Monday, February 18, 2013

Training Log Feb 11- 17


...Otherwise known as "I thought running sprints were difficult but this was much worse".
I made par on 5 through 9 (with fins for support)...I suppose I just had to warm up. 
One thing though-- my stroke form and breathing seemed to click much faster tonight than in weeks past. I think I am finally getting the hang of it. Next I think I'll progress to actually getting that flip-turn incorporated. Eventually I will also leave the fins behind. Not yet though. 
Pretty much how I felt after completing that workout.
A nice, crispy, easy, 3 miles at night (40:49)(I did say easy, pace was 13:40 min/mile). I watched my breath in the light of my headlamp the entire way.

Scheduled rest day.
Unscheduled rest day. I was very frustrated at my scheduling situation and I basically ended going home and crying out all my frustrations. I had eaten my afternoon snack such that I wouldn't be crazy hungry by the time I got home and could run, but I couldn't leave work until an hour later than planned. I tried really hard to let all the anger and frustration go(over this which was out of my control...I'm trying harder to just let stuff go, but it's so easy to get angry), but I ended up a mess curled up in bed anyway. I decided to move my run to friday since it was about 8:30pm by the time I "sobered" up.




I regret to have to say that I did nothing all weekend except try to hold myself together mentally.
I honestly don't know why it's been so rough this past week, but I'm not going to dwell on it.
I realize that getting out of bed and running would have been a good thing to do...but I woke up each day, had two minutes of quiet before the house was ablaze with noise, and then cried because I couldn't fathom why I can't just have quiet.
Anyway. It's a new week now, and I'm going to have tons of fun and run in multiple states this week!!!
I'm going to Louisiana on Thursday night to visit my friends from college. I really need it and I'm happy to be going.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Priorities-- Running, Studying, Rugby, and Work.

So, this is mostly not running related, but it is related to planning a training schedule.

I recently registed to take the MCAT (the big test for medical school admission) and I am treating the study time the same way I would treat a training plan for running. I am struggling to reconcile this study time with the time I've got to be at work, with the time that I have allotted to race training (even though I haven't committed to a race yet), and with rugby training.

I know this is all about priorities. I want to do the things that will make me happy AND I want to do the stuff that will allow me to be happy long-term (job and MCAT, even though both are not fun at all). My goal for Lent, which is a season to re-focus on important things, to strive to do things that, while they may not be "fun" or "easy", they will be better for you long-term. I've given up things (such as sweets) that get me instant, fleeting, satisfaction and I hope that I can strive to attain a stronger happiness over the next 6 weeks.

I am struggling with these priorities, though. I want to play rugby, and I want to go to practices twice a week, but hot damn does that take up a lot of time. I think what I will go to rugby as much as I can, whilst still keeping my race training schedule as "more" important (spring is not the really competitive season, so I don't feel like I'm skimping on my training as much as I would be if it were the fall season. That said, rugby is also where I get most of my that's a little rough). I have goals that I want to acheive that would be much more difficult to acheive come fall, and rugby happens spring and fall, spring and fall, so I'd always be able to come back to it. Even though there isn't a distinct time frame on these goals, I also know that if I put it off another year, it might be even more difficult to acheive...The longer I wait, the more extraneous commitments I will have accumulated...especially when I get into medical school.

Regardless, I am going to be very busy up until April 26, when my exam is. I know it's the top priority. I know it is. I also know I need to have running to stay mentally healthy.

I think that if I can change my home habits around (such as actually sleeping on time and waking up early) I can fit in the time I need to study easily. I could run in the morning before work, then do work, then come home, change clothes, and go to the library to study. On rugby days I could go to rugby practice (which I might reduce to 1 a week until after the exam). On weekends, I'll have to make more of my food in advance so I have enough for lunches and for study food. Additionally, just like how long runs are on the weekend because they take more time, practice tests are going to be on the weekend.

