My Weekend Run in Photos

6 mile tempo run on an early, cloudy, drizzly Saturday morning.  Here are a few of the pictures I took along the way:

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Love when the clouds curl over the top of the mountains.

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First signs on spring. Flowers growing in the medians.

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Loved the contrast of the chartreuse of the tree against the blue and purple clouds.

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Run This Year 2014 Update!

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It’s been two months since I decided to join the Run This Year 2014 challenge.   After falling short of my 1,200 mile goal in 2013 due to injury, I decided to set my goals high for this year …and stay injury free…. 2,014 km in 2014 (or 1251 miles). So, how am I doing?

January was a little bit of a slow start.  I had the Phoenix Rock and Roll Half Marathon on January 19th, which called for a taper for the first two weeks of January before the race and then a little RnR from the RnR (Rest and Relaxation from the Rock and Roll).  

Total miles for January: 70.82 running (50.3 biking)

In February I picked up the pace.  My next big race on my calendar is the Albuquerque Half Marathon on April 19th and I jumped onto the Run Less, Run Faster training plan as soon as I felt rested from the Phoenix RnR Half.  Because the Run Less, Run Faster (RLRF) book emphasizes three quality runs a week and two cross training workouts, I was a little concerned I wouldn’t hit my 100+ mile goals, but was surprised when I logged on this weekend to get my Feb. totals:

Total miles for February: 101.86 running (74.90 biking)

and the grand total for 2014 so far: 172.68 running (139.20 biking)!  

Ok, so I am a little bit behind to achieve 1,251 miles for the year.  I should be at 208 running miles by the end of February, but I am going to keep plugging away.  Maybe I will have to adjust my goals to include my biking totals since I am spending so much time cross training and my number one goal for the year is to stay injury free.  I am really pleased with the RLRF program after 5 weeks of being on their half marathon plan.  I haven’t hit all the pace goals for every single run, but I have gotten the miles in and feel like my body isn’t getting too broken down as I near the thick of the training miles.  I do miss an ‘easy run’ every now and again – one where I don’t have to constantly be checking my Garmin for pace and mileage, but I did have one little ‘cheat day’ last week when I skipped a 30min easy spinning bike ride and ran outside without my watch for 30 min.  It felt good and I look forward to pulling back for a week or two once this race is over before my next race…. 

And I am so excited to share that I have signed up for my first trail race – The Valles Caldera 10k on May 3rd!  I have had my eye on this race for a few years but it always seemed to be in June when I was on vacation.  This year they moved it back to May which could be a little cold, but will probably be better to avoid the heat of summer and forrest fire closings.  Here are a few pictures from the race website:

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Doesn’t it look wonderful!?!  Now here is the scary part:

ImageIt’s a little fuzzy, I know.  If you squint at the above elevation chart you can see the race starts at 8,200 feet and climbs to nearly 8,800 for the first three miles! Yikes.  I live at approximately 5,600 feet, so at least I am not coming from sea level, but it is still going to be a huge stretch.  My plan for the race: leave my watch at home and take a lot of pictures on my first trail adventure.  Now for the technical questions: What type of race gear do I need?  Shoe suggestions?  Any other trail racing knowledge you would like to impart?

 

 

Happiness Is Your Creation

Last Thursday I was kind of dreading my workout.  I had 6×800 on schedule and the only time I could squeeze it in was while my son was at art class.   I  decided to do the repeats in the industrial area across the street – flat and long, straight streets and if I did the workout quick enough I could treat myself to a latte before picking him up.  Normally I would drive 10 min to the beautiful bosque running trail for my workout, but – like I said, a latte was a necessity –  if I drove to the trail and back I wouldn’t have time to get one after my workout.  Priorities.

The thought of running 800s in a very unscenic part of town that is a little sketchy was not sounding like running heaven, but I was determined to get the workout in.  As I ran the first 800 toward the industrial warehouses I saw boarded up abandoned buildings, empty dirt lots, garbage, broken glass, uneven sidewalks and rusty barbed wire.  There were two teenagers huddled on the side of the road outside of their car – doing drugs?  I don’t know, but I avoided them and that area for the rest of the run.  There were rundown houses past the warehouses and broken down cars.

