Saturday, June 28, 2014

Marathon Training: A couple long runs

I signed up for Twin Cities Marathon!  This will be my 5th marathon and my 3rd Twin Cities.  I needed a challenge- a physical and mental one- to focus my training and give new perspective to paying attention to my health and well-being.

I am following the "Own It" plan from one of my favorite sites- Another Mother Runner.  This morning marks my fourth long run of the training plan, an easy 13 miler.

Last weekend's long run was a glorious 15 miles with the middle five around marathon pace (I am shooting for a 4 hour (or less, eek!) marathon so that sets me around a 9 minute mile).  Since I was spending a few days visiting my parents and grandma in Cleveland, my dad offered to ride his bike next to me.

Long runs are true invitations for quality time with someone so I was fortunate that my dad was willing to cruise at snail's pace along this hilly boulevard.  He carried my snacks and water too!  What a guy!  He kept the conversation going as I muddled through the last five miles.  My average pace was 9:28 with some 9:00 miles (or less) in the middle.

Today's 13 felt so easy in comparison (an easy 10:28 pace- my running buddy, Rose, was tough on me and forced me to GO EASY!  I have a hard time with this once I get about two or three miles in.  I knew I needed to keep it slow though as last week I really felt tired around mile 12).  We did an out and back from my house to the Cathedral at the end of Summit.  We entertained ourselves by choosing our dream houses (although neither of us could imagine living in an entire house on Summit- they are huge!  What would you put in all the rooms?  No idea!?) and talking about some of our favorite subjects- new recipes and public transportation.  

I feel like every other week my long feel so easy.  I suppose that's the point of this plan- wear myself down and build back up.  Over the next three weeks, I am increasing my long run to the plan's first 20 miler on July 19th.  I will be out of town during the next two weekends, but I am looking forward to some new terrain for the long runs!  Maybe some pals will run/ride with me for some of it...we'll see!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Weekly Recap: 2/17-2/23

Monday, 2/17: 6 miles on treadmill w/4 miles @ 8:00 min pace
Tuesday: 2/18: 5 miles easy, abs
Wednesday, 2/19: off, abs
Thursday, 2/20: off, abs
Friday, 2/21: long run on treadmill, 12 miles! abs
Saturday, 2/22: run in the cold but sunny outdoors with Rose, 7 miles, abs.
Sunday, 2/23: masters swim team, 3350 yards

Total mileage: 30 miles

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Weekly Recap: 2/10-2/16

Monday 2/10: 6 mile run (felt awful but finished...), abs
Tuesday 2/11: off, abs.
Wednesday 2/12: 7.5 miles outside!  abs.
Thursday 2/13: 6 miles w/4x400 (treadmill), abs.
Friday 2/14: 4 miles easy, outside!, abs.
Saturday 2/15: 6 miles w/ 3x400, 3x800, 3x200 (between 8:00-7:00 pace)
Sunday 2/16: 4 miles easy

Total mileage: 33.5miles

Skipped long run and swim team this week due to a visit from my family.  That said, I ran almost every day even if it was just a nice refresher run.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Weekly Training Recap: 2/3-2/9

Monday 2/3- 6.25 miles w/6x800 @ 8:00-7:30 pace, abs.
Tuesday 2/4- 1.5 miles easy (I planned to go longer but Misha wasn't into childcare that evening!), abs.
Wednesday 2/5- off, abs
Thursday 2/6- off, abs
Friday 2/7- 6.5 miles easy with Rachel The Dog, Rose and Lida, abs.
Saturday 2/8- 10 miles on treadmill
Sunday 2/9- 3150 yards, swim team

total mileage (running): appx. 24

This week had some good moments- Monday's treadmill workout, getting outside on Friday, and then of course, swim practice on Sunday morning.  I made some excellent meals this week too if I do say so myself (and I do!) including a kale salad with beets, sweet potatoes, and apples, a parsnip "rice" with flavored with coconut and ginger, a chicken bean bowl, and a beef chili loaded with vegetables for Saturday night with friends.  I also have been drinking at least a mug of mate everyday- a nice substitute for coffee and full of antioxidants.

