Monday, August 17, 2015

50k Training - Week 3

You don't know what you've got until it's gone. We returned from Nashville the middle of last week, and our refrigerator had died. Fortunately we were able to throw out the food before it started to stink. Unfortunately, delivery was delayed on the new refrigerator I ordered from Best Buy, so we ended up going an entire week without a refrigerator in Florida. In August. Just in time for the first week of school. Needless to say, nutrition didn't fared well this week. Peanut butter sandwiches (with no jelly because that got thrown out), pasta, granola bars -- it was a carb and gluten-heavy week.

Getting adjusted to having my kids back in school has definitely been An Adjustment, but for the most part it has worked well. My youngest missed his bus on Tuesday, so there was no time for my run, but on the plus side, I got to work super early that day.

Planned: Yoga ... Actual: Yoga Fix
I've already said it, but it bears repeating: the 21-Day-Fix Yoga Fix DVD is great for recovery. My hips needed the extra stretching, and I am seeing a difference in my flexibility after only a few weeks.

Planned: 4 miles easy, lower body workout ... Actual: PiYo Strength Intervals
Woke up at 5am to start with the Strength Intervals. I didn't go all out, thinking I'd need to reserve some energy for the run I had planned after dropping my son at the bus stop. Unfortunately, we missed the bus and since his school is on my way to work, I just threw myself together and got to the office at 7:30 after I dropped him off. This was a good lesson on when we actually need to leave to get to the bus stop on time.

Planned: 6 miles, including 3 at tempo pace (8:35-8:50) ... Actual: 6.3 miles including 3 at tempo (8:33, 8:36, 8:34)
Tempo runs always surprise me. I did not think I could hold this pace in the heat, but I took it one mile at a time, and it was only slightly uncomfortable. 

Planned: 4 miles easy, upper body workout ... Actual: 4.1 miles
Loops around my neighborhood. Yuck. It's a little over a half mile from my house in the back of the neighborhood to the gate and back, so this was 8 boring laps. But it was early, it was dark and this was the safest and most convenient route. No upper body workout.

Planned: Yoga or Pilates ... Actual: Yoga Fix
Because I love this DVD now.

Planned: 18 miles ... Actual: 18 miles
Delightful. Never thought I'd say that about an 18-mile run in August, but it was an excellent run. I have slowed down my long run pace, and I'm able to maintain that pace steadily throughout the run and still have energy to get me through the rest of the day. I fueled with Tailwind and ate one Honey Stinger waffle about an hour into the run just to have something solid in my belly.

This view, though!

Planned: 8 miles ... Actual: None
The overnight thunderstorms were pretty intense, and still going strong when my alarm went off at 5:30. I decided to sleep in for once. It was a lovely lazy day indoors. This would have been a good day to substitute a DVD workout, but I never really got out of my PJs.

Week 3 Summary:
Running: 3 runs for 28.4 runs... I missed 2 runs, but got in the most important ones on the schedule
1 strength workout
2 stretching workouts
Nutrition: Challenging in the beginning of the week, but I got a better variety of foods as the week went on. I'll give myself a C.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

50k Training - Weeks 1 and 2

Week One was a great start to training. Not only did I hit every run on my schedule, I also managed my nutrition, strength training, and stretching well. That was a boost psychologically as well as physically. Week One was a high-mileage week in my training schedule, so having a good week was critical.

Week Two was the opposite. My husband and I went out of town for two days, and I got off track. Although I managed to get in a run at 4:30 in the morning before we went to the airport, I didn't work out again for another four days. Nutrition... I knew it wouldn't be great, so I planned a Shakeology cleanse when I got back. I lasted two of three days, then went a little crazy. Timing wise, the cleanse wasn't a good idea. It's a tool I'll keep in my back pocket for after training season when I don't need extra calories. Fortunately, this was an easy low-mileage week, so I didn't actually miss much.

Week One:
Planned Workout: Yoga
Actual: Nothing
I didn't feel bad at all about missing yoga. I scheduled it into my plan every Monday to loosen the kinks after back-to-back long runs on the weekend. I didn't push myself hard the weekend before starting my plan, so my body didn't particularly need a good stretch on this particular Monday.

Planned Workouts: 4 mile easy run, lower body workout
4.15 miles easy
PiYo Define Lower
This was an unremarkable morning run. Easy pace, lovely views.
I did PiYo in the evening. This was a 25 minute video, and it is one of the beginner PiYo videos. I didn't find it all that challenging, but it definitely stretched out my hip flexors and hamstrings - two of my problem areas. This will be a great video for hard running weeks.

