Work It Out 5/28-6/3

What a tough week! Oyyyyy! Lots of great work outs, and new challenges, so without further adieu, here’s how I worked it out last week:

Monday: 100k bike ride. That’s right. 62 miles. 100k. My butt HURT! I have since bought the diaper bike shorts. They feel like cycling on a cloud in comparison. Steve, Dan and I set out for a long ride. I wanted to accomplish a good 50 miler (my previous cycling PDR was around 30), but Steve has been wanting to do a metric century for a long time, and about 20 miles in decided that would be the day. I’m not gonna lie, 4 and a half hours is a long time to be on a bike, there were several bumps along the road, and I was definitely tired by the end, but it was absolutely worth it, and can’t wait to do it again!

Tuesday: Linda’s Spin. I was tired from Monday, so I took it easy, kept my flat road around 9-10, and got in a good 21.5 miles.

Wednesday: Track love + 4 min plank. 4x400s @ 5k pace with 400 recovery jogs + 1 mile @ HMGP. My legs still felt tired when I woke up, but of course I was stoked to get to the track! I spent half the time actually at the pace I was supposed to be at, and the other half being competitive. Shocking I know. My pace for the 400s was 7:58, 8:10, 7:51, 8:14. I was aiming for around 8:15. Whoops. It was hard. Also, my working pace is the same as many of the other runners’ recovery. It’s okay, one day I won’t be painfully slow, I promise. My last mile clocked in at 8:41, which is definitely too fast for me, but Doug started running with me the last half, and brought out my competitive side. Okay, let’s be real, I don’t have a noncompetitive side. Also, that plank was hard. I did one for 2 minutes and gave up, then later got pissed about my giving up, and muscled through for 4 painful minutes. Spoiler alert: that is no longer my longest plank ;)

Thursday: Dance!!! I was planning on spinning, but woke up with sore legs, took the morning off, then went to summer of dance for my friend Molly’s awesome musical theatre class, and a contemporary class. I haven’t actually danced since, ohhhh….summer of dance last year. It was rough. I felt out of shape, and just plain bad, but it was still fun, and I’m glad I went.

Friday: Rest. This was like the week where I just kept getting more and more sore! I woke up, and I was so sore from dancing that walking, and sitting were not fun. I took it as a cue, and gave myself the day off.

Saturday: Long Run. Woke up more sore! You know that delayed soreness? Yikes. It was soooooo rough. I was hobbling just to walk around, and it took me about a year to sit and stand, but I made a plan to run with speedy Ashley, and I don’t cancel running plans. Plus, I knew with some unexpected circumstances that have come up lately, I needed to run while I could. I had planned to do 13, and for the first time I think ever, I cut it short to 10. When I woke up feeling run down, I told myself 10 was the minimum, but I was still gonna shoot for 13. I did okay for the first 6 or so, then I just could not keep it up, and I crashed and burned. Steve picked us up at mile 10. Best husband ever.

Sunday: Easy bike ride. 9 miles: coffee, breakfast, and relaxing muscle loosening. Lovely.

Bringing my total to 106.87 miles for the week, which is my highest weekly mileage ever!! It was a really tough week, and my body could definitely use some recover, but this week will be mostly off (wahhhh), so I’m glad I got it in while I could! I’ll explain more about the time off stuff soon. For now, I’m off to bake cookies to distract myself :)

How did you work it out this week? And what the heck do I do with myself for the next few days while I can’t????

Work It Out 5/21-5/27

So maybe I didn’t hit 100 miles this week (or anything close to it), but my workouts, specifically my runs this week have been some of the best ever! I had my first date with the track, I ran a new PDR, and I took full advantage of most likely the last of the gorgeous weather we’ll be seeing for a while. Here’s how I worked it out this week:

Monday: Rest. After 7 straight days of working out, I was more than ready to take the day off. It was fantastic.

Tuesday: 4ish mile run. I met up with Stacey for a short, easy paced run. We started a little late in the morning, and it was already really warm, so we ended up just walking the last half-ish mile, but it was nice to get to hang out and get a short run in.

Wednesday: Track–8×400’s @ 5k pace & 1 mi @ HMGP. What does that even mean??? I *think* I’m figuring it out. Kind of. Wednesday was my first day at the track. I met Susan and the rest of the group at 5:30am, we did a little over a mile warm up lap, then 8×400’s–400 meters (.25 mi) at 5k pace with 200 meter (.125 mi) rests in between, then a mile at 1/2 marathon goal pace. I kept the 400’s between 8-8:10 min/mi, and my goal pace mile clocked in at 8:48! I love the track. Like really, really love it. I was so intimidated, and I stayed away for so long, but right now I am wishing it was Tuesday night so that tomorrow could be track day. I cannot wait.

