Category Archives: Training Runs

Learning from a Bonk

Running is easy!  It’s the easiest sport out there….right?  I mean, all you do is move your legs and off you go.  Move the legs faster and you run faster, move them slower and your run slower.  There’s no strategy, no thought process, no planning….. you just go run…. simple as that.

Ok, ok…. don’t click on the back button.  Let me finish.  If you continue reading, I’m guessing you’re one of the following people.  Either your are…

  1. A non-runner who is looking for confirmation in what you’ve been saying all along
  2. A beginner that’s thinking…. “If this is true, I’m doing something wrong.”
  3. An experienced runner who’s saying to yourself…. “This lady is nuts!  But I’ll read on just for the entertainment.”

Well, for the non-runner… sorry, but my first paragraph couldn’t be further from the truth.  But if you’re looking for a challenge, I encourage you to give running a try.  And read on because what I’m about to blog may just help you out one day.

For the other two, you’ll just be shaking your head and saying either “Good lesson learned…. thanks for sharing!” or “Been there… Done that!!”

distancetired

I’m training for my first 25K, so I’m racking up the miles on my long run.  But with the crazy weather we see here in West Virginia in February, sometimes I have to be flexible with my training schedule.  I do my LSD runs on the weekends, mostly on Sundays.  However, this weekend I run my 14-mile LSD on Saturday afternoon as the forecast was calling for sunny skies and temps in the 60’s…. awesome weather!! Sunday was calling for rain. I wanted a spring-like run outside, so I decided…. kinda last-minute…. to do the LSD on Saturday.

So, I rode with my son to his baseball batting practice and 14.5 miles from the house, he dropped me off and I headed home.  The first few miles went well… I enjoyed hearing the birds singing, saw several squirrels scurrying up trees and deer running through the fields, and felt the sun shinning in my face and the breeze gently blowing.  Several cars blew their horns when they passed by, and I even saw some folks on motorcycles.  They always wave… they seem to adopt runners into their secret hand waving club.  😀

As normal, between mile three and four, I sipped some water and chewed on some beans, then washed them down with one more sip of water.  I was feeling good.  But around mile seven, I started feeling tired.  It wasn’t my breathing, nor was it my legs feeling heavy, but a weariness in my upper body.  I got to thinking about it and remembered that I had done a fairly tough upper body strength training workout the evening before…. one of my P90X3 workouts.  Plus I had run three miles on the treadmill.  But I had really pushed myself on the strength workout, and now I was still feeling it.  I was amazed at how much it affected my running today.  But I kept pushing through.

Then, somewhere between mile 9 and 10, I “bonked” or hit the wall.  Again, my legs weren’t really heavy and my breathing was ok, but I just wasn’t feeling well.  It took everything I had to swing my arms and I started getting sick to my stomach.  My fingers were swollen to the point that I couldn’t clinch a fist.  I just wasn’t feeling well.  For the first time ever, I almost called someone to come pick me up.   The last couple of miles I walked a lot.  I turned off my Garmin at mile 14 and completely walked the last half mile as a cool down.  And I walked very slowly.

When I finally got home, I was exhausted.  I drank some ice water while I made a protein shake.  I added frozen strawberries, a banana and some almond milk with the protein mix, and threw everything in the blender.  In just minutes, I was drinking my coction in hopes of regaining some of my strength soon.  As soon as I finished that up, I changed out my sweaty clothes for something dry, stretched out across the bed and fell asleep hard…. for three hours (and yes, without the shower).  I reiterate…. I. Was. Exhausted.

When I got up, I felt a little better, but still not 100%.  I took a nice long hot shower, put on some clean clothes and decided to do some menial housework.  That didn’t last long.  I was still tired and still not feeling very well.  So I ate something again and spent the rest of the evening watching TV and napping on the couch.  I finally went to bed at 10:30 and fell fast asleep.

I thought about it today and run the last couple of days through my mind over and over to figure out just what went wrong.  I’ve run half marathons before and ran double-digit training runs lots of times, but never had I felt this bad.  Then I remembered what I had done on Friday, the day before.  My diet on that day was not at all supportive of an 14-mile run coming the following day.  I had not met my daily required 170+ carbs, let alone carb-loaded for a long run.  Additionally, I drank a lot of coffee on Friday instead of water-bombing like I usually do the day before a long run.  So, I was not adequately fueled and hydrated in addition to being physically stressed from the upper-body strength workout and 3-mile treadmill run on Friday evening.  It’s no wonder I was so tired and weary during the last portion of my run and afterwards as well.