Planned Workouts: 6 mile run including 2 miles at tempo pace (8:35-8:50), core workout
6 mile run: 2 mile warm up, 2 miles at tempo: 8:30, 8:33, 2 mile cool down
21-Day-Fix 10 Minute Abs
Morale Booster! I haven't done much speed training this summer, and I was not sure that I could maintain the goal tempo pace for two consecutive miles. I'm not sure I could have maintained that slightly faster pace for much longer than two miles, but it was uplifting to manage it as long as I did. Following the tempo portion, I took a long water break and wished my car wasn't another two miles away.
I did NOT feel like working out after work, so I found a lot of other things to keep me busy. Finally, just before bedtime, I grabbed a short ab workout from 21-Day-Fix, and just pushed play. For a 10-minute workout, it is surprisingly effective. I felt this workout all over my midsection for several days . Glad to get it done. That's what accountability will do!

Planned Workouts: 4 miles easy, upper body workout
4 miles easy
PiYo Define Upper Body
I woke up earlier than usual to get both workouts in before work. PiYo Define Upper Body was another gentle beginner video. It featured some core work and a fair amount of pushups. I've never been good at pushups, so I am looking forward to progress in that area (a little arm definition would be a welcome side effect).
This run took a little motivation. My legs and glutes were a little sore (thanks PiYo), and it took about a mile to find my stride. After that, it was a lovely run.

Planned Workout: Yoga or Pilates
Actual: 21-Day-Fix Yoga Fix
The 21-Day-Fix is a pretty intense workout program. The yoga workout is designed to give the body a little love after a week of weights, so I found it to be a great fit in my running week. My tight hamstrings and abs really appreciated the stretches, and I started the day with a relaxed attitude that carried through for at least a few hours. Also, my 6-year-old son joined me for the last series of leg stretching on the ground, and his commentary was just awesome.

Planned Workout: 16 mile run
Actual: 16 miles
Direct sun has been my #1 enemy on long runs this summer. My usual route is out and back on an east-west road, so once the sun comes up, there is nothing to block it. I have switched things up by driving an extra 4-5 miles down the road to a different starting point, where I can park my car in the shade and finish my last few miles in a shaded neighborhood. I also packed a cooler with ice water for refills.This workout was wonderful. I maintained a steady pace throughout, taking 30-60 second walk breaks at the top of each mile. My legs were tired and I was sweaty, but I felt strong.

Planned Workout: 6 mile run
Actual: 6 miles
I felt surprisingly strong on this run. No residual aches and pains from Saturday's long run.

Week One Summary: 
5 runs for 36.2 miles
3 strength workouts
1 stretching workout
Nutrition: I ate healthy foods throughout the week. I was well-hydrated. I had one beer during the workweek, and some wine over the weekend. I'll grade it an A-.

Week Two:
Planned Workout: Yoga
Actual: Yoga Fix
30 minutes of quality stretching after a high-mileage weekend = good stuff.

Planned Workout: 4 miles, if I had the time
Actual: 3.1 miles
My husband and I left for the airport at 6am, so I woke up at 4:30 and ran loops around our neighborhood. My pre-coffee pace was extremely slow. Getting out there was a victory in itself.

No workout planned, no workout accomplished.

Planned Workout:
4 miles, including 2 at tempo (8:35-8:50), core workout
It was storming when I woke up for my run. I would have been okay with substituting a cardio Beach Body workout, but I decided to sleep in and workout at night. I forgot that we had middle school orientation in the evening, but I still thought I could do it. Then we met up with some friends who were in town on vacation, so night-time workout plans went out the window.

Planned Workout: 4 miles easy
Actual: Nothing
I can't even remember why I didn't work out. I didn't sleep well during the week, so I suppose I chose sleep over running.

Planned Workout: 6 miles
Actual: 6 miles
The best thing I can say about this run was that I didn't quit. It was hot, I felt sluggish, my stomach hurt, and I thought about cutting it short for most of the first half of the run. The only reason I kept going was because I'd already missed two runs.

Planned Workout: 4 miles
Actual: 6.7 miles
At least I finished strong this week. My pace was steady and toward the faster end of my "easy" pace range. I ran an extra 2.7 miles because it felt good, dammit, and I know tomorrow will be an active recovery day.

Week Two Summary:
3 runs for a whopping 15.8 miles (made the optional run, but missed two scheduled runs)
0 strength training workouts (missed one)
1 stretching workout (at least I was 100% in something)
Nutrition: I knew it wouldn't be great when I was on vacation, so I planned to make it up by doing a 3-day Shakeology cleanse (shakes for breakfast and lunch, fruit for morning and afternoon snacks, lean protein with a salad for dinner, and another shake for dessert). While I lost the extra couple of pounds I put on in Nashville, I don't think this cleanse had enough calories to support running. The runs that I missed were during the two days I was on the cleanse. On day 3, I scrapped the cleanse and ate whatever I wanted, which was not all that healthy. I didn't hydrate properly all week. On a good note, I drank green tea instead of coffee during the cleanse, and kept it up over the weekend. All in all, I give myself a D for nutrition.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

50K Training - Let's Get Started

Last December, I ran my first 50k at the Tallahassee Ultra Distance Classic. It was a small, well-organized race.... all road, five 10k laps. I trained consistently and had a solid race, finishing in just under 5:35. During my training, I ran marathon distance twice: once in an actual marathon (Pensacola, which was brutal) and then from my house to my parents' house on Thanksgiving. That was pretty epic, and the turkey has never tasted so good! I used the UltraLadies 50k training plan, which alternated high and low-mileage weeks, and it was one of the most enjoyable training seasons I have ever had.