I'm going to be busy, but hopefully not overwhelmed.
It's an hectic time to be Trish...but if I work hard now, I can reap many rewards later.
[breathe][I promise I won't be able to overwork myself. I know my limits well.]

Sunday, February 10, 2013

North Shore Cupid's Love Dash 5K Race Recap

I made a personal record! Yay me!
It's a 3.42% improvement over my last 5K-- that's pretty good I think (it's a 5.2% improvement since my first one. I'm regaining some of the fitness I lost last year. Yay).

5K in 32:20.2 

I warmed up a bit before the start, just by running around a few blocks.
The course was icy and hilly. The ice was probably due to the rain coming down. It was really difficult especially when crossing the small bridge. I think I just shuffled my feet over that.
I passed a lot of people in the first mile and that made me feel really good... I checked my pace to make sure I wasn't going too fast to sustain but I asked myself "can you keep this up?" and the answer was yes. I finished the first mile around 10:00 minutes and I was ecstatic! Then I managed to keep the pace a little slower than that for the last two miles, but as I said, it was hilly and icy.
I really don't have much to say about the course except that it was hillier than I would have expected for this part of Illinois (Highland Park; I should have known). I also should have worn my trail shoes since there was plenty of ice and snow still on the roads.

I finished with an overall pace of 10:29 min/mile.
For someone who used to do infinite min/ mile, that's great. Just amazing. I amaze myself.

Also there was no water so I am glad that, even though I felt silly carrying it since no one else carries one, I had my water bottle. It's like a security blanket for me.
They gave me a medal (it has glitter) so I gave it to my cat:

The best thing I got was this bumper sticker, though:

I am a fan of puns

And one thing I really loved about their organization was that when I picked up my bib and shirt, the lady giving it to me asked if I wanted to try it on, just in case, and she gave me two other shirts to try on in case the first on didn't fit. I didn't like the long sleeve black shirt that I was supposed to go away with, so I took the short sleeve grey one that was an alternate. I'm really happy with the fit and I needed another short sleeve wicking tee.


Anyway... Sort of a simple shirt, but I'm probably going to wear it a lot, since it fits so nice.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Training Log, Feb 4 - Feb 9

Ok that was loud :). I did some 1050 yards of various swim strokes/ drill at my stroke refinement class. This went really well in terms of endurance. I finished first in my class because I was the only one who didn't have to stop at the end of each length to catch my breath, except for at the end of the speed laps (times marked). My freestyle stroke/breathing is really improving. I felt most like I was really getting the hang of it in the 4-kick Beat drill. That's basically where you make sure you kick 4 times in one stroke. It had the right rhythm for me to 1. be distracted enough counting the kicks to keep my hand in front of me and 2. take a breath every 3 or 4 strokes. It turns out I'm a natural bilateral breather, so that's comfortable for me. An odd number of strokes for breathing means you're breathing on the same side, since you take the breath with the last stroke in the count, in this case, the 3rd stroke. Breathing every 4 strokes means you breathe bilaterally, because the side you breathe on will switch each breath.

Ran 2.78 miles very easy (37:00 min-- pace of 13:20 min/mi).
I'm trying to accomplish running even a little slower than that for my easy runs... I'm trying to use it as a time-on-feet active recovery thing. I'm shooting for a pace of 13:59-15:00 min/mi because this is what I have outlined. It's surprisingly difficult to overcome my brain telling me to "speed up or the people will judge you". It allows for active recovery when I start adding in harder workouts, also facilitating more fat burn because the lower heart rate (I was around 162 bpm, which is lower for me, but not really that low. I've noticed my HR zones are just higher than most guidelines anyway, though. Yay genetic variation.

Wednesday- rest

2.96 easy, snowy miles with 2 20-sec pickups (at mile pace)-- 38:18
I had no idea running while it snowing at night would be so much fun! It was my first time running in snow, using my headlamp. I wasn't going to run at first but then I did and IT WAS SO WORTH IT.
I can't get over how great that run was. I even wore the perfect ensemble of clothes that I was the perfect temperature. I didn't bring any water and I didn't need it. It was perfect.

