Daily Report

Fall Five Miler

I’m on a roll with posts today! I guess the trick is to keep them short and sweet.

Tuesday, September 22 5 mile run (Saucony)

RunningLaur organized a virtual race for the first day of fall. I was actually planning to do cross and strength training at the gym yesterday, but my wrist and elbow joints were hurting so I adjusted my schedule and went for a run instead. Originally I was only going to do a 5k for the virtual race, but I decided to extend my run and go for the five miles. My goal was to finish in 60 minutes. I was blessed with surprisingly cool weather last night and a nice breeze. The run itself was pretty boring – just me and my iPod doing 3+ laps around the neighborhood. Oh, but I did have a weird encounter. There’s a small greenbelt alongside my neighborhood and I ran past a guy walking his dog. I’m almost certain that as I passed he said “Run Forrest Run”. I get the reference, but I have no idea why he said it.

Anyway…

  • Mile 1 – 11:50
  • Mile 2 – 12:13
  • Mile 3 – 12:11
  • Mile 4 – 11:29
  • Mile 5 – 11:13

 Total time: 58:55. I’m happy I made my goal… yay!

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Training

Running in the dark

Friday, September 18 – 4.11 mile run, 11:06 average pace

I headed out to a local park not too far from my house for a change of scenery. It’s been quite a few months since I’ve been there and in the past there were always park lights on after dark. Well, I arrived just at dusk and figured maybe the lights were just taking a little bit to kick on. But no, the lights never turned on that night. Luckily there was enough ambient light that I could still see where I was going. It was a little scary running by myself in the dark, but I had pepper spray with me and the park is right next to a Costco so there’s a decent amount of traffic that goes by.

Part of the reason I picked the park is because it seemed like a good place to do some less structured intervals. One loop around the park is about .59 miles so I did intervals of about .44 miles at a faster pace and then .15 miles of recovery. The lap feature on my Garmin was acting a bit funky so I won’t post all my times on the intervals. But my best interval was .44 miles at a 9:34 pace. I wasn’t trying to run all out, just a little faster than usual, so that’s a pretty good time for me. Of course, I did plan my course strategically so I ran the downhill portion and saved the uphill for my recovery.

Sunday, September 20 – 3 mile run, 11:29 average pace (Saucony)

  • Mile 1 – 12:05
  • Mile 2 – 11:34
  • Mile 3 – 10:48

My tummy was feeling upset so the last mile I was basically just in a rush to get back to my car and head home.

Monday, September 21 – 1 mile warm-up, 2x800s, 2x400s, 1 mile cool-down (Saucony)

Back to the track for a more structured speedwork section. My training plan called for 400s, but I decided to switch it up and try a couple 800s instead. The 800s weren’t as bad as I remember them being. But I guess that probably means I wasn’t working hard enough.

  • 1st 800 – 4:33
  • 2nd 800 – 4:42
  • 1st 400 – 2:06
  • 2nd 400 – 2:07

I’m happy that we’re getting cooler weather here in Phoenix, but it sucks that the sun is also setting sooner. I was surprised I didn’t get kicked off the track on Monday since I basically did my last cool-down mile in the dark. If the park doesn’t start turning on the lights, I’m going to be stuck running laps around the neighborhood for the next few months.

There have been a lot of great running blog giveaways lately. Here are a couple that are still open for entry:

Running

Corral 4?!?

RnR San Jose corral assignment

I got an email from RnR San Jose earlier with links to my confirmation sheet and final race instructions. I’m a little worried about being placed so far up in corral 4. Admittedly, my predicted finish time isn’t all that accurate, but it’s what I’ve been using for all my half marathon registrations since my PR at the Havasu Half. At RnR Chicago the 2:00 time put me in corral 8, which seems a bit more reasonable. Maybe there are a lot less people doing RnR San Jose? (A good possibility since unlike RnR Chicago it hasn’t sold out yet.)

I’m sort of thinking about moving myself back a couple corrals because I don’t want to be in the way of the faster runners. But on the other hand, starting earlier means finishing earlier, which means slightly less of a rush to get back to the hotel before check-out time. Well, I’ll just wait and see what happens. I still have the Expedition Everest Challenge to get through first. And with my track record, I’ll probably arrive late at the start line anyway so it’ll be a moot point.

