Endorphins Rock!

img_5555Hell yes they do! Today was a free run workout, meaning no heart rate cap, just run at whatever speed my heart desires for 60 minutes. These free runs have been on the plan since I started with the pre-plan workouts (HR101) and I’ll admit right now, I definitely didn’t get them right at first. Initially I read “free” as “fast” as in, I can go my “normal” pace for an hour. The problem was, I found that my old normal pace (around 9:30 for the average, no-goal run) felt challenging. I chalked it up to the heat (this was still August), residual burnout from marathon training, and of course, running super slow the rest of the week. So being the brainiac that I tend to be, I would try to force myself to go faster, which felt like shit on my legs, my lungs, my…wherever. And I grew to dread free runs.

Today as we walked out the door to start the run (I totally forgot my pre-run workout – dang it), said to Dar “maybe we’ll just keep it at 140bpm today.” That’s the effort at which I do most of the other runs in this plan. I didn’t feel like being demoralized by my lack of speed. So we started out at a slow plod; I didn’t worry about heart rate at all; instead I focused solely on “feel good.” Because I’ve come to feel really flipping good at 140bpm. The first mile was on the slow side (10:45); it felt great, it felt like a proper warmup. At the start of mile 2 of every run on this particular path (which is, like 90% of my runs) goes straight up a hill for about .2 miles. Instead of trying to maintain pace, I focused again on maintaining feel good. My overall pace for mile 2 was 10:15.

That trend continued – run at feel good pace, slowly get faster: 10:08, 9:40, 9:45. By the time I got home I felt amazing! At some points my pace actually dipped down to 8:55, enough to get some drops of endorphins in my brain! Speaking of my brain, it was nice to know that I could still feel good at those paces – and not just my “old” good, but dare I say it, at paces that felt downright easy. I guess “trust the plan” it is!

 

June 5, 2016: Switching gears and goals

I’ve been pretty introspective this week, following my craptacular performance at the Mountains2Beach marathon, my breathtaking, mid-race stumble and, of course, my painful hamstring. I’d taken this week off because I expected to be exhausted from what I’d hope would be an all out effort.

Instead, I’ve been sitting on the couch with ice on my hurts and bump; I don’t even have enough ice packs for all the hurt spots so I trade off injury to injury except for my hamstring: that sucker is frozen!

I realized within a couple of days that, other than the fact that my hamstring hurts like hell and it’s difficult to breathe (from when I slammed into the asphalt), I’m fine. I’m ready to run. I went to a PT – the hamstring is a bit strained by not torn. He can have me back up to speed pretty quickly as long as I’m faithful to – ugh – strength straining, especially for my hips, glutes and, you guessed it, my hamstring.

In fact, you should have seen the way his eyes rolled when I said I’d dropped the minimal strength training last summer because it was making me too sore to run. That is – that “body weight” strength training made my legs too sore. “You don’t do ANY strength exercise?” he asked, bewildered. “Um…I plank for a minute on most days,” I answered; he shook his head. Yes, I’ve ignored the thousands of articles I’ve read about the importance of strength, plyo, core, etc., and I finally paid for that choice. 

 

Immediately after the race I’d declared that I was done going for Boston. And I felt such a sense of relief. I felt seriously burnt out from marathon training.

But as I’ve sat around the house this week, wrapping my head around my running and other aspects of my life, I realized that I wasn’t burnt out from marathon training. I was burnt out from the heavy load I’ve been carrying from ALL of the different parts of my life. Being overloaded with tasks that I despise, while refusing to let go of activites that bring me some joy. Talk about way out of balance. I know that some of that is within my realm of control. Unfortunately, some of it is not – well, with the exception of just exiting certain situations entirely.

So with my husband, I started devising an exit strategy – an exit from the situations in my life that drain my energy, drain my creativity, drain my sense of peace, drain my happiness. I won’t lie; its an ambitious plan that spans 2-3 years, and will take a ton of discipline, sacrifice, and willingness to make dramatic changes. But I’m brave. I run marathons. I can handle this.

I will do the damn strength training. I will not spend Sundays dreading Mondays. I will lay low and save every dime. Dave Ramsey wrote “Live like no else today, so you can live like no else tomorrow,” right? Ok. Fine.

And I’m not done reaching for Boston, either!

 

 

 

March 6, 2016: 12 weeks and counting

Training Log for 2/28 to 3/5 – 44+ miles

IMG_0117
Why is it still cold??

