Friday, February 23, 2007
I had written mile splits on my hand, and was a bit gutted to see how badly my pace was. It wasn't just the RPE that was of some concern, but the RPP(ace)! I honestly felt like I was moving fast, not just working hard, but I was struggling to reach each mile landmark at 10 min pace. My goal pace for this run was 9:39.
However, in many ways this was one of my best training runs. I ran through boring areas, in the dark, by myself, when I was already tired. I ran over undulating hills, as well as a loong (3 mile) gradual climb, and a shorter (but still long- over a mile) and steeper climb at the end. I ran long, steep downhills, which I hate. Here's the elevation profile:
I also learned that when you're tired, another nasty hill is not *that* bad- it hurts on the flat, it just hurts more on the hill. I hope I remember the feeling I had today when I face the last hill at Rotorua (sort of steep, sort of long, a little past the 20 mile mark, I think). Again- no room for disappointment. Eye on that prize.
One more thing- should I do a mid-March half? There are a couple, not too far off. I'm not sure if I want to set myself up for disappointment, but I would like an idea of where I'm at.
Stats: 14 miles, 2:17, 9:49 average pace. My 7 mile splits were about even, which is cool, given that the big hills were 6-9 and 12-13(ish).
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Tuesday I was travelling for work, so took a rest day. My meeting finished early and I had great ideas of wandering round town or switching to an early flight. Unfortunately, my feet, my high heels and my boss had other plans, and I ended up going to a late meeting and getting home at about 9:30pm.
Our 800s on Wednesday were a disaster- my goal pace was 3:38 (for a 7:15 pace), but using the Macmillan pace calculator, I was planning to aim for 3:24-3:33, and my splits were 3:36, 3:45 (headwind, but still!), 3:38 and 3:31. OK, it's not so bad, but I wasn't feeling it. I felt slow, uncomfortable. I was irritable, I snapped at P. Also, 4 * 800 is not a workout! I got home feeling fat, tired and grouchy.
I looked forward to going to Masters on Wednesday night, especially as I missed Sunday and will not be able to go this Sunday. I don't want to lose the habit already! However, I had work to catch up on, and new stuff coming from the day before, and I didn't finish work til 10. This is sometimes the norm, and I get used to it- but MAN it was a shock to the system to this new, balanced lifestyle, Kate!
To top it all off, P unexpectedly had to go away for TWO nights! I didn't even get to say goodbye properly :-(
So I missed another workout. Yuck. I had a swim with C planned this morning, but I slept in and was late. I grumbled away to myself "stupid work. stupid pool. stupid kate." It was much better when I got to the pool, but I wasn't really feeling it, and was relieved to get out and get coffee after about 1500m! Can you say SLACKER!?!
Tonight I can't work out, as I am doing 14 hilly miles starting at 4:45 tomorrow, and don't want to do those on tired legs. Also I have chores galore to catch up on.
But sometime during all this, I remembered that I have to keep my eye on the prize. Although in the triathlon world, I am a big slackbum, in the real, normal people world* I am someone with a tendency to overdo things. The prize at the moment is not building swimming endurance or improving my speed in the pool. It's not losing 10lb (though my goodness I need to lose some of that!) or looking good in jeans. It's not totalling up my workouts and seeing a number over 10, or even a number over 7. No- it's a marathon. My marathon. So who cares if I missed some workouts? I didn't miss my key runs, and I'm going to be well-rested for my big run tomorrow. Who cares if I've put on a bit of pudge? It'll go, but I know the best thing for me is to keep away from counting calories until after April 28- even if that is 10 weeks away! So although I still feel fat and slow and lazy, I have some perspective. Phew.
I got an email from C the other day saying "I'm so dreading my long run this weekend. I feel so much better and so much less nervous about them when I run with you." Hmm. How bad do I feel? I have 99% decided to run Rotorua for me, but this makes me feel awful. We have only run long together twice, and she decided to do the race before I did (waaay before), but still.
Anyway- I can't wait for my run tomorrow. I have 2:15 to do my 14miles, but the route is quite hilly, so I could be cutting it quite fine!