Can you see me?
I live in Narnia

Friday- Rest

3 nice easy miles in a new pair of shoes and lovely snowfall all around me (40:18).

Sunday, tomorrow, I have a 5K. That's going to get its own post :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I registered for an Impromteau 5K (that is coincidentally Valentine's Day themed)

Before I start training for anything new this year (whatever that really ends up being; I haven't registered for anything yet) I wanted to get a baseline of my fitness in 2013. I don't think my recent half marathon was the best gauge of that because I did have to walk so much of it. So, instead, I started looking for a 5K in the next month.
There are approximately two in the area... So I registered for the one that was closer to me. I was extremely reluctant for two reasons: I don't really like 5Ks & since it's this weekend, the price was ridiculous (because of those doggone price hikes). I paid only 8 dollars less than I did for the F^3 half marathon (which I had a discount for). All I can say is that I hope the shirt fits and is made of gold or something. I don't necessarily register for races based on their swag, but if I'm paying this much it really ought to have a good shirt.
The 5K fits in quite nicely with this weekend's running plan and for my spring training plan in general. I read a few places that the race hasn't been exactly 5 kilometers in the past, but I'm hoping that's just people whining about the discrepancy between their Garmins and the race course. If it ends up being really different, I suppose I'll just use the time my GPS watch says I ran 5K in, but I am suspecting it won't be an issue.
There is also a promise of chocolate since the race is Valentine's day themed. I also had to pick my availability status (paired off/looking for "luv"/ "lone solo": single and happy. It was confusing since the first two are both meant to be used as two people running together, so you have to run it with your partner or wing-person. I chose "lone solo" cause that's how I roll (though it would be nice not to be alone, I'm terrible at finding relationships, haha)

I know, you're just gagging with the cheese this race exudes...

I am hoping I can run faster than my 5K from last fall... I don't think it will be too difficult to since I basically ran that without having done anything but rugby for 2 months.

Remind me never to sign up for a race this close to race day again...Honestly price hikes are just wicked!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mile test and Researching training methods

Saturday I decided to go to the track and test my mile. The idea was to go to the track, run half a mile of warm-up, then run a mile full-out as if it were a race, then cool down. I can use this, if I test it every once in a while, to keep track of my fitness for that distance. I tried to keep track of it last year, but I only did two mile tests.

Yesterday I accomplished a 9:49 mile. I am really not at the same level I was in March last year when I ran a 9:15 mile. I know exactly why this is, and I am not dismayed by it, only disappointed that my mental state after moving home last year was really quite terrible. I am disappointed that I never sought help. For about 6 months last year I could barely muster the will to get out of bed, leave the house, whatever. As a side-effect, I lost a lot of the fitness I should have been able to maintain easily. I'm not quite back at square one. I am determined to not let this happen to me this year.

As spring comes in, I have a few options for training. I can go the route of building mileage to reach a nice base requisite for MCM training in the fall, while adding speed workouts, and a half marathon or two. I could also go the route of using a lower mileage marathon training plan in the spring for, perhaps, a summer marathon, while still balancing out my training through running, swimming, and rugby. Then again, I could do the latter option while building towards the prior one. I have been finding many plans that seem to re-evaluate the effectiveness of much-used and long-standing plans*. I have found two ends of the spectrum… one with very low weekly mileage and three runs(interval, tempo, long run at pace)/ cross training a week and one with a rather high mileage, but evenly balanced across the week.

The latter, called the Hanson Marathon Method, looks to be a very interesting and well-researched methodology that involves the use of intervals, easy runs, and long runs that take place after a few days of shorter runs before it. The guiding principles here are that 1- long runs over three hours can do more damage and need more recovery time than is effective for strong training and 2- no rest days before the long run place less emphasis on it, as it also simulates running in the latter part of the race, not running the beginning of a race. The long runs also cap mileage at around 16 miles, depending of the pace of the runner-- avoiding running too much over 3 hours at once is the goal here.