 

  • Sunday: Pacer for Hot Chocolate 15k (9.3 miles)
  • Monday: 7 miles
  • Tuesday: 3 miles
  • Wednesday: 4.24 miles (5×800 plus warm up/cool down)
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: 7 miles – 3 miles at GMP
  • Saturday: 14 miles – with 4 short fartlek interval

I won’t lie – by the time I showered yesterday morning, after the 14 miles, I was totally spent. It was a tough week – I haven’t done speed work in months, and my legs/shins/ass sure felt it the rest of the week. I wish I could say something funny, or clever, or inspirational, but I’m just not feeling it this morning. Sometimes, to get to a goal, it’s just about getting the work done. And you don’t always have rainbows and unicorns flying out of your ass while you are staring down a big goal.

 

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Running in 90+ weather and longing for the 20s. Be careful what you wish for!
I was looking at my “run selfies” from last summer, when I was training for Santa Rosa. How did I remember feeling during those workouts? Miserable. Hot. Slow. But when I look at those pictures now, as I emerge from a chilly winter season, I see them much differently. I look triumphant. I look tough. I look bad ass. But that’s how the memory works right? I’m freezing, so hot weather running seems wonderful. In a matter of weeks I’m sure I’ll be longing for freezing cold weather. Or…maybe not.

So to get through these mentally challenging, physically taxing weeks, to get the work done, I start doing countdown math. I’ll often do the same during a race, but for training the countdown is spread across weeks instead of miles:

I have a super-early (read sorta-long run) morning tomorrow. Seven more super-early Monday mornings until Mountains2Beach.

I’ve got a midweek hill workout. Four more hill workouts until Mountains2Beach.

I’ve got a long run at the end of the week. Six more runs of 16 miles or longer until Mountains2Beach.

You see, those numbers: Seven, Four, Six – they are much easier to stomach, right?

February 22, 2016: Jumping back into beast mode

Training log: 6 miles: 1 mile at HMP pace:Monday Mode

Me and my dorky love…

 

Today is Day 2 of Mountains2Beach “Boston-or-Bust” marathon training. After what seems like a super  quick recovery week last week from my very slow LA Marathon journey, I’m back in the marathon training craziness.

I have 14 weeks until race day – 90 more days!   

I’ve been reaching back into my old training plans in order to utilize what worked, and drop what didn’t. Without getting into too much detail, here is what my typical training week will look like:

  • Sunday: Short trail run: 3-5 miles. No pace expectations. Just stay fully focused, don’t trip, keep moving forward. Strength training afterwards, time permitting.
  • Monday: Sorta-long run: 6-10 miles. Easy, “Zone 1” pace (140-151 bpm) EXCEPT for 1 mile, any mile, run at HMP (which is 8:21).
  • Tuesday: Short run: 3-5 miles. Easy, “Zone 1” pace (140-151 bpm) .
  • Wednesday: Hills or 800s. Strength training in the evening, time permitting.
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: Sorta-long run: 6-10 miles, work up to MP (8:47) after a 2-3 mile warm up.
  • Saturday: Long run: 16-20 miles; Easy “Zone 1” pace (140-151) except for the last 25% of run, to be run at MP (8:47).

Okay – here are my honest thoughts about this plan, dream, and journey:

  1. I hope I don’t get injured. I really really really hope that doesn’t happen. Major injury. Minor injury. Overuse injury. Trips and falls.
  2. I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t reach my goal at this race. I’m a runner everyday, for life.
  3. I just want to leave the best race I can possible run on the course that day.
  4. Did I mention that I hope I do not get injured?
  5. I need to drop 10lbs. It simply has to happen.

And here we go!

 

January 24, 2016: Tapering and what happens after

Miles run today: 0
Miles run 2016: 135.5

January has been busy yet I feel I’ve accomplished very little. Without getting into the boring minutia of my life, let’s just say I’m very grateful to be in a taper period for the next three weeks. It’s definitely a time to start planning for the rest of the year in terms of running goals (as well as life goals).

After LA Marathon in February, I’ll be digging into my next attempt at a BQ. That will be Mountains2Beach. I just put together my training plan, and it’s a bear. Luckily its only 12 weeks long (I only feel like I can get away with a 12 week marathon training plan because of all of the marathon training I’ve been doing over the last 18 months). It includes speed work, hills, and even optional trail workouts. All the workouts that I know have made me stronger in the past. It gives my husband, who is my training partner, an opt out of the longer miles. And it only makes me wake up ridiculously early two workday mornings.