Training

Garmin alerts and an attempted tempo run

For Mica – I have the Garmin 205. I don’t know if it’s the same on the 405 or not, but this is how I do it. Go to Training, then Training Options, then Alerts. Select Pace Alert. Turn the Slow Pace Alert to Custom, then set your goal pace. One thing that seemed counterintuitive to me at first was the words “Alert Below” because it made me think, okay if I’m running at a 10:30 pace, then will I get an alert when I go below that to 10:25 pace? Which doesn’t make any sense because 10:25 is faster than 10:30. Maybe instead of “Alert Below” it should say “Alert Slower Than”.

Personally I wouldn’t use the pace alert at a race. Even if it didn’t end up driving me crazy, it might drive the people around me crazy. I know from experience how even the littlest things can be so annoying during a race. But then Tall Mom, you’re so speedy that there probably wouldn’t be anyone around you on the course to hear. Good luck in the 5k this weekend!

I started my workout a little later than usual yesterday, so I decided to just head straight to the gym and stick to cross training for the night.

Wednesday, September 16 – 30 minutes elliptical, 40 minutes strength training

Thursday, September 17 – 3.15 mile run (Asics)

Tonight I made my first attempt at a tempo run. From what I understand, a tempo run means that the middle portion of the run is supposed to be at a faster pace than the beginning and end. I don’t know if I really did it right though because my times are kind of all over the place. I did something new today and ran tiny laps around the block. Each lap is .35 miles so 9 laps = about 3 miles. My neighbors probably thought I was crazy, but I enjoyed the laps because it broke the run down into easy to manage chunks.

Here are my times:

  • Lap 1 – 4:09 (12:01 pace)
  • Lap 2 – 4:06 (11:45 pace)
  • Lap 3 – 4:17 (12:21 pace)
  • Lap 4 – 3:37 (10:21 pace)
  • Lap 5 – 3:44 (10:41 pace)
  • Lap 6 – 3:39 (10: 24 pace)
  • Lap 7 – 3:55 (11:05 pace)
  • Lap 8 – 3:52 (11:04 pace)
  • Lap 9 – 3:42 (10:29 pace)

Usually I walk for about 5-10 minutes as a warm up before my run. But tonight got me to thinking that maybe I need to try doing a short bit of jogging/running during my warm up. I felt like I could have done 3 more laps at the end around a 10:40-11:00 pace. Then, if I looked at laps 4-12 instead of 1-9, I would have a much better average pace for the 5k.

There probably won’t be any blog posts from me over the weekend because my sister is coming to town for a visit. Troy also happens to be out of town for a quasi family reunion, so it’ll be a fun girls weekend for us of shopping, sightseeing, and some good eats.

Training

Recent workouts

I suck at coming up with good post titles. I have the same problem with email subjects. 😦

Monday, September 14 – 3 mile run (Asics)
Monday night was the start of my new resolve to push myself harder. I’ve been too complacent with focusing on distance. Instead of just getting in the miles, I want to have more quality runs.

I didn’t want to start off too ambitious so I set the pace alert on my Garmin to beep when I was slower than a 10:30 pace. Well, my watch beeped… a lot! I didn’t meet the goal, but it was still helpful because the beeping encouraged me to pick up my pace. I finished the three miles at roughly 10:40 pace. The last mile was tough because my calves were really hurting. I’ve been making an effort to spend more time stretching, but so far it’s hit or miss on whether it’s actually making a difference.

Tuesday, September 15 – 1 mile warm-up, 6x400s, 1 mile cool-down (Saucony)
I prefer to do my speedwork at the track, but that means I really have to plan ahead to get there with enough time to finish my workout before dark. I cut it pretty close yesterday. Instead of doing my normal 400m recovery between intervals, I just did 200m instead. The funny thing is that it still takes me longer to walk 200m than run 400m.

