Monday, August 31, 2009

Taking It Easy, 3 miles

This morning I didn't want to get up and run since I had a long run yesterday, but my week always goes better when I start it with a run. I decided to take it easy so I switched my training schedule around for the week giving me a nice easy three mile run this morning. My quads were tight, but otherwise the run felt good. The problem with the run is that my Netflix Watch Instantly wasn't working for me so I didn't get my fix of old television shows.

Late yesterday afternoon my left ankle started hurting again. I have decided there is (hopefully) no rhyme or reason for the pain because it strikes at odd times. So, I put my leg up and went on with the day. It didn't hurt this morning, so (hopefully) no harm done.

Weekly total: 3 miles

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Running from Shadows, 9.8 miles

Today was a much better day to run than yesterday. It wasn’t raining, instead when I got outside it was pitch black and the mist was so heavy it looked like fog (which I could only see around our house lights). Thankfully the mist stopped after a mile leaving only 98% humidity and 62F weather.

I learned a few things today while I was running. The first, and most important for me to actually remember, is that if I am planning on running on the main road I need to leave a little later in the morning. The subdivision I live in is lit enough so I can see where I’m going and where the dips and turns are. The main road is perfectly black at 5 a.m. The only reason I knew where to go is because I drive up and down the road multiple times a day (basically, every time I leave the subdivision). The path is also next to a nature preserve and I was pretty certain animals (not just mice and squirrels) live in there. I felt like I was running not only in the dark but away from the shadows in the trees.

The second thing is to check the mileage before leaving home. I was supposed to run 9 miles today but because I knew I had two runs (~4 miles and ~5 miles) I just combined them and went with it. When I got home I looked it up and found out I ran 9.8 miles (which is more than 9 miles).

The third thing is to watch what you eat the night before. I’m thankful that I had to run past my house at then end of 4.5 miles because I stopped for a pit-stop.

Fourth and final, (this isn’t new) enjoy the run!

  • 9.8 miles

Weekly total: 28.8 miles

Training total: 132.1 miles

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rained Out

I had every intention to get up this morning and run nine miles. The weather didn't cooperate so I slept in. My alarm faithfully went off at 4:36 am. I got out of bed and went to the window only to see rain and deep puddles. Unlike last week when I ran on the treadmill, I have no intention of running nine miles on a treadmill. Tomorrow I'll get up and run; I just hope the rain stops by morning.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Wanted: More Sleep, 5 mi

Thank goodness for rest days. Yesterday I did nothing active (well, other than trudging up and down stairs with laundry, weeding gardens, and painting). OK, so I was active, but not exercise active. Good thing too because I'm exhausted from head to toe. I think I need to get more sleep than I am now. The question is when? I run early in the morning. The kids don't both nap so I can't justify napping. If I go to sleep early at night I'll rarely see my husband, ADP, during the week. I guess ADP will have to go without seeing as much of me because going to bed early makes the most sense. I'm sure he'll be fine with it because he'll have 100% control of the TV remote.

I took it easy today for my five miles. I am tired and I knew that if I pushed I'd just give up. So, I put a movie in and started up the treadmill for a leisurely run.

  • 5 miles
  • cool

Weekly total: 19 miles

Thursday, August 27, 2009

How Far am I Running?

Many years ago I wore old shorts and shirts and cheap running shoes to the gym to get my exercise in. How times have changed for me. The first thing to change was to get a watch, more specifically a Polar Heart Rate Monitor. My HRM, heart rate monitor, is no longer made but it does its job.

Recently I’ve been wondering how far I am actually running on Saturday mornings. I can go out in the car and get a good idea. Or, I can use one of the many on-line tools to map the run (Map My Runs is my favorite). Neither is wonderful, especially for someone who likes having gadgets.

I did some research at Heart Rate Monitors USA (a much easier site to navigate as opposed to Polar USA). There are a lot of options for all types of exercise (running, cycling, basic fitness, outdoor sports, and cardio rehab) and 14 different manufacturers. I’ve had good luck with Polar so for the purpose of a wish list I stuck with it. My HRM is equivalent to the RS100, but what more would I want?

