Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hills Again and Again

My left hamstring has been hurting since Tuesday.  Pain killers have not helped.  If I was going to run today, I had to get in more of a warmup than everyone else at our group session.  I started 15 minutes early and got 5 laps around the track.  The first lap was brutal and there was nothing I could do but jog slowly and grimace.  It almost hurt like I pulled my hamstring on Tuesday, but I don't want to go that far.  I've pulled that exact hamstring a couple times and had visible bruises to prove it.  It wasn't quite that bad.  So anyway, I got 2 miles in a warmup by the time the group ran down to the sinkhole.  We did our striders after a short stretch and the uphills hurt, yet oddly enough, the downhills felt normal.  Go figure.

Our workout this evening was 5 x 1km with 2 minute rest recoveries.  The goal pace was 5 mile speed on the first one and then taking off 2-3 seconds per loop.  Mind you that we are running hills.  My goal was around 8 minute pace or just under.  We didn't have a chart, so I figured that I wanted to run 4:55 for the first and then taking off 2-3 seconds each loop.  So my goal was 4:55, 4:52, 4:49, 4:46, 4:43.

The first uphill hurt something fierce.  After a flat section, a downhill and another flat, the second uphill didn't hurt that much at all.  Again, go figure.  I was happy.  My time on that first hill loop was 4:52.  The second hill loop was pain free and I took off more than expected by running 4:42.  The others:  4:38, 4:32, and 4:16.  This was a great workout and I am so glad the hills knocked out the pain in my left hammy.  Knock on wood.  I hope I wake up without soreness, too.

This has been 2 straight workouts that our coach is having us run negative splits.  Am I detecting a trend?  This is also my third straight workout that I have been able to complete.  Also a trend?  I hope so.

Just over a week until my next race.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thank you Tropical Depression 16

Rain, all afternoon and all night.  That was the forecast yesterday.  I wish I had a camera to prove it, because it was around 3:30pm when the storm first hit and it looked like night outside.  The rain never stopped and we practiced on time at 6pm.  I do not like running in the rain.  I mean, it's great for keeping you cooled off, but your clothes and shoes get heavy.  Running in puddles slows you down and can tire you out faster, too.

I don't know what I was thinking, but I didn't bring my watch to practice and I tried to keep up with someone that runs a few minutes faster than me in a 5k.  The workout was 800, 600, and 400 with 200 recoveries.  Goal pace was 10k speed on the 800, 3 to 4 seconds faster per lap on the 600, and then 3 to 4 more seconds faster per lap on the 400.  We did 4 sets and got a 3 minute break between sets.  If I ran it at my actual 10k goal pace, this would have been a cake walk.  I went out and tried to run it faster than my own 5k pace.

I don't remember the exact times, but it was way too fast for me.  I ran the first set and was definitely winded.  I started the second set and I completed the 800 around the same time as the first set.  I only got a lap of the 600 complete before I was so out of breath that I couldn't keep going.  I went into my recovery 200 at that point and then finished up the 400.  I changed my goal speeds on the last 2 sets and was able to complete the workout.  I revved up the last 400 and did that one in 1:23, which was around the speed I did the first one.

It was a great workout and today, I had to pop Aleve just to get to work.  Even with pain pills, I am still sore and limping when I get out of my chair.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I Hate Long Runs

It rained last night for a few hours and it was cloudy all morning.  I thought it would be a good day for a long run.  It would have if the sun didn't come out after about a mile.  Nothing like the Florida sun warming up the vegetation a day after a long rain.  Humid is normal in Orlando.  Humid is expected.  This type of humidity, though, is steamy.  Sometimes you suck a warm steamy breath in and it takes you off guard and feel like you are going to choke.  It's hard to explain.  Wait, it's like running and then all of a sudden you hit a pocket of air like you are in a sauna.

I am used to having my hamstrings feel tight for a warmup and then it usually goes away after the first mile or two.  Today, my left hamstring was tight for the first 4 miles.  I only ran 6.75 miles, so that was most of my run.  I finally felt good for about the last mile.  I had a destination in mind, so I stopped running, but I finally hit a point where I thought I could run a little longer.  I should have mapped out a route before I started.  I just started down the road and I thought it would be around 8 miles by the route I chose.  Apparently not.

