Monday, April 25, 2011

New PRs!

I fell off the posting wagon, but I'm back with good news and bad news. The good news is that I have 2 new PRs under my belt! I've been working on upping my mileage, and I think it's been totally beneficial to my pacing. If you aren't doing tempo runs and speedwork, you're missing out! I've been following the advice of a fellow blogger and runner - here - and trying to train in a smarter way. If you are doing all your runs at breakneck speed, you might want to read what she has to say. I've read this advice in multiple reliable sources, and I'm convinced that slowing down has helped me speed up- as counterintuitive as that may sound.

On to the PRs! I ran my second half marathon on March 20, and set a new PR by 11 minutes! My new record is 2:18:xx. Is it bad that I can't remember the second count? I guess that's what happens with more races under my belt. I'll attempt a recap on here later this week. I will say that it was an incredibly tough course. I was forewarned, but I didn't think it could be any tougher than the Athens Half. Wrong! I swear it was endless hills. I didn't entirely enjoy it, and I would only run it again to see if I could best my time from this year.

My second PR was set 6 days after the half at a local 5k. I was told not to expect to PR in a race that close to a half, but I kicked ass! I beat my last 5k PR by 46 seconds, and I still felt a little sore from the half. My new record for 5k is 28:14! I managed to place second in my age group! This is why I love local races. I would never place in a larger 5k. To be fair, there were 10 ladies in my age group, so I think 2 out 10 isn't too bad. I think my goal of a 25:xx 5k may be possible this year, especially considering that my first 5k of the year was 31 minutes. I'm making fantastic progress.

Now for the bad news. I'm injured. It sucks. I'm in pain. I think the injury was caused by either too many track runs or too many treadmill runs. My self diagnosis is peroneal tendonitis. It started as a soreness on the outside of both ankles last week, which was after pulling 9 miles out on the treadmill. I'm convinced that my form is so horrible on the treadmill that I injure myself if I put too many miles on it. The pain wasn't enough to stop me from running 10 miles last week, though. I put in 3 easy on Monday and a 5 mile tempo on Wednesday. My ankles were sore after the tempo, so I took 2 solid days of rest. I was scheduled for 10 miles on Saturday, but I decided to push it off until Sunday and get in 2 easy miles to see how my ankles felt. I made it through the 2 miles, but I woke up yesterday to stiffness and a very painful right ankle. I currently have it wrapped and have been resting and taking Celebrex. I have a 5k this Saturday, and I was really hoping to get it in in 27:xx, but that is looking iffy now.

Monday, February 28, 2011


Here's my training plan for this week:
Monday- easy 3 mile run, 45 minutes yoga
Tuesday- Workout 6A, Stage 1 NROLFW
Wednesday- 5 mile tempo run
Thursday- 2 easy miles, 25 minutes yoga, Workout 6B, Stage 1 NROLFW
Friday- 45 minutes yoga
Saturday- 10 miles
Sunday- rest

Happy running!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Weight Lifted

Literally. I had a weight lifted off of me on my 9 mile run this morning. I bought a cheapie fuel belt before my first half last year. It's a New Balance that came with a small pocket and a 20 oz water bottle. Oddly enough, the water bottle that it came with cannot be easily put into or removed from the belt. It's damn near impossible to get it in and out while running. It gave the water I put in it a horrible plasticky aftertaste. I ditched it immediately for another water bottle I had in the cabinet and later for a Gatorade bottle. It never seemed to bother me when I was training last fall. I fretted and stressed over picking the right bottle before purchasing this one on a whim. It worked fine, so I wondered what all the fuss was over different fuel belts.

Now I get it. I strapped it on this morning for the first time since last October, and it was awful. My first 2 miles were slow and painful. My stomach was killing me and felt cramped. Luckily, I run a 2 mile loop that goes right by my house. I stopped after the first loop and threw the belt in the mailbox. I felt soooooo much better! Mile three improved by a full minute and that was with my stop at the mailbox added in. Out of the 9 miles I ran today, mile 2 was by far the slowest, so I think that really speaks to how terribly uncomfortable the belt made me.

Onto my fueling issues, which are related to today's belt fiasco. Up until this point, I've always used Chocolate Outrage Gu for my runs over 7-8 miles. I also have always used watered down Gatorade. This combo had really been irritating my stomach as of late. My past few long runs have been plagued with slowness due to stomach cramps and aches. I did a little research and realized that Gu should not be chased with Gatorade. It's a recipe for disaster. I was hesitant to switch to water since my stomach used to turn on runs when I would hydrate with water. I tested it out on a few shorter runs this week with good results, so I traded my Gatorade for water today.

