Thursday, June 18, 2009

I Want to Get Paid to:

1. Coach running.

2. Run a small farm with mrp.

3. Teach and/or write about constitutional law.

4. All of the above.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Peanut is going on 2 hours for a nap. The heck?! Normally he and sleep just don't go together unless he's all snuggled up in bed with mrp and me. Last night, for instance, he wailed and wailed about going down to sleep. Today--two blissfully long and refreshing naps. What's up with that?

This morning while I was on my long run, he slept 90 minutes and upon waking mrp put on his hat with the chin strap and took peanut down to the river for some site seeing. They saw tadpoles and peanut climbed a rock (with the assistance of daddy of course!) And as I huffed and puffed my way home after a fantastic 15 miles of hills hills hills I saw them waiting for me in the driveway. How great is that?

The 15 miler capped off a great first week of marathon training. I ran a 5k on Wednesday, did a great long slow tempo with E on Friday and had a lot of enjoyable easy runs in between. Oh, and I was only 5 seconds off my 5k pr (or 2-3 seconds if you go by the time I thought was on the clock when I finished, but I digress). I ran an 18:54! And it was on a hard course to boot. Yeah! It helped to run most of the race with my friend and often training buddy, E. But damn if I didn't go off and impress myself with that!

Anyway, I better go get something done to milk this nap. I could get used to this! Here's my first week of 'thon training by the numbers:

M: 8 no watch easy miles while MN watched the babes (love this set-up!)
T: 8 no watch with peanut and BOB
W: am 4 easy no watch with peanut and BOB; pm 7 including 5k race in 18:54!
R: 6 easy with Nate, Bob and Evie (love this set-up too!)
F: 10 averaging 7:18 pace including 8 mile tempo (7:21, 7:10, 7:00, 6:59, 6:58, 6:54, 6:44, 6:41)
Sa: 4 easy no watch
Su: 15 hilly miles (not really keeping tabs on pace, just running hard and pushing the pace as I go)

Total: 62 miles

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Everything Changes

I had a great run with CV on Sunday morning. I used to run with friends almost every day but now that I'm not working it's a lot harder to get a run in at all, let alone coordinate with someone else. So it was extra nice to run with her for the second weekend in a row. We met up at the park by my house and did about 12.5 together and I did about 13 total. We did two very challenging loops with a lot of rolling hills and then one mother hill that I ended up running 3 times. It was just one of those runs that I never wanted to end. I could have run forever it seemed like and the hills were treats that made me feel so strong. Even a couple hours later I still missed the run and wish I could get back out there! But, it was the last day of my down week.

Speaking of the down week, I decided that down weeks suck. And for that matter, taper weeks suck too. I much prefer the sensation of exhausted legs during peak training than the pinchy lazy legs of these lower intensity weeks. I know they're necessary and I know the crappy feeling means my legs are mending the muscle tears from hard training, but it doesn't mean I have to like it! I am so happy to start my second season of training!

Speaking of starting training, I started that yesterday! Woohoo! I am so excited. I feel like I am at a really good starting point. And even better, I feel eager to challenge myself and try some new things. I plan to keep all the hills I've been running, that's one big plan I have. I always hated hills, but now I just can't get enough and I can tell I am much stronger. It feels awesome to hammer up a huge hill. I never ever thought I'd be a strength runner, but low and behold I think I might be morphing into one before our very eyes!

Another new thing for me is ditching the watch as often as I can. It is so nice to just run and not worry about how fast I'm going. I've been doing that for the last few weeks for most easy runs and even a couple of long runs. I'd also like to try it for tempos maybe and even do some fartleks instead of track work when it's really hot or if I just need a mental break from the stop watch. It's really hard to let go and not worry about time, but it is so freeing and it helps keep running enjoyable. Sometimes during training for a big race, hitting targets and goal paces becomes really stressful and erodes the joy of running. More than any time goal for my marathon, I think my biggest goal is to preserve that joy and run Akron with a smile on my face.

Of course, that's a lot easier said than done. Fitness-wise, I feel pretty close to where I left off. Maybe not quite there, but that's probably those breast-feeding pounds that are hanging on. I guess the point is that I'm worried I'm stuck. A couple of my good friends have recently had breakthroughs and I worry I'm getting left in their dust. But then again I am thrilled for them and, although I definitely want to get faster, my over-arching goals for running this year are to enjoy it like I said above and just do MY best with my post-peanut body. I'm working with a totally different body than I was last time I trained for a marathon and I need to accept that! Plus, I don't have the luxury I once did to sit around and obsess about running anyway. Case in point, I started this blog post on Sunday and didn't have a chance to finish it until today. My body, life--everything is different. And I suppose my running, the mental and physical aspects, represent that.

In peanut news, we had our first swimming lesson today and it was super great!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Execution Style

* After a solid 24 weeks of (re)training I ran the half-marathon on Sunday. On Friday night mrp asked me what my goal was. I said something blobby like, "to just get out there and run a good race." "And how are you going to do that?" he asked. "Uh, I don't know," I (shockingly) responded. Basically I had no plan as mrp very exasperatingly pointed out. So, over our pierogie dinner we hatched a plan for me.