BonkSo what was my lesson learned….. not be flexible with my training schedule?  No, I always need to be flexible with my training schedule, especially when I have a chance to run in appropriate weather as opposed to bad weather.  But I need to watch my nutritional and water intake more closely.  What I ate and drank on Friday wasn’t enough for the workout and short run I did that evening, never mind the LSD on Saturday.  Or perhaps I should have eaten a bigger, healthier breakfast on Saturday morning (I just had an egg, bacon, cheese sandwich) to help with fueling, and definitely drank more water and eaten something salty to help retain water better.  Perhaps, I should have just been patient and ran later in the day, or maybe even wait until Sunday and run in the rain.

Whether I could reverse this bad run into a good one…. I don’t really know.  But one thing I do know is that I learned some valuable information about my body, my eating and drinking habits and my running.  That’s why I write this stuff down…. and when I blog it, maybe someone else will learn from it, too.  Or even better, can share in the learning curve by sharing their experiences, insight and advice.  Another thing I learned is that running is definitely lots of fun, but it’s not easy, and to keep from “bonking,” it does take a lot of strategy, thinking and planning.  Never let the graceful, fluid movements of a successful run fool you into thinking it’s an easy sport.

Have you experienced a similar run?

What did you learn from the experience?

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Snow Running

In the United States a phenomenon occurs that we call “Winter.”  For those of us in the northern part of the US, Winter consists of cold temperatures, snow, ice and wind.  Here in West Virginia, Winter has been reoccurring for as long as I can remember.  And after reading the history books, it sounds like Winter has actually been around these parts for centuries.  Nevertheless, people still seem to be amazed when Winter hits, especially when it hits in its fullest fury.  Schools close, church services are cancelled, roads are impassable, wrecking crews make boocoos of money, and snowmen emerge from the drifts.  But just because it’s snowing and blowing outside, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the fun has to stop….  people find fun ways to enjoy Winter with ice skating, sled riding, snow skiing, snow boarding and snow tubing.  And for us runners, there is Snow Running.

if-you-wait-for-conditions

Don’t confuse that with “No Running”… it’s “Snow Running.”  Last Winter was my first time trying out Snow Running, and I fell in love with it one the first run.  There’s just something so peaceful and immaculate about being a part of a wintry landscape.  The air is brisk and clean; frigid to the nostrils and lungs…. the sound of snow crunching under each step creates a rhythmic echo that breaks the solitude of the landscape…. the sunshine reflecting off the snow is blinding to the eye but warming to the heart…. the feelings, sights and sounds of Winter is almost indescribable and nothing like any other season.

Winter is a sight to behold, physically, mentally and spiritually, but it requires some precaution and extra preparation for Snow Running.  After experiencing running in these elements myself, and researching it through other blogs, fellow runners, virtual running groups and etc., I thought I would share some of the strategies I use to have successful Snow Runs.

SAFETY FIRST!!

I run a lot on narrow country roads where there’s not much (if any) berm on which to run.  Sometimes, there’s absolutely nowhere to go if one car is coming, nevermind if there are two cars passing each other.  So I have to really consider if and when it’s safe to even run on these roads.  If you run on/next to roads, you have to consider the ability of drivers to maintain control of their vehicles when passing you.  If there’s a chance they can lose control and wreck, or you’re not able to get out of the way quickly and safely, then you may want to consider a different route that’s safer, or an alternative such as the treadmill or an indoor track.  If you run on sidewalks, remember to keep an eye out for ice, and be leery of the possibility of ice hidden under snow.  Slipping and falling onto hard concrete could put a quick end to your running.

 

DRESS THE PART

Consider the temperatures and dress accordingly.  Dressing in layers allows air to be trapped between layers that will actually help insulate you from the frigid temps.balaclava  Plus, if you get too warm, it makes it easier to take off a layer.  Personally, I think it’s just as bad (if not worse) to be overheated, than it is to be too cold.  Keep your hands, ears and toes well covered and insulated.  The greatest percentage of heat goes out the head, so wearing a hat will help keep you warm.  Although I haven’t tried it yet, I know a lot of runners who wear balclavas to keep their face warm and help with their breathing.

Speaking of hats, one thing I always do when it’s snowing is wear a baseball cap with a bill to keep the snow out of my eyes and block the wind from my face.  If it’s cold, I’ll wear a head band around my ears to keep them warm.  I hate when my ears get cold.