Thursday: Off. I planned to go to spin, but had a ton of baking to do (so many candy cups, and cupcakes being sold–yes!!), and it was just one of those days where I knew my time needed to be spent differently, and that’s okay.

Friday: 800 yd swim. I swam!! YAY!! This was only my second swimming work out, and my first one solo. I went twice as far as I did the first time, and it felt great to be in the water! I’d really like to take some lessons, and kind of figure out what I’m doing!

Saturday: Long Run–15.16 miles!! Okay, so my PDR (personal distance record) was 15.01, so it’s not like I went much further, but I don’t even care. It is the farthest I have ever run, and it was a freaking fantastic run! The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and we started off early at 5:30. Before we started, Susan asked how long people were planning to go, and of course not a single other person was even planning on running double digits (they’re almost all running San Diego next weekend), and here I was saying I was planning on 15. Oy. I planned to run with Stacey for as far as she wanted to go, and then go back out to run the rest solo. Near the end of my run with Stacey (almost to mile 8), Doug came up and introduced himself, and asked if I was still going to go back out for more miles. He told me he’d be willing to do a few with me, and I was beyond grateful. Well, he ended up running the entire 2nd half of my run with me, and pushed me the whole way through! He’s run tons of marathons (including Boston….*sigh*), and he had really great advice. He talked to me about my breathing, training, etc. Towards the end, he started adding some pick ups, and then pushed me to finish mile 15 in 9:40! Then, the last .16 happened at an average pace of 8:03. Ummm, who am I??? 15.16 miles at an average pace of 10:19. When I finally looked through my garmin and saw my pace, I started to cry a little. I am finally starting to see some improvement from this training cycle. I’ve been working really hard, and it is amazing to finally see it pay off. At the end of the run Doug told Susan that I had the mind of a marathoner. I think it’s more that I’m stubborn, and prideful, but having the mind of a marathoner sounds a lot better to me ;)

Sunday: 4 mile bike ride. Yeah….that’s it. My legs felt like they had been run over my a truck. And if you’ve been around me at all this weekend, that is probably the 9,984,985th time you’ve heard me say that. Sorry, I whine.

How did you work it out this week?? Have you set any new personal records lately, or surprised yourself with your progress? Tell me your awesome things too!!!

Ari + Track, A Love Story

Why, oh why was I so intimidated by the track for so long??? It is so wonderful!! This morning, I joined coach Susan and her group (including a couple people from my NYC team) for my first track workout! Wednesday has been my speed work day anyway, and I was grateful for the opportunity to go run with a group, and have a coach telling me what to do, rather than a computer program. I am a little over my smart coach plan for Seattle, but that’s an other story.

My alarm went off at 4:25 am, and I was out the door by 5 to meet at 5:30. We did a 1 mile warm up from our meeting spot over to the track, and I was kind of a nervous wreck. I was totally intimidated, and sure that everyone was going to be running 6 min miles, and I was going to be the lame-o in the back. However, everyone was really nice, and as it turned out, once you get on the track, it’s impossible to tell where anyone else is at anyway. Plus, honestly, who has time while doing their own speed work to worry about anyone else? It’s just silly to think that anyone there is going to be judging you.

We did some running drills that I have never done before, and I looked pretty ridiculous, but only slightly embarrassed about it, haha. Then Susan announced that we were doing 8x400s @ our 5K pace with 200 meter recoveries, then 1 mile @ half marathon goal pace. Okay, so as it turns out, I’m pretty unsure of what my 5K pace should actually be. My pace for South Mountain averaged 8:52, so I was guessing around 8:45. Well, I paused my garmin during the rests because I didn’t have a chance to set the intervals up before we started, and my first 4 averaged an 8:00 min pace. Probably a little too fast, but definitely enough to make me feel like 8:45 was most likely too slow. The next 4 averaged 8:12, with a total average for all 400s of 8:07. Then I ran my HMGP mile @ 8:48.

Who am I??? It didn’t feel easy, but it didn’t feel as tough as I was expecting. I still don’t know about doing a whole half marathon at a sub 9 pace, but it was a little bit of a confidence boost! The time flew by, and I didn’t even end up using my music. I was nervous because no one else brought any music, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to get through the workout without it, but the constant changes kept my mind busy, and I didn’t feel bored at ALL, and even my heavy breathing didn’t freak me out.

