Mo’ Training, week 2

I honestly never thought I’d be one of those people who could casually talk about how they ran 3 miles on the treadmill before work (especially when I have to get in as early as I do) … but here I am. It’s crazy how normal this has become for me. I mean, yeah, it’s only week 2, but I think the routine and discipline of sticking to the RunStreak earlier this summer has translated into motivation and determination to stick to the plan. I did a lot of “running by feel” this week, which seems counterintuitive to treadmill running, given that you’re literally programming in your mph as you go. But instead of sticking to my half marathon goal pace or doing some interval work to help increase my speed, I went into each run with a loose plan of how I was going to handle it and flexed as appropriate. For me, I wanted this week to be about the miles, to concentrate on improving my form and function. I finished last week with a nagging twinge in my left quad, so I wanted to focus on reducing the risk of injury and hitting my strides correctly (which is somewhat difficult for me, given that my right leg is about an inch longer than my left). All this effort has helped too; I consistently found myself sticking to a metronomic pace that wasn’t too easy or too hard, I could feel my shoulders and core kicking in, and the slight pain I’d been feeling in my quad eased up.

Next week is going to be a little tough, as I’ll be traveling for work Sunday through late Friday night, but this will only affect where I do my shorter midweek runs. Fortunately, I’ll have ample access to gym facilities where I’ll be headed as well as a few running trails – now, whether or not the weather will facilitate some outdoor running, that’s a different story. But I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

- K


Mo’ Training, week 1

I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll start off here again – my goal race for the fall is the Mo’ Cowbell Half Marathon (hence the post title). It’s across the river from where I live, not too far of a drive, and I’ve heard great things about it. Since my training started this week, I decided to a weekly post on how all this is going for me, mostly to keep me honest about this whole “training plan” thing. I’m following Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 plan for a few reasons. I’ve done a few half marathons before, but never followed a plan, and after having severely undertrained the last two, I wanted to make a solid effort at this for once. Plus, I was looking for a plan than was pretty straightforward – i.e., nothing where I really needed to calculate speed work or do loops on a track, just a direct plan that told me what miles to run and when. I like this plan because the weekend long runs are a gradual build and the weekday runs are short enough that I can fit them in on my treadmill before work – I’m more of a morning runner, but having to leave for work at 5:30am doesn’t really allow me a lot of time.

So far, the training is going good, but it’s only been 7 days – if it wasn’t going well, I’d be in real trouble! I’d originally planned on making sure I ran my weekend miles outside, but hadn’t scouted out a good place to run before Saturday morning (I live near a few busy roads and don’t relish the idea of shoulder-side running as cars zip past me). So I ended up hopping on the treadmill in my apartment while watching Raiders of the Lost Ark – which, as it happens, is a really good distraction for an indoor run! I varied up the speed a bit so I wouldn’t get too bored or comfortable, and had a pretty decent run. It’s super convenient to have my own treadmill. I’m considering looking into some local races to help motivate my weekend runs – but it’s the summer, so I think my options will be few. Still, worth a look.

I think the only thing that made me a little uncomfortable this week was the idea of “rest days” – I caught myself trying to eke out a run on Friday morning because I thought I’d feel super lazy if I didn’t. But only a few minutes into the run, things just weren’t clicking and I knew it was a rest day anyways, so I just hopped off and did what the plan told me to do. Lesson learned. Rest is just as important as the miles!

Are you gearing up for any fall races? Any advice for me?

- K


MidSummer check-in

I just reread my last post and HOW SILLY OF ME to think my summer would be “gloriously free of plans”. HA.

So I had two sets of out-of-town guests last month and of course I had to take them all to baseball games, so there’s a couple weekends shot down. In between the houseguests’ visits, I managed to get into a minor fender bender. Of course, I had to wait two weeks before my insurance-approved shop could fit me in, so I got to pick up my parents from the airport in a dinged-up car. OH. And of course my parents’ flight was delayed by 3 hours and OF COURSE I got a speeding ticket driving them from the airport to my apartment. OF FREAKING COURSE.  Thankfully, the car repairs were swift and uneventful. I had a week of in-house training at work before volunteering/voluntold to go to a week’s worth of additional duty training in Florida. The week after the fourth. Um, SURE I WILL DO THAT.  You know, after my fun Fourth of July trip to Nebraska for some seriously amazing fireworks. All the while keeping up with the Runner’s World Summer RunStreak challenge (spoiler alert: I totally made all the runs on all of the days and I feel awesome).

