Archive | December, 2012

My First Tempo Run

30 Dec

I’m back home. I rushed home to try to get to the group long run. But first I had to pick up this guy. He was happy to see me!

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This guy, on the other hand, was happy to see me go.

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My aunt adopted a feral cat a few years ago and he does not like having other people around. I think I was ruining his holiday season, because he either gave me the stink eye or ran away any time we were in the same room together. Which made me sad. My feelings get hurt any time an animal or small child doesn’t immediately love me at first sight.

When I showed up for what I thought was going to be a long run, I found out we were doing a tempo run instead. Which means I missed last week’s long run. I had not looked at the schedule very carefully, and assumed the tempo run was something we were supposed to do by ourselves since it was Christmas break. Luckily, last week’s long run was only six miles, and I accomplished that on Christmas day. Extra points for doing it in a semi-storm! (That’s what I’m telling myself anyway.)

So today I got to learn what a tempo run is. And execute one fairly poorly. Our main coach was gone, but one of the other coaches was there and she explained that we were going to go three miles, and run the first bit slower than 5k pace, the second bit faster than 5k pace, then one more slow section and end on a fast section. Her example was for a normal 10 minute mile pace. She said to run 12 minute mile pace on the slow bits and 8 minute mile pace on the fast bits if we are normally a 10 minute mile.

As you may have gathered from my vague descriptions of runs and my lack of any sort of talk about splits or even overall times, I have absolutely no clue what my normal pace is. My guess, from the one time I ran a 5k, is that I run about a 10 minute mile. So luckily I could just use the numbers she threw out instead of trying to figure out new numbers, which might involve some sort of math, which I dislike as a general rule.

She advised that the people who had watches should yell out what their pace was for those of us who didn’t. I was actually glad to not have a watch, since I have no idea how to look at a watch and determine what my pace is. Maybe when she said watch she meant fancy watch — like a Garmin or Runkeeper app or something.

Shockingly (I wasn’t shocked) nobody yelled out their pace times. I heard her mumble to the person next to her when we started going faster that they were running an 8 minute per mile pace. I think I heard that anyway. She was in a little posse of three and so I just tried to just keep the same amount of distance between us for the entire time. I think I was doing it right. It was difficult. When we slowed back down I completely lost them. I settled into my normal pace, which is pretty slow, and someone who had been behind me passed me. I heard another person puffing up behind me, towards the end of the slow bit, but I took off again during the fast bit and left him in the dust.

My overall assessment is that tempo runs are kind of fun but kind of unpleasant. I wonder if I would have the discipline to do it on my own. Maybe on a treadmill, but since I have very little concept of how fast I am going at any given time, it might frustrate me to try to figure all of that out.

From reading blogs of runners, it seems like running is a fairly Type A sport. While I am very competitive when it comes to things like board games, when it comes to exercise I am pretty lackadaisical. Thankfully this is only my first half marathon, so I am not worrying too much about all of the fancy things that would make me faster.

In boot camp we have a personal best day the first week of camp and then again the last week. You try to beat your time on the last day. I always try to not blow it out of the water too much on the first day so that I can do better on the last day. That is sort of my attitude when it comes to running this half. I want a nice easy time so that I can improve next time! Look at me, already assuming there will be a next time! 🙂

Poutiest Run Ever

30 Dec

This morning I wanted to go for a run for the sole purpose of listening to my new audio book, Mindy Kaling’s Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me? (P.S. that’s not an affiliate link or anything, I just thought you might be curious about the book I keep mentioning, and Amazon is pretty much my go-to for learning about books. Kind of like Wikipedia is my go-to for when I have a question about anything ever. Which reminds me — I was at my grandma’s house earlier and she had a set of encyclopedia’s from 1995, so I looked up “Pluto” in the P book and laughed to myself about how wrong those 1995ians were about what constitutes a planet.)

Anyway, I also wanted to try out my new arm warmers, but my aunt, who has lived in Florida for the past twenty years, convinced me it was too cold and I needed a sweatshirt and a (borrowed) toboggan instead. So I set out with all of those clothes on and was sweaty in approximately five minutes. Which was about one quarter of my entire run.

It turns out that the audio book did not completely download (I just remembered that it still hasn’t, so I am now plugged up and crossing my fingers that it will work this time), so I got frustrated and just decided to run to the end of the road and back (approximately 1.5 miles), listening to the same old music that has been on my iphone since the dawn of time because my PC and iphone are mortal enemies and hate working together in harmony.

Then, an hour later, I realized that I could have been listening to it after all because while it had not finished downloading, most of it had actually downloaded.

Anyway, it all turns out to be no big, because I am leaving early enough tomorrow to get home for my long run. (Yay/scary!) I have super been missing Henry, so I will be excited to see him!

Here is a pic of my nails. My aunt and I got mani/pedis. I am ready for NYE! Except that I have to work Monday, so I will actually spend NYE going to bed at a reasonable hour, likely while watching a chick flick of my choosing.

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P.S. Pedicures are much more rewarding when you have nasty runner feet that need cleaning up and massaging!