 

DITCH THE MUSIC

I love to run with music…. I run with it almost all the time, even races.  But there are two times that I ditch the music… at night and on bad snowy days.   I don’t listen to music at night because I want to listen for possible attackers (both men and animals) because I can’t see them as well.  When Snow Running, especially along roads, it’s important to keep an ear open to listen for traffic.  At the very least, wear only one earbud in the ear that’s away from the road keeping the ear next to the road open so you can hear better.

Although I recommend ditching the music, I recommend carrying your cell phone with you.  You never know when you may need help, and having the ability to call someone is convenient and smart.  When it’s cold, however, keep in mind that cell phones will freeze up and shut down.  I carry mine in a pocket or in a belt that’s under a layer or two of clothes and close to my body to keep it warm.  I’ve been able to carry a cell phone and keep it on over the course of a half marathon by using this tactic.

 

SECURE TRACTION

yaktraxIt’s nearing the end of January and I’m missing a very, VERY valuable part of the Snow Running gear…. traction cleats for my shoes such as YakTrax.  These cleats will help your run better by giving you more improved footing which will increase your overall pace, but it they will also keep you from slipping, sliding and falling.  I slid around a lot today during my 4-mile Snow Run and wished the whole time I had some cleats.  I had a pair last year and loved them, but they have disappeared over the summer.  I guess I’ll be hitting the local running store soon to get a set.

 

SAVOR THE MOMENT

Above all else, enjoy your Snow Run.  Unless you live in the southern hemisphere or the North Pole, you only get to experience Snow Runs in the Winter months.  Although it can feel like forever to those who are Summer-lovers, Winter really only lasts technically three months with just a few weeks of actual Snow Running weather.  Being outside when the temps are in the high-20s to low-30s, snow flakes the size of pancakes are wafting down, the tree limbs are dressed in the soft white snow, and the sky is a brilliant blue is amazing and awesome…. so savor the moment, drink it in and ENJOY your Snow Run.

I had a wonderful time today on my Snow Run in my Winter Wonderland today, and am looking forward to a nice long 10-mile run tomorrow in even more perfect, pristine wintry elements.  I hope you can get out there to experience Snow Running as often as possible.  It’s definitely unforgettable.

What is one of your most favorite Snow Running experience?

Do you have any other tips for comes to Snow Running?

Train In All the Elements

A few months ago, I saw a post on Facebook where someone posted a question about training for an upcoming race.  It’s been a few months ago, so I can’t remember it word-for-word, but I remember the post was made during the week and their race (I think their first 5k) was that Saturday.  So this new runner mentions that they had been doing all their training on the treadmill, and wondering if they should get a run outside done before the race.  I kind of cringed when I read their question, as I couldn’t imagine doing all of my training inside, then trying to complete a race…. nevermind competing.

This old post came to my mind this morning during my long run.  It was a unique long run for me as it’s Sunday morning, and I have never ran on Sunday morning before.  I have always made my Sunday morning priority going to church.  I haven’t even run a race on a Sunday morning.   Sunday afternoon….. but not Sunday morning. 

I got to run this morning because we had cancelled church due to the weather.  It was really putting down the snow and the roads were hideous!!  On top of that, the forecast was calling for the snow to turn to sleet around noon.  So to keep our parishioners safe, my husband who happens to be the pastor, cancelled services for the day.  So I decided to take advantage of the extra two hours and go for my long run early.

I ended up running in quite challenging conditions…. I took off at 10:00am with temps around 32 degrees and large snow flakes falling.  I was trudging through six or more inches of snow, but it was beautiful.  Then around 10:30am…. the wind kicked up, temps raised about 3 degrees and the sleet started.  Although I was warm, I was getting wet.  And on top of that, the snow was getting heavier making it harder to plow through.  It had rained the day before and froze under the snow, so my footing wasn’t good either.  (Note to self…. order those Yaktrax!!)

snow_Conrad LaneWhen the weather started turning bad, for a fleeting moment a thought flew through my head to call it quits.  But then I remembered I have a half marathon on January 5th…. only four weeks away.  And the chances that I’ll face these exact same conditions, if not worse, is very high.  So I trudged on, considering this the perfect training opportunity to prepare for wintry elements.  These were conditions I could never simulate in my home gym on the treadmill.  And it builds my confidence as now I know I can handle the long distance in the cold, snow and sleet.

