Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I have the day off from work today, so I got my run done this morning. Met my sister and we did the Wednesday night group run route -- 6.65 miles on a flat first two miles, then a hilly back 4.5+ mile section of town.
We started slow and planned on keeping an easy pace. We ran comfortably, and I really thought we were somewhere around a 9:45 pace. Well, it turns out we ended with a 9:18 average pace. Huh.
I definitely held back, and while we attacked the uphills, I noticed that my breathing was pretty even and controlled. I paid attention to my form, and had little problem increasing my pace as we went up the hilly sections. Overall, it was a good (albeit a bit too fast for the purpose) run. Crisp morning, clear, but warmer as we ended the run.
I really like the challenge of this route. I just wish the group run started a little earlier on Wednesdays...
Oh! and I got another pair of new shoes today. Now I have two (an UGLY purple pair and my power red pair) to rotate, and both are new enough for the upcoming races. Yay!
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Met up with my sister after the first mile and ran the next 9 miles together. This was a good thing in the sense that I had company for part of my run, but a bad thing, too, because she doesn't EVER pay attention to pace. I wanted to keep this run a long, slow one, so I had to keep pulling her back a bit. Turns out we were only slightly ahead of the pace I wanted to be running. She headed for home at my mile 10, and I went on to do the second half on my own.
I was A LOT smarter about my fueling and hydration today. My last 20 (supposed to be 22) miler ended up a disaster because of the heat and humidity. Today wasn't as hot, but it was disgustingly humid. I drank my water, used my enlyten strips, and took a couple gels at good intervals today, and the run ended up going very well. I am kicking myself a little, though, because miles 11-20 were a bit faster than they should have been. I was just running comfortably and didn't realize I was running the pace I was....
When I was just about done, I decided to tack one more mile on -- more for the mental effect than anything else -- and finished with 21.1 miles. I definitely could've gone a few more. My ankle held up and was barely an issue. I was SOAKED to the core after more than 3 hours in the rain/mist/humidity, but I felt good about getting this solid run done.
I like my sunshine, but it's fun running in the rain sometimes. :)
Saturday, September 27, 2008
I set out to do the 3 mile loop. Plan was, if things went well, I'd do a few more. Took the first 3 slow and easy -- legs felt heavy like they always do after a day off, and the ankle wasn't letting me forget it was there, but it wasn't bad. By the middle of the second mile, things were getting loose and feeling ok. I decided to pick up the pace a bit for the 4th and 5th miles, and realized that my ankle was definitely not 100%, but it was better. MUCH better -- like, 85-90% ok. I slowed down at mile 5.5 and cruised in the last .5 mile, happy to know I can run again. Whew!
The chiropracter looked at my ankle today -- did some stuff to it. It's feeling a little better. I'm going to try a short, easy run in a little bit. If it's ok, I'll run my 20 miler tomorrow. If not, if it needs a few more days, I'll run my 20 on Tuesday when I'm off from work.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
I had a short run on the schedule for today -- take it easy, just shake out the legs from last night's speedwork. Problem is, my left ankle's been bothering me this week; actually, it's been bothering me since sometime last weekend. No sharp pains, but rather a bruised sort of feel on the inside of my ankle, by the bone that sticks out.
I set out for my short run, deciding I'll just take it slow and look forward to resting the ankle tomorrow on my scheduled day off. Well, I got about 100 yards from home and turned around. Considered stopping and then reconsidered and turned again and began running again. And stopped. Started. Stopped again.
If I stop and rest it today, I can see how it feels tomorrow and maybe make up the run then. Or, rest it two days and get it ready for the LR this weekend. Or, I could just gut it out for a few easy miles. But it hurts with EVERY step. I should rest it. Agh, I could gut it out.
And so my internal conversation went. For about two minutes. I realized that if every step was hurting, that can't be good. It felt sore while walking, but not the pain I felt with each running step. I turned and made my way back home. Sure I could have made it 3 or so miles, but to what good? Better to skip the 3 and try to heal the ankle than aggravate it more. Right? RIGHT?!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I ran a slow 1.8ish to the track and started the loops. Here are my times (I jogged a slow 400m between each 800):
3:40, 3:44, 3:44, 3:40, 3:42, 3:41, 3:43, 3:44, 3:44, 3:36 (I then ran the 1.8ish back home)
A bit faster than I planned. I wanted them all to be under 3:55. So, I'm pleased. It was (dare I say it?!) easier than it should have been. Which got me thinking...
I measured this track with my bike computer a while back. One loop was .25 mile. But I remember my friend (VERY knowledgeable running guy) mentioning that it may be a touch short. So now I've g-mapped it. Based on that, one loop measures .247 miles. Which makes my 800's a bit short -- by a meter or two.
