Fireworks 5k and Streaking

After last week’s recovery with reduced mileage and intensity, I finished off my run streak with a 5k on Friday and a nice long run on Saturday. This was my first run streak to manage double digits and I kept going for 41 days. It was more for a change of pace that I kept the streak, and also to see if I could boost weight loss. I disliked the extra laundry, and I wanted to focus on cross-training more. Riding the bike and running in the same day was too much of a juggle. I’m glad I did the streak, but I was happy to end it too. I need to keep my joy with running, and it was starting to dampen.

My “summer of speed” is progressing along nicely as I continue to build strength and use speed work to push for new PRs. In August I will be moving into a new age group (and category) for the first time since I started running. The idea was to finish my age at my fastest. A great idea in theory, unless your birthday falls during the hottest part of the year. In Texas.

But I will not give up!

I ran my second 5k of the season on the 4th in McKinney. I have done this group’s 10k course (Memorial Day), but I didn’t know what to expect for the 5k. Apparently, a few hills. I decided to break the mental barrier and not look at my Garmin just like the Radio Run. This time I didn’t have the members of my running group ahead to gauge my speed by. I struggled mentally. The second mile had a pretty steep hill. I felt like I was walking up even though I knew I wasn’t. It wasn’t until the last half mile that I felt like I was cruising and closing in on other runners. The result was 16 seconds slower than May, and what felt like a long way away from my PR of 23:09. My time was 23:47 and 4th in my age group. I got beat by three 37 year olds. What’s funny is that if I had been in the next age group, I would’ve been first. You just never know.

Official time 23:47

Official time 23:47

I enjoyed going to the race with a friend of mine. We had a great time, and she placed 2nd in her age group! After going to races solo, it’s so much better to recount the miles with a friend. It also helps when they confirm that hill in the second mile really was a monster and yes, it was hot and humid.

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My next PR aim is Sunday’s Too Hot to Handle 15k. I’ve only run one other 15k (this one), so my chances of a PR are good. I will see what these legs can do!

Have a great week!

 

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Eating to Run

I’ve put off writing this post for a few weeks. Like a disappointing race recap, I don’t want to talk about it. At the same time I want to be real here – as sad as it may be at times. It’s been easy for me to find other things to write about, as I pushed this post off for another week – races, running in the heat, strength training – but now I’m confessing my disappointment.

I wrote about a few major changes I wanted to work on this summer in order to prepare for my winter marathons. Losing the marathon weight gain from the first part of the year (along with the Christmas, two birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and Easter weight gain) was a priority. I set a goal after OKC to lose a pound a week which would take me where I want to be when my training plan officially starts in August. I even had a few extra weeks in there for a plateau. Let me preface the rest of my post with this statement: For the last two years (post OKC marathon) I have lost all the weight I gained while marathon training – and then some.

Eight weeks ago, I started my plan to get ready for fall training. I read this book which helped me set an initial goal for weight & body fat percentage. It’s a doable goal.

Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald

Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald

I started my strength training at the same time. My result so far with six more weeks to go? I haven’t lost a single pound. Not one. In fact, I’ve gained two.

What the heck???

Every week, several times a week, I have weighed in the hopes of seeing the numbers drop. I even considered cutting my hair short in hopes of losing a pound. 😉 And yes, I know strength training changes things. So before you say “muscle weighs more than fat” know that I’ve been tracking body fat every four weeks. The percentage hasn’t dropped.

To say I’m frustrated is an understatement. I’ve gone from someone who once rewarded 5 mile runs with an apple fritter to I don’t remember the last time I ate a donut. What has changed so that I’m not dropping weight? Other than working an extra 2 1/2 hours a day and snacking less, I’ve continued doing what I need to do to lose weight by following a higher quality diet. I eat whole grains, healthy fats (almonds, avocados), fruits and veggies. I keep my calories within the daily limits, and I’m training consistently. I even started a running streak on Memorial Day to see if that would help. My husband can sneeze and lose a pound, but my metabolism has always been slow. Thanks to genetics, yo-yo dieting in my 20s, and don’t mention what having four babies does to a body. For those who say losing weight gets harder at 40 – it looks like I got a jump start.