I’m interested in the higher mileage, but not necessarily interested in running it right now, so maybe getting up to the higher requisite base mileage would be a good goal for me now during spring, and also working a bit on my speed. Then, as summer/fall comes, I could use this higher mileage plan to my advantage.

The previous plan I mentioned is one I could use now as I work my way up to higher mileage and still be able to swim and bike during the training. It’s sort of like a triathlon training plan if you isolated the running and said the other types of workouts were your cross-training instead. That works for me since I want to also do a lot of swimming and rugby right now.The active recovery in this plan is not easy run days, but cross training. It would work for my rugby practice schedule and swimming quite well.It's part of the FIRST training methodology, which essentially says that you can run less but you have to run faster in the training runs. I'm not sure about it yet, but I like the speed workouts so I may just use them incorporated into a Frankenstein-monster training plan of my own devising.

There’s a lot to think about. What I don’t want is a plan where I just have to slog through mile after mile without really changing the speed from run to run. A lot of beginner plans are like that--they focus on getting you over the finish line. That’s the goal, yes, but I would also like to make sure my fitness improves, not just subject my body to mile after slow mile.

*if you understand that to be a week that includes rest/easy/tempo or pace/easy/rest/long (often capping at 20 miles)/cross train.

Addendum: Rugby practices contain sprint exercises, so no matter what plan I choose I will keep this in mind when planning speed workouts, if I choose to include them at all. I like researching plans but these two are probably not what I would choose for a first marathon. I have a lot of time to research and plan carefully.

Friday, February 1, 2013

F^3 Lake Half Marathon Race Photos

Also known as: "how to take weird photos because your face does weird things".
I will start with the weirdest...
My eyes are closed. I am not surprised. Source

And the slightly less weird...
I don't normally smile with my mouth closed. It's weird that I did here. Source
And now the fairly decent!
I am so poofed up because I am wearing four layers. Source
There were some other really cool photos, not of me, that really make me want to be a faster runner. The photographers kept moving spots and I didn't see more than one on the course because I was much much much slower than the amount of time the photographers stayed. Which is a bummer, because there were some really cool photos.
That's the weirdest motivation that I've had yet to get faster. 
I suppose it makes sense. I'm a photographer. I liked the lighting. I was too slow to have the cool lighting.

Race recap is here

I have race schedule for the year. Finally!

It took forever for me to decide, and it's not set in stone yet, seeing as I only have registration for one of the races.

April 13-- Muddy Monk Double Down trail 10K/20K, Somme Woods, Northbrook, IL
May 4-- Possibly going to Michigan to run a half marathon with my bestie.
June-- Mystery race TBA ( I don't want to jinx it )
July 13-- Dances with Dirt (I haven't decided which distance I want to do), Devil's Lake, Baraboo, WI (one of my favorite places)
Sept 2-- Oakbrook Half Marathon on my birthday!!!
Oct 26-- Marine Corps Marathon, Washington DC, provided that rugby national playoffs and it don't interfere, otherwise I have a tough decision to make. I already deferred from last year (this is the one I have the registration for).

I've been having trouble finding a race I really would love to do this spring/ early summer, so I am very happy that I found [mystery race]. I don't really want to say what it is before I register for it, just in case I end up finding out that my knee wants to fall off and I can't go through with training. I suspect I have about a month before it fills up.

I would also love to find a 10K for February that doesn't cost forty-five dollars or more. I just want to test my 10K fitness against last year's 10K. That's all. I suppose there just aren't that many cold-weather races. Is there a way I can "replicate" race conditions to test my fitness? I'm not sure.

I'm pretty darn excited by the races that I've chosen.