So now that the heat is driving up into the 90's, that means it is time to start training for fall/winter races again! Since I enjoyed last year's training so much, I decided to follow the same plan for the same goal race. However, this year I would like to improve my race time, and I am making three major changes to my training:

1.  Speed Training... Despite my best intentions, I didn't do much speed training last year. Almost ever run was at an easy pace. This year, I plan to incorporate some tempo pace, speed intervals, or hills into my mid-week semi-long run. Nothing crazy hard, but enough to remind my body what it feels like to push past my comfort zone.

2.  Strength Training... Again, nothing crazy. This spring, I started following some of the BeachBody workout DVDs, and as a result, I slimmed down and gained some muscle. I'm mainly going to focus on PiYo during my training cycle. It is a low impact program, with a focus on flexibility and core strength. Three or four PiYo workouts per week would be a great balance to the running.

3. Nutrition... Something else I learned from the BeachBody programs was the importance of good fuel. I've always KNOWN that food is fuel, but it took the discipline of following an actual nutrition plan for me to see where I needed to improve. For me, it has been eating more veggies and making more quality choices when it comes to carbs.

All of these changes, but particularly the strength training, will take more discipline than I've had to summon in a long time. Accountability has always been a good motivator for me, so I have decided to blog about my training -- each week's planned workouts, actual workouts, and nutrition summary.

I ran my first official training run this morning, and it went well. I still need to get in a strength training workout tonight. Double workout days will take some getting used to.

If you're still reading, thanks for joining me!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Autumn / Winter Dreaming

I find that I have been overusing the word "sweltering" in my running log this summer, but it's an accurate description of the past few months. Last summer was hot, but I was running in the rain at least two or three mornings each week, and I came to love those stormy runs. This summer, I can't recall running in the rain at all -- just suffocating humidity every single morning. I believe it was 94% today. Suffice it to say, I am dreaming of fall weather. When I am sloshing down the street looking as if I just went swimming in my running clothes and shoes, I am fantasizing about crisp cool air and effortless miles.

My consolation for most of the summer was that, hey, at least I wasn't training for a marathon. I still ran double-digits on the weekends, but I wasn't following a training plan and I certainly wasn't doing any speed training. I had the best intentions, but it's hard for me to run without a goal for that long. I started toying with the idea of a fall or winter 50k earlier in the summer, which was one of the reasons I kept up with my weekend long runs. About a month ago, I decided that the Tallahassee Distance Classic in December would be a good first ultra for me. I pulled up a 50k training plan, and started following it loosely on July 28. With kids' end-of-summer activities, I've had to make some modifications, but now that school is in session, it looks like I should be able to stick with it. 

I am using the UltraLadies 50K program. The best thing about this program is that every other week is a recovery week. Not only will my body be able to recover from the many 20+ milers, but so will my brain! Two weeks in between long runs, and I will have forgotten how hard the last one was.

As it turns out, the training plan has me scheduled for a 26-mile long run over Veterans Day weekend. Coincidentally, the Pensacola Marathon is the same weekend, and I have a friend who is making that race her first half-marathon. I ran the full in Pensacola in 2012. It's a tough course, but it's affordable and it's close to home. I decided to sign up for the 26.2, and I hope I can treat it as a training run instead of a race. So after the many times I swore I wasn't running a marathon this fall, I am completely eating my words.

I'd really love to race some shorter distances this fall, but it's hard to work those into a marathon / ultra marathon training schedule. Hopefully, with the week-on/week-off structure of my training plan, I will be able to run a few shorter races. 

Planning for chillier races has made these hot soggy mornings a little more bearable. I just hope all this humidity training pays off and makes me stronger.

This was only 2.5 miles into an 8-miler. Already drenched.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I think I just outran the law.

My blog is titled "Running from the Law" in large part because I've spent most of my adult life struggling with the fact that my chosen career as an attorney turned out to be the wrong career for me. I've worked in a large city at a large firm, and I've worked in smallish town in a solo practice. I've tried litigation and I've tried transactional real estate work. I didn't like any of it. Well-meaning friends and family members were adamant that I could find a path within the legal community that would bring me satisfaction and happiness, if I just kept looking. I've had near-strangers ask me why I don't like to practice law -- after all, don't lawyers make a whole lot of money and why wouldn't I like that? Note: not all lawyers make a lot of money, but that is beside the point.

