Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Mile PR

This happened on the track at my workout Tuesday. It's a big fat mile PR baby! My Garmin shows 7:46 but I actually logged it as 7:51. My last mile PR on the track was a few months back and 8:09. Still stoked about this. More details about the workout later.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

KTC Expo 10k - race recap

Rather than bore you with my usual lengthy race recap I am going to keep this one short and sweet and just hit the major high points. Really there was only one low point and I will also hit on that.

I was excited to get to run this race this year (even though I said I didn't want to) because I was injured last year and had to sit it out. I was able to volunteer last year so that was at least fun. Difference in last year and this year weather wise:

Last year - 80 degrees and humid as all get out
This year - 55, cool and very very low humidity

Packet pickup was on Friday night. This race had a portion of registration proceeds going to the Boston One Fund. The bibs and shirts were designed by someone local. Each word/phrase in the heart represents someone local to our area that was in/ran Boston on 4/15.  I thought it was a really nice touch.

I did my warm up and a quick potty break before meeting the Socialites for a quick group pic.

After the pic it was time to line up. It's still weird to me to line up so close to the front of the pack but so far it works and at least with this particular race, even though people were passing me I was not out of place.

Goal for this race was mainly to finish. As I said before, my coach told me several times this was not a PR course/race. Then I got my race plan and remember emailing him back that I was intimidated. Based on the race plan it meant I would have a pretty significant PR and my start pace was at least a minute per mile faster than my last 10k.

The temp was just right and my body was completely in tune for this race. It's a bit downhill the first 2 miles, then flat the next 2 miles before running up a decent hill or two in the last couple, and finally finishing downhill.


7:19 (.21)

The first 2 miles were well below my goal pace. Mile 3 was just slightly above goal pace while mile 4 was below. Mile 5 was a slight little walk/water break where I had to beg for water (ask the water station volunteer 4 times for water) and the last mile was a bit slower than goal pace but still within range. The downhill finish produced quite a speedy pace for me.

Finish time: 53:41

This was good enough for an almost 8 minute PR, my first time breaking an hour for a 10k race AND....

 Another 1st place Athena win! Check out that cool trophy! Since they only went 1 deep for awards in my division I'm not entirely sure how many other women raced in my category but it really doesn't matter. I hit my goal and pulled another win. :)

For the low point in my race:
Major under boob chaffing. Despite my best efforts at BodyGliding myself up I had some issues.

Overall I am 100000% pleased with my effort in this race. I usually end a race with a smidge of regret (I could have pushed faster/harder here. I shouldn't have walked there.. or one thing or another), but that was not the case on Saturday. Training is paying off and I left this race satisfied. I may still be on a little bit of a runner's high from this race as well.

Work hard, enjoy the rewards!!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I am not your competition.

I feel like I should state first that this post isn't my normal type of post nor am I complaining or being negative in any way. This is me...real, raw and emotional on a specific issue that has bothered me as of late. I've touched a little on this topic before so it's really nothing new. However, it's gotten a little more personal for me lately and I feel like putting it here in my little space will help me completely get my feelings out.

I love to run. I love to race. I love competition.

The first two are a given. The third well it may not be well known about me. My husband knows, my coach knows and I know. But when it comes to competition YOU are not it.

Is you a person? Maybe.

I've been running for 5 years now. I started out not even really running because as I look back on where I was then and where I am now and compare my 15 minute mile to my now 8-9 min racing miles there's quite a difference. There is nothing wrong with a 15 min mile, let me say that. If you run a 15 minute mile you are a runner just like the 8 minute mile runner. And when I line up at the start of the race I am not judging you by your pace. In fact, at the end of the race I am not judging you by your finish time.

I don't set foot at the start line of any race and scope out the competition. It's not my game.

When I sign up for a race I sign up for me. I sign up for my goal, for my run, for myself. And maybe lately I sign up because my coach says to or because my girlfriends all did and it will be a fun addition to an all day girls day/night out. (that may or may not be a true story that I may or may not soon share..haha)

I know going into a race that most of the women my age are going to be considerably faster than me. It's just how it is. But again, when I line up with these women I do not even consider them my competition.

I run/train with many women in my age group on a regular basis. We do not compete. It's not how we are. It is not the dynamic of our relationships. We're friends. We're running buddies. We are a support system to each other in a sport we all love and happen to compete in.