So what’s my point?  Running on a treadmill meets its purpose when necessary, but it’s also important to train in all the elements…. cold, hot, humid, dry, rainy, snowy, sleeting, windy, flat and fast, hilly, early morning, afternoon, night, and whatever else God might throw your way.  If you’re going to race, you gotta be prepared for anything and everything.  Well… at least as much as possible.  Just remember, always keep safety top priority.  It made the run harder, but I kept my run this morning on all back roads that were traveled very little or not at all.  The main roads were too dangerous. 

I’m glad I didn’t quit early and finished my 8-mile run this morning.  I was cold and wet when I got home, but I was exhilarated!!  It was worth training in the elements as now I’m one run closer to being prepared for my half marathon…. rain or shine!!  😀

Do you agree with me?  Can you complete all of your training on a treadmill and be successful in a race?  What are some of the worst conditions in which you have run to prepare for a race??

Getting Runner’s High from an Awesome LSD

Just the title alone should give me lots of hits on this post. Unfortunately, if you’re a drug addict, you’ll be very disappointed when you find out that LSD in this instance is runner’s lingo for “Long, Slow Distance.”  But yesterday, I enjoyed a natural high from one of the best LSD’s I’ve had since I started running a year ago.  Everything clicked … my pace, my breathing, my timing, the weather, the temperature … everything … perfect!!

I started running in August 2012 with a C25K program.  I ran/walked my first 5k a couple of months later at a surprisingly 10:19 min/mile pace.  Since then, I’ve had better races, and I’ve had worse.  My PR pace so far for a 5k is 08:52 min/mile.  Knowing this, I set the following race pace goals:

  • 10k pace of 09:30 min/mile
  • Half Marathon pace of 10:00 min/mile
  • Full Marathon pace of 11:00 min/mile

So far, I’ve not hit the 10k or HM race paces, but I’m optimistic for a 10k I’m scheduled to run in early November and a HM I’m doing in late-November.  Why so optimistic?  Because of the LSD I ran yesterday.  It’s amazing what a good training run will do for your outlook on future races.

photo 3I typically run LSDs on Sundays when I don’t have a lot going on.   If not Sundays, then usually Saturdays.  But this weekend, I didn’t get a chance to get my LSD in at all.  So I attempted the near impossible … running an LSD on Monday evening after work.  Monday’s at work are always the worst for me … cRazY busy and typically very stressful.  Yesterday was no different.  Additionally, with the daylight hours getting shorter, I know I wouldn’t get much rest between work and the 12 miles I had scheduled.  But I left work determined I would lace up shortly after I got home and hit the road no later than 5:30pm.photo 1

 

 

 

 

 

And so I did … and I had one of the best LSDs I’ve ever had.  It was awesome. As I mentioned earlier, the weather totally cooperated.  It was sunny and bright, but cool.  The temperature when I got home around 7:30ish was at 59 degrees.  I felt as if I could have run for ever.

As I started out on the LSD, I could tell I was clipping along at a fairly good pace.  For the first three miles, I held a pace between 09:41-09:45 min/mile.  The voice with my Runtastic app kept giving me the total time ran and the pace for that mile, and I was astonished at how well I was doing.  During the first three miles, I thought to myself, “I’ll keep this up for the first few miles then slow down.  You know you’re gonna hit that wall if you keep this pace up.”  I chewed up some Gu Chomps at 3.5 miles, washed it down with water and felt a little extra energy, so I kept up the pace.  At mile five, and still maintaining a little under a 10:00 min/mile pace, I decided to push myself to get to 6 miles in under 60 minutes …. which I accomplished!!  Even though I feared I would soon slam into the proverbial runners wall, I threw caution to the wind and decided to try to finish out the second half of the training so that I would end up with an average of 10:00 min/mile pace … RACE PACE!!  My splits weren’t totally negative, but I did end up running faster from miles 7 through to 11.  It was a good practice to push through being tired and sore.  I had planned to run 12 miles, but my iPhone died on me at 11.5 miles.  So, I walked the last half mile as a cool down stretch.