The week's low point was the lack of running Tuesday through Thursday.  I intended to get out there but my plan was foiled due to Misha's devices, the freezing temperatures, and my lack of willpower to get to the gym once Mike got home from work.  It's tough sometimes!  Hopefully, this week I will be able to increase my mileage a bit- I need to start thinking ahead to the longer trail runs ahead of me!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

January Training Reflections

Month in numbers:
Running mileage: 133
# of runs with running buddies: 10
Swimming yardage: 9100 (5.170455 miles!)
# ab workouts: 23
# of push-ups: appx. 460
Minutes spent weight lifting (+countless minutes of lifting misha): 20 minutes


  • I am feeling good about my first three swim team practices!  The workouts stretch me and it has been motivating to join a new community of athletes.  I am the slowest swimmer in lane 2, but I think if I keep going on Sundays consistently and add 1 more swim workout a week (either a practice or just swimming on my own), I will begin to improve.  
  • I am feel strong on the running front.  It is heavenly to get outside when the temperatures allow it.  I am thankful that I joined the gym and its been fun to do some workouts with a buddy next to me on the treadmill. 

Not so good:
Mostly nutritional stuff...

  • Gained five unwanted pounds over the last month.  I know that is hard to believe with all the workouts but with workouts comes hunger.  And, with awful weather comes boredom.  When I can't get out of the house, it is easy to grab an extra handful of snacks.  I am totally not against snacks as fuel and even an occasional dessert.  But high quantities of sugar, salt, and processed food definitely affect my energy and motivation to engage in life.  
  • Drinking wine or scotch every night.  I am on the fence about this one.  I think a daily cocktail is actually a good thing.  My grandparents did it every day at 5 o'clock.  It is a good tradition but I want to cap it at one drink and nurse that puppy.  Instead of helping myself to a second glass at dinner.

Intentions For February:

  • Set up training bike in basement and move workout equipment into studio
  • Yoga dvd and/or gillian vid 1 x week 
  • Add one more swim workout a week
  • Avoid unnecessary snacking and processed food.  Enjoy simple desserts (dark chocolate, figs with coconut) on a daily basis and indulge in a real treat once and a while (carrot cake!).
  • 1 glass of wine or scotch.  Nurse that puppy!

Weekly Training Recap: 1/27-2/2

Monday, 1/27: 5 miles with some hills (treadmill), abs
Tuesday 1/28: 8 miles w/ intervals: 2x1600 (3 min. recov), 3x600 (2 min recov), 3x300 (1-2 min recov), (treadmill), abs.
Wednesday 1/29: off, abs.
Thursday 1/30: 5 miles easy in the snow with Rebecca.  Lovely. Abs.
Friday 1/31: off, abs
Saturday 2/1: 10 mile long run, outside! with Callie and Rachel the dog!  Amazing! abs
Sunday 2/2: swim team, total yards: 3250

Total mileage: 28 miles

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Treadmill Tales- Making It Work

At negative numbers, my running buddy and I were worried about nostril frostbite and reynaud's fingers, so we decided to relocate our scheduled Saturday long run to the local YWCA.

How does one crank out 12 miles at the gym?

Here's a play by play:

8 am: Text message exchange ensues.  After much deliberation, we decide 12 miles of treadmill running is pretty hardcore and slipping on the ice is not worth it.
8:30 am: Meet in the lobby.  Remove copious outer layers.
8:35 am: Sign out our two favorite treadmills and get started.
8:40 am: Decide to switch up speed and/or incline every mile.
8:45 am: Catch up on the latest personal goings on.  Hopes for a warm vacation.  Getting stir crazy due to extreme temperatures.  Coziness of motherhood in the winter.  Diaper rash.  Colds.  Cross country skiing adventures.
8:50 am: Crank it up!  Speed + Incline
9:15 am: About 5 miles in.  Water break.  Bathrooms.
9:20 am: Back on treadmills.  Discussion shifts to professional life, projects, and theory.  Documentary film making.  Back to the land movement.  Time to write.  Time to collaborate.  The mother/working woman balance.
9:50 am: Somewhere around 8 miles.  Decide to move our run onto the indoor track.  I am assigned the responsibility for counting laps.  8 laps=1 mile.  My running buddy keeps me entertained with stories of burn parties (controlled fires in rural areas).  We contemplate grant applications and whether people ever really start them more than three days before the deadline.
10:15: Getting Close!  About 1 1/4 left.  Bored of running in circles, we decide to pump out our last mile on the treadmills.
10:20: Back on the treadmills, we crank up the speed and finish strong!
10:30: Done!!!!  We toast water bottles and wipe down our machines.