*I saw a survey today where 56% of city dwellers in NZ claimed to workout 5 times or more a week! Uh.. Yeah right!! I know maybe ONE person outside the running/tri/cycling community who comes close. Maybe if walking 20 minutes to work counts, but still...
Monday, February 19, 2007
Running has a special magic for me. I can have a great swim and come out of the water feeling like I belong there, rejuvenated and exhausted at once. Being on my bike can make me the king of the world- hitting the pedals hard after a downhill, watching my cadence and speed soaring, climbing to the top and rushing down. But only running hits me really deep inside. Only running can make me cry.
Last night I went to bed not knowing what the morning had in store for me. I couldn't open my training plan and couldn't decide between speed and tempo. I woke abruptly before my alarm went off and realised I was pretty much wide awake, so made a cup of coffee and switched my laptop on to see what FIRST had in mind. 4 x 800 just wasn't that tempting, so I decided to start the week with key run #2. As you may know, my tempo runs have been my slackest area throughout this training programme- I tend to fit them in where I can, and they have often ended up being turned into easy runs or cut short for reasons sometimes beyond and sometimes within my control. So what better time than a Monday morning to hit a 5 mile tempo run on the head?
It was still very dark when I left (at about 6am- I really dawdled over that coffee!). Although I loved the summer mornings when the sun was rising at 5:15, I really relished being out in the dark again. I warmed up slowly down the hill. I've measured the distance now, and it's not much over a mile, yet it usually takes me over 10 minutes, even when I'm not running super slow- I think it's the down hill, and that fact that I don't measure the corners very carefully on mapmyrun. I ran with P's music again, so warmed up to some Bowie, thehn switched to Elton John's greatest for the tempo part. I figured Sir E would be good for a tempo run- nothing too motivating, so I'd be able to keep a steady pace, and catchy enough tunes to keep me from clock watching too badly (I set myself a goal of checking only every k, not every 500m as I am wont to do). I hit the first km in 5:03, feeling awesome. Can't remember my exact splits, but the I got to the turn around (2.5mi) at 20:20 (8:08 pace). I was feeling happy- my HR was sitting in the high 160s, so I think I can honestly call it an "easy tempo" pace- maybe a little faster than steady state, but I have absolutely done harder "tempo" runs before.
On the way back, I got a glimpse of runners' high. That little zing that I had almost forgotten, until Thursday's run last week. Wind rushing through my hair, once again I was flying. I was taken back to the start of my running career, and to the first time I flew back then. Wow. I have really been enjoying my training runs, as you will all know, but not like this. I had forgotten how running can make me feel. Again, wow. I kept a good pace on the way back, and was on track at 7.5km for a very solid 5-mile time. Then the runnings gods intervened, and instead of playing "Cherish" the MP3 player flicked to Europe's "The Final Countdown." What else could I do when that riff started up? I cranked the tunes up, kicked my leg out and knocked that last 500m out at 6:54 pace (not very impressive for the level of effort, but I'll take it). It was amazing. Breathtaking (figuratively too!). Once more, wow.
I reached my starting point at 51:32, 40 minutes and 13 seconds after I started the 5 miles. That's 8:03 pace. And in typing this entry, I've realised that that means I did the second half of my workout in 19:53 (7:57 pace). Woo!
Something hit me as I crossed the finish marker, and headed up the hill back home. I was overwhelmed, by the still, sunrise beauty of the morning; by the last 2 minutes of effort; by 40 minutes of running at a good, solid, doable pace; by reaching in and finding my old self again. I realised with some confusion that my eyes were watering and that my thoat was all choked up. Realising that this race is ahead of me and there for the taking gave me that feeling I only usually get after a race. Maybe one day swimming or cycling will do this too. But for now, only running can make me cry.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
11 weeks seems soon. But with some perspective, I realise that running my first marathon in 11 weeks is not THAT scary. I started my 18-week programme just over a month at week 15-to-go. This makes me about 1/3 of the way through, and that's nothing! My first official long run in this programme seems a world away, and 11 weeks ago- well, that was New Years and it was seriously aaages ago.