Overall, that doesn't bother me. Adding a couple/3 or so strides to each lap would've covered the distance. That may have added a second or three to my splits. Which would mean they were all still under 3:50.
I'm not going to stress about the track measurement. It's not a significant difference to greatly alter my splits or how I felt running the laps. I think my ankle held me back a little bit, but not much. Total miles was somewhere around 10.8 miles. I ran the workout well, and when I did my 8x800's a couple weeks ago, my splits were slightly slower (same track). That's good news.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I decided a while ago that I was going to take the pressure off myself in the marathon this fall. I've been chasing a time goal that, in 3 attempts, I've failed to hit. The timing of all these races isn't ideal, but I'm doing the MCM because I deferred from last year. I really want to run the 18 miler because last year the heat made it a disaster, and I'd like to go back and kick some butt.
So here are my goals: race the 18 miler and try to PR there. If the weather/stars align for a strong run, that the plan. Two weeks later, line up to run the MCM and take the day as it comes. (I never wanted to run the MCM for time -- I wanted to soak it all in, and maybe even stop to shake hands with all the marines if I want to along the way!)
Plan B is: if the day isn't right for a strong run at the 18, treat it like my last LR and go into the MCM feeling ready for a strong 26.2.
With these races coming up, and with these goals, and with my tri training on hold, I'm a woman without a plan. I hate it. I've been sort of following a plan a friend made for me for a previous marathon, and tweaking it along the way with ideas/workouts from other plans I've done or read about. Honestly, I'm not sure I'm trained well right now to PR at any of these races. For the most part, that bothers me. But there's also a part of me that is just kind of seeing where all this leads -- this less-directed training. This is where my current problem lies. I don't know what running/workouts I should be doing between now and October 12th and October 26th.
I'm looking at the other plan(s) and trying to figure it all out. I know my tapers are shorter than most people do/recommend. I'm ok with that, because I've felt, in the past, that 3 weeks was too long. So I'm playing around with mileage and speedwork and hoping, hoping, hoping the races go ok.
If they don't... well... I guess a lot of this is about what you learn along the way.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
The swim would happen, but with a revised, triangle course (replacing an out and back). The water was MUCH calmer than yesterday, but the waves were HUGE, and the current (running south) was STRONG.
The elite wave (about 9 racers) went first, and before the men 30-39ers could even start, officials had to move the buoy because it had drifted off course. Wave 2 started and it was immediately clear this was going to be tough. These men were swept south of the buoy before most of them were even close.
An announcement was made for my wave (women 30-39) to move to the north side of the jetty to start while the buoy was again moved and reset (making our course, to those of us on the shore, look waaay longer than the original marking). As we entered the water, I was thankful for the warm temps. No wetsuit needed today! I thought, this is going to be tough, but keep your head about you and do your best.
I would take, no joke, three strokes and have to dive under a wave. These were 5 or 6 footers, and powerful. I was tossed and rolled and sucked under again and again. Three strokes forward, just to get pushed back. I told myself my goal for today was to feel good about my swim. This was going to be harder than I thought. Swimmers were getting rolled and tossed on top of me, my goggles kept filling with water or getting knocked off, and although we started north of the buoy, the strong current had us swept past the bubble in no time.
About halfway to the buoy, a woman behind me panicked and yelled, "I can't do this! I can't!" and her friend stayed with her until the lifeguard got her on his paddleboard. I didn't know it at the time, but apparently MANY of the swimmers in my wave never swam to the bubble. They turned in to shore and didn't swim the whole leg.
I did. I wasn't going to quit. Wasn't going to go on to do the rest of the race without finishing the first leg. An Ironman friend of mine had reminded me to breathe out completely -- and I thought about that as I fought my way to the buoy. I rolled on my back a couple times to fix my goggles, but I kept moving. Besides, as weird as this sounds, I felt more comfortable swimming in/fighting this ocean than in the bay and lake my previous tri's had been in.
After what seemed like forever, I finally did round the buoy, and headed for shore. It was quite a bit easier now that the waves were behind me, and I immediately found my stroke a bit better and soon enough I could feel the sand beneath my feet.
I can't go on without mentioning HUGE appreciation for the lifeguards. They were out in that water, on boards and swimming, helping countless numbers of racers and keeping a diligent watch. I am happy to say that I heard that all racers who entered the water, made it out ok. Thank you to the Beach Haven guards!!!
The water glistening behind me in the picture above doesn't show just how big those waves really were. This was a tough swim, but I did it. The whole quarter mile, around the buoy.
When I made it onto the beach, there was an old friend -- a lifeguard and triathlete himself -- yelling, "Go Lora! Looking good! Did you make it all the way around the buoy?!"