photo 2

Will I run all my LSD’s at this pace?? … No!!   Can I technically call yesterday’s run an LSD?? … Probably not.  But it was a good training run.  It was good physically as well as mentally.  Now I know I can run a 10:00 min/mile pace for my HM … I have no doubts.  I didn’t feel I was at 100% during last evenings run, so maybe I can even do better during an actual race.  Sub-2 hour Half Marathon???   Additionally, I can push through being tired and sore.  I know one pack of Gu Chomps will get me through 12 miles.  I know I’ll not wear my Brooks Pure Connect2 minimalist shoes on a long run ever again, and be sure my iPhone is charged to 100% before starting out on a run!!  I think I know that eating chocolate cake for lunch gives me extra energy for a long run.  But I may need to test that one again.  🙂

Even today, I still feel the high of yesterday’s run.  I want to get out there this evening and enjoy this beautiful autumn day with another run along the river.  But I can’t do it … I need a rest day from running.  I will spend a little time with Christine Felstead doing her “Yoga for Runners: Intermediate Program” to stretch out and recuperate.   This is one of those successful training runs that I’ll flag and pull out when I have a bad run or race.  This one will help build confidence and endurance.    This run was AWESOME!!

What was your last runner’s high run like?  What made that run so awesome?

Half Marathon Training Week 10

This time ten weeks from today, I hope to be relishing in the fact that I had just completed my second half marathon ever and set a new PR. I haven’t registered yet, but plan to do any day for the 2nd Annual Miles of Smiles Half Marathon on November 24th. I’ve been procrastinating on registering. One thing I can’t procrastinate on is the training. Now is the time I have to step it up and make sure I follow the training schedule I’ve set up for myself every day of every week. Life has seemed to get in the way the past couple of weeks, so I’ve been a little laxed. But it’s time to get serious.

As a result, I thought I would document my training more often here in the hopes that it will help me follow through with my plans and make me more accountable. I’ve noticed that if I write down my training plan for the week and even month, I am more likely to follow it. I realize that I have to remain flexible as there are uncontrollable circumstances that sometimes get in the way. One of my favorite sayings is

Change the things you can control…do the best you can with the things you can’t control.

This week wasn’t too bad, but still not totally on course with my workout plan.  I completed a 9-mile LSD run last Sunday, 3 miles on Tuesday, over 6 miles yesterday which included a 5k Trail race on a challenging course, and I closed out the week with a 10-mile LSD today.  That makes 28 miles in 8 days.   That’s short of my goal, but I’m not so far off that I can’t get caught up this week.  Fortunately, I did 4 resistant circuit trainings to build core strength to help make up for some of the lost running.  I just finished up the 10-mile LSD about 1 1/2 hours ago, and feel good, so I haven’t lost too much endurance.  Here’s my goal for this week’s training schedule:

  • MONDAY: Cross Training consisting of 30 minute resistance circuit training
  • TUESDAY: 6-mile Tempo Run
  • WEDNESDAY: 5-mile Easy Run and 30 minutes cross training
  • THURSDAY: 30 minutes cross training
  • FRIDAY: 2-mile Easy Run, Hill Repeats 
  • SATURDAY: 6-mile Easy Run and 30 minutes cross training (No Race scheduled)
  • SUNDAY: 11-mile Long Run

This totals out at 30 miles of running, some hill repeats and 120 minutes of cross training.  We plan on going camping at a nearby lake, and the dam there has a set of 80 steps that lead down to the spillway where I can do some hill repeats.  Those always make for a good workout, and the scenery overlooking the lake is always beautiful.  The weather outlook for this week is good, so I shouldn’t be able to use that as an excuse to cancel a training.

It looks like I have a busy week ahead of me, and a long 10 weeks of hard preparation and training for my next half marathon.  But when I cross that finish line and set a new PR, it will all be worth it … no doubt!!

What’s your workout schedule look like for the week??

Tapering for My First Half

This evening I finished off a nice little 4.5-mile interval training run. That’s typically a short run for me, but I’m taking it fairly easy this week … not laying-on-the-couch easy, but I’m not running the miles as I’m in taper mode. My first half marathon is in just five days, so I don’t want to spend all of my energy before the big race.

I started tapering last week when I ran a total of 25 miles, which I’ve been running a little over 30 each week. I’ve read that two weeks out from a HM or a full marathon, you should run around 75%, and cutting back to 50% the week prior.

To start this week out, I took Monday as a rest day to recoup from Sunday’s long run. Today was the 4.5 mile interval run, and tomorrow I plan on putting in another 6-7 mile easy run. On Thursday, we’re leaving as soon as we get home from work. We’re pulling the camper to the resort where the HM is being held. I’m hoping we can get there and set up early enough so that I can get in one last short 2-3 mile easy run. I should finish up with a maximum of 14-15 miles for the week which puts me right at the 50% goal.

