Summer Running

We finally made it to the end of the school year, so we are finished with band concerts, banquets, awards, etc, etc…I’ve just been plugging along with my training in the meantime. I raced my second 5k for the year in May, and it was about 20 degrees warmer with much higher humidity than the one in April. I hit the first mile at a pace that kind of scared me, but ended up slowing in the second mile when there was no breeze and the humidity took over. But anyway, I was happy to see my running friends out there, and that my overall pace came down a bit. It was a smaller local 5k, to raise funds for the Denison Animal Welfare Group (DAWG).

Texoma RunnersThere were dogs everywhere and it was fun. I was surprised to see several run with their dogs and place in their age group. One woman ran with two! Maybe Cleo will be ready to run it next year. I know she likes to run, and last week I discovered she likes my Feetures running socks, when she ate one before I realized I dropped it!

Don’t let the cute face fool you!

 

My foot seems to be back to normal. Yay!! All my runs since the Bluebonnet Half have been 5 miles or less, and two to three times a week at most. I’ve been doing some strength work, along with swimming and biking too. I’ve been biking enough that I can’t wait to get back to more running! 🙂

I will say this about triathlon: I like the training, and I feel like a better athlete when I’m training this way. More balanced. Triathlon allows enough respite from running, that my passion for it is rekindled and I will be excited to get back to heavy training. I’m still working on those big goals.

Which brings me to my other news. If you didn’t see my posts earlier this month on social media, I am now an ambassador for RunRelated!

I’ve been working with my coach since mid-December, which means I haven’t had to plan any of my training since then. After more than 7 years of doing it on my own, I am happy to turn that over to someone else. I have some big goals I’m reaching for, and my coach didn’t laugh when I told him what they were. Now, I just need to show up for myself.

Since this is the time of year when a lot of runners are planning for fall/winter races, take a look to see if it’s for you. It’s affordable coaching (you know I’m frugal), it’s specific to me and my goals/schedule, and I can text my coach with questions about workouts, planning races, etc. In the case of my injury, he immediately made changes to the next week’s training to cut the running, and upped the intensity of swimming and biking (more than I would have done on my own). If you’re looking for help meeting your goals, check out RunRelated.

I’m running another local 5k this Saturday to support a marching band. I’m trying to take advantage of this time of year to get in and support the local races. It is getting hot, so my expectations may need to be adjusted. Then, the sprint tri is a few weeks after that. Summer is here!

Stay hydrated!

 

 

 

 

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A Teeny Tiny Bit of Running, and a 5k

If there ever was a time of year to have a running injury, I guess this is it. No long races in the near future, and a sprint triathlon at the end of June.

I went to Airrosti the week after the Bluebonnet Half, after limping for a couple of days. After my visit, I only ran twice that week. A 3 mile easy run, and a 5k that Saturday. I had instruction from my Airrosti doctor and my coach to stop any time I felt pain, and walk or cancel the 5k if I needed to. The goal was to not set myself back, and was mostly about supporting a local race. I did a warm up to test my foot before the 5k, and it was sore but not painful. So I went out at what felt like 5k pace for as long as I wasn’t hurting. The weather was great, but it didn’t take long for me to remember how hard it is to breathe in a 5k! My easy 3 mile run earlier in the week did not prepare my lungs! The last 5k I ran was in September, so I was a little cautious with my pace, and not really sure where my fitness was for a fast race. I made it through the first mile in 8:05, and the second one was the same. In the last half a mile, I noticed it was all male runners around me. I could see one of my friends ahead, pulling away from me. My pace was slipping, but I did my best to hang on.

 

I was pretty happy with my effort, and the fact that my foot felt the same as before the race. I was about a minute off my time from last year, and with an age group win and third overall female finisher.  My friend I was chasing was the second female, and also won her age group. I love these smaller, local races!

