Half Marathon Training: I Didn’t Die

This week began the official training for the fall half and full marathon season.  I was a bit nervous to begin training since I’d kind of lost my running mojo, but at the same time I was excited to have a new goal to work towards.

Mondays are recovery run days, where the goal is just to move but not to overtax the muscles.  It’s to allow the muscles to heal from the long run of Saturday so the run is short and slow.  Even though we hadn’t yet done a long run, we ran recovery pace for 3 miles.  It was miserably hot (when is it not in Oklahoma in July [insert frowny face]?), but despite the heat and humidity, the run felt great.  I came home drenched in sweat but feeling immensely content and incredibly happy to just be able to run.

But then Tuesday morning came.  Track workout.  Thankfully, track workouts are offered at 6a.m. during the summer.  Running speed intervals during the heat of 6p.m. just makes me really unhappy, but at 6a.m., temperatures are a little lower which makes the workouts slightly more bearable.  If you followed me during marathon training at all, you know I do NOT like track workouts.  But I do them because the benefit is huge.  Running speed intervals has been crucial in helping m008e develop speed.  But this week the workout felt so hard.  Maybe it was because I had just run less than 12 hours before, or maybe it was because we did long intervals–1 x 1200 and 4 x 800.  Anyway, I only made it through 3 800 meter intervals.  On that third 800, my pace was way off, my legs were lead, and I was just done.  I had to come home and just lay on the floor for a bit to recover.  I hate that I wimped out, but…I did a CrossFit workout following track.  Maybe that made up for it???

Wednesday morning was an early CrossFit workout, followed by a bike ride at the river.  I’d like to truly add in some cross training during this training session.  I counted CrossFit as cross training during marathon 013training, but it’s really strength and conditioning.  Cross training mimics running, in that it’s exercise that uses the same big muscles as running–walking, cycling, etc.  So with Wednesday being cross training day, I cross trained with a bike ride.  I’m always humbled by how unfit cycling makes me feel.  I can run for 30 minutes without struggling, but 30 minutes on my bike makes me huff and puff.  I guess that’s a sign I need to spend more time on my bike, uh?

Thursday.  Holy cow!  I was so sore.  Speed intervals, heavy deadlifts…just sitting down was hard.  Thankfully, strength training in CrossFit focused more on upper body.  My running training schedule called for a 3 mile run with “sprinkles”, 30 second bursts of basically sprinting.  I thought I could get it in after CrossFit, but the conditioning workout included 400 meter runs.  I did 3 rounds of the workout, running each 400 meter in under 2 minutes which just did me in.  The workout helped to decrease my soreness, but I had nothing left in the tank for a running workout.

Friday morning, I got off work and headed to the gym for a bicep/tricep workout.  It was a short 30 minute workout.  I was hoping to pick up the run that I missed the day before, but sleep won out, and I missed the run again.

Saturday.  My favorite run of the week!  Saturday runs are long slow distance.  It’s the longest run of the week but at a conversational pace.  I love these runs, and today’s run felt amazing.  Because I’m training for a PR, I picked a pace group just one step faster than the pace I’d trained with for the marathon.  I felt a bit nervous, but the pace f015elt great!  It gave me just the right amount of challenge.  I felt I was working hard (well, kind of hard) at the end but never really struggling.  It started raining just as we finished our 6 miles, but who could tell?  We were already dripping wet with sweat from the pea soup like humidity [insert another frowny face].  But I came home feeling great, excited about running again, and feeling encouraged that the PR I’m going for might actually be within reach!

All in all, a good first week of training.  I picked up the pace, and I didn’t die!  Yay!  Here’s to the second week of training, and not missing a run this time.

Talk to me:

What’s the weather like right now where you live?

Do you enjoy running, or being outside, in the rain?

Death of a Nemesis

So you may remember that I’ve had a rather love-hate relationship with my lawnmower.  Of all the gadgets I’ve acquired to help me maintain a house, the lawnmower has been the one that has made me curse the most.  Seriously.  And I don’t curse.  (Well, unless you count what I say under my breath as the jump rope keeps biting me when I miss double unders.)

003I fought with my lawnmower every time I did spring maintenance on it, but generally once I got the thing up and running, we got along pretty good.