On Friday, I hope to walk on some of the course to get an idea of what I’ll be running on Saturday morning. I know it’s hilly, just not sure how hilly. I’m guessing it’s going to be very challenging. The only thing the description really says about the course is that it includes rolling hills and a 500-foot decline into the gorge. So I’m thinking to myself … if there’s a 500-foot decline, there’s gotta be a 500-foot incline!!

I have to say, I’m a bit nervous about this HM. It’s a trail race in a very hilly part of West Virginia … along the New River Gorge in Fayette County, West Virginia. It is small in number of participants, and that is why I decided to make this my first half. There is typically less than 100 runners. The fact that the race doesn’t start until 10:30am is a little unnerving, too. It’s getting into the warmest part of the day that late into the morning. Fortunately, the forecast is calling for high-70’s to low-80’s with nearly no humidity due to a cold front moving in. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Running With the Hubby (#runningwiththehubby)

I read an article in Runners World magazine a few of months ago entitled “Can Love and Running Coexist?”.  The article really hit home for me as my husband, Tony had started running which caused me to have some mixed feelings.  At first, it aggravated me because I felt he was copying me.  I know, so middle-schoolish of me, but I couldn’t help it.  Running had become my Me-Time, the one thing that I did, only ME.  Then lo and behold, he decides he wants to start running, too.  And of course, every time he came in from a run he had to tell me how fast he went, which was (and still is) always faster than me.  I kept telling myself that was natural . . . men tend to run faster than women.  I kept telling myself, “Self, be proud of him.  He’s exercising and losing weight.  He’s doing great.  It’s ok!”

Then came my greatest fear . . . the day he says to me “Hon, wanna run with me?”

Uggggg … now he wants to show off how much faster he can run right to my face … SHOW OFF!! 

So the first few times, I made up excuses and refused to run with him.  But he was relentless, and eventually I reluctantly gave in and said “Sure, I’ll run with you.  But I’ll slow you down and you won’t like it.  There’s no way I can keep an 8:00-8:30 minute per mile pace.  You’ll just end up running off from me.”

His reply? “That’s ok … I’ll slow down and run your pace.  I can’t run full tilt every time.”

So we headed out together.  I had such a negative attitude and grumbled to myself the whole time.  What made me even more mad was, when we finished the run, I actually enjoyed it.  HOW DARE I!!!

He respected that running to me is my Me-Time … my alone, quiet time … so he didn’t ask me to run with him often, maybe once a week.  But after a few weeks, I started to realize something … I enjoyed running with him more and more.  And he was adding a new dimension to my training for my first half marathon.  He pushed me, and I slowed him down.  We complimented each one.  Just one day a week, we forced each other to change-up our running.  Because I run a little slower, it forced him to run at an easy pace.  Even at his easy pace, it forced me to speed up so I would maintain a 9:30-10:30 minute per mile pace, which is what I hope is my half marathon race pace.  I have a terrible habit of taking walk breaks.  He never walks, and forces me to take the hills head on.  He doesn’t like to run in the rain, and I love it, so sometimes he gets wet while we’re running now.  He typically runs short distances, such as 3-4 miles.  My short distances are 5-7 miles, so new he runs my distances and gave him a chance to work on endurance.  Surprisingly, it worked to benefit both of us.

We just finished running a nice 6.5 mile run.  We finished up at 01:07:17 time to make it a 10:20 minute per mile pace.  That’s just how I hope to run the first five miles of the half this Saturday.  We didn’t take any walking breaks, and I hit those hills good and strong, with Tony urging me on the whole time.  It had rained earlier, but we headed out anyway knowing it could start again.  Actually, with the high humidity, we both kinda wished it would rain on us.  All in all, it was a great run.  I don’t have the negative thoughts or grumble to myself any more.  I have actually started to ask him to run along with me.  Once a week is perfect … this gives me other runs to work on intervals, hill repeats or a LSD to get that necessary Me-Time, but still gives us an opportunity to spend some quality time together doing something we’ve both come to love and really enjoy.knights on the run

Lastly, surprisingly, Tony isn’t as competitive with running as I am.  He’s competed in a few of 5k races with me, but he’s not really into the racing like I am.  He is going with me this weekend for the half marathon, and he’ll be there to cheer me on.  He’s my biggest fan, and my best running buddy.  I’m so glad he’s picked up the sport and never gave up asking me to run with him.  I even started tracking it on my Twitter with #runningwiththehubby.  🙂

So can love and running coexist?  It does for us … once I got over myself.  Do you have a running buddy of the opposite sex?  I’d love to hear your secrets to making the running a success for both of you.

