Category Archives: Running

ambivalence

I recently stumbled across one of my most favorite pieces of running writing.  When I was in high school, there was a bit of a running fad that favored fewer miles.  Of course, this was the pre-internet age, but in my teens I was pretty convinced that I was “burned out” and other such nonsense when my times slowed down in 10th / 11th grade.  (Looking back, puberty and (healthy) weight gain had a lot more to do with it.)  In any case, it wasn’t until my junior year of college that I stumbled upon a community of running enthusiasts on the internet on the CoolRunning forums and became convinced of the opposite, that as far as running goes, more is almost always better.  The author of the piece above ran many, many miles and enjoyed the payoff.

The weather was warm enough to run in shorts and short-sleeves yesterday for the first time in, oh, six months?  Longer.  Who knows.  It was wonderful.  I took advantage and ran 8.5 miles, my longest run since before B was born.  It felt great, though I’m sore today.  I need to drag myself out for a shorter run this morning sometime soon before the rain starts again.

We’ve settled on a school for L.  We’re going to send her to a French immersion Kindergarten.  I have mixed feelings about this.  I wish we were living slightly farther North, in a better school district, but for a wide variety of reasons the cards did not fall that way.  We’ll re-evaluate the long-term path after next year.  You might wonder, why French?  Well, there are two French immersion schools near us and none in any other language.  I think there is a value in knowing any second language, regardless of what it is.  I also think that L is precocious and this will ensure she is challenged.  Hopefully, she won’t be TOO challenged.  Both B and I feel ambivalent about the whole thing, in contrast to how we feel about the preschool, which we love.  But we’ll give it a try.

cold run bike run

IMG_8884I found this video of a midair skydive rescue inspirational.  I guess if you’re skydiving, the chances you might have to be a hero are higher than normal, but you really just never know when you’re living your normal life and you’ll be called upon to act and make decisions that will have permanent implications for your self and/or others.

I’ve gone cycling three days in a row.  Day 1 was the Magnuson Duathlon.  I picked this as my first multisport race because I figured it would be easy.  3 miles run and 10 mile cycle – what could go wrong, right?  Ha.  Well, being Seattle, the obvious thing that could go wrong did – an unrelenting downpour.  I decided to go in large part because I’d told two friends I’d be there, and I didn’t want to stand them up.  In any case, it was in the low 40s and just pouring.  I huddled in my car until a few minutes before the start and then did the run.  I haven’t seen the results yet, but I did the run (2.5 mi) at about 8 minute pace.  I was a bit chilly and damp, but I felt more or less fine, and not too tired.  Then, I got to transition and found my stuff completely soaked.  I’d forgotten to bring a plastic bag and figured the soft-sided bag I’d brought might provide some protection.  Nope.  The extra layer I’d planned to don was extremely wet.  I decided not to put it on, which in retrospect I think was a mistake.  The course had a lot of puddles, so my feet were utterly soaked.  I put on my wet gloves, and switched out my soaking Gore-tex jacket for my precip jacket which was damp but not soaked, thanks to having been on the bottom of the bag.  That was also a mistake – the precip jacket is water “resistant” and it resisted the pouring rain for all of about a quarter mile.  100 feet into the cycle I knew I was in trouble.  I was just so cold.  The whole thing was very tough.  I knew cycling 10 miles should take only 40 or 50 minutes, but it felt very long.  One of my friends cycled with me the whole time, which was nice.

After the cycle, I got off my bike.  I guess I’d heard about the brick thing where your legs feel like bricks, but what I wasn’t prepare for was my feet to be completely numb.  My feet were so numb from cold that I could barely walk / run on them.  Fortunately, the second run was only half a mile.  I’m not sure I could have made it much farther.  I ran straight from the finish line to my car where I cranked up the heat and changed clothes, to the skin, into some warm clothes I had brought with me (my only smart move of the day).  Then I drove home, which took about 35 minutes.  I literally could not stop shaking from cold the entire time.  I wasn’t really able to warm up until I got into a hot shower when I got home.  That was HEAVEN.  After the hot shower, I took a hot bath.  Then I went and sat in front of the fire.  So. Nice.

I’m not sure what lesson to take from all of this.  Don’t do duathlons in the rain?  Invest in more Gore-tex?  It really makes me not want to do a triathlon featuring cold water.  I had been considering doing a tri in early June which would feature water at about 60 degrees.  I’m now thinking maybe I should wait until later in the season.

There were only 23 people crazy enough to do the duathlon.  11 of them were women, and I was the third female finisher.  There were no awards, but my friend from work was kind enough to pick up a finisher’s medal for me.  (I was too cold to notice or care that they had such items at the finish line.)