I also decided to play around with different fuels today. I think the caffeine in the Gu was causing further stomach irritation. On the advice of a health and fitness board that I frequent, I went to Academy this week and stocked up on single servings of different fuels. I bought Shot Bloks, Sport Beans, Honey Stinger Waffle, and Mocha Flavored Clif Shot Gel. I tasted the Shot Bloks yesterday and they ended up in the trash. I had a serious issue with the texture, not to mention the weird taste it left in my mouth. I also tasted the Honey Stinger Waffle and found it to be rather delicious! It really fell apart nicely in my mouth, so I think it would be a good choice for anyone who prefers to eat something akin to real food on long runs as opposed to gels or beans. I tried the beans at the 2 mile mark today when I ditched my fuel belt. I think I have found my new fuel! They were delicious and so easy to chew while running. I had zero intestinal issues with them. It was so much more pleasant than having to squirt an icing like Gu into my mouth and wait for it to dissolve.

With all that out of the way, I have concluded that I will not wear a belt in my next half. Now that I am set with water, there's really no reason to carry it, especially with the problems it caused today. Although I lied a little bit because I may look into a Spibelt to hold my sport beans and phone. I've only ever heard great reviews of the Spibelt, so I feel confident that it would be a great choice. I have to say that I feel so free now that I've worked this all out! The thought of not having that fuel belt strapped to me makes me a little ecstatic! Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The human cough drop.

I've been looking all over town for BioFreeze. I used a sample of it last year that came in my half marathon goodie bag. Why in the world do they give you samples of something you can't easily and readily purchase? I read online that someone found BioFreeze at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I ran over to check it out since I am impulsive that way. A manager checked the computer system and informed me that the closest location with BioFreeze in stock was 50 miles away. Fail.

I hopped in my car and googled BioFreeze on my phone. I read that CVS, Walgreen's, and other large drug store chains carry it. So, on to CVS I went. I did not find BioFreeze, but I did find Perform spray from the makers of BioFreeze. It was pricey, but if it made my posterior shin splints on my left leg feel better, then it was worth it. And did it ever! I sprayed it on as soon as I got in the car and it was liquid magic! My leg felt fantastic! It is smelly, though, since the active ingredient is 10% natural menthol.

With my reintroduction of weight training into my schedule this past Monday, I've had quite a bit of soreness in my legs. I'm guessing the squats are what did me in. It's funny because I was squatting somewhere around 100 pounds back at the beginning of January before I quit NROLFW, so I didn't think my squatting just the 45 pound bar on Monday would do much damage. I guess I've lost more muscle than I though because that workout kicked my ass.

How does this work into my intro about BioFreeze? I'll tell you. My sore quads where screaming this morning, and I wasn't sure how I would get my 5 mile tempo run in today. I got out the spray to help out my calf, then I had the great idea to spray my quads. This required quite a bit of the spray. I quickly started to smell like I was soaked in menthol, which I was if you think about it. The smell kept intensifying. I almost decided to skip the gym because the smell was so overwhelming. I was using the outdoor track today, so I bit the bullet and went anyway hoping that I wouldn't offend anyone at the track.

I have to say that this stuff is amazing! My legs feel fantastic! The smell is a little strong, but I think it's totally worth to have the relief it provides.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Training schedule

Here's what my workouts look like this week:
Monday- NROLFW Stage 1, Workout 5A, 20 minutes on the elliptical
Tuesday- 2 easy miles, 45 minutes of yoga for runners
Wednesday- 5 mile tempo run
Thursday- 2 mile easy run, NROLFW Stage 1, Workout 5B
Friday- 45 minutes yoga for runners
Saturday- 9 mile long run
Sunday- rest

I started out training for this half marathon using Half Higdon's intermediate half program. I began obsessively reading about different training programs and came up with my own, which was a combination of Hal's program and the Furman FIRST program. That lasted a couple of weeks until I broke down and went back to Runner's Worlds SmartCoach. I just can't help myself! I love SmartCoach! The OCD part of me really like how specific it is. I feel reassured when I am able to meet or exceed the distances and times that it gives me.

If you aren't familiar with NROLFW (New Rules of Lifting for Women), you should familiarize yourself with it ASAP. I love this program! I tried to incorporate strength training last year when I first began exercising, but I felt lost in the weight room. I would bounce around from machine to machine terrified of setting foot in the free weight section. NROL has given me direction, confidence, and an insane amount of strength. I foolishly stopped the program in January after I finished Stage 1 because I thought it would be counterproductive to strength train while training for another half. I was so strong when I first started half training that I had great stamina and my form was spot on. That should not have been the case considering that I had to take 1.5 months off after my injury. I credit my quick jump back into running with the strength I gained doing NROL.