Key runs for this week were a bit of a mess. My first run was key run #2- 1 w/up and 7 tempo (8:15-8:30). I decided to run this with my friend A- my thinking being that my tempo would be her comfortable/easyish and that it would be a good way to spend some time together. Unfortunately, A didn't feel like running fast, at ALL, so instead of me puffing along beside her, I was pretty much pulling, and we did 8.75 mi (I think) in about 1:18, for about an 8:54 pace. Not bad, for not too much effort, but not exactly "tempo" either. Oh well- there's more to training for my first marathon than hitting my FIRST pace targets and I'm not going to forget that!
Key run #1 was Thursday morning. I debated sleeping in when the alarm went off- we'd had a late night the night before (Valentines) after getting home late, walking 3 miles to the zoo, walking around the zoo, walking 3 miles back and eating burgers at 9:30pm. I saw my first baby joey in a kangaroo's pouch, as well as some other adorable baby animals! Aww. Anyway, something inside realised that although I had good excuses for being tired, I wasn't, and reminded me how much better I'd feel if I got up. It was a short run today- 5 x 2 mins fast/2 mins slow. I'm not sure how fast I was- not very! I think I covered just under 4km in 20 minutes of workout time- some of which was steep uphill, but the rest of which was flat. But when I got near to home, I didn't want to stop at all. I'd been out for about 40 minutes, including w/up and cool, but that just wasn't cutting it! Unfortunately, I was running late and P was flying out for work, so I needed to scoot up that hill. But it was great to feel that tingle of addiction again! I think part of this can be attributed to skiving off with P's walkman in the morning instead of my ipod. Although it's a bit more cumbersome (though we're talking walkman MP3, not walkman 80s styles here), his tunes are way funner than mine, and also, not the same old tuns I always have. Although the walkman is a creature of the new millenium, the tunes are pure 80s (and some older). Way fun! Highlights were Take on Me during a fast interval, plenty of Michael Jackson, and cruising up the hill during my cool down to Elton John, David Bowie and a current favourite cheesy 80s song, Nik Kershaw's "Wouldn't it be good." Sah-weet. I have got to sort my own tunes out!
I did my long run with C today. I was down for 13 miles at 9:24 pace and it was pretty clear that that wasn't going to happen, so I was able to go with the flow and enjoy our slower pace- nice doing a long run with an average HR of 152! (actually, I really wasnt in the mood for speed- I think I averaged only a little under 10min/mi for the 4 miles I did before meeting C). We had a good chat, ran a nice loop. Including the 4 miles (haha- just typed "hours" for "miles" there) that I did by myself, my run was about 15miles, run in about 2:33 (10:12/mile). That's the longest I've spent on my feet for awhile! After the run, we met the boys and enjoyed shakes and scones. Yum!
I know that pace is fundamental to doing FIRST right, and that I shouldn't be taking off-pace weeks like this too often. However, I have very carefully set aside some key long runs to do to the letter, including a "fast" 13 miler, and my 20-miler. My 20 miler is over Easter, so both my long run buds are away. I'll have P pulling me along for the last 10ks though. It's scary how much I can't wait for these big runs! It's still a whole 3 weeks before I even get to run 16!
I'm in two minds about whether to run the marathon with C. I know it would be a nice thing to do, but how much do I sacrifice me for her? I know I would enjoy some of it, but I also know that I don't want to be running for 5 hours if I don't have to, and that I although I can be patient during a half or a long run, I don't know how patient and supportive I'll be feeling at mile 22! I think it's awesome that Jess has done so many races with her friends, but I am honestly torn. I want to know what I can do. Then again, a slow marathon would leave the Harbour Capital Marathon in late June wide-open for a killer PB! But running the full there would remove the possibility of doing a fast, new-Kate pb (or maybe even old Kate pb) half! Dilemmas. So, vote:
a) Run with C. Do 26.2 in June
b) Run alone, do 13,1 in June
c) Run with C, do 13.1 in June (and 26.2 in October)
Is 2 months between marathons long enough to run a decent time at the second? Will I get that "2nd marathon 20-minute PB" if there's only 2 months between?