My week in swimbikerunning #6

Goals

  • 4 and 5 mile runs
  • 6 mile run with 20 minute tempo
  • 8 mile long run
  • 2000 my swim
  • Go for a 20 mile+ bike ride

Actual

  • Monday: Easy, 4.7 miles
  • Tuesday: Easy, 6.2 miles
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: 4 miles with 15 minute tempo run in the middle
  • Friday: Bike 23 miles
  • Saturday: Swim 2000m
  • Sunday: Long run 8 miles

All in all, this was a very good week for exercise.  We headed to Whidbey Island for the weekend, so I did my bike ride on Friday afternoon, through Seattle along the Western edge of Lake Washington.  The traffic was hairy, but I guess what do you expect when you’r riding through a city?  I shifted the temp run to my 4 mile run.  I have to do my longer runs on Monday and Tuesday when I stay home and don’t lose time to commuting, though as the daylight hours increase, I’ll be able to just get up earlier if I want.  (Ha.)  Usually I’m exhausted Monday and Tuesday from my weekend long run and cycle, so doing a tempo run in the middle is more than I can fathom.

Finally, I managed 2000m in the pool.  It felt good.  I’m definitely getting there as far as pool workouts go.  When I think about doing a tri, open water swimming in cold (or very cold) water is what makes me most nervous.  The best way to alleviate that would probably be to swim more – at least twice a week.  As summer approaches I may sacrifice a run in favor of an extra swim.  We’ll see.  Tri season in Seattle doesn’t start until June, and races then feature water in the low 60s.  I’m not sure that’s going to work for me, so I may wait until July or even August to try a race, when the water is warmer.

 

My week in swimbikerunning #5

Goals:

  • 4 and 5 mile runs
  • 6 mile run with 20 minute tempo component
  • 7 mile long run
  • 2000 m swim
  • Go for a 20 mile + bike ride

Actual

  • Monday: 4 miles easy
  • Tuesday: 4.8 miles easy
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Swim 1500m
  • Friday: 4 miles easy
  • Saturday: 6.9 miles long
  • Sunday: 22.6 mile cycle

Monday morning my legs just felt completely dead, no doubt due to the cycle the day before.  I could barely drag myself 4 miles and was tired the rest of the day.  Due to my schedule, it’s really tough for me to run more than 4 miles on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday and still get a swim in.  Therefore, running 4 miles Monday meant I couldn’t really meet the week’s goals.

Stepping back, I’m following a base-building running schedule from the book Faster Road Racing.  It calls for 4 runs a week, most weeks, with gradually increasing mileage.  I’m hoping this will help me run a fast 5K in late spring or summer or maybe Fall.

In any case, due to my fatigue, I decided to just repeat the previous week’s runs – two 4 milers and one 5 miler, rather than attempting to fit in a 6 miler somewhere.

Once again, I didn’t make 2000 m in the pool.  Once again, I simply ran out of time because I was lazy and didn’t get up early enough.  Oh well.  This week, I should theoretically be able to do it.

Saturday’s long run went well, and Sunday’s bike ride also went well.  I followed this route – 22.6 miles, roughly 700 feet of elevation gain.  It was mostly flat except for one hilly section in the middle.  The tough part was that the forecast said rain all day Saturday and Sunday.  H was kind enough to watch the kids during the least rainy part of the weekend so I could get the ride in.  I got rained on for about 5 miles or so, but it was never heavy.  Nevertheless, I was not thrilled and was thinking to myself that I wouldn’t get on a bike again until spring.  I cheered up when the rain stopped.  I averaged 12.8 mph, which is definitely slow, but I was trying to take it easy.  This was a distance record for me.  Overall, it was a good week.

my week in swimbikerunning #4

Goals

  • Run 4 miles twice
  • Run 5 miles with strides
  • Swim 2000 m
  • Do the group bike ride route (20 mi)
  • Run 7 mile long run

Actual

  • Monday: Rest (snow day)
  • Tuesday: 5 miles with 10 minutes tempo at 7:40 pace
  • Wednesday: 4 miles
  • Thursday: 1200 m swim
  • Friday: 4 miles
  • Saturday: 7 miles
  • Sunday: Bike 20 miles

I did well on my goals this week – except for the swimming.  Due to snow, I had to do my 5 miler on the treadmill, and so I substituted a 10 minute tempo run for the planned slides.  It was actually extremely difficult to manage even 10 minutes at 7:40 pace.  Each minute was a struggle.  My long run was also tough as I drank two rather large glasses of wine the night before and felt hung over the next morning as a result.  However, weather has been positively balmy since the snow melted, and the increasing hours of daylight has also helped.

I ended up only swimming 1200 m because I got started too late and needed to attend a school function for L.  Basically, lack of organization.  Nevertheless, I was actually delighted with my swim because I finally found a pair of goggles that don’t hurt my face – Aqua Sphere Kaiman Goggles in size Small.  It is seriously night and day.  They actually keep the water out without giving me a splitting headache.