-Heart rate
-Flexible timing features
-Tracking training sessions
-Synchronization with the Polar software
-Altitude sensor
-Recovery time
-Distance measurement

There are more options than I can list here. I would definitely want to know how far I’m going and my heart rate. Would you go with the RS200 SD HRM and foot pod (to measure speed, distance, and pace)? Or would you upgrade to the RS300X-G1 HRM with a GPS running computer? The GPS HRM costs ~$80 more so it depends on who is footing the bill. Since I’ll be paying, I’d go with the RS200 SD because it will do what I need right now. My last HRM has been going strong for about 10 years so I can only hope to expect the same from a new one. I now have one more thing to add to my wish list.

Addition 9/2: A friend who runs a whole lot more than me recommended I look at Garmin Forerunner. He says "They are awesome. They have GPS monitoring and also have many functions that standard monitors lack." He has the Garmin Forefunner 205, which is in the same line as the Garmin Forerunner 305.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Boring Titles, 6 mi

I've been thinking about it and eventually people may actually read this blog (I know-it's a stretch, but a girl can dream) and the current titles are very boring. Who wants to read 'date, miles' every day? Not me. So I'm going to try to change things up a little. The problem is my creativity...or lack there-of. So bear with me.

This week is turning out to be a dandy of a week. Last week I ran a total of 20 miles and this week I'm already at 14 and I haven't even run my long run. I know training is to get my body ready for the half-marathon, but really who goes from a 20 mile week to a 28 mile week? Apparently I do. I only have two more running days this week and my legs still feel like jello from Monday's 3x mile run. I hope they are doing better by Saturday when I have to run a little farther.

  • 6 miles
  • cool

Weekly total: 14 miles

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

8/25, 4 miles

Four miles should be easier by now, but I'm tired and it's still warm in the basement so this morning's 4 mile run seemed to take forever. Last night I wasn't out late, but I was up later than normal because of book club. Apparently I really needed that one hour of sleep! Tomorrow is a longer run...perhaps I should go to sleep early tonight so I'm prepared.

  • 4 miles
  • cool

Weekly total: 8 mile

Monday, August 24, 2009

8/24, 4 miles

Today's title could have easily been "Jelly Legs" because by the time I was done with my running my legs were like jelly! My training plan says 3 x mile at 5-10K pace, 2-3 min rest between. I've said it before, I don't know what my 5-10K pace is, so I had to wing it. Perhaps not knowing is why my legs are jelly.

Since I wasn't sure how fast to run, I did a .5 mile jog to warm up and then proceeded to attempt running one mile at 6.5 mph (9:14 min mile). I should have checked the speed before attempting it because while I managed to finish all three miles, it was really hard to finish. My rest was a .15 mile walk at 4 mph. I'm glad I finished for the day. Unfortunately I have to repeat it next week.

  • 0.5 mile jog to warm up
  • 3 x mile with .15 mile walking rest

Weekly total: 4 miles

Saturday, August 22, 2009

8/22, 7 miles

One of the great things about Saturday runs are that they are outside. This morning I woke to (finally) cooler weather, 70F, and the heavy threat of rain. The rain started yesterday morning and is not supposed to completely end until tomorrow morning. While I love running outside, it is not worth it to me when it is raining. So, I put a movie on (thank you Netflix Watch Instantly) and ran seven miles on the treadmill.

I did not wear my water belt so I hopped off the treadmill a couple times for Powerade Zero. Our treadmill does not have working water cup holders, so I need to get off to get a drink. I soaked through my clothes and a hand towel. Perhaps I would have been better off running in the rain.

  • 7 miles
  • cool (.25 mi)

Weekly total: 20 miles

Training total: 103.3 miles

Friday, August 21, 2009

8/21, 3 miles

I am ready for the heat and humidity to go away. Is it winter yet? Or, at least fall? I may mainly run in the basement, but it is getting hot down there because it is hot outside. This morning it was 76F when I got up at 4:45. All I can say to that is YUCK!

Heat or no heat, I am surprised with my running progression. I may be running less per week than prior to training, but I am running a little faster. I was happy in May when I was running consistently 12 minute miles. Now, my long runs come in at 11 minute miles, or a few seconds over. This morning I took it easy and finished three miles in just under 32 minutes. Maybe someday I'll make it to the single digits!