"Hell, yeah, I did!" I responded, with a smile on my face. He high-fived me and cheered me on my way. Next I saw my family (yay!) and started my way up the dunes. Swim time in the water was (according to my watch) 9:36. The official time is much longer, though, because we didn't time out of the swim and into transition until we ran up the dunes, onto the street, and down two and a half blocks to the bikes. My watch tells me my T1 time (from the beach to the bike out) was 6:47ish. This is consistent with the official timing when I break it down.
There was nothing remarkable about the bike ride. I rode well, although I was feeling pretty beat from the swim. I think my avg was about 18mph. Not great, but I'll take it. I passed a bunch of people, and only got passed by two women -- who were laid out on their aero bars.
I made it back to transition, again hearing my family and friends yelling for me, and got off my bike without a hitch. (This is important, because my feet got tangled in my last tri and I ended up falling as I was dismounting. Duh.)
Transition time for T2 was 1:05. I dropped my helmet, racked my bike, and grabbed my visor.
The run went pretty well, except for my aching left arch/ankle -- not sure what that's about. First mile was a 8:24, I think, and I settled in and ran most of the way bunny-hopping another woman (lower age group). We ticked off the miles and soon we were rounding the corner for the homestretch.
Once again, there's my friend, this time with his wife (who placed second for women overall!!!), cheering me on. Just before the finish I hear and see my sister and her boys on the left, yelling and cheering for me. I crossed the line (run time 25:06), and there were my parents and my other friend (my official, personal race photog! Aren't her pics here great!). Finish time 1:11:16.
After catching up with everyone and getting some water and food, I packed up my stuff in my backpack and rode my bike home (about 5 miles). As I rode, I thought about how pleased I was with today's race. My goal was to feel good about my swim, and I honestly do. I did the best I could in that water, and knowing that I did the whole leg while lots of other racers did not, makes me happy with my race. Turns out after my wave, they removed the buoy and basically had people go into the water, swim parallel to the shore to the north side of the other jetty and get out. No swimming out through those waves to get to the bubble, and not a full .25 mile.
Whatever. I did it, and I'm glad I did. Lots of thanks to my family and friends for their awesome support and cheering! Next up -- LBI 18 mile race in a few weeks!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Turns out my run last night was closer to 16 miles -- 15.8 according to gmap. Afterwards, I went up to the pub and ordered dinner and had a beer and ended up talking to two men about running and the Marine Corps Marathon. One guy had run the 10k last year and was excited to talk to me all about the race. Turns out he had done the JFK50 miler years ago. So cool to talk to people who get this whole running thing :)
Tomorrow's the tri, so I'll make my way to the shore later this morning and get a short ride and run done just to get the legs working. Ocean report wasn't great yesterday -- NW winds making for rough waters. Hopefully the winds will settle down today and we'll be all good for the race in the morning.
I have a bunch of friends running a HM tomorrow -- one that normally I'd run, but the date conflicted with the tri this year -- so good wishes for a great run for them and a couple other friends with races and long training runs around the country this weekend!!!
Friday, September 19, 2008
With the race on Sunday, I rearranged some of my runs this week and decided to do my LR today. Running 15 after a long week (Back to School night last night) and a long day didn't sound too appealing, but the weather was cool, crisp, and clear (no humidity!) -- perfect for a run. My legs were definitely feeling tired, but I paced well and paid attention, and ended up having a good, solid run. MUCH better than the 20 miler 5 days ago. What a difference the weather makes.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Problem is, by 6:30 pm, I want to be eating dinner and winding down for the day. One of the drawbacks of getting up so early for work. :( So, I was looking forward to the run, but I was kind of looking more forward to being done the run.
Turns out, it was a pretty good one. I ran with my sister and another friend from the group. We chatted the whole way, and I barely noticed the miles fly by and the hills rolling up and down under us. We ran faster than I would have on a regular easy run -- an hour flat -- but I was comfortable the whole way.
Lots of reasons to look forward to the run being over, but instead I enjoyed it and wasn't in a hurry to head home.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
This is an odd week for me. I will be running my long run on Friday evening because I have a sprint triathlon on Sunday. I took a look at the schedule I've kind of been working with, and decided my quality workout for the week will be my hilly 6.65 route with the running store group tomorrow night. I know I'll run faster with the group. The rest will probably be some easy runs...
So today was a double. Got up before 5am and ran 4 miles in loops around my development. It was silent out there. I could hear an occasional car go by out on the road, but except for the lady in the aerobics outfit whom I startled as I ran by on my last mile, no one was out. It's peaceful running in the dark in the morning. I hear every footstep, I hear every breath. I like having this secret-feeling time. I like feeling the accomplishment of getting miles done while everyone is still sleeping. I like starting my day with a run...