In other news, my cycling technique has absolutely improved- P noticed it in Martinborough, and I absolutely felt it during my easy spin during Desperate Housewives on Monday (that show is going downhill fast, but for now it makes for a good weekly trainer date). Cadence is lifting, I can do one leg drills sort of well, I can stand for ages on the trainer, and stand and drink a little on the road. Yay! I am going to keep this weekly ride up so I don't have to start from scratch when I start base training for my half IM (race undecided). I've also discovered that Masters has wrecked me for individual training- my god it's boring! I went for a swim on Weds am and the pool was so packed I couldn't do a structured workout. I got SO bored. Unbelievably bored. I ended up moving down a lane and doing some slower drills, including some work on my IM.
Anyway, I am pleased to report that I am now 100%-for certain-officially NOT THAT KID. In March we are started a cheesy team "wellness" challenge at work- wear a pedometer and monitor your non-ped exercise for a month or something. First day it was announced, someone asked me to be in their team. Second day, the people trying to put together a super competitive team asked me. Yesterday another person.
The wellness challenge should be fun. I'm not going to let myself change my core workout programme, but am using it to concrete some good incidental exercise habits- walking to (and from) work where possible (it's about 2.5mi, half down/up hill, half flat). Walking around the bays or in the gardens with friends at lunchtime. Taking the stairs. My training is not high volume enough at the moment to have a reason not to do those things, so I've been making an effort with them. If I could only fix my eating habits (this week has been a giant step forwards, but not giant enough!) I'd be looking toned and streamlined in no time!
Heading out for my long run now (with C, so it's not going to be on pace, sorry FIRST)- will post a workout/week update when I get back!
Sunday, February 11, 2007
C and I started the run slow, and hit the first k in 5:35 (about 9:00 pace). I have always felt that that first k marker is a bit short- I've hit it in 4:30 and 4:20 before, and I haven't been rabbiting THAT much! We kept an easy pace, chatting and enjoying the weather, and I kept a close eye on my HRM. I knew that if my rate started sneaking out of my aerobic zone, C's would have been at the "too high" level, and I wanted us to run an easy first half and a hard second. It's an interesting experience at the back of the pack. I sort of expected people to be friendlier, to enjoy it more, but they were generally just the same as the mid-pack runners. Serious, working hard. The only guy who was overtly friendly was the triathlete C knew who was trying to pace his wife to a sub2:00 (they failed too). There were some walk-breakers who we leapfrogged with for awhile. I took a bathroom break at about 2 miles in, and had fun running at race pace + to catch up, though I felt like a complete poser!
We hit the 5k at 29:43. I was OK with this, as I thought we would be able to make up for it later on. Just before the 10k, you run up the only hill in the race. We passed a number of people on the way up, and although we joked about getting passed back on the way down we didn't. So I said to C at the 10k mark "from now on I'm not talking to you- I want you to run. We probably can't break 2:00 [we were at about 1:00], but we may be able to get you a pb [her current is 2:03]" She seemed happy with that and we pushed on. The next half of the race was so much fun. It was hot, but it was still easy running for me, so I was having a high old time. We passed tons of people (ok-probably about 5, but this race is so small that those 5 people were covering about 500m). Then I got scared that I was running too aggressively for her, so when we approached a line of about 5 people (including our target, "white singlet woman") I held back. But C was feeling strong, and was rather psyched on the idea of passing people, so before I knew it, we were passing the next queue. For the rest of the race we continued like this. At one point I was leading a wee pace group, which was so fun! I think I will investigate being a 2:00 or 2:10 pacer for a race sometime.
We shared part of the course with a triathlon (the scorching series that P and I have competed in before). It was fun checking out the bikes and enjoying the atmosphere but I felt a little sad at times. My last chance for an oly race was today, and it was a beaut day for it- NO wind and not tooo hot. But I had a great time doing this race. And while we were watching the racers, I thought about how glad I am that I haven't had to kill myself on the bike for the last few weeks- I want to go sub 1:30 on my first Oly ride and I'm not ready for that yet (the Oly course has a loong hill and tends to attract maaajor wind). Instead, I'm looking forward to sorting out that cycling after the marathon, and avoiding any extra stress on my ITB. By half-IM day (I need to make some serious decisions on the details soon!) I want to be able to ride 90km in sub-3:00. I don't expect to do that on the day, but I want to work hard and keep a 30kph average.