The Plan

As last week's long run demonstrated to me, my body is not the same as it was before I had peanut. It doubles as a milk machine for peanut and I need to respect that. Besides that, I don't have the base I had last time I was galavanting around town racing half marathons and the course for this half was thought to be particularly challenging so as far as a time goal I really didn't have one. (And I'll tell you, running a race without a time goal is pretty nice!) At the same time, I had some idea of what I think I could run on a normal course based on my recent tempo runs and races. So with all that in mind, here was the plan we hatched.

The course was pretty much broken down like this: first 5 relatively flat with some rollers mostly down; the second 5 were more or less all uphill (not kidding); the last 5k was flat or slightly downhill. For the first 5 I was to run tempo effort, which should be about half marathon effort for me right now. The second 5 miles I was to maintain that effort and ignore my splits--just completely not worry about them at all. The last 5k I was to get back to the pace of my first 5 miles and not worry about what my finishing time would be. If I executed this plan I would run my best race and that was my goal!

The Execution

I met CV for a warm-up about a 1/2 hour before the race. She was running the 5k, but we planned to do the same warm-up more or less. We ran a mile easy and snuck a pee in at a country club (that was fun!) and then ran another mile with 4 longish (30-45 second) and hard strides. We went our separate ways (after we fixed up CV's nose after she stabbed herself with her key and caused it to gush blood--nothing like a little pre-race drama) and then I peed in the parking lot behind the cover of GP (who used up some of her free time just to cheer on her friends! Got to love her!) I lined up next to a former teammate and we were off.

I have to say, I felt much more warmed up than I did last race! I easily ran a 6:36 first mile. I wasn't worried about it being too fast or anything. It felt good. After that mile I had some trouble with mrp's watch that I borrowed so I was only able to take 2 mile splits for the next 4 miles. After the 6:36 it looks like was running right around 6:50 pace: 13:41; 13:39. That was fine with me. It felt good and felt right. I don't remember much downhill. I think it was all pretty gradual. By around mile three I was in the middle of a pack of guys. I was about 6th woman. I could see a hot pink girl and the girl who came in ahead of me at the 10k (who we'll call 10k girl). Former teammate was way the heck up there.

Anyway, around mile 4 , after the unmanned water stop (what was up with that?!) there was a big looking uphill which came as a bit of a shock, but it didn't seem to affect me. I easily broke out of my pack up the hill but then they all caught back up to me on the flats. That was fine. I enjoyed their company. Right at the 5 mile mark there was a short but very steep hill before we turned and right at the very top was a water station. I have to say it's hard to grab a cup after a steep hill and it's even harder to drink! Anyway, on we went. Now the real hills started.

There was a big hill in every mile with no or very little corresponding downhill. I felt ok though. About halfway through this stretch I finally lost site of 10k girl so no more women in site, except CV who found me and trotted along with me. It was the perfect time for a distraction. She told me she won the 5k in 18:51. "Woohoo!" I shouted, which was a little confirmation to myself that I was in really fine shape in the race! I didn't use that as license to chat too much though and for the most part I just used CV's company to relax and stay focused. Around mile 8 we saw GP cheering for us which was so nice! And then we came over a little roller and all of a sudden you could see it: the mega-hill to take all mega-hills. UGH. CV let out an, "Oh my god!" which suprisingly made attacking it a little more appetizing. After her $100 sub-19 effort CV was done and I was on my own. I made it to the top of the first section and then I could see it was even longer and nastier than it originally looked. I had a short break and then the final 1 mile of hill to go before my 5k push. Yes, that's 1 solid mile of nasty hill.

About halfway up it I saw my mom cheering for me! Awww. That was nice. But even better was being able to see hot pink girl! Booyah! (sorry). I chugged up the hill and felt pretty darn good--I mean bad, but good bad. Better than I thought, anyway. I finally got her and made my final chug before this stretch was finally over. Miles 5-10 were:7:04, 7:18, 7:20, 7:12, 7:38.
I turned off that hellacious road and the burn slowly dissipated from my legs. I felt like I was back on pace. Mile 11 proved it: 6:48. And then close to the end of mile 12 I realized I could see my former teammate and even better I saw mrp and peanut cheering for me! Mile 12 was 6:36. I was totally inspired, so I turned on the jets apparently. The last 1.1 was 6:56! That's under 6:20 pace!

I thought I finished just as the clock struck 1:30:50 but the unchip-timed results give me a 1:30:52 in 5th place. This was a great race for me. I don't think I have ever executed a plan and met a goal so well. I think on a normal course I would have easily been under 1:30 which is great for right now. I couldn't be happier! It's a great jumping point for my marathon training, so after a down week (which I am currently thoroughly enjoying) off I go!

*No race photos yet, so please enjoy this photo of the hambone otherwise known as peanut.