So where am I going with all this?
There seems to always be that one person in a group or an acquaintance, just someone.. that has to try to bring you down. Someone that takes the term "friendly competition" to another level. Someone that thinks their random inquiries about your racing schedule or training are just friendly conversation when in reality it comes across as being overly competitive before a race even starts.

I may  not be making any sense. I seem to always be able to write posts in my head so much better than I can on the screen.

My point is... you are not my competition.

When I line up for a race I am competing against one person and one person only.

I'm happy for you that you are there. I'm happy for you that you have a goal. I'm happy for you when you reach your PR. I'm happy for you no matter the reason you run.
But know that as a runner I want the same thing in return. I don't want your competition, friendly or not.

Let me run my race and I'll let you run yours. I am not your competition. I am MY competition.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tuesday Randoms

What the what!? It's been almost 10 days since I last blogged. Yikes.

I'm not lazy, but super busy. Going to bed early so I can get up even earlier and get my workouts done. I'll be up and out of the house 4 out of 5 days this week just to beat the heat.

There's a lot to be said about the weather all over the country right now I know. The tornado damage in Oklahoma is so very sad. I promise to only say this about our current weather... humidity sucks. It's so hard to run (well) in the humidity. However, I have had some decent runs. I attribute that to the fact that I've been going early.

Now that school is out I can make Monday morning practice in my own city which is nice because it's so close, on the greenway and the run is done early so that I am home to enjoy my family even sooner after work!

Also, now that school is out and I'm finally (after 8 months of coaching/training) use to my training schedule, I will be adding in at least one BodyPump class per week back to my schedule. I start that tomorrow morning. I'm super excited about it even if it does mean one of two things.
1. I need to also get my 4 easy mile run in before/after class.
2. Get my 4 easy mile run done after work.
Of course because of heat/humidity I am leaning more towards the first option, but still trying to work on the logistics of that. That means it's 9:30pm here and I don't have my bags packed nor am I in bed yet. Must.get.busy.

I have a race this weekend. A local 10k that I am nervous about but looking forward to just running. It's not a PR course (according to my coach) and obviously the temps won't be ideal, so the goal? Finish and have fun. Since I have a total of 10 miles on my schedule for the day it will definitely be an interesting day. I'm looking forward to it even if nerves are involved because last year I wanted badly to run the race but if you recall I was freakin' injured! Gah. I did have fun volunteering but I'm happy I get to run this year.

Speaking of that. I have worried almost all year long about being injured again or my hip injury flaring back up. I'm happy  my training has been going well and I've been able to think less about that.

So much fun stuff going on. Gotta keep this randoms short and sweet but I have some good stuff coming soon!! Happy Tuesday!

Monday, May 13, 2013

What's Beautiful - #1

*This post is sponsored by Under Armour through FitFluential.

This is just one of many posts you will see from me regarding the Under Armour What's Beautiful Campaign. I just wanted to share briefly with you a few things regarding the campaign. First, I am excited that I was chosen to participate in this and I want YOU (yes, you... all of you) to join my team. All you have to do is click the link above, create a profile and make a goal! I know you have a goal so why not get on board with hundreds of other women and encourage each other along the way!? The point of this campaign is to redefine the female athlete. I can't think of a better campaign or way for women to bond together. 

I will be sharing more details about the campaign and my goals as well as challenges along the way. But for now I wanted to share the link to my page, my team page and the following pic...

To join  my team go here and request an invite. You will need to create a profile. If you can't access the page via that link search for team Run It Like It's Hot!  Or you can go to my page HERE and follow me as well.
 My goals are listed on my profile and the team goal is listed on that page as well. I'll share more about them both in my next post.

What I want from you now is to think about ways YOU define beauty as not just a woman but as a female athlete. Report back and let me know if you create a profile or team so I can follow back. Stay tuned for more.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I love the long run.

I have so much blog work to do right now but gotta be honest and say that I am seriously overwhelmed with life. Sounds crazy...I know.. but y'all this year is flying by and I just feel like there is so much to accomplish. I either don't have enough time in the day (or maybe I waste too much time in the day?) or I have too much to get done that I just can't keep up. What usually happens is I just don't do anything and then the list grows. Boo to that. Anyway, I just needed to get that out there before recapping my long run.