I just feel so bored running more than about 4 or 5 miles.  I have no idea how people can run a marathon.  Hours?  Really?  I can't even think of a genre of music that I could play and still enjoy it for that much time running.  I hate long runs.  I know I need them to increase my endurance, so it is a necessary evil, but I wish riding a bike for a long distance would do the trick.  There is no replacement.  Just the long run.

This was my long run for the week and it still fell short of what I wanted to accomplish.  Considering I missed Thursday's group practice, I hope I didn't lose any ground on my progress.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Finished a Workout!!!

Tuesday's workout?  5 x 1k @ 5k race pace with 2:15 recoveries.  My goal 5k is about 22:30 right now, so my goal 1k pace is 4:30.

I knew the first one was going to be a little fast by the time I hit 200m, but I didn't want to drop off too much just to make pace.  I ran it in 4:09.  21 seconds fast.  The second kilo was a little easier, because my legs were warm and I did that in the same time - 4:09.  Those were 6:40 mile pace.  I ran the third rep in 4:11 and the fourth in 4:12.  I was starting to get winded in the last 400m and my arms were getting heavy.

This is where I have been giving up in all the workouts since I got a sick a few weeks ago.  I have been dropping out on the last rep or set of each workout.  I was tired, but I finally had enough in the tank to keep going.

After the first 400, my legs felt like I had cement in my sneakers.  My time was still on pace, but it was harder to keep it up.  When I wanted to just stop, I kept thinking about my form and that got me through it.  I ran the last one in 4:19.  That was too much of a dropoff, but all of my reps were faster than my goal pace.  Even on the last one, my mile pace was 6:56.

If I could string those together, my 5k time would be exactly 21 minutes.  All things considered, I should now be able to beat my last 5k time of 23:07.  I am probably ready to run another 5k, but I am keeping my goal for October 9th at the Greater Maitland 5k.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fartlek over Hills

It's one thing to run a fartlek workout and it's another to run a hill workout.  Now combine them into one workout and that's what we did yesterday afternoon.

We ran a 2.5 mile course with plenty of hills... twice, but here's the fun part of it.  We broke it down into 3 minutes at 10k pace, 1 minute jog, 2 minutes at 5k pace, 1 minute jog, 1 minute full effort, 1 minute jog... repeat as necessary until the 5 miles are covered.  This was a very hard workout, yet at the same time, it felt very gratifying.

We were supposed to run the entire 5 mile course non-stop, but I made a pit stop at the half way point to get some water since I didn't drink any before we started.  I ran the first loop in 19:00 minutes even.  I took between 1-2 minutes for my water break and then started the second loop.  I ran that in 22:30.

My overall 5 mile time was 41:30 which breaks down to an average pace of 8:17 per mile.  The first loop average pace was 7:36 and the second loop average was 9:00.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

800m Modified Repeats

I'm not sure why, but I felt like a space cadet today.  I had a hard time holding a simple phone conversation after my workout and I missed almost every word coming out of my coach's mouth when he was going over the workout routine.  I knew we were running 800's.  It was a little foggy after that.  By the end of the workout, I had it all figured out, though.

It was 3 sets (for me, everyone else ran 4 sets) of 2x800m with a 200m recovery jog.  Do not stop running, but go from recovery jog straight into the next 800.  The first 800 of each set will be run at 5k race pace.  The second 800 will be run at 4-8 seconds faster than the first.

My goal 5k time of 22:30 has an average pace of 7:14.5 per mile and an 800 meter pace of 3:36.  It went a little something like this.

3:21 - 3:24
3:22 - 3:18
3:21 - 3:17

The first set was the slowest overall and I ran it backwards.  The other two sets were perfect.  Maybe I could have run them a couple seconds faster, but I was hurting by the last one.  Either way, I beat my goal pace on all of them.

If I could put all of the 800's together into a 5k, I would run a 20:45 at an average mile pace of 6:41.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Long Run for the Week

I know most people run in the mornings to avoid the heat and traffic and maybe just so they get it done and out of the way for the day.  Me, nope.  I waited until midday when the temperature was 92 degrees F and the heat index said it was 99.  That's my time.

I know I don't make all of the brightest decisions.  Like this one for instance.

Last week, I ran just over 7 miles.  If I follow the rule of not increasing mileage by more than 10 percent each week, I should keep it under 8 miles.  I did exactly 8 miles.