Just keep your head down and get the repeats done.

The end of my second 800 ended in front of a house that looked like this:

Is that the RV from Breaking Bad?

Is that the RV from Breaking Bad?

And the house had a view of this, across the street:

2014-02-13 10.27.44Probably not your most sought after real estate in the city.  As I was ‘walking off’ my repeat (i.e. 90 second break), I looked down and I was stopped in my tracks.  I saw this:

HAPPINESS IS YOUR CREATION

HAPPINESS IS YOUR CREATION

Who had taken the time to spray paint this on the curb by this house?  I was blown away.  And as my Garmin started to beep to signal the start of the next repeat, I started to look around.  I started to notice more about this area I was running in.  It wasn’t just an industrial area, there were homes here that people lived in.  And there WAS beauty here.

Totem Poles

Totem Poles

Pyramid Home?

Pyramid Home?

Not really sure the story behind these guys

Not really sure the story behind these guys

Love the contrast colors on this home

Love the contrast colors on this home

The quote on the street really made me think about seeking out beauty and happiness – on runs, in life itself.  I don’t know that I will seek out deserted industrial areas for my future runs, but I will certainly think about finding the beauty and creating happiness wherever I end up.

Happiness is created.  It doesn’t just happen.

Training Week 1

IMG_7452Whew.  I did it.  The first week of Run Less, Run Faster training is in the books, and I am not going to lie – it is TOUGH!  I discovered I really enjoy easy paced long runs and that on this training plan, there are no ‘easy’ runs – all runs have purpose, and therefore pace.  I set my goals high for this round of training and as I was reading in the book, the authors remind the reader again and again to be realistic about goal pace.  After doing all three training runs this week, I have discovered that my goals are not realistic – in that I didn’t hit my paces for two of the three runs.

The first run was the long run, and as I posted here I was able to just squeak by on pace.

The second run was my speed workout.  A mile warm up, 3×1600, and a mile cool down.  I choose a very flat out and back course for the mile repeats.

IMG_7447The weather proved a little windy, but since I was turning around at half mile, I figured that the wind shouldn’t matter quite as much.  Here are my splits:

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For a 2hr half marathon the splits should be 8:06, for a 1:53 half marathon (my PR last year) the splits should be 7:37.  I didn’t even come close to the 7:37, but I did keep it under the 8:06.  The plan states all speed workout repeats should all be within a second or two of each other – this I need to work on.  By setting a more realistic goal time hopefully I can focus more on my splits.

My third workout was a tempo run.  There were a couple things I did wrong the night before the tempo run:

 -Wine tasting

-Papa John’s pizza

-staying up late when I knew I had to get my run in at 6am the next morning.

The run was really doomed before I even stepped foot on the treadmill.  I was supposed to do a mile warm up, 6 miles 9:09, one mile cool down.  I made it to the end of mile 5.  I was able to hold the tempo pace for four of the six miles, but then hit a major wall.  I went into survival mode – just keep running at whatever pace I could to get the miles in.  I finished all eight miles, but I think you can see what happened based on my heart rate chart:

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I completed both the cycling cross training workouts this week with very little trouble.  It was actually quite enjoyable to do something different and give my knees and ankles a little break.

So where do I stand going into next week? I am going to do what RLRF suggests and set a realistic goal: 1:58:58.  I am going to use the tempo paces and speed workout paces for that half marathon pace and see if I can be successful.  If I can, then I will reevaluate next week.  While I want to push myself, not hitting the goals doesn’t feel very good and I don’t want to injure myself trying to attain them.

Couple more pictures from my runs this week:

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Cottonwood are beautiful even in the winter.

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And my favorite breakfast this week – Rice cakes + Nuttzo + Bananas.  Have you tried Nuttzo yet?  If you love nut butter, you MUST try it.  Simply addicting. :

Perfect Breakfast: Rice cake + Nuttzo + Bananas

Perfect Breakfast: Rice cake + Nuttzo + Bananas

A final motivational thought for your week ahead:

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Talk to me:

What is your favorite pre-run breakfast?

How is your training going?  What have been your ups and downs?

Half Marathon Training Starts….NOW!