We went out with friends Friday night where I partied too hard and stayed out too late considering Saturday morning meant an early alarm clock and 10 mile long run. BUT we were kid free so who wants to just sit at home or turn in early!? Not me. It was a great time and I'm thankful for being able to spend it with not only my wonderful hubby but our great friends too!

In bed at 1:30am and up just 5 short hours later at 6:30 on Saturday. I was meeting my running buddy Terri for my 10 miler. She and I hadn't ran together in many months so I was excited. My schedule was to do 10 miles easy with the last two at an 8:45 pace per mile. I was slightly concerned with how that would go not only considering Friday night's festivities and lack of sleep but the fact that my workout Friday morning was hill repeats. Have I mentioned that I love my running coach and the crazy schedule!? It's true that I do.

The weather Saturday was perfect even though rain and thunderstorms had been in the forecast all week long. We met at 8am and seemed to settle into our easy pace just fine. Convo was good and even despite hills the day before my body felt great. I did need a potty break by mile 3 but serves me right with my dinner choice on Friday. We stopped at the library but it was closed so I had to hold off another mile to the park. We turned around at the 5 mile mark and by mile 7 made the decision to take it easy until mile 8 so I'd be able to pick up the pace for my final two.

We fueled at 7 so my body would have time to fully digest the gel and get it going to make the pick up easier. Smart move! When we hit mile 8 I was like here we go and off we went. It felt comfortably hard and when we hit mile 9 I only need one 5 second break to psych myself back up for the final mile.
Done. 8:30 and 8:38 for my final two miles. I was thankful to have Terri there for the push on those two miles. I think it's easier on a hard run to have the help of friends to push you along. I'm not sure I could have been a great push solo.

Long runs are my favorite runs especially during training.  Catching up with friends for an hour plus, learning about yourself and just what you're capable of and getting fuel/hydration tricks all figured out....what's not to love about all that!? I love the long run good or bad. I'm thankful that yesterday's 10 miler was so good.

Do you love the long run? What's your favorite long distance? What do you like best about the long run?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tuesday at the Track

As you may know Tuesday is a speed workout for me. These are typically done in the parking lot of Runner's Market or at least they have been for me since October. However, we learned last week that a bit of change was coming. This meant our speed workouts would no longer include an incline (or that beautiful decline) and cars in the parking lot. Instead it meant we had  use of an actual track.

Today was day one of Tuesday morning's on the track. We met at 5am at UT's Tom Black track this morning. My schedule had me running a 2 mile warm up 5x800 m repeats w/3 min rest and 2 mile cool down plus the usual core and flex drills.

I've only gone over to the track for speed work twice in the evenings since I started training with Knoxville Endurance and neither of those workouts was my best. So, to say I was nervous about how this morning was going to go would be an understatement. My last few speed workouts in the parking lot had gone so well that I was afraid the successful speed workout streak might have come to an end this morning. When my alarm went off I really really really really wanted to just turn it off and pull the blankets over my head but my hubby tapped me on the back and said, "You're going to be late." Ugh. Eyes wide open and feet on the ground.

I got up, got dressed and left the house right at 4:20 am this morning thankful that it wasn't raining. It was a cool morning which is a plus especially considering where we typically are this time of year. In fact, it was a bit chilly to me and I was happy to have grabbed a light jacket when I was laying out my clothes last night before bed. I think it was around 50 degrees at the start of the workout.

We started with a warmup lap around the track then followed that with our core and flex drills before heading out for our 2 mile warm up. Now let me go back a bit and say that when my coach informed us we'd be at the track on Tuesday mornings one of the first things that I thought (and actually said) was, "Ugh. I hate running campus because it's so hilly!" bah. There is almost no place to really run at UT that doesn't involve some kind of hill. Needless to say I think I dreaded the warm up and cool down more than the actual workout.

I sucked it up though. The girls and I headed out for our 2 mile warm up and I knew that since we started downhill we'd end uphill. I wasn't too concerned that for the most part of the first mile we were pushing sub 9 pace because I knew I'd lose the girls on the 2nd mile as we hit the uphill. I have no shame in admitting that I will walk a hill or portion of it if I feel like it. Today was no different but I mostly wanted to save my legs for the speed work.

I finished the 2 mile warm up in 19:11 with splits being 9:08 and 10:03.
When we got back we did 6x100 striders before going into our speed workouts.