  • 3 miles
  • cool

Weekly total: 13 miles

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Non-rest Rest Day

I had my last core conditioning class tonight. The free class ran for 3 weeks and it was good for me to get back to a gym. The class may have been free, but there was weekly advertising for the gym. One of the deals were great (2 weeks free) and one was pretty good (3 months for $59), which leaves the question of what the rate is when the introductory offers are done? I didn't look because I'm not looking to join a gym right now, but if I decide to join one again I'll definitely look at this gym.

I usually arrived a few minutes before class and had some time to talk to other people taking the class. It sounded like quite a few people were sore after the first week and some were after the second week as well. I wasn't. Apparently I do just enough to keep my "core conditioned" so I wasn't affected. I know I was working during the class because my muscles were hurting (the good kind of hurt) while I was doing the exercises. Next Thursday I plan on sitting my rear on the couch and watching TV instead of going through another class. I'm happy I took the class and I'm even happier that it is finished!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

8/19, 4 miles

How is it that I am 1/3 done with my training already? I looked at my calendar and I've completed four of the 12 weeks!! And, I've done it without incident. I was running 20-23 miles a week before starting my training, so all I've really done is rearrange my running schedule so I am running longer on Saturday and shorter during the week. I'm still happy to be where I am.

This morning my ankle didn't bother me at all during running. It didn't bother me when I was done and stretching and working on it (those exercises recommended to me by my SIL). Now that I am sitting typing my ankle is hurting. I want to ask - what gives? I just hope the pain doesn't move beyond mild but persistent.

  • 4 miles
  • cool

Weekly total: 10 miles

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

8/18, 3 miles

Another day and another run but with a glitch. The outside of my left ankle is hurting again. I stopped running a couple years ago because of this pain (ceasing to exercise didn't immediately help the pain). I've been relatively pain free for a long time but the pain is back. My ankle hurt a couple months ago so I asked my sister-in-law for advice and she gave me some exercises to do. My ankle stopped hurting for a while, but the pain is back. Thankfully, it doesn't hurt when I run, just the rest of my waking hours. The dull pain is most annoying when I'm sitting and resting. Perhaps I'm not supposed to rest.

  • 3 miles
  • cool

Weekly total: 6 miles

Monday, August 17, 2009

8/17, 3 miles

Today is supposed to be another hot and humid day so I ran my hill workouts on the treadmill once again. It wasn't fun, but when are hills ever fun? I'm looking forward to the rest of the week as it repeats last week only with a shorter long-run on Saturday.

I started with an easy mile at a 1% incline. Then, since the run was supposed to be 200 yard repeats, I did ~.1 mile repeats. I ran .1 mile at 6 mph and 4% incline followed by .1 mile 4 mph and 1% incline. I repeated five times to total a mile and then cooled down with another easy mile at a 1% incline.

  • 3 miles
  • cool

Weekly total: 3 miles

Saturday, August 15, 2009

8/15, 8.3 miles

This morning was a bit warmer than last week when I left the house about 5:30 and it was 65F outside (with light fog because it was so humid). I opted to leave my reflective vest at home because I was planning on running mainly after the sun came up (~6 a.m.).

Today was a first for me, well a first in a very long time: I ate something before running. All kinds of articles I read say you need to fuel before a run. Well, I mainly ignore those articles because I don’t want to get up any earlier to get food in my stomach and then wait around before I go for a run. This morning I tried it out by eating a half-banana about 20 minutes before I left. The banana didn’t bother my stomach in the least! I also took Powerade Zero with me again to get used to drinking it on the go. I think I’ll take water next time because I much prefer plain water.

My run had four hills I needed to run up. These aren’t hills that you find in trail running or during the NYC Marathon, these are Suzy size hills and I don’t like them. The first went fine; the last three didn’t. I managed to run up the last three hills but couldn’t keep going once at the top so I walked until my heart rate came back down to a normal level. The second and fourth hills are actually one in the same – 4-5% grade and ¼ mile long. So, the hills are just enough to wear me out.