I have chosen happiness. For me, that means NOT practicing law. This month, I started a new job in which my law license is not required. Can I just tell you how liberating it felt to deactivate my license? My new job is not as prestigious as some of my former jobs, but it has been a lot of fun so far. FUN. For real. That's me talking about my job.

The realization that I can go forward and really enjoy my life has carried over to my running. I pushed back an October race in favor of a December race, so I could spend a little more time taking it easy this summer. I haven't followed a training plan in months, and I haven't seen a track in six months. I'm still out running four or five mornings a week, but only because I want to be there. I know that at some point, I'll feel like training for something epic and fast, but I also know that it is completely fine that I don't want to do that right now.

In the meantime, I am just going to soak up some Florida sunshine and enjoy my new, more relaxing life. I just outran the law after all.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Case for Training Logs

I recently read an article about why runners might NOT want to keep a log. The issue had to do with runners pushing ourselves to meet certain mileage or speed goals when out bodies were telling us to back off. I'll admit I am completely guilty of running an extra mile or three to hit a nice round number at the end of the week or month.

But here is my argument in favor of training logs: they remind us how far we've come and what we have actually achieved. The month of March is a fine example for me. I've been logging my miles at for a couple of years, but this year I also started keeping a paper calendar for each month, just writing down the distance and pace of each run, a monthly goal, and a monthly recap. I update the paper calendar a few times per month.

I ran a half marathon on March 29. It was a blast of a race, which was my #1 goal. However, I also made some stupid fueling and pacing errors that left me feeling pretty beat up and disappointed in myself. When I have been thinking back on the month of March, that race has been the first thing to come to mind, and I have been feeling like March was a month of lost fitness.

However, I pulled out my March calendar today and entered about half a month of running. Total mileage was 105 -- that's more than I ran in February. My goals had been a 5k PR and a half-marathon PR. I may not have run a half-marathon PR, but I ran two strong 5ks, including a 23:57 PR in which I was also the 2nd place overall female and 1st place masters female. I ran a beautiful 5-miler on the beach while my kids were on Spring Break. I ran another beautiful 5-miler the day after my half-marathon, which was my 41st birthday. I finished the month at our Monday night run group, accompanying two fun-loving little girls for two miles. March was actually pretty awesome for running.

April goals -- now this is going to be fun! No mileage goals. No pace goals. My goals are to run at least one trail run, run at least three double-digit runs, and strength-train at least four times. Totally do-able.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What next? Running without a goal

I officially started marathon training in July last year, ran the Chickamauga Marathon in November, caught my breath for about a minute, then trained for and ran the Tallahassee Marathon in early February. Before the official marathon training started, I spent months training to get myself ready for my marathon training, and before that, I was training my way out of an injury. Before the injury, I trained for and ran two fall marathons in 2012. In other words, it's been a long time since I was not working toward a marathon.

Tallahassee went well. I did not reach my time goal, but I did accomplish one of my other goals, which was to cross the finish line feeling like I had run the best race I could on that day. I still don't feel like I have conquered the marathon. It's a totally different beast from the other distances I have raced, and even after five finish lines I still have a lot to learn. For now, though, I'm satisfied to give it a rest for a while. 

So now what? I don't want to run a marathon this fall. Correction: I don't want to train for a marathon this summer. It's one thing to run twenty miles when it is 50 degrees out, but quite another to do it when it's 85 degrees with 90% humidity, and that's what summer in Florida is all about.

In the next month, I'll run two 5ks and a half-marathon. The half will be the last opportunity for a long race around here until fall. I'm not going to stress over that one. It's the day before my birthday, and it looks like a party race. No time goals. No expectations. It's going to be fun.

But that leaves me feeling a little lost. Without a goal race, how do I structure my training? I don't want to get complacent and lose the gains I've made in the past year. On the other hand, my body is telling me loud and clear that I can't maintain the mileage and intensity of this last marathon training round.

So with no big goal race, here are a few mini-goals I might think about:

1.  5k PR: With all the focus on the marathon and dedicating most Saturday or Sunday mornings to the long training runs, I've missed out on shorter distance racing. It's been a year & a half since I ran my fastest 5k, and I know I'm faster now. I've got a 5k this coming Saturday, another two weeks from now, and most likely a few others before summer hits.

2. Trail running: Get a few friends together to run the trails. Something I've been missing.

3. Think about an epic relay for the fall. I've been approached about a couple of them.

4. Maintain the mileage. Maybe not 20 miles, but I could aim to run at least two long runs over 14 miles each month. It would make the next marathon or half-marathon training cycle that much easier.

5. More naked running. Not nude-naked, but free from technology. No watch, no music.

Food for thought.