As I mentioned before, my schedule would have my speed workout listed as 5x800 and coach suggested the pace to start be 4:00-4:10. I struggle with pace, a lot. I tend to either go out too fast or too slow which can really suck. Going out too fast means committing to a faster pace (esp if you hit the 2nd repeat fast too) or feeling like going to slow means effort wasn't what it should be making a disappointing workout.

I hit the line this morning and start on my watch. I didn't even look down when I got to the first 200 m mark but I knew it was fast and when I passed my coach on the first lap and he said to pull back I knew I was running too fast.

3:52   8-19 seconds faster than goal pace.
I know what you're saying/thinking and no, that is not much faster than goal pace BUT have you ever done speed work? If no, then trust me when I say it really is a big difference (at least for me). It was hard to pull back and slow down on the second and third repeats.

3:48  3:52

As I was taking rest before my fifth 800 my coach had me jump in behind a friend and said to work with her to really try to stay on the 4:00 pace. We went a bit fast on the first 200 and I could feel her pull back in front of me but then it just felt too slow to me in comparison to my last 3 repeats. I didn't look at my watch to check pace but made my way in front of her and to the finish of my 4th repeat.

Coach was pleased with this as he wanted me to really get the feel for that pace. It'd be an 8:00 min/mile if running at race pace (for a 5k). He also told me I was free to push hard and go all out for the final repeat. I could already tell my legs were feeling the workout so I honestly wasn't sure what I would be capable of on the final repeat. My only hope was that it wasn't slower than the fourth one.

I pushed hard around the track for both laps all while another friend was saying, "lookin' good, keep that good form." Encouragement from others is one thing  that makes these workouts worth getting up for. As I came across the line and hit my watch I knew I gave that last repeat my everything.

and the first words out of my mouth were, "Holy $h!+" as soon as I looked at the split on my watch. For me, that's FAST!!! I was stoked and appreciated the high fives from my coach.

My legs were shaking. I grabbed my jacket and water while I waited on my fast friends to finish their speed workout then we headed out for our cool down. Due to time we cut it to 1 mile rather than 2 and of course we weren't going to be lucky enough to avoid the hills despite trying.

1 mile cool down -  9:39

I'd be nuts if I said I was anything but excited and proud of this workout. I am really enjoying the speed work. I think I'm going to like Tuesdays at the track as much as I did Tuesdays in the parking lot, especially if I get use to the hilly warm up/cool down.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Motivational Monday

 This was sent to me recently and I thought it was perfect so I'm sharing it as this weeks motivation. 

"Believe that you can run farther or faster. Believe that you're young enough, old enough, strong enough, and so on to accomplish everything you want to do. Don't let worn-out beliefs stop you from moving beyond yourself."- John Bingham

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Long run Saturday

I haven't posted much lately about how my long runs have gone. I still do a long run every weekend provided I don't have a race. I don't really have a long distance race coming up for a while but I like that coach puts a long (double digit) run on my schedule for the weekend because it keeps me conditioned for the distance plus I enjoy that big calorie burn (haha).

I had 10 miles on my schedule this weekend. Most of my long running crew was going to be gone for races or other commitments so I was prepping myself all week for my 10 mile solo run and keeping my fingers crossed that it wouldn't rain. Thankfully on Friday evening I got a text from one of my friends that a group was meeting to run at 8am in Knoxville Saturday morning. Yay, I wouldn't be running solo! And after watching the weather report before bed it appeared we may miss the rain too. Double yay!

The run itself was great. We had great weather and missed the rain. I was also able to test run my new Camelbak Charm...

Hubby got this for me recently and got a really great deal on it. I am going to be headed into marathon training soon and have yet to find a hydration belt that truly doesn't bounce or cut the yucky skin/flab on my stomach (hey 90 lb weight loss) so much that I feel self conscious about it. So, I thought this would be a good system for me this summer for long runs as well as marathon training. I went through training before with a Nathan handheld but find it really annoying to run with anything in my hands.

The Camelbak fit great and has a pocket that fits the gels I need to carry. I worried about chaffing so I wore a short sleeved shirt and that wasn't a factor. I'm not sure how that will go once I use it wearing a tank top this summer but I suppose I'll find out. I noticed early on that the sloshing water was a bit annoying but a friend helped me with that by showing me a little trick to get the air out of the water reservoir and that worked great. No more sloshing!