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Zumba + Run + Vacation

28 Dec

Still on vacation. This morning my aunt went with me to Zumba! I was so happy because I can never get anybody to exercise with me! I am always begging my mom to come to boot camp, or my friends to come to Pure Barre, or my dad to go for a run with me and nobody in my life enjoys exercise like I do. So I was super pumped that she was willing to go with me! (She kind of had to, because it’s her gym and she is the only one who knew where it was, what time to be there, and how to get us signed in.) I’ve had some hit or miss experiences with Zumba. It can be fun, but I would never do it as my primary work out. Today was fun. It was nice to get the endorphins flowing so early (um, it was 9:30, so not that early) in the morning.

After Zumba, I didn’t want to waste being already sweaty and smelly, so I went for a lazy run to my grandmother’s house and back — about 4 miles total. There was some walking while I sent a text message or two and tried to download a new audiobook after mine ended. Thank goodness I’ve finally finished Casual Vacancy! Next up — Mindy Kaling’s book. I’m super pumped. I hope it makes me laugh out loud while I am running and passers by think I am a maniac.

Technically I should probably not run tomorrow because Sunday is long run day. Buuut, I’m not positive I will get back home in time to meet up for the long run. I will try, but it will be an early and long trip to get there. So I think I may do another short run tomorrow just in case I can’t make it, and take my rest day Monday.

Vacations are awesome. Today my aunt and I went shopping, then I went to my grandmother’s for dinner. After dinner I made my whole family play cards with me. (I LOVE games, but most games are for at least four people, so I only have enough people around when we visit my aunt and grandmother, as I am an only child.)

Keeping Myself Entertained While Running

27 Dec

I’m still on Christmas vacation. Now in sunny Florida! Unfortunately it is cold here, but it is sunny. I went for a little five and a half mile run today. Remember the days I used to dream of saying “I did an easy five miles”?! Those days are finally here, apparently. I am so afraid that my last two runs have just been a fluke and I will go back to finding two miles difficult. But for now, I have really been liking these (to me) longer runs.

Today I set out to do four miles, but I am getting towards the end of my audio book, thank goodness, and the plot is starting to get pretty interesting. I have about thirty minutes left, so I’ll probably finish that up tomorrow, and move on to a more consistently interesting book. My plan was to do four miles, but I didn’t want to stop listening to the book, so I went for an extra 1.5 miles (according to when I mapped it out on Google Maps later). While this is an awesome perk of listening to an audio book while running, there is also a downside. A few sad things happened in the book while I was running and so at some points I was crying quietly to myself while running and listening. I am glad nobody was around to see me, and also that I was wearing sun glasses!

My second motivation has been all of this fattening Christmas food I’ve been eating! I can do a better job of watching my eats at home, but my relatives like to show affection by fixing my favorite dishes for me when I come to visit. So, the food has been awesome, but way more calories than I am used to consuming!

Finally, I have an awesome new playlist on my ipod! Most of these were taken from Shape Magazine’s 50 Best Work Out Songs of 2012. I think the One Direction and MIKA songs were my idea, though. 🙂

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My Accidental Christmas Long Run

26 Dec

Merry Christmas! I love love love Christmas and have so far made my parents watch three Christmas movies with me. They reciprocated by later making me watch War Horse, which was good, but sad and had nothing to do with Christmas.

Santa was very good to me this year. He brought me some cold weather running essentials, which I immediately (by immediately I mean after lunch, lunch dessert, and two Christmas movies) put to use. If you read my last post you may be confused, since I admitted to running in shorts and a tank top yesterday. We had a pretty drastic weather change, which meant tornado watches all day and the least pleasant weather ever. BUT, I just really felt the need to get my blood pumping after all of the delicious Christmas food.

I tried to wait for a lull in the rain and then set out. This is me pre-run. After five seconds outside, I returned to drop Henry off (he seemed to think I was somehow making the water blow on him in order to torture him — not a happy camper) and grab a baseball cap.

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I’m sorry this photo looks like it was taken with a disposable camera from the 90s (and is therefore not equal to the usual professional quality photos you find on this blog). I also apologize for the creepy expression on my face. I don’t know why. But isn’t my new pull-over super cute?

Immediately after setting out the sky seemed to open up and start pelting me with large drops of rain. I thought about turning back, but decided to keep going for around two miles and then head back. Well, after around mile 1.5-2.0, I was feeling really great and decided to keep going. (I did not have any sort of watch or gps with me, which is a good thing, because if I had known how far I was going I probably would have turned back long before I did.) I got to the end of the street and the rain had pretty much let up, I was running down hill, the playlist on my ipod was awesome, and I just wanted to keep going. I decided to make a loop back to my parents’ house. Unfortunately, I greatly underestimated how far it would be to loop back the way I had planned to. Also, there were no sidewalks so I was running in the muddy grass on the side of the road for longer than I usually like to. (Amount of time I usually like to spend running in muddy grass = 0.)