I ran from my apartment to downtown's Lake Eola.  Got a quick water break and stretch done.  Then 2 inner loops and 2 outer loops, which is 4.5 miles.  I stopped between laps for water, because as I stated earlier... it was stupid hot today.  Then, I finished up the run with 1.5 miles home.  I had a hard time mentally running the portion home, except for the last half mile.  I just wanted to give up and stop under an Oak tree and call it quits.

Once I got to within a half mile, I sped up a little and just thought that it was 2 laps around the track and that brought me home.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Running in the Rain

Thursday's group run was a 3 mile run followed by 6 x 200m sprints (or the speed you would run the last 200m of a race).  We started with a 1.25 mile warmup and then stretched.  The rain was coming toward us, so we didn't do the normal striders.  We were originally going to run 4-5 miles, but cut it short due to the weather and ran 3 miles instead.  We stayed in a tight pack, which means we ran an easy pace for most of the runners.  It was a tougher pace for myself, but conversational for the faster people.  Johnny, who runs in my group at my speed, had a Garmin 305.  When we hit the 1 and 2 mile splits, he told us the pace.  We ran 7:54, 8:04, and the last bit was just short of a mile, but his Garmin calculated our pace was 7:45.  It wasn't race pace, but it was only 30 seconds from it.

When we got back to the track, the rain was coming down hard.  We ran each 200m with 1 minute rests.  We did that 6 times.  I did really good on the first 5 and dogged the last one.  It was really hard running on the track, because each lane had standing water and I could hardly see through my glasses.  For the first time since spring though, it wasn't hot.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Slow Long Run

Well, I finally broke the 7 mile barrier last night.  I did 7.25 miles.  I didn't even have a goal when I set out on my 1 hour 9 minute journey.  Initially, I thought I might run 5 miles, which is 2 laps around Lake Ivanhoe.  I ran into too many little bugs that kept sticking to my face and they are gross when they keep flying into your mouth.  It makes for a really annoying run.

I decided to venture away from the lake and just keep a nice easy pace.  I didn't push myself at any point during the entire run.  The only thing that I tried to work on was my breathing exercises about once per mile.  What I did was consciously inhale and expand my diaphragm down and pushed my belly out.  I've always heard that this will help with side stitches, so why not work on it.

It was a nice evening run.  I waited until the sun went down before I started just to make sure it would be as cool as possible.  It was humid as usual and the temperature was in the high 80's.

Oh, yeah.  I forgot to mention that I was trying out a new pair of running shorts and socks.  The shorts were standard seamless New Balance.  They worked great.  Light weight and completely unobtrusive.  I didn't make note of the exact type.  The socks were great, too.  They were called Hidden Comfort by Balega.  Easily the best socks I have purchased in some time.  They were 9 bucks, but worth every penny.

Balega Hidden Comfort socks

I have to admit that the reason I felt able to run longer was due to the comfort of these new socks.  I think I am going to get at least one more pair... maybe two.  I will have to see how they feel during speed work.  I have been tempted to get a pair trainer flats for the track lately.  I was eyeballing a few at Track Shack yesterday, but didn't make the next step of trying any of them.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Speed Felt Good Today

We were supposed to run hills today, but it turned into a speed workout on the track instead.  That's OK.  Everyone likes the track including me.  We did our normal warmup of 1.25 miles, stretching, and then 4x100 striders.

We were supposed to run 3 sets of 3 x 660 with 220 recovery.  We also got 3 minute rests between sets.

2:15, 2:17, 2:09.  If I run a 6 minute mile, I should have been running these at 2:15.  I started off well.  The next set... not so much.  I know the first was 2:22 and the last one was 2:48.  I don't remember the middle one.  I do know this.  I got side stitches on each in the last 100 yards.

Thank goodness our coach can identify this weakness.  He had a few of us stragglers only run 440's for the final set of 3.  We kept the 220 recovery.  I ran these in 1:30, 1:35, and 1:28.  I would have run the last one in 1:30, but I gave it a nice kick during the last 50 yards since it was the last one.

Other than the side stitches, this workout felt great.  My total mileage for the day was 6.75 miles about 4 hours ago.  I have showered, eaten, fully rehydrated and my legs are killing me right now.  Bed is calling and I will not deny it.