So yeah. Blogging? Not so much a priority the last several weeks.

I have a two week respite, then I’m off to (a different part of) Florida for work the last week of July, some in-house training the first week of August, followed by a long weekend in North Carolina for a family thing. Another two weeks respite, then I finally FINALLY get my family’s beach week vacation around Labor Day week. Good God. Too much.

In the meantime, I start my half marathon training… this week! Despite having completed a handful of halfs (halves?), I’ve never really followed a formal training plan. After doing some research and thinking about the distances/days I felt comfortable with, I decided on a Hal Higdon plan that has me doing shorter runs Tuesday through Thursday, long runs on Saturdays, and cross training on Sundays. Basically, the workday runs are short enough that I can fit them in on my treadmill before I leave for work at 5:30am, which is really a “must” for me. I’ll try to check in here more often with how that’s all going.

- K


I Don’t Even Know…

So I keep on coming back to the ole blog. I want to write. I want to have things to write about. I have all these little things going on, but then I sit at the iMac and get distracted by Facebook. Or twitter. Or buzzfeed. You all know how it is.

Anyways. So what’s new?

Well, this may not come as a surprise to those of you who follow me on twitter, but I’m making another attempt at the Runner’s World Summer Runstreak. I can’t remember how far I got last summer, but I know I didn’t finish. So here I go again (on my own). (Please tell me I’m not the only one who just sang that to myself. Props to those of you who did.) So I’ll be doing this whole running-every-day-until-July-4th thing, then I have a week’s “break”, then I gear up my half marathon training program for the Mo Cowbell Half Marathon this October. I’ve heard great things about it (super flat course, great support … and it’s local!), so I’m pretty stoked.

I’ve got a good booklist lined up this summer. I’ve already started with three solid reads and am eagerly waiting for Stephen King’s new book out tomorrow. Oh! And I’m back up on Goodreads. I’m not sure how long this’ll last, because it’s basically just one more social network for me to waste my days away at, but … well, there you go. My list of pre-ordered reads for my Kindle is pretty substantial, so I think it’s going to be a good summer for books.

Other than that, I had some out-of-town guests visit last weekend and have some more coming in a little less than two weeks, so … you know. Stressing out trying to figure out how to entertain/host people and all that. But that’s it for people visiting me; I have out of town plans for the weekend of the 4th and Labor Day, but other than all that, my summer is gloriously free of organized plans, which I love. I’m ready to get my sunshine on.

What’s new with you? Are you as happy to finally greet summer as I am?

- K


Getting Out There

I am definitely a self-proclaimed homebody. My friends completely know and make fun of my lameness – they know I’ll usually back out of plans (or refuse to make any in the first place) because I just don’t go out. It’s not that I don’t like to do things, but honestly? It’s all exhausting. Putting on real pants, driving to wherever, hours of conversation, staying sober enough to drive home, then getting tail home … it’s a lot.

Yes, I know I’m lame.

I’m trying to get better about it, though, and this week has honestly been really fun. Wednesday afternoon, our office took the afternoon off to see a Cardinals game out at Busch Stadium, While the Cardinals aren’t really “my” team, I’m still trying to make an effort with them. Plus, afternoon off, dude. You know I was out there, even though it was incredibly cold (for the end of April, anyways). Friday night was a trip out to Fox Theatre for my final ticket in the Broadway series season to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I was familiar with the story from the Bible, but hadn’t ever seen the musical. I loved it – plus the ex-American Idol stars were really good (and Joseph was basically shirtless the whole time, and dayum he definitely should have his shirt off all the time).

Saturday morning was another trip out to the city for a 2 mile fun run that I had found about after last month’s 5K (a flyer was stuck under my windshield wiper during the race – great advertising opportunity). Now, I know what you’re thinking. A 2-mile race? Whaaaaat. And not only a 2-miler, it was a “first annual”. Now, I normally stay away from inaugural races. But here’s the kicker: it was part of the MicroFest, presented by Sam Adams, and offered a free hour of beer tasting post-run. And registration was only $25.

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Best $25 ever.