Here are my times for the 400s:

  • 2:09
  • 2:05
  • 2:06
  • 2:07
  • 2:08
  • 2:04

Normally I start out too fast on the first interval, so I’m happy to see such consistent numbers. If only I could run that fast for more than 400m at a time. After the last 400 I headed into the gym for one more mile on the treadmill at 5mph.

I probably could have stayed out a little longer but I wanted to avoid the security guard who comes by to lock up the track. I’m sure he’s just trying to be friendly, but I don’t really feel like standing around making small talk when I’ve just finished a workout. Plus I find it a little creepy that he’s invited me to go hiking with him on more than one occasion. While I do want to check out some of the local hiking trails, I have no interest in doing so with a stranger. How do I say “leave me alone” without appearing outright rude?

Race Report

Race Report – ARR I-Did-A-Green-Run 10k

Just got home and we’ll see how much I get written while my breakfast steams. The only thing that sounds halfway tempting to me right now is Asian food, so I’m heating up a lo mai gai.

I’m way more tired than it seems like I should be for “only” running a 10k. It was nice and cool when I left the house this morning, but once the sun came out it got really warm. I ran fairly hard for the first couple miles. It felt like I was having a hard time sucking in enough air with each breath. All I could do was focus on trying to keep up with the runners in front of me. I tried to keep pushing through the whole first 5k, but just couldn’t do it. I slowed down at around the 2.5 mile point. I ran much slower the second half of the race, with two long walk breaks at the water stations and one short walk break at a very small incline.

  • Mile 1 – 9:58
  • Mile 2 – 10:10
  • Mile 3 – 10:55
  • Mile 4 – 12:30
  • Mile 5 – 12:28
  • Mile 6 – 12:12
  • Last .27 miles – 2:51 (10:38 pace)

I haven’t seen the official results yet, but my Garmin has me finishing in 1:11:03 at an 11:20 pace. I’m not very happy with that time, but at least I finished. I wonder if I would have done better by running at a steadier pace throughout instead of starting off fast. The good thing is that I think I might have it in me to do a 30 minute 5k at the Expedition Everest Challenge. For the next week and a half my focus will be speed and aiming for consistent 10 minute miles.

I enjoyed meeting RunningLaur. It was nice having someone to chat with at the race for a change. In fact, I actually talked to a few people today. Brett Stewart, the organizer of the Fireside at Norterra Adventure Run that I did in April was there and remembered me. I still don’t know if I’ll do the second adventure run in November, but it sounds like they’re making some positive changes to the event. I also spoke with a guy named Mark who I’ve been running into at the Road Runner Sports 5ks. He’s also working toward P.F. Chang’s as his first marathon. He reminded me about the ARR Tuesday night track workouts. I think I may try to start going again now that it’s cooling down and once RnR San Jose is done.

There were a couple notable aspects of the “green” race that I want to mention. First was that instead of printing t-shirts for the event, participants were offered their choice of a leftover t-shirt from a previous ARR event. I think this is a great idea, but personally I decided to pass on the t-shirts because it just doesn’t feel right to me to wear a shirt from an event I didn’t actually do. The other thing was that raffle tickets were given out for every pair of old shoes that was donated. The raffle was definitely a good incentive for me to finally make the effort to get rid of my size 5 Sauconys that have been sitting around unused for almost a year. I didn’t really win, but at the end they gave away water bottles to anyone who was still around and hadn’t had their number called.

I’m trying to include photos in my posts whenever I can to keep things interesting. I didn’t bring my camera this morning, but here are a couple photos of the Reach 11 Recreation Area that I took a few weeks ago during a training run. Most of the course was on trails like this, but there were a few dips, rocky/sandy areas, and places where the course narrowed. The arch in the second photo was about the 2/5 mile point of the race.

Reach 11 Recreation Area

Reach 11 Recreation Area

Well, in the time it took to write this I’ve already finished breakfast. Now it’s time for an ice bath, then most likely another lazy day.

Training

Last minute thoughts on tomorrow’s 10k

When I put together my training plan leading up to the Expedition Everest Challenge, I’m not sure why I had today down as a cross-training day when I have a race in the morning. I decided to do my bike ride last night after work instead.