Ever Have a Bad (Run) Day??

tutle

I came across this little guy as I attempted my LSD run yesterday.  He’s an Eastern Box Turtle, native to West Virginia and very commonly seen on or next to roads as they attempt to cross.  I’m not sure why box turtles feel compelled to cross a road . . . perhaps someone needs to make up a joke about it.  Perhaps, something like:

Why did the turtle cross the road?

He didn’t, you idiot!!  He’s a turtle!!  He’s too slow to get across the road in time, so he got ran over by a Mac truck!!

Ugggg . . . I know . . . distasteful!!  When I looked at this picture after I got home, I realized just how much I felt like this box turtle after this run.  The whole time, I just wanted to stick my head back into my shell and just sit there.  I wish I could say I dug deep within myself and found the motivation to accomplish my goal, but not this time.  I just wasn’t in the mood to run 3 miles yesterday, let alone the 13 I had planned on doing.  I had moved my LSD from the typical Sunday afternoon to Monday evening because my sailor daughter was in for a visit.  She was leaving early Monday morning, so I didn’t want to take from what little precious time I had with her to run.

The one thing I hadn’t taken into consideration was the fact that Monday evening immediately follows a 9-10 hour work day.  And let me reiterate . . . MONDAY!  And for the cherry on top . . . a Monday on which my assistant had taken vacation leave.  (Still not sure why I approved that.)

So to say I was tired, and maybe even a little grumpy is an understatement.  I tried to wait for the cooler temperatures of the evening, but with the days growing shorter, I knew I had to head out between 6:00 and 6:30pm, at which time it can still be hot and muggy, and so it was yesterday.  But I headed out with all optimism that I would finish up my last LSD before the tapering began for the half marathon.

  • At around mile one I was tired and still trying to get a rhythm with my stride and breath.  But no luck.
  • At mile two I was even more tired and already soaking wet from the sweat, and still no rhythm.
  • Mile 2.5 . . . I swallowed down a Gu Strawberry/Banana gel hoping I would find some energy.  Nada!
  • I came up to a loose dog that was not very happy and barking relentlessly at me.  So I walked so not to intimidate him.
  • When I was out of his sight, I started to run again.  But at around mile four, another dog came out in the road.  This guy, however was very happy and wanted to play.  I didn’t want him jumping on me, so I had to walk again until the owner persuaded him back to the house.
  • At mile five, I had walked more than I had run, and was already down to an average pace of 13:00 minutes per mile.  My LSD was doomed!!
  • At mile 5.5, I chased down 3-4 Gatorade Energy Chews with some water, desperate for some energy.  Nothing!!
  • Struggling to at least run a half mile without stopping, at mile 6.5 I came upon the box turtle.  I considered him a divine sign that it was time for me to give up on this run.  I wasn’t in the mood, I didn’t have the energy, I just didn’t want to do it.  If I were in a race, the box turtle would have beat me on this day.  So I called my son and asked him to pick me up.  By the time he got to me, I had reached 7.5 miles, but I never got a second wind.  Heck, I never got the first wind.  This was a hopeless attempt.

Ok, so lesson learned from the box turtle.  Keep the LSD on weekends and Monday’s as a rest day.  Just curl up in my shell, take it easy and give my muscles (and brain) a break for one day.

We all have bad run days.  Surely I can’t be the only one who’s experienced a day like this.  Tell me about a bad run day you’ve experienced and what lesson(s) you learned from it.

Can’t “Steer” Me Wrong

Sorry about the title of this post, but I just couldn’t resist.

I had such an enjoyable and fun LSD (long, slow distance) run a couple of weeks ago.  I took off on a late Sunday afternoon to run an 11.5-mile out through true WV hills and hollars, on a route that runs along Oil Creek.  On the way, I meet up with a potential new running buddy.  Well . . . maybe I could consider him a temporary running buddy as he did run with me as long as he could.  But instead of hitting the proverbial runner’s wall, the poor feller hit the fence . . . kinda, sorta.

So I’m running along, and around mile six or seven, I hear something very large rumbling around in the bush and trees on the hillside above me. At first it scared me . . . the first thought that came to mind was “Uggg . . . BEAR!!”  That isn’t an uncommon sight here where I live and have actually seen them just a few yards behind my house and found droppings in our front yard.