I’ll be testing myself again on the 19th for another 5k, so hopefully my lungs will be on board this time. 🙂

My next week of training had extra biking and swimming to make up for the missing runs. My coach has kept my running distance low to help the healing process, but the intensity in the pool and on the bike has cranked up. Let’s just say I haven’t been bored from not running. I have missed meeting my friends for early morning runs, but I have to do what’s best for me.  Even when it means getting on my bike. On the road. Away from the comfort of my trainer and Netflix…

I have a friend who is also training for a triathlon, and she came over to my house so we could ride together. I’m such a chicken when it comes to riding, and I don’t know why. Maybe because I’ve fallen from being clipped in, maybe because it hurts more now that I’m older. It’s probably because I just don’t spend enough time on the road. She told me it was time to take it outside.

So we took it nice and easy, and I didn’t fall! This time…

I’m so thankful I can be my neurotic, fraidy-cat self around my friends, and they still choose to spend time with me. 🙂

Last week was still just a little bit of running. Nothing more than 3 miles. I had my follow-up Airrosti appointment and he said my foot looked really good. It was feeling much better too, especially after the tissue work. Ouch. So I’m done with the treatment unless it flares up again. According to my husband, new shoes are cheaper than insurance deductibles. He’s so right!

I have been instructed to keep the distance of a run below the point of pain, and to continue my foot strengthening exercises. This works for me because it seems that summer weather is here all of a sudden. It also times well with the end of the school year: banquets, testing, athletic tryouts, concerts, awards, and all that fun stuff. Just about two more weeks until I can join the 6 am club for the summer. It’ll be a nice change working out in the daylight.

 

 

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Bike Rides (and a run)

I’m taking advantage of my recovery week to catch up on my blog posting and other things around the home. The training started to take a toll on me last week, and was evident when I took my son’s Spider-Man towel to the pool. The dirty laundry was overflowing a bit and paperwork threatened to cover the kitchen counter.

This is week 8 of 16, and what I thought would be my biggest challenge of half Ironman training is turning out to be different from what I expected. I thought the hardest part would be in cutting back on running.  With only three runs a week, I thought I would miss it more. Actually, I have so much to work on with my weaknesses (swim and bike), I haven’t really had time in my brain to miss those extra runs. Even on Marathon Monday (Boston Marathon day), I was excited to track the runners from my group and I was again inspired to work hard, but it was my rest day and I needed the break.

Especially after a tough bike ride two days before.

As it turns out, I’m not great at cycling and I have a lot to learn. Every Saturday for my long ride, I have been dealing with the wind. But on this day, it wore me out. The route I ride, with a few variations, is out and back. That means if the wind pushes me one direction, I will be fighting it coming back. This day was especially hard, because some of the gusts and crosswinds made me wonder if I’d end up in the ditch if I took one hand off for a drink. Needless to say, I didn’t fuel enough either. In the last five miles, I tried to be positive. I tried to be excited about the new distance, but I wanted to cry because it was hard. It reminded me of when I trained for my first marathon, and with each new distance I was proud for pushing on, past the point of doubt and pain. I could feel the tension in my neck and shoulders as I finished up my ride, just from controlling the bike. When I pulled into my driveway, I stopped and straddled my bike with my head down. Glad it was done; feeling stronger than I did before.

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40 miles done.

You can tell where the wind beat me up on my bike splits.

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The next week, my plan had a 45 mile ride followed by a 15 minute run and I wasn’t looking forward to it. I tend to get nervous before my long ride every week, and I should be over that by now. I easily expected to be out there for almost four hours (including the run). My husband worked on my bike, and I asked him if he could tilt my saddle forward just a tad. I’ve had some pain toward the end of my rides, and I know I need to go get a bike fit. But this would suffice for now. Then I headed out.

I don’t know if it was the weather (calm and sunny), the adjustments to the bike seat, or the smoother shifting that helped, but this ride was nice. My legs were sore for the first couple of miles (after a 5 mile run the night before), but then I settled into the ride and my head for the next few hours. I finished a 45 mile ride in 3:05:44 – average 14.5 mph – only 5 minutes slower than the previous week’s ride of 40 miles. What a difference! I ran inside to my makeshift transition area, and came back out for my 15 minute run. It was hot outside, and I was sweating. But I got it done! I even started some new tan lines from my cycling shorts. 🙂

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A lot of chocolate milk for recovery all weekend!

