Saturday, July 28, 2007

An EPIC run

First, I think a certain IronJen needs a massive high 5!!!!!! You ROCK Jen.

I had an aMAZing long run this morning. Seriously- like "I feel so great I wish my marathon was two weeks away" amazing. I'm scared of maintaining this awesome feeling, and by the responsibility of taking care of my fitness for the next three months. 12 weeks. A LOT can happen in that time.

Anyway- my run. First 20-miler on the schedule. I was nowehere near as nervous about it as I was last time round! In fact, I got to bed after midnight last night after watching two movies (one Film Fest, one Simpons!) and eating a dirty mixed veg kebab for dinner (mm.. hummus!). I convinced A to do a mega-hilly route, largely so I wouldn't feel bad about slowing her down, and also because I wanted to maximise time on feet. I know that my training for Rotorua was massively assisted by long, sloooow runs with C, and I know I should aim for goal pace, and not aim to beat it!

So anyway, I mapped out this route, which is basically a tiki tour of Wellington.*** Over the course of the run, we hit no fewer than seventeen suburbs, with 3 big climbs, one looong descent, and very few flat bits. One of the big climbs (the steepest and windiest) was from mile 19 to the finish at 20.62. A far cry from our usual trundles around the bays!

We finished in 3:17, 9:33 pace. Right on the lower limit of goal pace (9:33 to 9:48). I felt strong pretty much the whole way and even (dare I say it) led up some of the hills (though A kicked my sorry butt on the long downhill and on the flats, and dragged me up that bitch of a final hill!) The varied terrain (or the company, or something) kept me from getting bored, and at 2:23 I felt better than I have felt at 2:23 for a long time. My breakfast lasted me amazingly well- I had a drink in Aro valley, but was nowhere near as dependent on my sport beans as I sometimes am.

And the coolest thing? When we got home, A said "that's the hardest I've worked since the marathon." That's the 3:43 marathon she ran last month (and she was on track for 3:35 until she hit the headwind at 32k). A 3:43 marathoner was working HARD and I was keeping up?! I feel cool :-)

The rest of the day was spent at the film festival, apart from a break for some shopping and a coffee with my sisters. We saw Black Book last night (GREAT Dutch film), My Best Friend (typically sweet French comedy) this afternoon and Death of a President (so cool- fake documentary about a Dubya assassination). It was a great way to spend a Saturday, and I'm very glad my P got the ball rolling on getting out film festival tickets!!

In other training:
- speedwork is crap. first 1k rep was 4:19 and instead of picking up I slowed every rep until I gave up when I hit 4:30 at rep 4 (of 5). Yuck
- tempo this week followed my typical pattern. hideous headwind and embarrassing "out" split (15:43 for 3k!!!!!), glorious tailwind and satisfying "back" split (14:05- so not bad at all). All up, 6k (instead of 4mi) in 29:48, for 7:57 pace (goal was 7:55)

****For those of you who are in Welly/know Welly, and who can appreciate the route (mapmyrun just doesn't do those hills justice- in fact it doesn't look quite right to me):
Run down through Roseneath to Oriental Bay for a couple of miles
Past the railway station to Thorndon Quay (where I saw the jog squad!) and along to Kaiwharawhara/Ngaio Gorge Road (flat from mile 2 to mile 5)
Up to Ngaio (about 1.5 miles of uphill)
Down through Crofton Downs
Up behind Wilton to Karori (all undulating with some reasonable hills)
Down Raroa Road to Aro Valley (longish- well, a mile or so, downhill)
Up Ohiro Road into Brooklyn (shorter sharper uphill- but still a good few minutes)
Doooown Ohiro/Happy Valley Rd to Owhiro Bay (around 3 miles down)
Around to Island Bay (flat)
Up through Berhampore to Newtown (gradual uphill- not easy though, and particularly not at 17-18!)
Up Constable Street to Alexandra Rd (0.5 mile uphill)
Alexandra Rd up to HOME (it's around 1.5 miles I think, you gain over 500 ft, and it took us about 19 minutes- I think that indicates how steep it is!)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

For me 12 hours is a big week...

.. and I feel great!!

Some comment-worthy moments:

- a perfect evening on Monday. P and I had a relaxed 45 minute moonlit run, followed by tuna, leek and pea risotto, crusty baked bageutte and pinot gris. MMMM!
- falling into the pool on Tuesday night, with my goggles still sitting on my cap, and my drink bottle in hand! I couldn't stop laughing.
- an easy but hilly run and a good catch up with C
- getting back into my Pump classes. They kicked my butt big time, but I'm feeling buffer and hawter already!
- long run with A around the coast in the sun; some small hills and a bit of undulation. 18.27 miles, 2.50 total time, 9:18 av pace (faster than goal, but not faster than FIRST's suggested goal), talking all the way. I'll take it :-)
- seeing P in his hot bike jersey riding past just after our last turnaround. always makes me happy :-)
- coming home, sipping a smoothie, reading Harry Potter... (awesome that we get it FIRST living in NZ!)