1062836_10201427911489370_224480768_nBut soon, out popped not a bear, but this young steer, and he was in quite the playful mood.  He started bouncing around and running down the hill toward me.  I wasn’t sure if he had Mad Cow’s Disease or just frisky and playful.  Even though there was a wire fence, I was sure hopping for the latter.

Turns out, he was wanting to run with me.  He ran along side of me on his side of the fence for the short distance of the pasture.  Bouncing as he ran.  He looked like an oversized dog wanting to play fetch.  Unfortunately, we soon came to the end of his space and that’s where he “hit the fence.”  He didn’t really HIT the fence, it just stopped him from going any further, and he wasn’t too happy about that.

As I ran on without him, he kept mooing with this long, woeful mooooooo as if he were asking me, no begging me to come back and take him with me.  I felt a little sorry for him, but smiled to myself as I thought, if I could get him out, how funny I would look running up the road with a cow running along side of me.  And what would my husband think if I brought this new running buddy home with me?  🙂

Long Run Mistakes

On Sundays, I try to get my long run in for the week.  A long, slow distance run seems to do wonders for my endurance, and I can tell when I haven’t done one for a while.  I had missed my long run over the past couple of weeks with a 6-miler being the longest distance I had completed.  Really I didn’t feel that it qualified as a “long run”.  So yesterday, I was bound and determined to get my long run in for the week.

I’ve worked my way up to a 10-miler according to my training program.  Last weekend was an easy week, so I had only run about 16-18 miles, and the week prior to that I had run my first 10K on a Saturday, so I wasn’t up to the 8-miler that was on my schedule.  This week I had put in two 4-mile days and ran 5 miles during the Relay for Life event in our county on Friday night.  (I’ll write a post about that later.)

So to complete a 10 mile LSD would set a weekly mileage PR for me . . . 23 miles total.  I was excited at the thought of getting in the LSD, but hitting the new PR made it even more exciting.  And even better than that, I realized that with the increasing distance, I can start  running to neighboring towns instead of 2-3 laps around the town in which I lived.  I could literally run to the next town . . . how cool and awesome is that?!?!

So, it was a typical Sunday . . . Church in the a.m., then we ate lunch out.  That was probably my first mistake as I felt I ate a heavy lunch.  I had a Western Omelet, toast and grits.  But the biggest mistake was the two cups of coffee in lieu of water that I drank.  That would come back to haunt me later in the evening.

We then went to visit some elderly friends and members of our church so my husband could lose a couple of games of chess.  He showed great sportsmanship and handled the Checkmate with dignity. 

After that, it was home for a short Sunday afternoon nap.  All this time, no hydrating . . . big, huge . . . HUGE mistake!!

At 6:30pm, I take off for my LSD with my fuelbelt filled up with G2 and a couple of packets of Gu in the pack. But it wasn’t long until I felt the fatigue and dehydration taking over.  My fingers were beginning to swell and my legs felt like weights were tied to my ankles.  The route I chose was fairly easy, just a curvy road along the river with only a couple of hills to deal with.  It was a little overcast, so the sun wasn’t beating down on me all the time, and the trees shadowed the road when it did pop out.  So the physical demands of the run wasn’t that bad.

The two mistakes I noticed were:

  1. I didn’t hydrate like I should have.   I had less than 16 ounces of water all day.  Several cups of coffee, but not much water.  And I’m sure the caffeine didn’t help either. 
  2. Even though my body was telling me between miles two and three that I needed replenished, I ignored it and waited until mile four for a drink of G2 and mile five until I ripped open a Gu.

Lessons learned . . . hydrate, hydrate, HYDRATE!!!  Get 8+ cups of water down at least 2 hours prior to running time, especially on LSD days.  And secondly, listen to my body.  Who knows my body better than itself??  Not my brain, that’s for sure, especially when it’s on a runner’s high.  Even if it seems too early, if I need a drink or restore depleted glycogen, do it!!  Oh, and did I mention hydrate?!?!?

Fortunately, I finished the 10 miles.  It ended up taking me 01:54:40 at an 11:27 min/mile pace, which was actually in the range I was aiming.  With all the walk breaks I ended up taking, I was surprised to keep it under two hours.  The best thing about the run was that it was an absolute beautiful route and I had the pleasure of seeing a lot of wildlife.  I’ll have to make another post on that another day.  :0\