My pace was pretty good for the run. It’s such a different feeling going from the bike to the run. I don’t know if you ever get used to it. I’m trying not to think too much about the half marathon I’ll be doing after all the biking (and swimming).

Sunday morning I did my long run of 11 miles. It was so peaceful out – just me and the squirrels. It’s been a while since I’ve run that many miles solo, and it was different.

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But for the remainder of my training, I’m going to move the long run to the afternoon – in the heat. That’s what my Ironman friend told me I need to do. Train when you will race. So my days of cool early morning runs are over, and I’ll be sweating it out in the heat from now on.  Oh yeah!

Now I’m off to try to reduce this laundry pile. Have a great week!

 

 

 

 

My First Open Water Swim

Eventually I will get back to writing about running, but I just had to write a post about my first open water swim. From the girl who couldn’t swim freestyle less than a year ago, this was a huge deal for me. I once thought  it better to not know what’s coming and tackle challenges as they come, but in training for this half Ironman – where a time cutoff is my biggest concern – I need to face my fears head on. What better way to do that than to jump out of my comfort zone and dive in! (pun intended)

I found an open water swim clinic on Octane Athletics‘ site. There would be coaches (major plus), lifeguards on the water (double plus) and Trishop was bringing Orca wetsuits to try out for the swim (major double plus). Oh, and they were going to be separating beginners from advanced swimmers. It’s like the whole day was set up just for me! I registered for it and then talked my running buddy into registering for it too.

I’m working on getting her to do an Olympic distance this year with me, but she said I’m on my own for the half Ironman. 🙂

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’m getting a lot better being around groups of strangers. I’m no longer intimidated by the triathlete crowd. I’ve been in the running community long enough to know that everyone has different levels and goals. It’s all about bettering myself, and what I can do to get there. I’ve read up as much as I can, so I am familiar with some of the typical concerns of open water swims – wetsuit tightness, panic, limited visibility, etc… My main concern was that my brand new (just purchased that morning) mirrored goggles would leak, and I would have to wear my too tight, limited vision, foggy goggles I wear at the pool.

Putting on the wetsuit was a little tough. I thought it would be like getting pantyhose or compression gear on, but no. It’s not the classiest look either trying to get everything in place. Once it was in place though, I never needed to adjust it.

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The beginners (and the ones who needed a refresher) were in one group with a coach. We practiced going out in groups: 10 strokes, turn around and come back; 15 strokes, turn and come back, and so on. I was a little timid, and didn’t want a foot in the face (which is what happened to my friend), so I think I was holding back some. Then on one of our starts, I had someone swim over me. That was different!

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We also practiced getting our heart rate up and calming it in the water. I never really got panicked though. Maybe because I’ve had lots of practice calming myself in the pool. Our group got smaller as more people moved over to the advanced group. We practiced beach starts. Running from the sand into the water is a lot harder than it looks!

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Special thanks to my husband who got several pictures of me with my hands on my hips. 🙂

We then took our turn swimming out and around a buoy, and coming back. We buddied up and someone else led us out. I struggled with sighting and the feeling that I was way off course, but I eventually made it to the buoy, treaded water to regroup with my buddy, and we started back to shore. I wasn’t prepared for the current on the way back. Fortunately, I breathe to my left so I didn’t get a face full of water every time, but I sure swallowed my share of the lake fighting it. We rested for a minute, and completed one more lap. This time I worked on sighting better. I found a landmark to keep in my view, and it helped. You can see on the map how off course I was coming back the first lap.

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When we got out of the water, my friend said, “I can’t imagine getting on a bike after this!” I felt the same. We had been in the water for over an hour, and we were wiped out! Oh, and so hungry! But I am grateful that I had the opportunity to do this. It was so beneficial to me, and the $20 I spent was well worth it. I learned a lot and I no longer have fear of the unknown, but I still have a lot of work to do. Swimming is my weak link, but it’s not going to keep me from my big goals.

 

Training: Weeks 1-3

Last week I finished up week 3 of Dallas Marathon training, and had my first 40 mile week in months. At this point, I’m enjoying a cutback week and am feeling pretty good about my training so far.