Anyway, back to the race at hand. We hit 15km in 1:29. I knew 2:00 was gone but thought that 2:03 was within our sights. However, it was not to be. Although we kept running hard, I could feel C pulling back when I pushed her. We were picking up the pace for the home stretch when we got to a sign- 1 k to go. WHAT?? Completely threw me, and C too I think. This race has some of the dodgiest markers ever- I've thought so every time. It was hard to motivate C for that last k, and green top girl (the only one of our wee pace group who had kept with us) took off ahead of us. I actually think she owed us some thanks! She'd been drafting for quite some time. Ah well, sensible strategy! In fact, I think she would have run a better time if she'd lost us earlier.
When we got to the grass at the end I told C it was time to race. "You've got a sprint in there- come on!" It wasn't much of a sprint but she took off, and crossed the finish line just in front of me, in 2:07:30(ish).
Maybe I could have helped C break 2:00, or maybe she did have a pb in her, but maybe if I hadn't been there she'd have gone over 2:10. If we'd gone harder early on, we could have found those lost minutes, but we could have burned out, or we could have had less fun. I really hope that the race was a positive one for her anyway- maybe not the best number, but hopefully a good experience.
It was definitely a good experience for me. I liked running an easy half. I liked running 9:42 pace and averaging 160 bpm (not too far out of my aerobic zone). I liked crossing the finish line as fresh as when I started (well kinda- 13.1 miles hurts your legs a bit no matter how easy you take it). I don't know if I should say this, but I think I have a sub-4 marathon in me. It might not come out in Rotorua- I know the first marathon adds an extra 20 minutes (or whatever) and the Rotorua course has a couple of major hills- but I think it could well happen this year.
PS: So it turns out that running a(n albeit slow) half, hitting the pool for 500m before Masters then swimming short sets for an hour makes your legs really tired. Even if you do 45 minutes of yoga to stretch them out in between! I think my am spin tomorrow will be done at home with Coach Troy and the recovery dvd, and not at the gym!
Friday, February 09, 2007
So, first "FIRST":
Key Run #1 (Monday): w/up, 5 x 1k (goal: 4:30) w/400m RI, cool
4:22, 4:23, 4:23, 4:24, 4:25 (hard but good!)
Key Run #2 (Thursday): w/up, 4mi tempo (8:15-8:30), cool
4mi in 33:00 (exactly on pace - even though I felt inCREDibly slow and was so hot I ended up in my sports crop top only, a first for me and I feel sorry for the other runners I saw)
Key Run #3 will be at the City of Wellington Half Marathon this Sunday. I'm not super excited about this, as it's a race I've never enjoyed (even the time I PRd there) and I'm only doing it to help my friend break 2:00. The plan calls for 12mi @ PMP + 45-60 (9:54-10:09), so we won't be too far off. I hope we can do it, but I'm not sure that she's ready- still, I really hope that I can help her run the best race possible on the day!
On Monday night we went up to P's aunt and uncle's place in Martinborough (country town, farms, vineyards etc). We enjoyed a fabulous barbeque with them on Monday night and slept in a wonderful room (they run a B&B- this room was waaay nicer than anything we'd have ever paid for!), then slept in before taking the twins (bikes) out for a nice medium-long ride around the countryside. Because we're us and it always seems to work like this, we rode into a headwind for the first half. It was still enjoyable though, if slow! Then stopped in a local pub for a huge lunch (I'm sure it more than compensated for the calories we burned). We did some short sprints on the way back (new top speed, 55kph) and I worked some more on my technique. P said I had really improved. It is so great riding out there- we are going to make an effort to drive up semi-regularly throughout the next year, so I can ride somewhere where I'm happy and relaxed. It's SO much better for me! We spent the rest of the afternoon sunbathing (I finished re-reading Harry Potter 6) and watching cricket, before we got as dressed up as we could be bothered to (something offputting about make up in the heat) and went out for a romantic dinner.