Friday, September 11 – 13.19 mile bike ride in 1:05:15

I went out to Reach 11, spent a little time on the trails, then rode back home. I thought about taking the loop that we’ll probably be doing tomorrow at the race, but it was starting to get dark out so to be safe I stuck to my usual course that’s flat and wide. While I’m happy for the cooler weather now that summer’s ending, it sucks that it’s getting dark earlier.

So tomorrow is the I-Did-A-Green-Run 10k organized by the Arizona Road Racers. It’s been a few months since my last local race. Today I decided to follow the routine that I used last year when I participated in the ARR summer series.

  1. Rest the day before the race… check. I played about 5 hours of Super Paper Mario on the Wii.
  2. Eat a pineapple shrimp salad from Bajio Mexican Grill for dinner… check. I’m not really superstitious, but after eating one of these salads the night before my first race and doing better than I expected, I decided to make it my “thing” for all my races the rest of the summer. It doesn’t hurt that these salads are delicious. I get it with sweet rice, lettuce, corn salsa, tomato salsa, mango salsa, cilantro, shrimp and pineapple, and a crisp flour tortilla that I shred on top. All the flavors combine together perfectly.
  3. Try to eat dinner 12 hours before race start time… um… I read this somewhere on the Internet last year and figured it’s sensible advice. The race starts at 7:15am tomorrow, and I probably finished the salad around 7:30pm tonight. But then I snacked on part of a gingerbread Mickey for dessert… Oh well, it’s not like I’m going for a PR tomorrow anyway.

Last year at the I-Did-A-Run (the green theme was added for this year), I somehow managed to run the 10k in 57:10 and that’s still my 10k PR. Sadly, I know I can’t go that fast anymore. I’m thinking of shooting for around a 10:00 overall which would put my time at just over an hour. I’m also thinking about semi-racing the first 5k. With all my half marathons, I’ve forgotten what it feels like to really push hard at short distances. Going into the Expedition Everest Challenge, I’d like the mental boost of knowing that I can handle the pain of a “fast” 5k for 30 minutes. I’m hoping that the cool early morning weather will help, but I’m not counting on it since it didn’t seem to make a difference at RnR Chicago.

Well, it’s getting late so I better be getting to bed. Even though I don’t have to get up super early since the race is only about 10 minutes away from my house, I want to make sure I arrive on time rather than at the last second which seems to be the trend lately. I still have to pick up my race bib and timing chip in the morning, but also I’m meeting up with RunningLaur before the start. Yay! I’ve been following her blog for awhile and we’ve unknowingly done a couple of the same races so it’ll be neat to finally meet in person.

Race Report, Running

September 11th Remembrance 5K and other ramblings

Thursday, September 10 – about 3 mile run in 32:36 (Saucony)

I went to another 5k fun run at Road Runner Sports last night. I think this is the fourth one I’ve been to so far for the year. The course is two loops on some relatively quiet streets behind the store. I did the first loop in 16:02, and finished in 32:36. My calves were a little tight during the run and I was definitely feeling sluggish coming up a slight incline at the end. But overall I think I’ve recovered nicely from the half on Sunday. Plus, I didn’t have any tingly/numb foot problems, which is a plus.

In the last couple weeks I’ve gone back to wearing my Saucony Hurricanes, with the laces loosened quite a bit in the front. It seems to be working out well so far. I like them because they accommodate my orthodics and just seem to be a good match for the shape of my foot. I also have a pair of Adidas that I’ve been using on and off since about April. Without the orthodics, they’re a decent fit but I’m not sure they’re giving me enough support on long runs. With the orthodics, my feet get irritated underneath my arches which is not a good thing. The third pair of shoes in my rotation are Asics. They’re a size 6.5 wide. Initially I liked the cushioning and the nice roomy feel. But lately it’s felt like they’re too loose around the ankle and my feet slide too much inside the shoes. I got the larger size to see if that would help with my foot problems, but unfortunately it didn’t make a difference. I need to check whether I’ve passed the 60-day grace period yet because I’m thinking about exchanging them for something else.