So, the thing is, I’m totally head over heels for the track. And I don’t think after NYC I will ever want to train without a group ever again. I feel so totally spoiled by the whole situation already, but I’m just trying to soak it up to it’s fullest while I can!

On my way home, Devon tweeted me about our plank promise that I had totally been lame and forgotten about, so the second I got home, I turned on the TV to distract me, and got my plank on!

Gosh Ari, stop cheating, and get your butt down!

You see, ever since Ali completed her 5 min plank challenge, I’ve been determined to do the same, and Devon is super amazing and working on her planking too, so we’re keeping each other accountable. Clearly, she’s doing a much better job at the accountability part than I am ;) My first try, I held it for 2 minutes, last week (try #2) was 2:20, and today…

Whhooooot! Okay, now I desperately need a shower.

Track: Love or hate?

Work It Out 5/14-5/20

Well, after a pretty mellow week with 3 full rest days, I definitely kicked it into gear last week! By Sunday afternoon my weekly mileage on daily mile reached 100! No, I did not ride extra miles on my bike just because I wanted to see a 3 digit mileage number. Who does things like that? Crazy, number obsessed people. I just happened to ride exactly 17 miles when my daily mile was at 83. Obviously. ;)

Monday: 3 miles with Jason. Remember when this guy ran like 12 minute miles? Umm, our average pace was 10:06. He’s amazing, and I’m starting to really get a lot out of our weekly runs together!

Tuesday: Spin, Strength & Swimming. I kind of felt awesome after completing 3 workouts in one day. I mean, sure, my strength training was all of 15 minutes, but I was still sore the next day from it! I am working on getting up to a 5 minute plank like this girl, and Tuesday I got to 2:20. Obviously, I have a ways to go. Spin class was awesome as usual, then I had my first swimming work out with my fav triathlete! I swam 400 yards, and it was hard and awesome.

Wednesday: Tempo run. This run was not fun. I had 6 miles on the schedule with 4 tempo miles @ 9:03. Well, my last tempo run was the same thing with the tempo miles at 9:07, and it was hard, but I killed it, and even had my last mile below 8:50. This run felt entirely different. I was struggling .5 miles in, it was 80 degrees out, and I left my ipod at home, so I could literally hear myself grasping for air. I stayed on pace,  but had to stop after the second and third tempo mile to catch my breath. As frustrated as I was by this run, I feel like I learned a lot from it. I had a great talk with my coach about it, and realized that I’m really not hydrating well enough, and that as it gets hotter, I need to be okay with slowing down. It won’t be this hot in Seattle or in NYC, so I need to focus on how I feel rather than what my garmin says. This is especially hard for me since my focus on running numbers has been such a huge aid in taking my focus away from scale numbers. I am number focused. It’s how I measure my progress, and when the numbers don’t reflect my effort, I get frustrated, discouraged, and whiney. That’s okay. I don’t think I will feel that way forever. I’m not going to beat myself up about the way I feel or react to things. I am simply going to note it, try to be more aware, and do my best to not let it get me down.

Thursday: Spin. Sweaty, hilly love.

Friday: 20 mile bike ride with Nicole. We had a great time, and chatted the whole 20 miles. Perfect way to start the day!

Saturday: Long run. Our team training runs for Chances for Children don’t officially start until I leave for Portland, but Susan invited us to come run with her, and the group she coaches, so I jumped on the opportunity! My alarm went off at 3:55am (yikes!), and I headed out to meet the group. Unfortunately, the park bathrooms were locked, and so when Stacey arrived, we went in search of a restroom and ended up starting closer to 5:30 than the 5:00 start time. We started off running with Susan’s husband bill who was so nice and went slow with us to show us the path. Around mile 2.5, we separated from Bill because my stomach is still a mess, and I had to stop at this resort to use the bathroom. Even considering that, I was feeling the best I have on a long run in weeks! We were maintaining around a 10:25 pace, which is right on target for my plan, it wasn’t too warm out yet, and I just felt really into the run. By the end, though, I started fading a bit, and Stacey was pushing me through, then at the last mile, we saw Susan who had waiting for us long after everyone who had started on time was already gone, and came up to run the last mile with us! Having a coach is freaking amazing, let me tell you. That was the push I needed, because I finished the last mile in 9:26, and ended 13.06 miles with an average pace of 10:16, which, for me, is pretty awesome! I had serious runners high all day long!