When I wrote about my training plan that I was creating for myself, I failed to mention the resources I was pulling from. I started right where my summer mileage left off and used the Marathon Own It plan from the Train Like a Mother book as my guideline. I then used the McMillan Running calculator to plug in my training paces and recommended workouts.  I have had the McMillan Pro for a few years to get the extras, and for $2 month, it’s worth every penny. These two resources are what I used to train two years ago when I set my PR. The main differences for this year though – lower mileage with five days of running (instead of 6), and I’m still biking and swimming.

Of the two hard days last week, the one I was most worried about went off without a hitch. Early Thursday mornings follow late bedtimes on Wednesday. Generally, we don’t get home from church until after 8:00. Then everyone needs a snack before getting ready for bed. If I’m in bed before 10 pm it’s surprising. So when I looked closer at the training plan, and started to add up mileage, I didn’t know how it would get done. 4x3000m @ marathon pace (9:09) with 800m recovery. That didn’t include the warmup and cool down. I converted the meters to miles beforehand and gave myself a little over an hour and half to get it done.

Surprise! Not only did I manage to get the math right (my lap button will track lap pace but not lap distance – try adding 1.86 miles each set – I’m an English major), but I also got all the repeats done, and managed under race pace for all of them. That felt pretty amazing.

BAM!

BAM!

I wish I could have captured exactly how beautiful it was to see the moon throughout this run. From an orange glow, to a white Cheshire cat smile, to the early moments of dawn, I watched the crescent smile the entire time.

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At the end of my run, and I can still see the moon.

 

Saturday’s long run called for 16 miles, middle 6 at race pace. I thought about what miles I would be running with the group, and decided I probably wouldn’t be able to manage that pace. I also worried about pushing too far since my last week’s run was 13 miles. I don’t usually like to jump more than two miles up at a time. But then fall weather showed up, and there was a scheduling conflict too that needed me home earlier. The weather was wonderful! I forgot what it was like to be able to breathe while running. I posted this comment to our Facebook group after the run: Unless you have slogged through hot, humid summer running, I don’t know if you can truly appreciate how wonderful the weather was this morning. Based on the comments and feedback, others felt the same way.

Somehow I managed to get all 16 miles done, and ran miles 6-12 at 9:11 average pace. Not quite my race pace of 9:09, but gosh darn it was close enough!

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My legs had forgotten what a long run feels like, and they were tingling all day to remind my brain. Compression socks were on and I was wiped out. But, boy did it feel good!

On Sunday afternoon, I took my bike back out for cross-training day. This time I didn’t fall, and no dogs chased me. The funny thing is, I wasn’t afraid of falling until I did. I also wasn’t really afraid of dogs chasing me until it happened. Now I’m more hesitant, but I suppose it gets easier with time.

I’ll be racing my first 5k since May this Saturday. I don’t expect to set any records, but I’m going to have fun. I love local races.

Oh, and congratulations to those who are getting to register for the Boston Marathon this week. I admire the hard work and dedication it takes to get there. Someday, I hope to be there too.

Have a great week!

 

 

 

Teaching Moments

I know this is a running blog, but I believe this post applies to running and other areas of life as well.

Sunday I pulled my bike off the trainer and went to ride with my husband. It had been 3 weeks since I’d taken it outside. I have been on the road twice since I got the new pedals and shoes, and haven’t been back out since my first fall (which was the same ride I got chased by a German Shepherd).

So on Sunday when my husband and I went to ride, I felt a little off. I couldn’t clip in easily when we started. Then we went a direction where I thought there would be little traffic. There wasn’t. Nothing clicked, and it was making me nervous.

Back home to switch bikes to ride with him. Back on the trainer went the road bike.

That evening I practiced. Clip in. Clip out. Clip in. Clip out. Boring. Boring. Boring.

Yesterday evening, I decided to take a short ride on the road. My 9 year old son asked if he could ride with me. We decided we would go to an empty parking lot down the road. He could ride freely, and I could practice starting and stopping. Clipping in and clipping out.

