I started chronicling my running training for the 2012 Hood to Coast Relay, which I ran for ZERO: The Project to End Prostate Cancer; now that I'm running different races I'm using the same blog to post about what I'm doing, where I'm running, and the tips I'm learning.
There’s also a photo where I’m looking at the camera, but I look like a race walker or something with horrible form, so I didn’t post that one.
So today I ran 21 miles! I did about 17 with Dave, who now maybe has a stress fracture and a walking boot and probably can’t run in the race, and then I had to finish without him. So that was pretty sad.
Besides that, the run was great. The weather, not so much great, but otherwise things were good! We went through a portion of South Eugene I wasn’t familiar with because the bark path is always too wet, but this time we had to go that way so I took the sidewalk next to the bark path.
Dave and I followed a woman with a similar pace to us for this unfamiliar portion, and all three of us misunderstood a direction and ended up accidentally adding .6 miles to the route. But this was ok because our total distance was supposed to be just under 21, so ours was just over 21.
Overall I felt pretty good throughout. I did a pretty dramatic Zumba class on Friday, so I think maybe that contributed to my hip flexor/hip soreness toward the end, but after 19+ miles that could have happened anyway. Hard to say.
The weather went back and forth between spitting rain and clouds and sun (so I guess back and forth and in between), but the sunniest portion was after my sunscreen almost certainly got washed off by rain. I am now concerned about my face skin’s health.
Also, today my jogging teacher was leading his running club on a half-marathon training run, and he offered me an extra water stop AND cheered for me twice when he drove past to check on his runners. So that was extra motivating and fun.
Besides Dave’s sad foot situation there isn’t actually that much to report about today’s run. I didn’t listen to a sad podcast today, and overall things went fine. Without Dave I’m not sure how to pace myself for the marathon. My friend who has also been training will probably pace herself faster than I plan to run, so I don’t know if I should follow someone in my training group or find a pacer, or just mellowly run along on my own. Hard to decide!
Also since today was the longest run of the training plan, I got my training group t-shirt! And with today’s mileage I qualified for the 100-mile t-shirt from Eugene Running Company, but they didn’t have my size. So soon, another new running t-shirt! Yay!
So last week was a nine-mile run, just a mellow alternate week kind of mileage thing. Our coacher person suggests that you can treat these shorter runs as either tempo runs or just slow recovery runs. I usually choose the latter option, though in an ideal world I’d focus more on pace.
I’ve continued to not run much/at all during the week, which I feel like I need to start changing like, immediately, and that week was week 10 on campus, so my other cross training was pretty mellow (games in swimming instead of actual swimming, just one day of ballet), so between our seventeen miles and the nine I did very little exercise except walking to campus.
This was probably unwise.
Then—it gets worse!—I decided Saturday was the ideal day to donate blood, since we were only running nine miles Sunday. I donated blood around 11 AM, and I figured after you sleep your blood is probably fine again. But I guess that’s not true, or at least for me it wasn’t true, and I ended up cutting off the run early when it passed a turnoff to our apartment complex. It was not a good day for me!
Anyway, this weekend was our nineteen mile run, this time along the river paths here in Eugene. A boring route, but it didn’t seem too far because we were familiar with all of it.
It took us forever to finish this nineteen-mile run, which I guess can be expected. It was a lovely, sunny day, but not super warm. We kept a very slow pace and took several breaks (there were seven water stations!), and we finished and it was ok! We were not in great spirits (though I perked up a lot when it became clear we were about to finish), but we finished the whole run!
The biggest error I made, I think, was starting the next random episode of This American Life at mile 12. Prior to that Dave and I had just been chatting/thinking about the run instead of listening to our iPods (and Dave I think never turned his on), but toward the end I figured I needed a distraction. Well it turns out that you need to screen your podcast episodes before listening to them on miles 12-18 of a long run, because this one was the saddest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. Which, it turns out, is not helpful for psychological strength of running.
I actually highly recommend the episode (“Little War on the Prairie”), but maybe not while you’re in the middle of the longest run of your life.
So training continues going well, next week my jogging class starts up and I’ll be required to do my mid-week runs, which will be good, and I’m not super sore OR chafed after that. Good news all around!
One challenge I have as a runner is that I also love a lot of other physical activities. It ends up being hard to fit in all my hobbies that are physically demanding and still make time for serious running.
I guess this is why most runners are primarily runners (or tri athletes, but I think most of them have a favorite single sport).
For me, my ballet seems to make my legs tired and stiff in ways that are not complementary to running, though the stretching is good for me. Similarly, swimming is a great balance to running, but it takes time and energy that I then can’t devote to running instead. The day after a serious swim or a long ballet class is often not the ideal time to go on a long run, and I don’t usually want to make my ballet class miserable by doing a run before I go.
So day to day and week to week, fitting everything in is a real difficulty. For me, though, being able to do these various activities I love is part of my long-term goals for living an active life, so I need to figure some time management/energy management out.