I only put 2 bottles of water in it but it holds 50oz which seems like it'll be enough for a really long run. I don't usually drink a lot while running and wouldn't normally carry water at all for a 10 miler on the greenway since they have water fountains but I have a feeling that may be different this summer.

As far as the run, it went well. My easy/comfortable pace these days is between 9:30-9:45 and if I have to I'll slow down to 10:00. I take gels every 3-3.5 miles on training runs since that is what the plan is for longer races. I took 2 gels yesterday. I took the first at 3 miles and the second at about 7 miles. It seemed to work ok for me but I really didn't want to take either one due to some slight stomach issues.

I had not done a double digit run since the marathon relay some 28 days ago. I was happy with how this 10 miler went. Splits are as follows:
10:01 9:40  9:41 potty break and gel
9:42  9:46  9:43 potty break
9:31  9:42  9:29  split from group to finish my final mile
total time 1:36:53

And the rain held off until I got in my car! I hope you all had a great long run this weekend.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday Five

1. This has been an incredibly exhausting week. I'll start with the bad here and get it over with so this post ends on a happy note. Our beloved boxer of 13 yrs, Sassy, died Monday night.We knew something was up on Sunday by the way she was acting and it was like she'd dropped a ton of weight in the few days before. I'll spare all the sad details because the situation itself is sad enough, but it was scary. We all were prepared (as best we could be) for her passing on Sunday but the old girl decided she wasn't ready to go then and we had one more day. Monday evening when I got home things just didn't feel right. I think my sweet Sassy just needed Annabelle (my almost 10 yr old daughter) to be ok with her to go. We all said our goodbyes (again) and hubby picked up Sassy to take her to the vet, but my girl didn't want to go that way so she looked back at us and then turned her head to him and before he couldn't even get to the truck she was gone. We are all very sad but are coping well. We will miss our girl but find peace in knowing she lived a very full life!

2. Even with with events on Monday I still managed to get in bed at a decent hour and up for my speed workout on Tuesday morning. For those that don't know, I have to be up at 4:03 am in order to dress and make the drive over for practice. I was so so tired from being up later, rushing to get things ready and then not the best night of sleep so it made me a little concerned for how my workout would go Tuesday morning. My schedule had me doing 2 mi warm up, 12x400 repeats and 2 mi cool down. I had done plenty of speed workouts but not 400s before. I was nervous but ready. My goal pace was to be 2:10 with a brisk jog back to the start/1:30 recovery. I normally struggle with absolute consistency and being on goal pace especially for speed work. Ahh but Tuesday was an exception. Here's how those 400s went -
 1:55 1:59 1:57 1:57 1:57 1:57 1:57 1:56 1:55 1:57 1:54 1:52
 I left practice feeling successful!

3.  I recieved a Bestowed box for review this week. I cannot wait to try all the amazing products in my box and review them for you. I'm just waiting for life to slow down a tiny bit so I can get on that. I want to make sure I take my time with each of the things in the box so I can give a proper review. Stay tuned.

4. Wednesday our local running club (Knoxville Track Club) and our Wednesday night runners planned our run to log miles for each of the victims (injured and deceased) of the Boston bombing. We had almost 70 runners set out to log 268 miles. I ran a measly 4 miles that was on my schedule for the day but the group as a whole logged over 550 miles. When we arrived at the run we were each given a wristband with the name and picture of one of those people injured or deceased. I ran my 4 miles for Jessica Downes who suffered severe leg injuries. I tried to do a bit of research on her when I got home to see if I could find out who she is or get to know her a little. Well, I learned she's a newly wed and her husband suffered leg injuries as well. These two people may not ever run again so I was thrilled to be able to log some miles for her.

5. Finally, today was my second speed workout for the week. 8x200 meters. I have been exhausted all week long. It's no shock that I was in bed later than I should be for my 4:03am alarm. Had it not been for my daughter having friends over for the night and being on a tight schedule I'd have hit snooze this morning and put my run off until this evening. Thankfully my body was once again feeling good because when my coach said my goal pace for these intervals was :49-:52 I was slightly panicked.
49, :51, :51, :51, :50, :51, :51, :51
Nailed it, again! and I felt amazing. I've learned two things :1. When you PR a race and hit your speed work early in the week faster than goal pace you will likely need to plan to speed up the next time around and 2. I am loving the speed work and progress I am seeing.

Happy running this weekend everyone!!