On a more sober note, my heel hurts. I remember this happening after some Rotorua long runs, but it cleared up and I never got it checked out. It just feels like a small bruise inside my heel. Anyone had this? I think it just needs ice and rest, but want to make sure I'm not being completely negligent!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Better than nothing

I've learned a very important lesson these last few weeks, as I work at maintaining work/exercise/life balance. My super-busy period is over, but I'm not yet in a position to relax and go with the flow. I still can't guarantee that after work or lunchtime workouts will, well, work out, or that I'll be home in time to get enough sleep for my next early am wake up call (OK- that last bit's just about lazyness and winter…but late nights don't exactly help).

So, what I've learnt is that:

There is no "too short."

If I'm agitated after a long day, or by the thought of another week pending, it doesn't matter if I don't have time for a "proper" swim before it's time to eat, or before the pool closes. Twenty or thirty minutes is better than no minutes. Maybe I spend as much time changing as swimming. Maybe $1 is a lot to pay for every 5 minutes I swim. But I get to relish the chlorine, and the feeling of peace as I pushed through the water. I got to go home frizzy haired and relaxed. Better than spending the whole hour on Facebook!

If I have an hour to kill between work and meeting friends for a movie, it doesn't matter that "by the time I get to the gym and changed and then showered and changed again I'll hardly have any time to work out." Because "hardly any" is better than none.

Accepting this has meant that over the past couple of weeks I've added at least 2 or 3 swims, lunchtime walks, and a couple of lifting sessions. Not much, maybe, but it's something. And something is better than nothing. It really is- the short lifting sessions mean my arms have seen the inside of the gym for the first time in months. Short swims have meant I've held on to at least some technique, and the easy 100s I do when I get into the pool have been sitting steady at 1:49-1:50/100m (1:40/100y), which used to be my FAST.

So there we have it. Something really is better than nothing.

PS: training notes
S: 16 miles, 2:34ish (hilly)
S: 30k cycle (outdoors!) 30 min swim
M: w/up, 1200 (5:34), 1000 (4:33), 800 (3:29), 600 (2:34), 400 (1:35), 200 (39), cool
EZ nighttime run with P (45ish, 4.5-5mi ish)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Queen of the negative split

Me? Or just the biting Southerly that fought me on the way out and carried me home?

I'm not sure, but I did the first 4km of my long tempo run in 21:08 (8:26 pace) and the return trip was 19:28 (7:47 pace). My goal pace was 8:10 and I averaged 8:07, so I'm ok with that, but I wish a consistent effort would yield more consistent results!

I should be grateful. On the way over to the pool, the weather threatened to turn my run into a real adventure, as the freezing rain pelted straight out of Antarctica into my face. But by the time I got dressed (which took awhile, with frozen fingers and soaked legs) and headed out to run, it had passed, and I didn't get a drop while I was out there.

I am well over winter already... I'd forgotten how bleak it gets. Fortunately I'm a lot happier inside this year, which means I don't have the awful winter blues/depression I had last year (when I first started this blog). Yay!

So, I had an epiphany yesterday when I was running from pool to work (4.5 miles?) with my not particularly heavy backpack. One of those silly ones, where you knew it all along. I realised that the extra fat I'm carrying on my tummy, hips, arms, legs, butt (etc..) weighs more than that backpack. That backpack turns me from sleek and speedy to a real plodder. I realise that it's not just a weight thing, or even mostly a weight thing, that slows me down when I run avec backpack, but I also think I'll enjoy my next marathon a lot more if I'm not lugging round TEN extra pounds. Yup. As many pounds as I have toes.

Unfortunately, this epiphany hasn't quite kicked me into action yet. Yesterday was an all time low eating wise (I wish it was an all time low, but I suspect it was just a bad day). It started with the treat P bought back for me from Auckland- a boston creme dunkin donut (we don't have any good donuts in Welly). He forgot to give it to me until late (11ish) and I was running in and very space conscious, so I couldn't carry it. But I didn't want it to go stale, so I ate it. At 5:45am. I arrived at work to find butterfingers and jolly ranchers (we don't have those here...they came back from Seattle with a colleague). Couldn't resist a taste of ginger slice at lunch. Found myself undernourished and hungry by the time we got to dinner after a light lifting session and barely noticed myself ordering fries with my healthy chicken pita. Still hungry when we lined up for treats pre Harry Potter (woo!) and scarfed a hot fudge sundae and some popcorn. Yup. THAT bad. (bet you didn't think it possible).

When will I learn??!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I can't seem to put a title on this post. Rude!