I started back today and skipped a little to the middle of stage 1. As the past month has worn on, I realized that I am beginning to deal with nagging injuries again. I am convinced that this is because I stopped strength training. I'm hoping that the addition of NROL and yoga will help keep me in top form and able to train.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

10k results.

So I finished my 10k with an instant PR since it was my first. My sweet baby girl ran the one mile fun run with a friend of ours. I was sad that I missed her first run since the fun run was during the 10k, but DH took tons of pics and I knew she was in good hands. She ran the entire mile and finished in around 13-14 minutes! I have included pics of her running as well as a pic of my 2 year old hanging out.

My finish time was 1:01:43! I made my second of three goal times. I think I probably could have pushed a little harder, especially in the beginning, but I'm still proud of myself. Here are my splits:

Mile 1- 9:27
Mile 2- 10:21
Mile 3- 9:58
Mile 4- 9:52
Mile 5- 9:52
Mile 6- 10:03
.2- 2:06

I think my average pace ended up around 9:55 min/mile. I'm glad I broke 10 min/mile. I have to say that I really enjoyed the hills! I have become an amazingly strong hill runner, as is evident by my split at mile 3. That mile was so hilly, and the hills were really steep at some points- on the uphill side! I was passing people like crazy on the hills.

Now for pictures. There's only one of me and it's from behind, which is what happens when DH runs the camera. Remarkably, he is a very talented photographer, just not when using a point and shoot.

Friday, February 18, 2011

On a roll.

Since I've posted twice in the last few days, I figured I might as well keep my posting spree up. I have a twinge of pain in my left leg. I swear my left leg gives me the most issues with running of any body part. When I was refitted for shoes weekend before last the gait difference between my left and right feet was amazing! My left foot has an almost perfectly neutral strike while my right foot/ankle overpronates quite a bit. I ended up in Brooks Adrenaline GTS. They are amazing! But, evidently not amazing enough to keep me injury free. I've always run in neutral shoes, so the difference was immediately apparent. I do feel like this shoe is better for my gait, but I have a nagging voice in the back of my head that says this may not be the right shoe. Why do I have this pain in my leg? It feels like the bout of posterior shin splints I went through last fall. I'm going to spend today icing and stretching. Given that I am completely hard-headed, I will probably attempt the 10k tomorrow no matter what. I'll update after it's over!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I have my very first 10k this weekend. I'm nervous. Abnormally nervous. I haven't been this nervous about a race since my half. I'm planning to use my time in this 10k to qualify for a specific start gate at the Peachtree Road Race this summer. According to McMillan, I should be able to complete this race in 59 minutes and a few seconds based on my 5k time from last weekend. I ran all out last weekend, but I still didn't max out on heart rate, and I felt like I could probably have shave 15 seconds or more off my first mile with good results. I'm just so unsure of myself at this distance. Do I have the stamina to maintain a sub-10 min/mile pace for that long? I guess time will tell.

I'm going to try to update more often as I am quickly approaching my second half marathon! Only about a month to go. Training is going well, despite the fact that I missed 2 runs this week due to shin splints from bad form at the 5k last weekend. As long as I can stay injury free over the next month, I am confident that I can finish this half with the goal I have in mind.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

An update....finally. New PR!

I officially have a new 5k PR! I ran the Athens Academy Spartan Sprint this morning in 29 minutes even! I was aiming for under 30 minutes, but I could not believe that I finished in 29 minutes. My last 5k was the ML5K in January, and it sucked. I started out way too fast and burned out. I finished in 31:11. I was so disappointed in myself. I even placed 3rd in my AG, but that didn't make up for the bad racing I did. My friend just finished C25k and ran this as her first 5k. She was amazing! I was so proud of her, although I did think she wanted to slap me with all the cheering I was doing for her at the end.

Here are my split times for this 5k:
Mile 1- 10:01
Mile 2- 9:26
Mile 3- 8:48
.10- 45 sec

I finally realized after my last 5k that I have to run negative splits to get the times I want. I made a huge effort to stay calm and slow in the first mile so I wouldn't burn out. My strategy paid off!

My training is progressing well for my next half, which is on March 20. My long runs are faster and feel better than they did last fall. I am hoping to finish this half in 2:15 or less. We'll see what happens!