Anyway, at each of the 5ks, the store also holds a raffle. Back in June I won a Road Runner Sports hat at the Summer Solstice 5k. Last night I got lucky again and won a Road Runner Sports top. I knew exactly what I wanted…

(Time for another side story.) As I was getting ready for the Disneyland Half, I realized that all of my race photos were starting to look the same because I’m usually wearing pink, especially at the half marathons. There was a cute top in blue with white and black accents at Road Runner Sports that I’d been eyeing for awhile. It was finally on sale, but the store didn’t have any smalls left. They had a small in white with blue and black accents, but I didn’t really want that one because I hate trying to get pit stains out of white tops. Happily the store was able to order me the top I wanted from another location. And I ended up buying not just the top, but a new pair of shorts and a skirt too.

Here I am looking stylish from head to toe knee in Road Runner Sports apparel (hat, top, sports bra, and skirt) during the Disneyland Half. (My shoes were bought from them, but so far I don’t have any Road Runner Sports socks yet.) The new top is lightweight and comfortable, but the best part is that there’s a pocket in the back which is super handy. I’m a big fan of pockets. I was able to carry my cell phone and a couple wet wipes, and probably could have fit a gel or two if I wanted.

Posing with "Cars" during the Disneyland Half Marathon 2009

So getting back to last night, for my free prize I picked another one of these tops in “lipstick” (bright pink). Now the only question is which race I should pick for its debut.

Disney, Random, Training

Stupid bugs

Mmmm, I’m snacking on a yummy piece of gingerbread Mickey while I write this post. I love bringing home snacks from Disney to make the magic last longer.

Gingerbread Mickeys from Disneyland

I took an ice bath last night and my legs feel much better today. I even made it out for a short run tonight after work.

Wednesday, September 9 – 2 mile run, 20 minutes stationary bike, about 30 minutes strength training (Adidas)

This is the biggest of the blisters that appeared on my legs last week. I was going to see a doctor yesterday, but then it accidentally popped on its own. The rest of the blisters dried up and seem to healing. I still don’t know what happened. I was reading on WebMD and learned there are actually lots of things that can cause blisters… sun, spider bites, allergic reactions…

My icky blister

Unfortunately now I’ve got a new round of what I think are bug bites on my legs. I told Troy that tomorrow he’s got to spray around the house because I’m tired of being itchy all the time. Hopefully none of these turn into blisters, but if they do I’ll definitely go to the doctor’s this time.

Race Report

RnR Chicago HM 2009 Race Report – Part 2

(Go to Part 1)

Things didn’t get off to the best start on Sunday morning. When I woke up, my feet were feeling sore from all the walking I’d done the day before. I grabbed the ice bucket and ventured out to find some ice. It was so quiet in the hotel at 4 in the morning. Once back in my room it was hard for me to sit still long enough to ice my feet. I was eager to get ready for the race.  This is the view from my hotel room window. I loved that I was staying so close to all the action. There was a steady stream of people heading over to the start line, which was just beyond the edge of the photo.

View from my hotel room on race day morning

The ice helped a bit, but what really did the trick was putting my running shoes on. Unsurprisingly, there’s a big difference between the comfort and support of $100 running shoes versus the four-year-old Sketchers that I’d been wearing yesterday. At about 6am I finally made my way downstairs and ran into a long line of women waiting to use the hotel bathroom. I wished I could have offered to let them use my bathroom, but I had my own agenda to follow.

Over at the start area, my first goal was to find some bottled water to wash down my pre-race GU. Then I did some stretching. With about 10 minutes to go before the race start, my tumbly felt a little funny. I debated whether to get in line for a port-a-potty or go back to my hotel room. I chose the hotel… better to have space and privacy and be a little late then to deal with the icky port-a-potties.

The race started while I was walking over for a second time. I felt a little anxious but knew it didn’t really matter. I was supposed to be in corral 8, but jumped into corral 9 instead. I asked a random stranger on the sidelines to take my photo while I was waiting to start.