I did my first second time FIRST long run this morning (confusing enough?). I had 13 miles on tap, so ran the course of a half-M I've done 3 times before. I decided to just run with my gut, and not to notice pace, figuring that would give me the most accurate picture of where I am now.

It was very very COLD. For Wellington. Toasty warm by most N. American standards. Sometimes the sun came out and it was lovely, but at random intervals the sky clouded over and I was pelted with ice cold rain. How delightful! The run went well. I was dehydrated, and was very glad I'd brought sports beans with me, as I was definitely fading a little bit by half way. My pace felt reasonably steady and I finished in 1:55, for a little over 13.1 miles at around 8:47 pace. SWEET. I'm pretty happy with that, as it's under my PMP. I will be good and do my future long runs more slowly, but I didn't really feel like this was *too* fast, and I did want to know what running naturally would lead to.

All in all a lovely run. At least until P got stuck in our street, which is very narrow, because a big truck could not turn round. I didn't have my phone, and although he wasn't that late (less than 15 mins), I didn't know whether to head towards home, and it just happened to be during one of the icy cold rain intervals, not the glistening rainbow and pale sun intervals. Had to RUSH to the pool to meet my sisters. Forgot my hoodie and my towel. Fortunately super J shared. Ahsome.

In fact, so far this weekend's been great. Last night I hung at work drinks for awhile, before unpexpectedly deciding to meet P and a mutual friends to see Blades of Glory. I barely stopped laughing. My sisters and I had a nice big lunch after swimming, then wandered round the shops where I bought some ingredients for a super cute new outfit. Unfortunately, silly P went out riding and wants to be a homebody tonight, so I can't get prettied up!

Retraction/update: P had just got back from a very impressive cold and hilly 100k ride, and wasn't sure he was up to Indian food. After a shower, he decided he was ok for a quiet night out, and we had a delicious and romantic evening at a Greek cafe we hadn't tried before. And I got to wear the new threads

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

FIRST- the sequel: run 1

Last week my goal was to "recover" from Sunday's 10k and to ease into running before starting my FIRST to the Finish training programme for the Auckland marathon (28 October 2007- exactly 6 months after Rotorua!). Rotorua seemed like a distant memory, and I must say I choked when I saw that my first long run was 13 miles, not 8 as it was under my first-timers programme.

My week was a bit middle-heavy, and looked like this:

T- 40 minute easy loop (am) and 1400m (30 min) swim (pm)
W- run home after work (55 minutes for 6.x miles), 10mi spin on the trainer
T- run into pool (15mins), swim 35 mins, run to work (40 mins), 70 minute easy run with ladies (pm)
F- rest
S- 20 mi spin on trainer (steady- av pace 20mph)
S- about 12 mi run with A (just under 1:55, so 9:30-9:40ish pace)

Since Rotorua, I've done a number of 90ish minute runs (it seems to have become my default "long" run), and my mileage has stayed in the "not embarrassingly low" zone (for the most part) as I've been doing quite a bit of easy running on non-key days. But I haven't run over 90 minutes since April, and the thought of 2 hours at 9:18 pace in week 1 was a bit frightening, so it was a huge relief to know that I can still do 12 miles at a non-embarrassing pace (even with a hangover.. Yuck).

Yesterday morning my legs may have been a bit tired- it was naughty to do speedwork, but I'll be good from now on- promise. My 3 x 1600 splits were pretty lame (all over 7:25- 10 secs above my 5k pace, and 20 secs above my goal 1600 pace), but the wind was yucky, I was still full from a day and night of constant eating, and- heck (we'll see if that ups my blog rating)- it was 6 am. I'm going to need to pick it up on my speedwork, so I'll probably pop down to the gym every couple of weeks to use the cursed t-mill- running speed intervals on the road is just too variable and unreliable. We'll see how my tempo goes on Wednesday. I'm looking forward to the long run this weekend!

I'm investigating some sort of coaching/PT assistance, but am having difficulties finding someone who can do what I want (periodic body comp/fitness testing with some programme assistance for cross training days). The trainer I wanted recommended her body comp guy, as she's leaving my gym, but I have been incredibly put off by the form letter response I got back. Seriously- it doesn't deal with any of my issues and doesn't even include my name. And the pricing structures and forms he sent are just not fitted to endurance sports. But the endurance sports guy isn't so much the shiznit at the body comp stuff (which is really the main point- I mean, I have my programme and I want to stick with FIRST this time round). Hm- what pointless dilemmas I'm having!

Am feeling rather upbeat, because although I'm flat out (as per usual), I get to run tomorrow morning and I finished my work in Auckland early this evening and got to fly back a 1 1/2 hours early! Yay- home at 8 to a delicious meal and some quality time with P before Boston legal.

Lastly, congrats to Jessi for her excellent and sublimely executed race at Nationals this weekend. There have been some amazing races in blogland recently (Wes, Jess, Jodi, Susan, Shannon and so many more). Y'all rock!