The real key to an indoor long run is an insightful and interesting conversational partner.  Lucky me, my buddy is a published author and prolific reader.  The woman knows how to tell a story.  If you don't happen to have access to a professional storyteller, I suggest podcasts and audio books or an inspiring mix that you put together for the very purpose of an indoor long run.  And, like I demonstrated in my play by play, keep mixing up pace and incline.  Make mini goals.  Cause, if 12 miles outside seems like a long way, 12 miles of actually going nowhere is a true mind game.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Weekly Training Recap 1/20-1/26

Monday, 1/20: 5 miles easy (though big fall on the ice!)
Tuesday, 1/21: off, abs
Wednesday, 1/22: off, abs
Thursday, 1/23: 8 miles with intervals (see Thursday's blog post), abs
Friday, 1/24: 4 miles easy in the snow, abs
Saturday, 1/25: 12 mile long run, (switching between treadmills and indoor track)
Sunday, 1/26: 6 miles total* with each 2 miles progressively faster (9:00-7:30 min/miles), abs

Total mileage: 35 miles

*No masters swim team for second week in a row due to indoor triathlon!  Can't wait till next Sunday!  I might even try a practice during the week.  I miss it!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Something about running...

School was cancelled again due to bitter cold temperatures.  So what did I do?  Head to the gym, of course!  I couldn't wait to get in an interval workout after a two day running hiatus.  I have been getting interval workout ideas from a running group that meets every Thursday morning.  I am never able to join them due to my morning work schedule/routine, but I like to do their workouts so I requested to keep me on the email list!

Here was today's workout:

1 mile w/u
4 x (4 min, 3 min, 2 min) w/1 min. recovery jogs between each interval.  I ran each set a little faster- starting at 8 min/mile pace and ending at 7:30 min/mile.
1 mile c/d

Total mileage: 8 miles

I finished up with some quick stretching and my standard 8 min. abs.

I felt awesome!

Now, the special thing about this workout is that I completed it while talking with a colleague of mine on the treadmill next me.  As a p.Hd student, she is busy too so we have found that workout meetings ensure collaboration for us!  Further, we both love to brainstorm and chat while running so meetings on the run is the perfect combination.  I am all about this.  If anyone wants to have a meeting with me, get your running shoes out.  I am serious.  And, if it is on treadmills, we don't even have to be the same pace!  Everyone wins!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Weekly Training Recap

1/12 Sunday- Swim team: 2950 yards total w/IM set and 5x200 free (3 min pace, I think)
1/13 Monday- rest, abs
1/14 Tuesday- 7 miles with 6x800 (treadmill), abs
1/15 Wednesday- rest, abs
1/16 Thursday- 6 miles with 3 miles @ 8-7:30 pace (treadmill), abs
1/17 Friday- 7 miles w/6x1 min. fast (treadmill), abs
1/18 Saturday- easy walk in the snow
1/19 Sunday- long easy run, 10 miles

Total running: mileage: 30 miles

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Swim Team- 15 years later...

Swim team set the foundation for me in terms of embracing fitness as a lifelong pursuit.  At age six, my parents enrolled me in Elm Grove Swim Team.  Every summer (until about age 14), I competed in individual events and relays.  I approached practices with an open mind, eager to be part of a team and please my coach (and dad).  During my middle school years, I joined a local winter team.  I was never the fastest, but I had a decent breaststroke time and I made it through every set.  