I’m also going to try to do strength training; I say this all the time, but I end up dropping it because it leaves my legs so sore. But this time I have a different approach; I’ll be doing strength AFTER hard workouts, not before. I’ll also be limiting my alcohol intake – absolutely no drinking the day before a scheduled run. That’s mostly because waking up dehydrated really hurts my workouts. I’m also hoping this will help me shed a pound or two. So adios Tequila – but just for a while.

But the other thing I’ve decided about this next training phase is that this will be my last attempt at a BQ for the foreseeable future. Honestly, I barely want to go for it right now; I’m really at peace with my 3 BQ times, even though they didn’t make the cut. One

Smiling on the outside - beating myself up for the bathroom stop on the inside
Smiling on the outside – beating myself up for the bathroom stop on the inside

thing I do know is that running with that kind of intensity is sort of ruining running for me. Example: I ran the Star Wars Half Marathon last weekend. Now, I didn’t really have any goal for that race except to run my best race for the shape I’m in. Did that happen? No. I didn’t follow my normal pre-race routine, ended up with 2 long bathroom stops (ugh) and then I felt compelled to “make up” for those stops by beating myself up along the course instead of enjoying the awesomeness that is that race (seriously, the Star Wars Half Marathon is awesome).

My mental game has shifted; when I’m racing, I’m not having fun. Instead, I’m pushing myself and pushing myself, even when there is no reason to, because I’ve spent so much time learning how to push myself during a race. Its a bummer beating myself up during and after races, and I think, I mean I really think, I’m done doing that.

So when I run LA next month with my best friend (yah, still my husband), who himself is a reluctant marathon runner, I’m DEFINITELY not going to beat myself (or him) up about anything – our pace, our time, nothing. I might even throw in regular walk breaks. Why not? The week after we have a Color Run, then I’m pacing a Hot Chocolate 15k (both events scream HAVE FUN KIM right)?? Then I’ll dig back in for 12 months and whatever will be, will be.

January 2, 2016: Trippin’

January 2, 2016 Training Log:

  • Type: Fast Finish Long Run (fast finish didn’t happen)
  • Miles: 10ish
  • Time: 1:41ish

What’s with the “ish?” Just past mile 9 of this morning’s run, we were crossing a street and I tripped and fell.

Okay, let me flesh out some details there; we did not cross the street at the intersection that I ALWAYS cross the street at. Why? My hubby, who I was running with, didn’t want to wait for the light. Since it was early and there were few cars on the road, he wanted to cross further up (like, as in jaywalking). So when the street was clear, we dashed across the street. And I tripped and fell.

I am a notorious tripper. I just am. It happens when I’m tired, or when I’m zoned out on music or a podcast, or when I’m otherwise distracted and not paying attention to the path below my feet. I’ve tripped on the tiniest pebbles. In fact, I have tripped on a crack in the sidewalk. Today, I think the very idea that we were jaywalking (my rule-following brain was short-circuiting from the idea) was such a distraction than when it was time to cross, seeing that there was no traffic anywhere, I decided that I needed to dash across the street as if my very life depended on it. And in my sloppy, tired (mile 9 of 10), partially-blinded-by-glaring-sunlight attempt to cross, I failed to consider the various lane markers and bumps that sat between me and the other side of the road. And just like that – SPLAT!

And then I totally freaked out. Splayed out face down on the ground, I rolled over and cried for help. I think it sounded like HELP ME UP – HELP ME UP – GET ME OUT OF THE STREET – WAH WAH WAH!! Something like that. Because that split second fall happened in slow motion for me, and it seemed like many minutes had already passed from the time I’d left the side of the road to the time I hit the ground; as a result, I was certain there must be a car approaching, ready to barrel over me!

Once at the side of the road, I sobbed like a baby for a minute – I was FREAKED out. My hand was throbbing; my knees were throbbing; my chest was throbbing. As I assessed the damage, I figured that the places on my body that were throbbing had actually landed on the lane markers when I fell. I figure I must have hit those lane markers – and the asphalt – at about 6-7mph. DAMN those hurt!

It was a shitty way to end an otherwise beautiful run. I posted a run selfie on Instagram from about mile 3 of the run. The sky was clear, the weather gorgeous, and I was feeling great and loving my run. I prefer to remember it that way, even as my body stings with pain hours later!

Are you a tripper?