When I got home from work, I ran 6.5 more. Went out around the River loop. Didn't pay much attention to my watch, but did feel like I was running faster than I was supposed to. I tried to slow down, but I was just running comfortably. The air was cool, the humidity low. Ended up running a 9:09 pace. Huh.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Woke up at 4:30am and got some food in me. Headed out the door for my 22 miler around 6am -- when it was already 74* and 93% humidity. Ugh. I ran at the shore and plotted a great route over the bridges and back. I was due to hit the house a few blocks short of the 15 mile mark. I paced well through that, but was starting to feel like my legs and chest were getting heavy. I didn't like it. The legs are one thing, but the chest signals disaster. Pounded out a few more miles, but then I started throwing in some walk breaks. By the time I hit mile 18, I knew I should call it a day. Slogged on to the 20 mile mark, and got a ride home from there. My back was killing me -- it's still bothering me a bit now, almost 7 hours later. Grr. Humidity sucks the life out of me. It happened a few weeks ago at the last 20 miler, it happened last year at the 18 mile run... Good thing is, I was at the beach. So, I got home, grabbed a drink and a towel, and went right in the ocean, running clothes still on (they were soaked anyway!). The start of the ahhh...
After showering, stretching, and getting a little food in me, I headed to the beach with a bunch of friends. What a beautiful day for the beach. Good breeze, great swimming in the ocean, good sun on my (sunscreen-covered!) face while I napped. That's the way to spend an afternoon following a hard run :)
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Yesterday was a rest day -- I wanted to get some miles done on the bike, but by the time I got home from work it was pouring rain. Um, no thanks. So I took it easy all afternoon and evening. Funny thing is, as I started my run this morning, I realized my legs always feel heavy and rusty after a day off...
I did about 5 miles this morning -- 3 easy, .5 mile of striders, 1 easy, .5 mile of striders. I have a long one on the schedule for tomorrow -- 22 miles. I'm going into it with PMA -- more on that another day -- and looking for a great, easy LR.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Hi everyone -
When the attacks happened on Sept. 11, I was instantly glued to the tv to see what was happening (as I'm sure many people were). For days I didn't want to turn off the tv. I read the newspapers, I listened to the radio. I couldn't believe the images I saw - the planes crashing, the towers collapsing - incredible. unbelievable. sickening. So I felt compelled to go to NYC and see for myself the history that had taken place. I was there this morning, and seeing the wreckage in person was awesome (and not in the good way).
In midtown, the city smells like the city. The air is as clear as it usually is. Which is why as soon as I stepped out of the subway at city hall downtown, I immediately noticed the smell in the air. The thick, smokey air. We didn't need masks to be able to breathe or anything, but after a while our eyes got irritated, and I was constantly aware of the sickening smell of burning steel, plastic, concrete, and other stuff (it did not at all smell like burning wood). We walked as close as we could to the trade center and followed the masses along the barricades. There are several places where you can get a decent view of the rubble, but several other places have fences covered with tarps so your view is restricted. We saw huge pieces of steel standing, tilted. We saw crumbled concrete and blackened buildings. We saw soot and ash still covering surrounding businesses. We were able to take pictures at most of the spots, but on West Ave (I think) where you get a full view of the collapsed buildings there were several police officers announcing "no pictures please."
Seeing the collapsed buildings was absolutely incredible. I couldn't get over the huge-ness of it all. I was pissed at how many people were selling things - pins, postcards, etc. around the area. I wondered how they thought that was appropriate unless they were donating the money (they didn't appear to be, which is why I was pissed). I was impressed with the sense of "togetherness" I felt with the strangers who stood shoulder to shoulder with me looking in awe at the site.
Then I looked around and saw so many people working at and around the site. I felt compelled to say thank you to several police officers, and when I did, they looked me in the eye, shook my hand, and looked genuinely sincere in thanking me back.
I was overcome with the enormity, the history, the tragedy of it all - and wanted to soak it all in. We stood staring for endless minutes, then we moved again to see what we could from all different points. I wasn't drawn to see it out of a morbid curiosity, but out of a strong sense of history. This was a huge thing to experience in our lifetime, and I had to go. I'm really glad I did.
Seeing the city today, seeing the site where so many people died and where so much rubble still remains was very powerful. I wanted to tell you about it.
I did what I hope many did today. I spent time with my family. I drove to the beach and hugged my parents. I played with my nephews and I had a long talk with a good friend. Oh, and I got an ocean swim done (in a red jellyfish-filled, choppy ocean!). I ran, I worked, I played. I lived today. I am grateful for that.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Running is good for me.
It's like the sun. It powers me.