The challenges of swim team practice are different than a running workout.  With swimming, I have to remember to breathe!  The whole body is involved and there is a complex rhythm to every stroke.  A fast swimmer relies on technique.  This isn't to say that breathing, rhythm, and technique aren't important in running, only to point out that someone can be really fit and athletic but the slowest swimmer ever.  This is not usually the case with running.

Today was my second swim team practice as an adult.  It's been, let's see, almost 15 years since I have received stroke pointers from an experienced coach and attempted to stay on pace with my lane mates.  I love it.  I love that I am going to see the same folks every Sunday morning.  I love that it is men and women.  I love that today's lane mate was 37 and I thought she was 31 and she kicked my butt in freestyle even though she doesn't do flip turns.  I love that people are there for various reasons (many are triathletes with swimming as their second or third sport) but all of them are adults who are doing something healthy for themselves when they could be home eating bacon on Sunday morning.  I love that my coach noticed problems with my stroke and gave me unsolicited feedback and forced me to try something different that I wasn't excited about.  I liked that it was hard and I had to focus.  I love leaving practice with wet hair under a winter hat- it brings me back to getting in the car with my dad when picked me up from winter swim team.  The smell of chlorine has always been a point of pride.

Like last week, I swam about 2950 yards.
5x200 warm up (swim, kick, IM, pull, swim)
5x50 kick (25 free, 25 choice)
5x100 IM (2:00 minutes) with 1-3 descending, 4-5 hold (I averaged about 1:46)
5x200 Free (3:30)- these were tough for me because I was focusing on doing 20 pulls per length (as opposed to my usual 27+) while maintaining an under 3:30 pace.
200 cool down

Training: Week In Review

1/5 Sunday: 2900 swim!  Masters swim team, included 2x500 (9:40, 8:40), 2x400 (IM mix)

1/6 Monday: off

1/7 Tuesday: 5 miles: hills!  6x1:00 min @ 4-10% incline w/2 min recov

1/8 Wednesday: 5 miles: 1 mile w/u, 3 miles @ 7:30-8 min pace, 1 c/d

1/9 Thursday: 1 mile warm up on treadmill, circuit class @ gym

1/10 Friday: 5 miles, easy run (outside! with Rachel and BRB)

1/11 Saturday: 10 long, leisurely miles along river road

Total running mileage: 26 miles

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Happy Saturday Long Run

Today's run was with BRB (Best Running Buddy), Rebecca.  We met up at Summit and River Road and ran 10 leisurely miles along the Mississippi River (turning around at the Stone Arch Bridge).  The temperature was a (balmy!) thirty degrees with little wind.  In fact, heading south, we noticed that the wind was helping us with an incline.  Surprised, we exclaimed, "Wait!  Was the wind actually in our faces before?!"  Despite some slushy spots (especially Lake Street Bridge!), it felt wonderful to stretch out the muscles and engage in our usual joyful long run conversation!

As a side note, during the run, I pondered whether there was a specific running group out on river road today with the goal to say a warm hello to every runner, or if it was just the welcome shift in weather.  Truly, I don't believe I've ever got more happy greetings from joggers!

Planning 2014 Race Calendar

This year, I plan to concentrate on trail races including my first ultra (50k, or 31.0686 miles) and diversifying my training.

Here's what I've got so far in terms of possible races:

4/12: Trail Mix 25k @ Lake Rebecca  (training)

5/17: Superior Hiking Trail 25k (training)

7/5: Afton 50k (My first 30 miles for my 30th birthday!)

8/17: YWCA Women's Sprint Triathlon

9/20: Surly Trail Loppet (Trail half marathon)

10/11: Big Woods Run  (Trail half marathon)
10/25: Surf The Murph (25k/50k/50 mile)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Training Goals- January 2014

1. Map out 2014 racing calendar
2. Swim 1x week- preferably Masters Swim Team practice on Sunday mornings
3. Set up stationary bike in basement
4. Three key running workouts per week: 1 intervals or hills, 1 tempo, and 1 long run
5. Experiment with other forms of cross training: yoga videos, 30 day shred, rowing machine at gym, yoga class.
6. Weight maintenance & work on nutrition (in terms of timing, limiting sugar consumption, balancing protein, carbs, and fat in every meal).