Until last summer.  The thing just up and died on me with the back yard half mowed.  I probably kicked the thing, thought about saying a few choice words, slammed a door or two, and probably popped a blood vessel from being angry–at an inanimate object.  But there you go.  That’s how my lawnmower affected me.

At a loss as to where to go to get a lawnmower fixed and not wanting my neighbors to be ashamed to live next door to the house with a jungle for 01c73695ec5cb5a4339ebab6f85c8a8c884f018810a yard, I hired a lawn mowing service to mow my yard for the rest of the summer.

And then they had to keep coming this year because my sick little lawnmower was still caput.  But the thing was, I was enjoying not having to mow my lawn.  I didn’t miss struggling with my mower.  I didn’t miss the dirt blowing into my eyes and nose and getting sopping wet with sweat from walking back and forth across the yard in searing heat.  I liked coming home and seeing my yard neatly mowed and edged.

But then I started thinking about all the money I was paying to have my yard mowed when I am perfectly capable of doing it myself, except that my lawnmower had pooped out on me.  My independence won out and I found a mobile small engine repair service to come and smack my ornery lawnmower into compliance.

Only there was no smacking it into compliance.  After an hour in the repair man’s mobile fix-it trailer, he gives me the word.  “I think its had it.”

I felt strangely sad.  This lawnmower and I had gone 9 rounds every spring for the last 10 years, and as mad as that thing made me, it mowed 001my lawn neatly.  So I watched the man put my frenemy into his trailer and haul it away to the lawnmower graveyard.

So now I am lawnmower-less and trying to decide what to do.  Do I continue paying to have my lawn mowed or do I buy another lawnmower, command dominance over it, and spend time every week outside in the blazing heat to keep the grass under the control?

Oh, the trials of being single!

But, seriously, all jest and joking aside, these situations are some of the hardest for me as a single gal.  Sometimes it would be nice to have someone to bounce ideas off and to talk through decisions with.  But that’s not my present reality, so I’m just kicking my options back and forth, arguing with myself, weighing the pros and cons, evaluating my priorities.  Is having more time to do other things more important?  Or is freeing up finances most important?  ARGH….

Talk to me:

What would  you do?  Buy a lawnmower or pay for lawn service?

The First Mile

It’s 100 degrees here in Oklahoma, but last night I attended an event to kick off the fall race training season.  Seems kind of strange, right?  It’s boiling hot but we’re gearing up for fall races.  I mean, you know it’s seriously hot when the cooler of water looks like this:

041But when your goal is a 15K, half-marathon, or marathon some time in the fall, now’s the time to start training.  And Tulsa has a lot of great races coming up in the fall–Tulsa Run 15K, Route 66 marathon.  I’m giddy with excitement!

Yep.  That means–HERE WE GO AGAIN!!!  But this time I’ll be training for a half marathon, instead of the entire 26.2 miles.  I’ve been in a running slump for most of this year, struggling with pace, distance, and just enjoyment of the sport, and I’m just not mentally prepared for the rigorous, 30-40 miles of running a week marathon training involves.  This summer I’ve just taken it easy.  I’ve run at a pace that felt good, not pushing myself, running when I wanted to instead of running because I felt I had to.

And I’m feeling my running mojo return.

Last night I attended The First Mile.  Hundreds of runners descended on a local Fleet Feet (running) store, gathered into pace groups, and took off 043in the insufferable heat for a 1-mile or 3-mile run.  Me?  I went for the 3 mile run.  One mile’s just a warm up!

And it was awesome!  I saw some friends I haven’t seen in months, and getting to run with them was just great.  The run felt good, and I came back feeling excited to begin training again.  But first, I hung out in the shade holding up the wall for a while.  It was stinkin’ HOT!  I was ever so grateful for the lady who came around passing out cold, wet towels.  Heaven, I tell you!042Once I cooled off, I enjoyed some of the free goodies–sweet potato burrito and a green apple Sno-Cone.  I seriously can’t remember when I last had a Sno-Cone, and in this heat, it was divine!

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So here we go again!  My goal is a half-marathon PR with a finish time of 2 hours or less.  I’ll have to work hard for that, but I’m feeling excited and ready to go for it.  Come along with me on my half-marathon adventure and see if I get that PR!

Talk to me:

What’s a new goal you’ve set for yourself?

What’s  your favorite Sno-Cone flavor?

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