After a week off of running and generally working out post-RnRAZ, I am so ready to get back on a plan.  The Albuquerque Half Marathon is just 12 weeks away and I was feeling rested, so I started this week.  I’m a loyal follower of AnotherMotherRunner.com and I absolutely love their books.  Their Half Marathon Own It Plan from their book Train Like A Mother got me to a huge, huge, huge PR last spring of over 20 minutes at 1hr53minutes.  I never could have imagined that I could go that fast and while I was exhausted at the end of that race, I was so happy with the results and my ability to push through.

That smile says 'Huge PR'!

That smile says ‘Huge PR’!

This round of training I am going in a different direction, though.  My husband followed the novice marathon training plan from Run Less, Run Faster by Runner’s World this fall and I really like the idea of cross training more.  After being injured I decided I want to focus more on whole body wellness.  I want to do more strength training, include pilates and ride the bike or swim at the gym more during my training.  The idea behind the Run Less, Run Faster plans are that you have three quality runs each week – a long run, a tempo run and a speed workout, along with two cross training sessions.  ONLY THREE RUNS A WEEK.   Because you are running less, you have to make those workouts count so they give you very specific time goals to hit for each one.  One huge difference is the speed of the  long runs.  In the past I have taken my long runs very easy and haven’t watched my pace all that much – one to two minutes slower than race pace usually.  In Run Less, Run Faster all my long runs for half marathon training are going to be at half marathon pace + 20 seconds or half marathon pace + 30 seconds.  When deciding what my half marathon pace is going to be, I decided to focus on a range – keep my pace between a 1:50-2:00hr half marathon pace, with a focus more on the 1:50 side.    This is going to be challenging since I just ran a 2:04 in Phoenix a week ago at a lot lower altitude.  But I know I am capable of a 1:53, and that is something I keep reminding myself.  Also, this quote:

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As long as my body can hang in there, I am going to push myself to the limit for this race.

The first thing I always do is hand-write out my training plan.

Run Less, Run Faster Half Marathon Training Plan

Run Less, Run Faster Half Marathon Training Plan…with shiny stars for my completed workouts.

Why hand-write it?  I think it prepares me for the work ahead and lets me see the ebb and flow of the plan.  When there is a challenging week, and when there is a week of easier workouts.   Right now I have plugged in all the bike workouts as my cross training, but maybe I’ll throw in a couple swim cross training sessions as it gets warmer out.

Yesterday I headed out for my first long run of the plan.  I have chosen to do my long runs during the week while the kids are in school because my husband is a CPA and tax season is gearing up – i.e. work seven days a week for 12 hours a day from Feb-April 15th.  Rather than get a sitter every Saturday (which I did last year during tax season), I thought I’d get my long runs and tempo runs while the kids in school, and save the nice short track workouts for Saturday mornings when I can get up at 5am and be done by 6am for him to leave for work.  So.  The first long run.  8 miles at HMP(half marathon pace)+30.  I chose to use my 1:53 half marathon pace of 8:37 +30sec for this run.  It was a challenge.  My body is so used to falling into the 10min/mile pace that I have been using all winter – I was constantly looking at my Garmin to adjust pace:

Pace all over the board...

Pace all over the board…

And then there are those spikes…where I either had to stop at a stop light, take a water break, or have a walk break.  The first 6.5 miles were only the former two, but after that things started to go down hill and I had to include a few walk breaks.  I wasn’t super-pleased with myself, but I reminded myself this was my first long run at such a fast pace and (hopefully) I will look back at this run in a couple weeks and be so much stronger.  And how did I finish?  At a pace of 9:07, I should have completed 8m in 1:13:04.  Here is the result:

8miles in 1:13:07

8miles in 1:13:07.  Run Happy!

I’ll take it.

Today is a rest day and I am taking full advantage of it.  The rest of my week:

Wednesday: Spinning.  5min easy, 3x(5min tempo, 1min easy), 5min easy  and Pilates

Thursday: 3×1600 (60 sec Rest Interval)

Friday: off

Saturday: 1mile easy, 6miles at 8:40, 1mile easy

I’m looking forward to this Run Less, Run Faster adventure.

What training plans do you use?

How much cross training do you include and what types?