  • 8.3 miles
  • cool

Weekly total: 21 miles

Training total: 83.3 miles

Friday, August 14, 2009

8/14, 3 miles

This morning we needed to get up and going early so I was happy to see that I'd only be running 3 miles. I was on the treadmill by 4:4o a.m. and happily running no where until I hit 2.5 miles and then my movie ended. I was so caught up in getting my running out of the way so we could have a family outing day that I forgot to make sure enough movie left for my run. Thankfully (since I run alone in my basement) no one was around so I hopped off the treadmill, went back a few chapters and watched the big fight scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for a second time in one morning. I finished my run in time to get ready for the day.

  • 3 miles
  • cool

Weekly total: 12.68 miles

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I’m just going to put this out there: I RUN SLOW! For a long time this bothered me, but it no longer does. Who cares if it is going to take me (hopefully) 2 hrs 30 mins to run a half-marathon? I don’t. I’m going to enjoy it (as much as possible given that it is a 13.1 mile run), finish it and celebrate my accomplishment. I think what changed is my focus; I was focused on my pace and now I’m focused on the goal.

When you hear someone ran a long distance race you don’t ask for their finishing time or splits (okay, maybe some do but I don’t). Most people congratulate the person. People ask what type of insanity overcame the runner that prompted them not only to train for but also run such a distance. People may even want to run along next time. It is about setting a goal and completing it.

Now that I am not focused on my pace as much (I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care at all), I am enjoying running much more. Long runs are completed at a comfortable pace for me. Short runs, well I push some put I no longer chastise myself if I have a bad run.

Having a running goal in mileage instead of minutes is the best thing I have done since I first starting plodding along.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

8/12, 3 miles

This morning it felt like my alarm went off hours earlier than normal. I was not ready to get up and run, but my senses kicked in and I knew once I was done I would be happy (and I was!). My normal routine is pretty fast in the morning – running clothes on, contacts in, fill water bottle, run. Not only is it dark at 4:45 a.m., but I am alone in the basement where absolutely no one sees my (and my bed head).

I was tired, but when I looked at my training sheet it didn’t make sense. “4 miles?” I ran 4 miles yesterday. So, I looked back and I misread yesterday’s mileage and ran 4 miles instead of three. Bonus for a tired day: only 3 miles! (Yes, I put the word “only” before the number 3.)

Training should be flexible. So it doesn’t bother me to mix up two days. My reading as led me to believe it is okay (although not recommended) to miss some training runs…as long as they aren’t long runs. Life happens and sometimes running takes the back seat.


  • 3 miles
  • cool

Weekly total: 9.68 miles

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

8/11, 4 miles

Today feel like on of those days I could just write: ran again. Writing something so boring wouldn’t be very much fun, now would it? So, while I just ran again, I’m sure I have more to say on the topic.

My treadmill is in the basement and it is getting warm down there. It is usually warm starting in July through the beginning of November. Then, it gets down right cold, just how I like it. I struggle through these warm runs. My warm is very different than what other people may think of as warm. I don’t have a thermometer in the basement, but it is somewhere in the mid-70 degree range. We keep a dehumidifier running so it isn’t as humid as it could be (of course, the dehumidifier running all the time makes it even warmer in the basement). I run a little slower on the treadmill than I do outside and I think the main reason is the temperature; although, I’ve never tested this theory out. Which affects me more: hot or humid? I would have to say hot, although I’ll avoid humid at all costs too.

  • 4 miles
  • cool

    Weekly total: 6.68 miles

Monday, August 10, 2009

8/10, Hills

One week ago I said I didn't think doing hills on a treadmill was a good idea (see here). Well, due to a conflict I had to run on a treadmill this morning. I didn't push as hard as I would have outside and my breaks between the hills were pretty slow, but I finished.

Today's plan says "3-4 Long Hills (500 yds)at 5K-10K pace." I took this to be about a quarter of a mile so I did some repeats after a short warm up. I ran .25 mile at a 10 minute mile and 4% incline followed by .25 mile at a 16 minute mile and 1% incline; repeat four times. Running on the treadmill served its purpose for today.