Weds I turned 25. Woo! Did a really uncomfortable swim in the morning- was sooo tired and back was stuffed from cycling. Had joint birthday drinks with a good friend that evening- heaps of good friends there, lovely presents, perfect weather, nice crisp white wine- perfect!
We went to a bike maintenance class last night- the last thing I wanted to do on a really hot night, but very valuable. I'm feeling a lot more confident about my ability to do all those basic things. One day I will love and cherish my bike, I'm sure of it.
Anyway, we're blobbing out tonight. We'd planned a romantic night at the beach, but the weather's packed up a bit again and, well, we're knackered. Masters at 8 and an easy run tomorrow so I think sleep is the best thing for me.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
I went along to my second ever Masters (second ever any sort of squad..) swim tonight.
Coach: So you're the one who should be in the fast lane?
Me: Uh.. no. I swam with Barry on Weds, it was about right
Coach: You do 1k in 20 mins?
Me: Well, I can. I mean, 20-21, thereabouts, but...
Coach: That's my race pace, jump in.
Unsurprisingly, I soon proved the coach wrong. I started off second from the back, and got passed at 150m in the 500 w/up. By the time we'd finished, I think the coach had lapped me, and I'm sure everyone else hated my guts. Fortunately, I was demoted after that set!
I don't quite know how "can swim 1k in 20 min" equates to "can swim easy-paced 100m drills on the 1:45"?
Anyway, I didn't mind getting dropped. I was at about the right pace for the lane I was in, and I kept to the back where I belonged! I got some really good pointers on my catch, and am going to work on that. I also have a strokes per length target to aim for (it's embarrassing... 19), and have been promised some paddle work next time. I can see the effects that this will have on my swim already.
One of our last sets was 4 x 25m, at 80%, 100%, 110%, 80%. Now, you may remember that on 6 Jan I was excited to knock another second off my 25m, taking it down to 22s. First 25m? 20s. Second was 21 (yuck- I obviously don't *get* 100%). Third- 19s. And last? an 80% effort and under 19s. Woo!
My run and swim are coming together nicely, and I'm feeling like me again. I am slacking on the bike because of marathon training and I'm good with that. Once April 28 has passed, I am going to start applying the "practice makes improvement" theory to my cycling. My summer 70.3 is looking like an achievable goal. Knock wood.
Rest of the weekend was good- we enjoyed a picnic with C and F on Friday, before watching the kiwi classic "The Dog's Tale" outside in the velodrome. Beautiful night, yummy food, toasty hot chocolate- perfect! Saturday was my long run, in completely average weather, then we had brunch with P's friends, and went shopping. My middle sister J was staying with us, and we went out for dinner with the whole family to celebrate my forthcoming move into the 25-29 AG (yuck! that spoils any hope of me EVER placing). I love turkish food! Today was beautiful, and J and I did some shopping before I trotted off to work and she headed home. Now we're chilling out, P watching the cricket (more wood-knocking..don't let us down boys!), me eating cookies. Tuesday is a public holiday, so although we're working tomorrow, we're planning to drive up to the Wairarapa for the night and then spending the day riding, eating good food and going out for a romantic dinner. Can't wait!
Hope everyone's weekends are going well.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Thursday: Tempo (2 easy, 3 tempo @ 8:15-8:30, 2 easy)
3.1 mi in 25:50 (8:20/mi)
(+ a very easy run with my friend C on Thursday after work. 1:35, about 8 miles! About 1.5mi uphill and average HR was still 139. So THAT's what running under my threshold is like?)
Saturday: Long run (10, PMP + 45-60 = 9:54-10:09/mi)
10.02 in 1:37 = 9:41/mi
Av HR= 151
I'm feeling OK about this week- missed pace for the intervals which was disappointing, but 1600 is much further than 800! I'm pretty tired even though it wasn't a very hard week, running-wise, but hopefully will feel perkier soon!