Reflecting and Back to School

I finished off week two of marathon training and started week three feeling pretty decent. Other than some soreness from the back to back to back medium length runs, I’ve been okay hanging on to the prescribed pace. Except for one track workout, the rest of the runs have been labeled “easy.” This is a relative term in August due to summer temps and humidity.

Monday (the first day of school and the start of training week three) changed my point of view. Most of the time, I plan to run early before I get the kids up for school, because it just works better that way for all of us. Scheduling this Monday morning didn’t allow it. In retrospect, Monday speed days were probably not the best plan, but I don’t see how I can move it around without jacking up the week’s schedule. Training is done in an order to teach your body to run on tired legs. Late Monday afternoon, after I caught up on first day stories, filled out obligatory back to school paperwork, and fed the kids, I headed out for my speed work. Since the track was occupied – football – I ran down to the park which is flatter than my neighborhood for 600m repeats.

No worries, I sweated it off by the end.

No worries, I sweated it off by the end.

I hit 2:47 on the first one, and it just went up from there.  My splits were all over the place ranging from the 2:47 to 3:03. It was 6 pm so I’ll blame the heat.

Metric makes me feel fast.

Metric makes me feel fast.

The next day was rest day, and my legs were sore. Even Wednesday, with another hard workout, I was still sore from the 600s when I got out of bed.

Wednesday’s run was hard. Warm up, then 6 miles at tempo (marathon pace) then cool down. Every bit of it was hard. It’s been a long time since I felt like throwing up from a workout, but this came close. My goal is to train for a 3:40 marathon, which is faster than my 3:45 Boston qualifying time. That makes my tempo pace 8:23. The 3:45 time has a pace of 8:34. This morning I ended up with 8:38 and I don’t think I could’ve been much faster. Since it’s August and I was still sore from Monday, I’ll keep trying. Tempo runs are on the plan every Wednesday, so I’ve got time to get it right.

Recovery is key right now, so I’m focusing on better post run nutrition starting with my trusty chocolate milk.

I needed a superhero before that run.

I needed a superhero before that run.

After the tough run, I took some advice from my daughter’s shirt:

Of course!

Of course!

 

Now, I’m past my 9 pm bedtime, so off I go!

Happy running!

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Hustle for Health and Hills

Saturday was more than likely my last competitive 5k for the year. It’s just too hard for me to fit racing into marathon training. But the Hustle for Health was my first 5k in 2010, so I have run it every year since. Last year, I ran the 10k and you can read about the hills here. This year there was not a 10k and there were two categories at registration – one for competitive runners and the other for recreational run/walkers. So I registered as a competitive runner.

Saturday morning was humid, and after a couple of warmup miles in my neighborhood I needed to change my top and rehydrate. I then ran to the race site.

I assumed it was the same course as previous years, so I was expecting the fast, flat course. Then I found out the flat course was for recreational runners, and the 1st half of last year’s 10k was the 5k course for the competitive runners. Well, shoot. There went my last ditch effort to PR. I’m not scared of  hills. In fact, I run hills ALL THE TIME. I run uphill every time I head home. My legs are trained for hills. But this particular course followed my hills. The hills I run all the time., and Since my legs were already in marathon training, I tossed hope for a fast time. Oh well, one of my favorite part of local races is meeting up with others anyway. There were several from the local running group doing the same hilly route.

This 5k kicked my tail. I don’t run up my road at 5k pace. Ever. My mile pace stayed mostly in the 8:00 range. I was passed by three people in the second and third mile. One older male runner in long pants and long sleeves. What? Then another male runner. In the last tenth of a mile, a female passed me. With a glance, I knew she was nowhere near my old age group, but I didn’t lose focus. I kept my effort level and ran strong. I survived.

Post-race sweat

Post-race sweat photo 

 

When I went to look for my results, I checked my new age group but couldn’t find my name. I then looked at my previous age group. I couldn’t find my name anywhere. I checked the overall finisher page for my name. There it was with 1 TOP FIN under age group. I looked over at the overall winners, and there was my name listed as the female master’s winner. Yes, I’m old and I guess I had the home field advantage on the hills.

Female Master's Winner 24:39

Female Master’s Winner 24:39

 

Even more exciting was finding out my friend, who set a PR at the Melon Dash two weeks earlier, ran another PR on this monstrous course and placed first in her age group. She rocks!

Now I’m working week two of marathon training, and getting ready for dark o’clock running once school starts Monday.

Happy running!

 

 

 

 

 

Marathon Training and Warnings

Wednesday morning, dark and early, I will take the first run of my training plan for the Dallas Marathon. Because of my big goal, I’ve been working [mostly] all summer to lose weight, build strength, and gain speed.

Last week I took a break.

I cut back on my mileage, logging some slower paced 3 & 4 milers. I finally finished painting the laundry room and the workout room, and I didn’t worry about my eating habits. I indulged in some escapism first by watching an entire season of Downton Abbey, then reading Divergent. A note about me: I believe a good writer is a reader, and I must read the book before I watch the movie. I also like to read Young Adult fiction.

Then I celebrated a milestone.

 

Best Carrot Cake Ever!

Best Carrot Cake Ever!

I am now in a new age group. Hey there, 40.

The mental break was nice, but now I’m ready for structure.

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My plan will be challenging. For sure.

I will follow this for the Dallas Marathon, and see how I progress. If it’s not a great day, Houston will be my shot to BQ.

Just so I don’t alienate those around me, I made a list of what to expect from me over the next several months.

1. Early bedtime. I do not plan to answer calls, email, or texts after 9 pm.  Getting enough sleep is a problem for me, so this is an accountability statement. If you see me post on social media, call me out. 🙂

2. I will eat. All the time. Please don’t give me funny looks when I go for seconds at dinner – especially dessert.

3. Meal plan and shop for groceries once a week.  My kids will be okay eating grilled cheese once in a while – or once a week.

4. I will not check out books from the library, because I will forget to turn them in on time.

5. I will undoubtedly forget something I was asked to do, bring, or make.

Please forgive my training brain. There will be weeks when I have it together, and times I’m dropping balls all over the place.

So, gulp – it’s time to get started.

 

 

Melon Dash 5k

I completed my final race of my “4 before 40” this past weekend – the Melon Dash 5k in McKinney.

We’ve been fortunate so far this summer – avoiding 100 plus degree days. When I stepped outside early Saturday morning to take the puppies out, I was chilled. It would be nice weather for a 5k. In August. In Texas.

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I went with a few other runners I know, and met up with a few more after.

Before the race

Before the race

Racing is more fun when you have others to share it with.

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It was a large 5k, with about 1100 runners not including the fun run. I moved closer to the front since this was my last race in my thirties. When I realized I was standing behind a guy in a kilt, I moved again. I was hoping to get a new PR with the cooler temps. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. I ended up running the exact same time as I did in May (23:31). I ran a consistent pace in the first two miles, then struggled from mile 2 – 2.5 where my pace was in the 8:00 range. I pushed hard to bring it down and felt strong and fast for the last half mile. While I was still 22 seconds away from a PR, I can tell a difference in my strength. My time was good enough for 3rd in my age group out of over 100. I’ll take that and call it a win.

3rd in 35-39 age group

3rd in 35-39 age group

This is the week before marathon training starts, so I’m enjoying activities that will get pushed aside for the next several months. I’m cutting down my miles – there will be plenty of those to come.

Have a great rest of the week!