  • 2.68 miles
  • cool

Weekly total: 2.68 miles

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Music as a Distraction

I don’t do much without music playing in the background. With music playing all the time, it is only logical that I would run outdoors with music playing (- when I’m on the treadmill I watch TV or DVDs). The problem is that there are problems with running while listening to music. First, you need the right kind of music for your running. Second, I don’t have enough “running” music to last a long run. Third, it can be dangerous to run with earphones blaring because you don’t hear runners/bikers/cars. Fourth, most races don’t allow mp3 players during the race.

Since the half-marathon I am planning on running doesn’t allow mp3 players I am getting used to running without music in the background. Yes, I miss having great music to help me up a hill or through a long boring stretch of road. But, listening to music isn’t worth it since I run on roads when the sun is coming up and I assume drivers don’t expect to see someone out running. I expect drivers to run stop signs, speed, and pay more attention to their coffee than the road; essentially, I need to be aware of my surroundings. I don’t even carry my mp3 player with me because the temptation would be too great. Plus, I am sick of hearing the same songs every time I run (like I said, I don’t have enough “running” music).

In the end it all comes down to this: I will be better mentally prepared on race day because I am running without my music today.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

8/8, 6 miles

I feel like I take two steps forward only to go back one step. Last week I ran had a longer long-run and I ran more miles during the week. This week I'm back to the mileage I was doing before starting my training. I know it is for good reason (so I don't hurt myself and so I don't burn out), but it is still frustrating.

This morning I went out early (4:50 a.m.) and did most of my run before the sun came up. It has been a long time since I had a moon lit run; I have to say I loved it. I also don't look up very often so I was surprised to see the constellation Orion above the tree line. I associate Orion with winter, not with early August!

I wore my hydration belt for the first time today. While I didn't need the powerade zero (next time a flavor other than grape - yuck!), I want to get used to running with the belt and getting the bottles in and out as needed. It didn't shake around, bounce, or bother me in the least. I wore it around my natural waist as opposed to around my hips which probably helped keep it in place.

  • 6.1 miles
  • cool

Weekly total: 19.3 miles

Half-marathon training total: 62.3 miles

Friday, August 7, 2009

8/7, 3 miles

I feel good after last night's functional core class. I don't seem to have found any new muscles though - maybe I'll have to work harder next week.

Easy run this morning. Nice and slow to ease into the weekend. I enjoyed watching some of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire while running. The funny part is that when Harry was racing away from the dragon on his firebolt I was running faster than the treadmill. I was so caught up in the movie (even though I've seen it a dozen times) that I ran smack into the control panel! Oh well, no harm done.

  • 3 miles
  • cool

Weekly total: 13.2 miles

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Rest Day...sort-of

I have no major qualms with our medical insurance and tonight I really like it. Every couple months we get a mailing with listings of free classes that are available for members to take. The classes include everything from introductions to martial arts for kids, tours of grocery stores, and how to cook for various diets.

In the past I haven't taken any classes because I was too slow to sign up or nothing interested me. This time I found a class and signed up for all three sessions. Tonight was the first and I'm glad I went. It would be a good class to take after or before a short run. Here is the write up from the gym that hosted the class:

Core Conditioning
My name is Mike, instructor of Core Conditioning at Healthplex. I started this class in order to help members of Healthplex improve their overall core stability and strength. I have found that most people who work out their core regularly only focus on their abdominal muscles. Most abdominal exercises do very little for your "inner" core muscles, which help stabilize your spine. By working your inner core with stability exercises, you can eliminate or prevent back pain. After one class, you will feel muscles you haven't felt before, and become aware of strength you
didn't know you had!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

8/5, 3 miles

There is a continuing theme for Wednesday mornings: exhaustion. When I'm tired my legs weigh a ton and even three miles is a challenge to run. I think I need more sleep and the change in running days hasn't sunk into my body yet. For the last year Wed was a rest day (I slept in every Wednesday) and I have changed my rest day to Thursday because I'll soon be at school until late Wednesday night. Maybe I'll go to sleep early tonight.