This running blog has a good perspective on long-term goals, balance, and training with purpose that’s useful to all of us, even if we don’t have the major training balance difficulties I impose on myself.
Yesterday was the Seafair Torchlight Race! I suffered a bit from the hills and the heat, and perhaps from a bit too much of this lately:
I need to work on balancing my training and my studying! It’s hard to fit both in, and it’s hard to to figure out a good routine for everything.
But my time was ok—not what I’d hoped, but that’s not the end of the world. Dave and I finished in 44 minutes almost exactly (and my Garmin said we ran 5.07, instead of the 4.97ish an 8k usually is, so probably we were secretly EVEN FASTER!). I was hoping to do quite a bit speedier, but obviously two of my weaknesses I need to focus on this month are heat running and running without a ton of rest.
(In the first photo along with my race number you can see my new shoes! I might get a second pair for the Hood to Coast so they can air out. I don’t love the purple actually, but I’m coming around. I like that they’re more fun than gray at least! I also acquired an Alaska Airlines button, which is also visible in the race bib photo. I wore it proudly during my race, since my running buddy works there.)
I ran into some fellow alumni of my high school by the finish line, and one was wearing a Hood to Coast t-shirt, so we chatted a bit about the race, which they’d done together a few years ago. They assured me that exhaustion sets in and everyone soldiers on and it’s fine. So that was reassuring! They also said it’s one of the most fun events they’ve ever done, so that was also good to hear!
Another thing I might have to consider is better pre-race nutrition:
Possibly not the best choice.
But at the finish line we picked up some of these granola bars, so next time I’ll try something with some nutrition instead of space-shaped Goldfishies!
So this week I did running group—a four-mile trail run—on Thursday, a six-mile hike on Mt. Rainier (to Spray Park) on Friday, a 6k+ walk in the Madrona Invitational “race” on Saturday morning, and the Torchlight run on Saturday evening. I think that’s probably a good way to work on training exhausted, but I need to do it a few more times so I don’t die so much at the end!
Here is what Spray Park looks like:
That second one is the route, not the park itself. We also did a little canoeing when we were at the trailhead, on Mowich lake:
But when we were there Friday it was incredibly foggy. Probably not smart to canoe under those conditions, but we did anyway. Oh well!
The Madrona Invitational is a race my dad and his friends have been doing for 33 years from his former grad-school professor Roger’s house. Roger has since moved, so his neighbor Paul “hosts” and Roger drives over. The race used to be a 10k run, but now most people do a 6k walk instead. We had planned to walk the full 10k, but no one was willing to lead us, since we forgot the route. That was a mellow stroll, nothing too strenuous, so I doubt it impacted my Torchlight performance too much. If anything, it probably warmed me up! The race finishes with bagel, lox, fruit salad, and coffee. Pretty nice!
Our running group (which I’ll try visiting on Wednesday this coming week, to try new people and a new route) does the dark blue trail at Point Defiance on Thursdays. This blog about local hikes has a nice description of the route (pretty sure it’s the same one, but now it’s color coded, not shaped) and some pictures.
Well, that was the world’s longest post, to distract from my disappointment about my Torchlight time! I’ve run faster than that on casual runs just around, so I shouldn’t be so sad, but of course in a race you hope you can do better than usual. But as I said, this helps me figure out what to focus on for these last few weeks before our big race!
Thanks for your support and readership, everyone! Hope the pictures make things more entertaining!
I feel like every post I make these days is about a run that went poorly, so I feel like I should take a minute to disclaim: I feel great about my training! There are definitely some days that aren’t totally on track, but overall I’d say things are going well and I’m injury free and improving.
Today’s run was not super successful, but it was better than I anticipated and here’s why:
Due to a cough/cold combo illness I’ve had since Friday, I hadn’t really planned on running today at all. Then I lost steam on my term paper and couldn’t focus and I thought I might as well give it a shot. I took off too fast, excited to be out of the house, and lost steam after a mile. Tons of pollen in the air aggravated my cough and my body felt pretty sluggish, but I managed to do a faster-than-necessary three miles (time: 26 something) and get some fresh air.
Here are some new goals:
- manage my pace better on non-speed days—I should have been doing today’s run at about 9:15/mile, so I think one day this coming week I’ll go on a treadmill to experiment with my pacing
- begin 800 training in addition to continuing other speed work; ultimately I’d like to be able to do 10x 800s in 4:00 each or faster (my ideal would be 3:30 each, and I think I’ll start with 3x 800s sometime this week or next)
- incorporate more trail and hill running into my weeks, so that involves finding some good places and doing some exploration
- maybe add a fifth planned running day per week, schedule permitting, so I can do two normal mid-distance days, one long day, one speed day, and one speed/endurance day where I can do tempo runs
I’m going to decide how the fifth day per week fits into my schedule, and maybe I’ll only do that day on certain weeks when I’m less busy. This week my goal is to keep some base mileage while I finish my term papers and get healthy! Also I’d like to fit in a ballet class if I can manage it! That’s separate from running, but I’ll call it cross training.