, but instead I’d only go for 5 or 6 on Saturday. I got out in the morning, but it was already pretty hot and my heartrate wouldn’t stay down. I eventually walked around mile 4 just to get it down a little and then wrapped up the run at 5 miles.

With all this, I wasn’t sure where this left me for Monday’s run as well as the half marathon. I was starting to think strongly about backing out and just doing the 5K, but it all depended on how Monday’s run would go.

I had a few thoughts about what I might try to do. At this point, making it to 13.1 miles without a significant amount of walking seemed nearly impossible. I was starting to think about the Galloway style of running where I was really doing a run/walk. I thought this might be a good idea for my run on Monday. I had never trained this way before and I figured it might be a good way to test it out and see if I’d do well with it and test whether or not doing 4 minutes of running followed by 1 minute of walking for an entire half marathon was even a viable strategy.

Eventually I decided against doing this–at least for the entire run. If I had decided on this weeks ago, it might have been better, but this is not how I have ever trained, and I was worried it would not really be that beneficial to do it for the entire run. However, I still wanted to get to 10 miles and it was probably not happening if I just tried to run the whole way. Plus, if I pushed too hard today, that would almost certainly mean my body would be ruined for the race.

So what I ended up doing was sort of a mini-Galloway. I parked my car in a different spot so that my loops would be slightly less than 2 miles. This would give me frequent breaks and also allow me to get plenty of water on what seemed to be a hot day. In addition, I would take walking breaks which would become more frequent as I went along.

I set my alarm for 6:00 AM, but didn’t quite make it out to start until almost 7:30. It was not too hot when I was in the shade, but it was pretty hot in the sun. I did my first lap without a walk and then for my second lap, I added a little extra distance to make up for the fact that my loops were slightly less than 2 miles and also to get at least one big hill into my run. I was going to walk about halfway through this loop, but that was right when I was hitting the hill, so I waited until I went up and then down the hill. I also only walked once during my next loop, which was back to normal length.

After this, I was at about 6.3 miles and starting to get a little tired, but I had already decided the 4th and 5th loops would be full out Gallowalking. For the 4th loop, I ran probably close to 5 minutes between walks. This was mostly to keep the walks spread out evenly, since I didn’t want to be left with a longer run right before I got back to the car and have to choose between just running the whole way or putting in a walk followed by a very short run. After that, I felt pretty good because I knew I’d make it to 10 miles. My last loop was a little bit shorter because I didn’t quite have 2 miles to go. I actually finished at faster than an 11:00/mile pace, too, which wasn’t too bad considering the fact that it was 83 degrees when I finished and also that I had done all that walking.

This run left me feeling pretty good about my prospects for the race in two weeks. It certainly won’t be my fastest (in fact, it will probably be my slowest), but it at least gives me hope about being able to finish the race in a reasonable time. It also taught me about the value of good planned walking. In the past, whenever I’ve had to walk during my runs, I’ve basically waited until I was out of gas to start walking. While those walks might help for a short period of time, by the time you’ve waited for your body to reach exhaustion, there’s really no way to recover. If not for the Gallowalking, I don’t think I would have made it to 10 miles today. I probably would have made it back to my car at around 8 miles and just decided I was done.

I’ll probably use a similar strategy for the half marathon in two weeks. I’ll take extended walks through the water stops during the beginning and maybe put in the odd 1 minute walk. By the time I get close to the end, I’ll start to go into Gallowalking mode and doing frequent, planned walks which will become more and more frequent as I get near the end. The key will be deciding when I need to switch into this mode. If I do it too late, I risk wearing myself out and having a miserable finish. If I do it too early, then I just waste a lot of time walking when I don’t really need it. I think somewhere around 7-8 miles will be the correct time to switch, but I’ll play it a little bit by ear on race day. I feel like this would make a good strategy in the fall, too, for when I’m trying to stretch out my runs. Rather than just trying to run further, I could, say, jump from 9 miles of all running to 11-12 miles where the last 4-5 miles is all Gallowalking. Then, I can lengthen the runs at the beginning until I can run the whole way. Since I’ve been forced to walk frequently at the end of my races anyway, this will also make good preparation for my future halves.