  • 3 miles (nice and slow)
  • cool

Weekly total: 10.2 miles

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

8/4, 5 miles

It is finally nice outside, the rain has ceased and we are enjoying highs about 80 and lows about 60. Perfect summer weather for enjoying the outdoors and for sleeping. The problem is that it isn't perfect for sequestering myself in the basement and running on a treadmill. When it is nice out, the treadmill just doesn't do it for me the same way running outside (early in the morning) does. Whether I want to or not, my schedule isn't conducive to running outside early in the morning during the week...unless I want to push our bright yellow sail of a stroller with over 80 pounds of kid riding along. I know I need to try it out, but pushing the kids along on "my time" just doesn't sound too appealing to me.

I treadmilled my run this morning (I'm sure "treadmilled" isn't a word in the dictionary, but it's in my vocabulary for the days I run on a treadmill). It was warm. There isn't any air movement save the fan I have blowing on me. I went nowhere. BUT, I did run 5 miles and while watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

  • 5 miles (slowed pace at 2.5 miles)
  • cool (4 min walk)

Weekly total: 7.2 miles

Monday, August 3, 2009

8/3, Hills

I had no idea how today’s run was going to go (good or bad or somewhere in the middle). I like routine. It is Monday, so I should have been in my basement running on my treadmill bright and early. I should be ready for the day by 6:30 a.m. by having my running out of the way. The problem is that I don’t think doing hill repeats on a treadmill is a good idea (plus it hurts my lower back). So, I had to come up with something different for today: go for a run when ADP gets home from work.

Today’s plan says “4-5 Hills (200 yds), 5K-10K pace.” Remember, I’m a beginner, I don’t have a clue how fast my “5K-10K pace” should be, and I HATE hills. Actually, hills aren’t actually hills – they are a primitive form of torture. With that said I put my brain to work and tried to figure out how fast I am supposed to run based on my long-run pace (more on pace another day). I calculated, planned, and even found a hill. However, things don’t always go to plan but at least I’m done with hills for another week.

  • .7 mile warm up
  • 4x 200 yds at 10K pace, 4% grade (according to with 3 min cool between repeats
  • 1 mile cool down

Weekly total: 2.2 miles

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hydration Belt

Today is a rest day so I did some shopping. I have been reading up on what I need to do for long runs and hydration kept coming up over and over. I don't go far from the house when I run, but I don't go by the house at all so I went shopping for a hydration belt.

I looked at my options on-line, but since I am planning on wearing the belt I figured it was better to try them on. I went to a few stores and tried on a few different brands and styles of hydration belts. I ruled out hand-held hydration right off the bat because I am not carrying 20 ounces of liquid in my hand while I run; it would get heavy really fast.

I plan on topping out my runs (at least for now) at 13.1 miles! So, I figure 20 ounces will suffice for these runs. Through research and trying them on I settled on the Fuel Belt Wachusett Belt (see picture).

Here are some of the pertinent details:

  • Two 10 oz. bottles in the back
  • Adjustable cordura straps with front velcro closure
  • Knit elastic stretch for comfort and no-bounce fit
  • Reflective rear neoprene pocket• Reflective tabs
  • Bottles are dishwasher safe
  • Total Volume: 20 oz.
  • Sizes: One Size Fits All*
  • Color: Black

I can't wait to try out the belt this week!

*Not all belts are one size fits all, so go to a store and try them on to see what size you should get.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

8/1, 7 miles

Last night ADP and I went out for dinner and a movie. We had a great dinner (if you like salads and have never been to a Salad Creations you need to see if there is one in your area) and then went to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. When dinner was done we debated driving around the mall to be closer to the theater. ADP said ‘let’s race there.’ In my confusion about what the plans were I asked if he meant race to the car. His response, “no, we are distance runners.” I almost corrected him because that had been my mode of operation for the majority of our married life. Then I thought about it, how could I contest being a distance runner when in less than 12 hours after our conversation I was planning a 7 mile run? I couldn’t, so I walked to the car with ADP, we drove around the mall and went to the movie.

I did get my 7 miles in this morning and it went well. I had a great dinner last night, but a different dinner than I am used to – this not recommended before a long run when there are no bathrooms nearby. The whole run went faster than I expected since I didn’t sleep well (too much diet coke at dinner). It was cool (58F) when I went out which made all the difference in my run.

  • 7 road miles
  • Cool (walking around the court)

Weekly total: 17 miles