At the end of our driveway, when we were ready to take off, I had my second fall. He dropped his bike and ran over to me to make sure I was okay. He helped me stand up, brush the gravel off, and check my wounds. He looked at me and asked if I wanted to go back in. “No, I’m okay. Let’s go.” I tried again. I started to get nervous. Then again. Come on Eileen, I thought. Finally, I got my left foot clipped in and we headed out. We rode in the parking lot until I was more confident in my ability, and he was tired. Then we headed home.

I realized later that was a teachable moment. I could’ve reacted any number of ways when I fell. But I chose to stand up, dust myself off, and say “Let’s go.” I’m hoping my son will remember that I didn’t give up when learning something new. He watched me keep at it until I got it. That’s the lesson. Of course then he told me, “I think you should leave the clipping in to Daddy.” Just because he didn’t like to see me get hurt.

One of the reasons I was hesitant to get into triathlon was fear. Fear of falling, fear of not being able to figure it out. Fear of moving outside of my comfort zone.

Will I fall again? I’m sure of it. Will it hurt? Of course. But I’m going to keep at it.

Hopefully my shoes (and bike) will survive the learning curve.

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Marathon Training and My Plan

I made it through week one of marathon training and the first week of school. No one was late and we didn’t forget anything major, and I got all my planned miles in. The first few days of ironing out the routine were a little shaky, but I’d say the first week was a success.

I completed the outline of my training plan for the Dallas Marathon, and my weeks will be made up of 2 easy runs, 2 harder runs (1 speed, 1 other), and the long run. I threw in a cross training day too. This is different from what I’ve done in the past, where I’ve run for six days and taken one rest day. My mileage won’t be as high as it has been in the past either. Goal is to get to race day healthy and happy – and with my family still speaking to me. This is not the year for me to try to qualify for Boston. Physically, I’m not there. But also, this is my daughter’s senior year. There will be a lot going on this fall/winter and I want to be present. Not just in body, but my mind too. This is her year, not mine.

That being said, a sub 4:00 marathon is my goal. It is in reach, if I’m smart. That’s why I designed my training. I did the same thing two years ago, and ran my PR of 4:02:03 in Houston. I know my body and I know how I can push my limits – most of the time. Occasionally, I have surprised myself with a faster than I thought possible race. So this will do until the day I can justify spending money on a coach (see above high school senior – followed by two more siblings).

Last week, I had some pretty good training days. It was a nice mix, and I kept my easy days at slower pace. Mostly due to the humidity, but also because I want to be able to have good paces on the other days.

I threw in a hill day.

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Saturday’s long run was faster than I expected.

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The face of the watch doesn’t tell the whole story. My hips were sore from standing and working the concession stand at the football game Friday night. I only got 5 hours of sleep that night. I ran the first 5 miles with the group, and I was at the back of the pack running 9:20s. That was a blow to my ego, but I had to remind myself that I was running farther and needed to do my pace. Then there were some slower miles with my running friend. I picked up for the last mile and a half at race pace. Overall, I’m pleased with how it went. It was the longest run I have had since the Wounded Warrior half in June.

I outlined the rest of my year by sprinkling in some races throughout my training plan. This is my tentative plan to get through December:

September 19th – local 5k – Sherman Autumn Arts Fest Run. This one I do every year. It’s a family event.

October 10th – Showdown half marathon in Fairview

October 25th – Monster Tri (?) in Denton – Why yes, I am still biking and swimming, just not as much as when I was training for my first tri.

November – This month is still up in the air. Last year I ran the Blue Red Run half marathon, which is exactly four weeks before the Dallas Marathon. I’ll see how the training goes as it gets closer.

December 6th – Rock ‘n Roll San Antonio half marathon – With Team Chocolate Milk! This is a taper week for me, and what better way to make sure I run easy than enjoying the scenery of a city I’ve never run. I will probably even take pictures at this one.

December 13th – Dallas Marathon! This will be the year for perfect running weather. 😉 It’s long overdue.

I’m looking forward to my training and the races.

Do you have races planned out through the end of the year?