As my husband smartly pointed out, “What’s more important? The number on the scale or running fast?” Well, of course it’s getting faster. I just can’t help thinking I’ll be faster if I’m lighter.

I know I drive him crazy.

The positive notes about the past eight weeks:  I feel stronger and more flexible. I can feel my core strength propel me forward when I’m sprinting or doing hill repeats. A pair of jeans that stayed in my closet for six months is back in rotation again.

I’ve also been blessed with several opportunities this fall/winter that I never imagined – Houston Marathon ambassador, part of Team Chocolate Milk, and now my first pacing job.

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I know it’s not the stupid number that determines whether I’ll meet my big goal or not. I’m eating to run, not the other way around. I’m working hard to lay a foundation on strength and speed, and I don’t feel any slower (other than the heat and humidity factor). Overall, what matters most is not what the scale shows, but that I hang on to my joy of running.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep doing what I’ve been doing. But maybe I’ll throw in some extra time on the bike.

 

Runner Down!

Last year, I tried to participate in the Runner’s World Run Streak from Memorial Day to Independence Day. Run at least one mile a day – every day. A major afternoon rainstorm that hit on National Running Day ended that streak. I ran seven days straight. This year I tried again. I made it eight days, then I was sidelined.

Monday morning I ran an easy paced four miles with the intention of picking up a few more in the evening with my little 5K trainers (a.k.a. my kiddos). After dropping the kids at school, I went back home to make use of the hour I had before work. I wanted to pack a couple of boxes since we have a move coming up this month, and I started with the cabinet above the refrigerator.

This involved me standing on a chair (wearing flip-flops) to kneel on the counter to reach what was in the cabinet. Let’s just say it was not one of my brighter moments. I missed my step coming back down to the chair and hit the floor.  Oh, no! Runner down! I rolled my ankle and broke one of the ceramic pieces in my hands. I don’t know if I cried more out of pain or because I knew I was out of running for a while. I’ve sprained my ankle before and it took months to get my ankle back to normal. But that time I heard a “pop.” Thankfully, not this time.

The hardest advice to follow is your own. I would tell others to make sure to take time to recover to avoid risking further injury. I did what I needed to: RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate), but I had trouble with the R and the E, and the I too. Compression was easier. I endured a scolding from my husband for not going to the doctor, but  I could put weight on it. It’s a risk I took.

I’ll spare you the lovely photos of the bruising I sent him throughout the week.

I spent a few hours on my stationary bike, which helped my stress levels, but by Saturday I was itching to try it out. I went for a walk, broke into a slow jog, and walked some more. 2 miles in 30 minutes. That evening I iced it and Sunday morning it actually felt better. As much as I wanted to run again, I talked myself into just getting on the bike. I don’t want to push my luck.

I am confident that I will be able to run – slowly – this week, but no speedwork and not my usual mileage. I’m registered to run a half marathon at the end of the month with my brother. It will be his first. I don’t , and I want to be there running with him.

In the past year I have lost a toenail (due to a head-on collision with my son’s skate shoe), bruised a toe the week of a marathon (due to slamming a door on it), and sprained an ankle (packing to move). But I have not been injured due to running.

What advice do you give other runners, but have trouble following on your own?

Has an injury sidelined you from running? Was it due to running or something else?

Running Streak

Some of you are already running.  Some of you want to run, but haven’t found a good time to start. Some of you have considered running at one time or another. The rest of you just think anyone who runs is crazy, but thank you for reading anyway.

No matter which category you fall under – yes, even the last one – I’d like for you to consider the challenge of a running streak. It’s very simple and may just give you the focus you’re looking for.   

I’m embarking on this challenge from Runner’s World to give me a goal that doesn’t coincide with a training plan.  I have a few months before I start training for my next marathon, so I need something to focus on.  Here is the link with the official run streak details from Runner’s World:  http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-238-267-269-14350-0,00.html  The gist is this: run at least one mile a day every day from Memorial Day to July 4th. See?  How simple is that?  You can even walk to get that mile in!

I’m going to kick off my running streak with a 10K Memorial Day race in McKinney.  I’ll be the one in the Navy shirt. 

How will you start your streak?  You can post your ideas and progress in the comments.