After awhile there was some sort of gravelly shoulder that I was able to run on. There was a bit of a hill for awhile, and it was raining off and on, but there was pretty much no going back at that point. And I felt ok, really. The raining hard bits sucked, but the rest of the time I was actually having a good time! Around what I later found out was mile 5, the sky opened up and it was raining SO hard. And the rain itself was hard. I thought it was going to start hailing any minute. The plus side was I seriously picked up my pace. In fact, I was probably running faster than normal for most of the run given the general unpleasantness of the weather.

My ankles started hurting towards the end. I had no clue how far I’d gone. I knew it was farther than three miles, because of the ankle pain and because I think I’m enough used to three miles to know about what it feels like. Generally, though I am terrible at telling distance. I will think I’ve gone five miles and only have actually gone two. Also with the weather being bad, I thought the run probably felt longer than it was.

Of course when I got home, I immediately (after showering, stretching, and pretending like I know how to foam roll) google mapped my run. I ran for 6.3 miles! Which is my longest distance so far. It is definitely my longest distance without a group of people running around me. I felt like a rock star doing all of that in the nastiness!

Now if I could just keep out those worry thoughts that tell me that I have to do that times two and then some in March! Aaah!

I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas with good food and time with family or friends. Merry Christmas everyone!

 

Christmas Eve!

24 Dec

Happy Christmas Eve! One of my faaavorite days of the year. I had some last minute packing/present wrapping to do. I also finally found a last minute gift for my dad at Target. (Shh. It’s a bocce set.) I headed off to Pure Barre in the morning for a surprisingly well-attended class. One person there even brought their grandmother to watch. The grandmother was adorable, but I’m sure she probably got a little bored. It’s not exactly a Disney parade watching a room full of people squeeze and tuck. (Disney parade was the most entertaining thing I could think of off the top of my head. I would love to watch a Disney parade any day any time.)

I had another procrastination session before making it out for a run. I knew I needed to get in another long run (it’s not exactly on the schedule, but I just felt like I needed one), but I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it today. It was extremely warm out! I was in a tank top and shorts and it was hot. Everybody and their grandmother decided it was a good day to hit up my local walking/bike path for some pre-Christmas exercise. It was sort of neat for this time of year. It felt like spring already. (Unfortunately the cold months haven’t even hit yet. I would be totally okay skipping right from fall to spring. I am not someone who needs a white Christmas.)

I got in my three miles and didn’t go any further. Honestly I mostly stopped because 1) I had to pee, and 2) I was pressed for time. Immediately following the run, Henry got a bath, then I got a bath. I hastily packed then headed to my folks’ house to drop off my stuff before hitting up a holiday party then Mass.

Hamstring Issues

23 Dec

I may have mentioned before, but I’ve been having some hamstring issues for the past month or so. I don’t know if I pulled something or if it is just overly sore. I also don’t really know what to do about it. Should I rest it? Or stretch it more? One of my friends at Pure Barre the other day advised that I not engage it when I’m stretching, so I’ve been doing that, but it seems to be getting tighter and tighter. Another friend suggested stretching it really well. For right now, I am not willing to just rest it. I have too much I want to do!

Today at Pure Barre, I was stretching at the end of class, and the instructor came and pushed me down further on my sore hamstring side. I normally love when the instructors give me a little extra push during stretching, but this made me nervous. I probably should have said something, but I just let her do it, and then afterward my hamstring felt great!

Running doesn’t seem to bother it, and Pure Barre doesn’t either, but I can tell that it’s tight when we stretch. It’s boot camp where I’ve had the most problems with it, which is weird. But boot camp is over until January, so maybe it will heal up a little with some rest.

Running + Pure Barre has been hard. The first time I did Pure Barre I was also doing boot camp, and I felt like the two went together really well. Pure Barre fatigues my quads, though, so sometimes running after can feel like I’m running with rocks in my thighs.

The weather was gross today, so I kept putting off running. I couldn’t decide whether to go to the treadmill or wait until tomorrow to get in a run. My last experience on the treadmill was yucky, so I really didn’t want to do that. Plus, I think Henry was getting a little stir crazy. I finally decided to go run outside and chance the rain. After all, I ran six miles in the rain last week, and our coach told us that running in the rain builds character. What if it is raining on the day of the half marathon. Will I just skip it? No!

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This is my “afraid of running in the rain” face. Attractive. The good news is, it had pretty much stopped raining by the time I got out there. The bad news is, I had forgotten how scary running in the dark could be. Plus my ipod died, so I cut our run short and only went for about a mile. I was sad, because my legs felt great, and I could have kept going, but I was just too nervous running with nobody around in the pitch black. I am a ‘fraidy cat. I’m glad I got in at least a little bit of cardio for today.

I ate a large cheeseburger and fries at brunch today, so I needed to work some of that off. I was having a morning dream about eating a cheeseburger at brunch, and I didn’t get to finish my dream because my alarm went off. I know this is silly, but my sleepy brain really wanted to go back to sleep and finish that cheeseburger! Instead, I made my dreams come true and had an actual brunch cheeseburger.

Are you afraid of running in the dark?

Have you ever had hamstring troubles? What did you do about it?