Finally, I did a 20 mile bike ride today.  That’s my longest bike ride ever, for the record.  I maintained a bit less than 14 mph.  Since I had never biked that far before, I tried to maintain a comfortable pace.  My ride had only 275 ft of elevation gain, so it was very flat.  At the end, I was definitely tired, but it was more sore back, and my butt starting to get sore than tired legs.  I’m a little frustrated by how slow I seem to be, but I feel like I’m definitely increasing my fitness and general comfort on the bike.

Resolution Run 5K

The Resolution Run 5K last weekend was my first planned race of the year. Of course, nothing is ever simple, and there was an open house at a school we’re considering for L at the same time. However, H agreed to take the kids to the open house, and I went by after the race. I really like this race series as it’s very low-key, and their courses are nice and flat. While I enjoy training on hills, I’m really into chasing PRs right now, so I favor flat, fast courses. Conditions really couldn’t have been better. It was chilly, partly cloudy, and not raining. There was a bit of a headwind on the way back, but it didn’t last very long, thankfully. I wore my Sugoi Midzero tights (love them) which were actually probably a bit much for the weather, and a Sugoi Fusion Core Long-sleeve top. Yes, I am a little bit obsessed with Sugoi running clothes. I skipped gloves and headband and felt very comfortable, maybe just a tad warm.

32630959951_bb2d5ae00a_k

(The race provides free photos.  They had two of me – an unflattering one – shown – and a very unflattering one, which I will spare my readers and myself.  I was actually attempting to smile for this one, but 5Ks are painful.)

Before the race, I noticed at least two female runners near the front who were wearing college gear, implying they had been NCAA DI runners. I figured they’d leave me in the dust, and they did. One of them left me in the dust while pushing her one-year-old in a jogging stroller. Yup – she was awesome. I got a nice warmup dashing to the bathroom and back just before the race, which probably made the first mile a bit less painful. Or maybe it just tired me out – who knows.

I tried to go out hard for the first mile, but not too hard. My watch said about 7:04 at the first mile marker, so I ran fairly consistent splits. At 1 mile, I was hurting, but it was manageable. The second mile went by fairly quickly, and then it was just getting through the last mile. By the time I hit that last mile marker, I was really tired and just wanted to slow down. I told myself I had only 7 minutes of running left (which of course was not true – really more like 8 minutes). Then I just pushed through the various distance markers and picked up the pace a bit at the end.   My time ended up being 22:10, 7:09 per mile.  That’s a 20 second post-college PR and isn’t all that far off my high school times (in the 21 minute range).

I’m really pleased with my run, and I hope I can go even faster. The obvious goal would be to break 22:00. I’ve done that before – but not since college. It’s cool to feel like I can still run reasonably fast at 37 after two kids.  We have a weekend mini-vacation planned for the weekend of the second race I’d been considering, so I need to find another, possibly the weekend of the 18th.

my week in swimbikerunning #3

Goals

  • Run 4 miles twice and 3 miles once
  • Swim 2000 m
  • Do the group bike ride route (~15 – 20 mi)
  • Run 7 mile long run

Actual

  • Monday: Run 4 miles easy
  • Tuesday: Run 4 miles easy
  • Thursday: Run 3 miles easy, Swim 1700m
  • Saturday: Run 7 miles long (treadmill)
  • Sunday: Run 3 miles easy

I did pretty well on my goals this week.  I met the running goals, including the most challenging one, a 7 mile long run.  We had terrible weather Saturday, so I skipped my outdoor route and ran my longest treadmill run in a very long time, maybe ever.  7 miles.  I bought The Revenant, and that entertained me so it wasn’t actually so bad.

Unfortunately, it’s snowing today, and I just decided I wasn’t up for a bike ride in these conditions.  I either need to get over it and hit the roads in the rain, or I need to figure out an indoor biking option.  I think it’s time to explore the latter.  I’m just not comfortable on the hills around here in the wet, and I want biking to be fun, no torture.  Either “spinning” at the gym or getting a trainer at home is probably a good option.  I’ve never done either, but hopefully it’s fairly straightforward.

I ended up swimming only 1700 m.  I’ve had a really hard time finding goggles to fit.  I have to wear my current goggles so tightly to get them not to leak that they give me a headache.  I stopped swimming after 1700 m with a splitting headache and starting to feel nauseous.  I’d actually run that morning, as my work schedule dictated that was really the best guaranteed swimming day, so I think I was also just fatigued.

Overall, it was a good week.  Next week, I’ll try and get on the bike, hit 2000 m in the pool, and up the mileage of my midweek easy runs a little.