Sunday: 17 mile bike ride with Steve and Jason. I wanted to go on a bike ride, and I wanted to hit 100 miles, so that’s what I did ;)

What a great week! Even with a crappy run, I still feel like it’s one of the best training weeks I’ve had in a long time!

How did you work it out last week? How do you stay motivated and track your progress when the numbers start to kind of suck??

Doubt and Expectations

Those two funny things that come creeping in when they are the least welcome. Last friday I ran 12 of the slowest miles of my life. I took a lot of breaks, and my legs felt like I was asking them to run at an 8 min pace rather than the near 11 min pace I was actually maintaining. I finished, felt proud that I didn’t give up, told everyone I was fine with it, and did my best to pretend I wasn’t lying.

This morning was my first speed work out in 3 weeks. I didn’t do speed work the week before or after Whiskey Row, trying to be smart and give my legs a break. Today I had 6 miles on the schedule with 4 tempo miles at 9:03. That’s actually what was on the schedule for last week, so I didn’t skip, I’m just picking back up where I left off (since the plan didn’t account for an other half marathon in the middle of it).  After the first 2 tempo miles, I kind of thought I was going to die. First of all, I had forgotten my ipod, so I had no music, and I think part of what really got to me was hearing how out of breath I was. It’s bothered me before on easier runs where I haven’t used music. It freaks me out, and makes me feel like I need to stop, or like I’m more tired than I am.

Second of all, I had already stopped in the warm up, but by the end of the second tempo mile, I needed to stop for the bathroom again. The truth is, my body has felt off for the entire last month, ever since I had what I thought was the stomach flu around the time of Pat’s Run. I am going to finally make a doctors appointment to get myself checked out, but that’s an other story. Anyway, I stopped to use the bathroom and get some water after the first 2 tempo miles, then made it through the third before having to stop to catch my breath. Honestly, I felt like I was going to need to do that after the 2nd one, and needing the bathroom was kind of a convenient excuse. I mean, I really needed to go, but I was not cursing the stop. So I stopped and stretched after the third one, which kind of makes me feel like I kind of cheated the whole work out, but whatever. I finished the 4th just barely, walked the first 200 meters of my cool down, and then resumed to jogging the rest.

My paces were mostly on target–9:04, 9:01, 9:03, 8:59, but it felt soooo hard, and I just felt frustrated and discouraged. I’ve been asked no less than 15 times in the past 2 weeks if I’m over training. No M, not just by you ;) The truth is, I have no freaking idea. I read all these amazing, inspiring running blogs, and they don’t take time off unless they’re injured. I’m following my plan, with the exception of adjusting the step back weeks around Whiskey Row, but maybe I haven’t had a legit easy week because of it? Maybe the temperatures have all the sudden become 20 degrees higher while I’m running, and I’m not used to it? Maybe I’m still not recovered from WR? Maybe taking spin, lifting weights and swimming the day before was a bad idea? I don’t know. All I know is that I’m feeling frustrated. I’m feeling like I can’t do it, and a little bit like a failure.

Let me say, I know this is irrational. I know there are people who would be thrilled to go out and get through six miles, or even .6 miles! I was that person, so I get that I’ve come a long way, and I have a lot to be proud of. I also get that there are people out there with way bigger problems than a bad run, and that given my body’s tendency towards injury, I should just be thrilled that I have been running relatively pain free. And I am!!! Beyond thrilled, actually. I am so grateful for what my body has been accomplishing, and the determination that has allowed me to grow so much these past few months.

I am also a person who is rarely satisfied, sets big goals, and doesn’t believe in not meeting them. I love this about myself. Even days like today, where it is hard to be that kind of person, I am grateful for the drive and determination I possess, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I know that I just need to keep pushing, and eventually I will start logging work outs that I feel great about again. I just need to be okay with being frustrated today. And I am. Mostly.

Luckily, I also have the world’s most supportive husband that tells me things like “I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but you’re doing an amazing job. How many other training runs did you meet your goals on? I am not going to sit here and let you beat yourself up over 1 bad run.”  I know he’s right. I need to get the F over myself. Also, reading this post helped put things in perspective.

I had my pitty party. I’m sorry you couldn’t make it. It was really a lovely event, even with a small party of 1. Next time I’ll be sure to put your invitation in the mail, but for today, it’s over. I’m moving on, and I’m going to try to take this run as a learning experience.