Weekly Running Report (5/12-5/18/2014)

I had another light week of running after having to pull out of the Maryland Half due to illness. I went out for a 40 minute walk on Sunday and came back quite dehydrated, so I think it’s a very good thing I didn’t run. I didn’t get back out until Wednesday for a short, slow 3.5 miler. I felt okay, but it was clear I wasn’t 100%. On Saturday, I went out for a longer run. I did the same run down to Centennial Lake and back that I did last time. My heart rate was up too high for most of the run, though I didn’t feel awful. I’m guessing I was still having some residual effects from the illness. It was somewhat tough, but I could have gone longer. However, my emphasis for this particular run was to not overdo it, because I didn’t want to immediately get sick again. I ended up doing 7.5 hilly miles.

Having gotten sick now before two of my races, it’s clear that I came into the running season in not quite good enough shape for my ambitious plans. There were lots of races I wanted to do, so I decided to do a lot of them. In the future, I’ll have to pick and choose my races a little more carefully or else get into better shape before the season starts. Were I already able to run 12 miles comfortably back in January, the 5-in-5-in-5 probably wouldn’t have been such a big deal. Instead, I’ve only done 2 and am going to be thankful just to finish the last one. After that, I can cut back on my long runs and focus on speed and weight loss until it starts to cool off in the fall.

I’m not sure what I will want to do in the fall, but I obviously don’t want to make a habit out of signing up for races and then not running them. It will probably be a lighter schedule. I’ll probably do 1 or 2 halves, separated by a reasonable amount of time. I might also try to find some other fun, shorter runs.

Weekly Running Report (4/27-5/3/2014)

I didn’t get nearly as much running in this week as I had planned. I had hoped to do a lot of hill training, but it basically rained from Monday until Thursday. There was some pretty bad flooding; as a result, one of my softball leagues has been suspended indefinitely due to the fields being completely destroyed. I was too stubborn to get on the treadmill and so I didn’t actually get out to run until Thursday. It was mostly not raining, but there were still clouds looming overhead. I ran some hills and was having some trouble with soreness around my right knee. I’m not sure what the issue was, but it got a little better after a mile or two. However, I was about a quarter mile from my apartment and it started to rain for the second time in my run. It probably would have been okay to continue, but with a lot of reasons to call it a day, I decided that 2.5 miles was good enough. It wasn’t great, but the important thing was to get out there and do something.

I looked at the weather for Saturday and it looked like the morning should be relatively cool. It wasn’t cool enough that I could wait until the afternoon, but it was cool enough that I didn’t have to get up early to beat the heat. I slept in a bit and didn’t get out until about 10:00 and it was a bit warmer than expected. By the time I was finished, it was up into the 60s. I decided to use my Camelback for the first time in quite a while. I don’t like to use it unless I feel like I have to. It’s a lot of extra weight until it gets empty and it also tends to make me a bit warmer. Still, with the heat and the drinking fountains still not turned on, I knew I’d need some hydration for this one. I wasn’t running in my normal place, instead I did the run through Columbia and around Centennial Lake, which I thought was about 8.5 miles, so there was no returning to my car for rehydration.

I was a bit sluggish for most of the run. The weather was hot and the course was difficult. My plan was to do lots of hills, but do them at a slow pace. Making it around the lake and back up the hill was a challenge, but I got to rest at the top of the hill for a couple minutes as I waited to cross the street. There was some sort of event going on at the lake which made traffic kind of a mess by the entrance. I realized at this point that it was about a 7.5 mile course, not 8.5 as I had thought, and that was going to be good enough for me, given the difficulty of the run.

At some point during mile 6, I was tackling my last difficult hill of the run. I told myself I could walk if I just made it to the top, but I sort of went into a trance and before I knew it, I was running down the hill and had found my second wind. I got to my street crossing and realized I’d have to wait for a while to cross the street, but I was feeling pretty good at this point and didn’t want to stop, so I turned right and took a detour around the mall instead. For better or worse (probably better), this introduced a few new large hills into my run. I had similar issues going up these hills. It was tough going up, but I actually felt really good once I hit the top and continued.

I had put a hard cap of 9 miles on today’s run before I even started and I probably could have made that, but when I got close to home, I decided not to go for it. If there had been a nice flat section to run, I probably would have kept going, but since my apartment is on top of a hill, that would mean running down a hill and then back up. I did run slightly past my apartment, though, and did about 8.5 miles, which is about what I had hoped to do from the start.

Next Saturday looks like it’s going to be a rough day for a race. It’s going to be 65 early in the morning and rising with light rain. With another tough course and bad weather, 2:20 might be too optimistic. I may have to settle for a 2:30 goal. In any case, I plan to do short flatter runs this week. I’ll need my hill climbing muscles for the race!