Waiting to start the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon

According to my Garmin, I crossed the start line at 6:44. The time is about the only accurate number I have from my Garmin for the entire race. Not long after we started, there was a stretch of the course that was underground. Between that and the tall downtown buildings during the first four miles, my Garmin just couldn’t get a good signal. I’d glance down once and it told me I was running a 6:30 pace. Then I’d look again and see an 18:00 pace. I probably should have reset it once we left the city, but I kept thinking it would get better. Instead the distances got further and further off. At the end of the race, my Garmin had measured the course at 13.52 miles.

Here are a few photos from downtown. I liked this portion of the course because it was shaded and there were some twists and turns as we wound through the area. I know a straight course is better for fast times, but a curvy course is more interesting to me.

Inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon - downtown

Inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon

Inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon - Michigan Ave.

The photo just above was on Michigan Avenue with Grant Park to the left. After leaving downtown, the course was basically a long out and back along the waterfront.

Even though I couldn’t get an accurate pace from my Garmin, I could tell by comparing my time to the mile markers that I wasn’t running as fast as I wanted to be. I wasn’t trying to set a PR that day, but I was hoping to do as well as at RnR Seattle (about 2:12), especially given that this was a flatter course. It was a sunny day, but it didn’t feel hot. I just don’t know why I was feeling so sluggish. Just an off day I guess. There really wasn’t much I could do other than keep chugging along.

This was probably taken somewhere around mile 6 or 7. If you look closely, you can see the runners in the background on the left heading back toward Grant Park.

Inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon

There were two points on the course where volunteers were handing out wet sponges. I passed, but the other runners seemed to appreciate it. I wonder what they did with all the sponges after the race.

Inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon - sponges on the ground

After what felt like forever, I finally reached the turnaround point.

Inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon - turnaround point

There was still a long way to go to get back to the city.

Inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon - view of the city in the distance

I grabbed a GU Roctane from the fuel stop as I ran by. Initially I was going to save it to bring home with me since I had already polished off a bag of GU Chomps. But around mile 10.5 I was starting to tire and decided to take the GU for the caffeine. We had passed a water stop just before mile 10 so I figured there was another one coming up soon. But there wasn’t another water stop for another 2 1/2 miles! This was about the only time I’ve ever wished I had my own water during a race.

It was pretty running along the waterfront, but the downside was that instead of having nice wide streets to run on, the course squeezed down to a two lane path. Toward the end I stopped taking photos, but looking at the official race photos, it seems like all the photographers were stationed along the last couple miles of the race.

Inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon

Inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon

Inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon

Finally, I made it to the finish line.

Finishing the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon

I know running 13.1 miles is a great accomplishment, no matter how fast or how slow. But I have to admit I was a bit disappointed by my finish time. 2:22:59. Not quite my personal worst, but very close. Still, I was happy to have finished and earned another cool medal.

Inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon medals

Another nice touch with the race organization was the ice cold towels at the finish. I wrang out a towel to use as a washcloth and cleaned myself up a bit before getting my finisher’s photo taken.

Inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon - finisher's photo

I walked around the finish area a bit. At the Expo I’d picked up a wristband to get free P.F. Chang’s after the race. When I saw they were making the food fresh on site, I was a little sad I didn’t have the wristband with me. But I had other lunch plans anyway. I’ll have to remember about it for RnR Arizona though.

Inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon - P.F. Chang's

I stopped for another Runner’s World cover photo. I really like how this one turned out.

Mock Runner's World cover from after the Inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon

I was hoping to find the New Balance booth to get some more chapstick, but I was running out of time and the blister on my toe was screaming for me to take my shoes off. So I headed back to the hotel for a quick shower and to finish packing. Then I slipped out for a quick trip over to Cafecito, a Cuban restaurant just a few minutes down the road from the hotel that my friend had told me about. It doesn’t look like much, but the sandwich was delicious. The best thing I ate all weekend. I had the Guava-Q with roasted pork, carmelized onions, jicama slaw, and guava BBQ sauce. The tres leches cake was okay, but not as good as I’ve made at home.

Cuban sandwich and tres leches cake from Cafecito

I checked out of the hotel and caught a shuttle to the airport. And that wrapped up my trip to Chicago. Overall, the race was very well done, although I don’t expect anything less from the Rock ‘n’ Roll series.