Sure, it was a small race. We didn’t really get any details about t-shirts and numbers until an email the morning of (the race didn’t start until 10am), and even then, the numbers were just to prove we were registered and didn’t have names on them. Race waiver was signed that morning while picking up the number and shirt. And yes, the shirt was 100% cotton. But there was really something great about the small run. There wasn’t that many people running, and when we finally herded ourselves out to the start, the organizer was able to start us by just yelling, no bullhorn or mic required. Traffic through the park was slow and limited to where we weren’t really dodging cars (roads were only partially blocked off). My only worry was that the small number of runners upped my possibility for the dreaded DFL, but thankfully, that wasn’t an issue. I probably should have hung out more post-race, but the beers were going down too easily and I still needed to drive home. I limited myself to an Angry Orchard Apple Ginger, which was really good for a cider (not normally my taste), and a Sam Adams Summer Ale, which was fantastic as always. I had a great time overall and will definitely look out for this run next year.

Hope you’re enjoying the warmer weather!

- K


Can’t Fight This Feeling

I wasn’t able to watch the Boston Marathon at work due to restrictions on streaming media on our computers, but I did follow the live chat on Runner’s World’s website as well as all the tweets that were posted minute-by-minute. Seriously. I basically got zero work done Monday morning. It was really exciting to “see” all the elite Americans do as well as they did, and I loved tracking runners I knew IRL as well as from the twitterverse.

Now, I’m not so delusional as to think I’ll run Boston – ever. I know I’m slow and often unmotivated and tend to get lazy. Got it. But I still like to follow the sport of running and occasionally get out there to run myself (albeit slowly). It’s just that I sometimes get self conscious about it all – like I’m hesitant to geek out about running with other people because I don’t even remotely resemble a Runner. I oftentimes keep running plans to myself, not wanting other people to know in case I do horribly. Even if I do get out there for events, I feel out of place at expos and starting lines. It’s all very awkward.

However, since I’m trying to make positive steps to change my fitness, I’ll let you guys in on what I’m currently working with. I researched a few ideas and settled upon Hal Higdon’s collection of training plans. I’m currently following the “Spring Training” (Novice) schedule through the end of June. Then I start up with a novice half marathon training plan for a mid-September half marathon I happened to sign up for (and which I’m unbelievably excited about). I want to train properly as well as really build up a good baseline of fitness, trying to work back to where I was ten (gasp) years ago. The schedule has attainable goals, nothing so lofty where I’ll just fall short and give up partway through.

And, most importantly, the training plan doesn’t scare me. I can do this.

- K

 


Back in the Saddle

This spring, I’ve been trying to get into better shape, more so since my epic failure at February’s Princess Half Marathon. Well, I say trying. I basically sleepwalked (sleptwalked?) through March, so that was a complete wash. And thus far, April’s been full of ups and downs. Earlier this month, I ran/walked the Go! St Louis 5k with some girls from work, and that was a pretty good time. Decent crowd, good weather, scenic run, no pressure. This kind of run that really reminded me how much I used to like running, before gps and twitter and blogs and all that. Back when I was a little ROTC student in college and I used to run every day like it ain’t no thang. So I decided to try and keep up the running after that 5k, with a few workout videos thrown in the mix for balance. Well, then shenanigans.

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I spent the latter half of last week and the first part of this week basically not doing a damn thing. I mean, I consulted Dr. Google, who said yeah, you need to rest, but don’t spend all damn day lying down, because that won’t do you much good either. Fortunately, whatever I did (or didn’t) do worked, and I was back to normal by Wednesday. (And totally taking a sabbatical from all things Jillian Michaels, because I do not want a repeat of all that.) Which was really great news since I was dying to try out my new shoes.

I had experienced some weird problems in recent months (both outdoor and treadmill running) where my heels felt like they were sinking too low and I would over compensate by running up on the front half of my feet (which sounds totally weird but would feel loads better). Of course, this would leave me with some seriously sore calves/achilles afterwards. I had ran in lightweight Asics for decades (obviously not the same pair), but felt like I need to shake things up … and I kept going back to these shoes another blogger kept bragging on. (Emily is highly entertaining in both running and beer, and while I will never be half the runner she is, I find her blog to be extremely entertaining.) I first heard about Hoka One One from her, and did some research – what intrigued me most was this whole “rocker” function, how the shape of the shoe encourages your foot to run the right way. So I ordered a pair of Kailua Tarmacs from an online store with a generous return policy for running shoes. You know, just in case. But totally unnecessary, it turns out, because these shoes completely rock. I don’t have calf or shin or hip pains, which would usually be an issue. And, it may or may not be in my head, but my old-person shuffle gait is gone in these shoes and I’m able to turn over my feet like an actual runner.

Sure, I’m still super slow, but that’ll ease with more running. Which I’m really excited to do.

Have a great weekend!

- K


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