Sunday, December 31, 2006

Looking Back on 2006...Looking Forward to 2007. Part 1 - Looking back...


(picture is from 2005 vacation - rafting on the Snake River near the Grand Tetons)

At the end of every year, one can't help but look back on the year that is ending and looking ahead at the coming year. So if you would indulge me I will do the same! This is part 1 - looking at the year that is ending. I will cover the coming year in part 2.

2006 was the year that I signed up for my first marathon and began a training and racing journey unlike any I have experienced before. A tally:

Total Distance Run - 804 miles
Total Time Run - 156 hrs 44 min 32 sec
Highest weekly miles - 36 miles
Highest month - 137 miles (October)

Total races - 11 races
5K races - 5
10K races - 2
15K races - 1
Half Marathons - 2
5 miler - 1

Today I ran my last long run before the marathon, which is now less than 1 week away. It was a tough run in the heat and humidity, I almost cut it short. But I survived, nonetheless:

10.1 miles in 2:05:34.
Avg pace: 12:27 min/mile
Avg heartrate: 162 bpm

Now to prepare for the New Year's festivities!

Happy New Year everyone! Or borrowing from Adam - Happy Runzikah!!!

Friday, December 29, 2006

1 Week 1 Day and 7 hours.....and a few lessons from a 5 mile run


(picture is from October's Race for the Taste 10K - this is me running through Disney's MGM studios)

Today's run was 5 miles. I didn't run yesterday for a couple of reasons. First, my heel was a little sore, so I gave it an extra day off. Second, I am trying to get my house ready for a big New Year's party. I did make it out this morning, and had a nice 5 mile run. I felt a bit more sluggish than I normally would expect - I think it was the steak and seafood dinner that we had last night (yum!). But it always feels good to get out there!

This time I used the lap button on my Garmin to get mile split times and recorded the following:

Time(min) Avg Heart Rate (bpm)
Mile 1: 11:08 148
Mile 2: 11:15 155
Mile 3: 11:09 159
Mile 4: 11:32 160
Mile 5: 10:20 168

Total: 55:24 min

Some interesting notes:

During the 1st mile I played a 165 bpm podrunner mix to get warmed up, then used a 170 bpm mix to finish the run - yet the mile times did not significantly increase with the increased bpm (hmmmmmmm). If this is true I might use 165 for the race to maintain cadence and conserve energy instead of using 170+ to push myself.

Also, looking at total calories burned (per the Garmin training center software) I burned the most calories in my longest mile (4) - in fact, quite a bit more (207 cal) vs my fastest mile (5) (157 cal) or even my first mile which was also 157 cal (hmmmmmmm). I guess that shows that you don't have to work so much harder to burn more calories.

After my run, I grabbed the kids and went to Animal Kingdom for a half day at the park. Guess where the rest of the world is spending their Christmas break??? At Disney World!!! This is the first time I have ever seen the Animal Kingdom parking lot FULL. It was wall to wall people when we went into the park (around 12:30pm). We refused to wait in line for 1.5-2 hours to ride on any of the rides, so we took a crowded stroll though the Asia animal walk and got a lucky break to get into the Lion King show. That was about all we could stand. Fortunately, we have season passes - leaving early is not a big deal. Anyway, by the time we got home, my heel was sore so on with the ice again.

So, for now, I am going to baby the heel, rest up and try not to over do it on Sunday night - as I prepare for the big day - now just about a week away!!! I can't believe it is almost here. I am starting to build my packing list for the race. The plan is to use the coming week to get good rest and nutrition leading up to the race. (I should mention I am on vacation and won't need to be going to work that week). Also, I am planning to go to the expo on Thursday afternoon to beat the crowds and to use Saturday to relax and get settled in at the hotel. Yes - I am staying at Disney - or I would need to leave my house around 2:30 am to get to the race on time....this way I get to "sleep in." The last bus to the starting area leaves the hotel at 4 am. I will probably catch a bus around 3:30 am.

This is so exciting, I can hardly stand it!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Good Day to be a Runner


Today's schedule was for a 7 mile run, and it was a good day to run. The temperature was around 62 degrees with a light drizzle - it was cool and I felt good!

I decided today would be a tempo run - I was going to focus on maintaining a turnover of 172 bpm (thanks to my training buddy Podrunner). I was also targeting between 11 and 11:30 min miles. I am hoping that these tempo runs will help my legs remember a good pace. I also was going to monitor my heart rate and try to keep it on the lower end as long as possible, for at least the first 4 miles. If I felt I was pushing too much, I would just shorten the stride a bit but maintain the bpm.

So for the first 4 miles, my heart rate was hovering right around 151 or 152 bpm. I feel good at that rate and can easily maintain a conversation. After mile 4, I picked up the pace which, in turn, picked up my heart rate which hovered between 158 and the low 160's - still a good rate. Conversation would be difficult, but that was ok since I was on the second half of my run. My final mile I pushed it up just a notch, probably between 9:30 and 10:00 min mile pace. I finished the 7.3 miles in 1 hour and 20 minutes, about an 11:03 pace!

The drizzle stopped and the sun even peeked out for a bit, but the temperature remained cool which helped to keep my heart rate down. My max heart rate at the end was 171 bpm - which was great! Today was a good day to run!!

Tomorrow I am off, then I have a 5 miler on Thursday and a 4 miler on Friday.

Run well!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas All!!!



Merry Christmas everyone! I hope Santa was good to you with cool running toys and a relaxing day with the family!!

My Journey to Become a Runner - Part 2 - The Half Marathon



After completing the 5K, a friend of mine asked me if a marathon was next. Now the difference between a 5K and a marathon is rather significant, so I was going to wait - maybe try an intermediate race length. Three of us decided to sign up for the Walt Disney Half Marathon - January 2004. I trained on and off for the distance but couldn't seem to find the time to really train. My longest long run was about 6 miles. The holidays during December made it hard to stick to a training schedule for this early January race. I had pretty much decided not to run the race since I was not ready. One of my other friends was unable to train or run because of knee issues. My one friend from Atlanta came down to run.

Since I had paid the registration fee, I went to the expo to pick up my race packet - and then decided that maybe I would go for it after all. My race goal was to stay ahead of the cutoff pace of 16 min/mile.

It was a chilly Florida morning, about 38 degrees F, as we waited in the starting corrals about 1 hour before race time. Fortunately I got some good advice and had layered appropriately, throwaway layers and all. The gun went off and off we ran in the dark - first through Epcot where I made a bathroom break at about mile 3. I got to about mile 6 and my feet were beginning to ache pretty good. At mile 9 my legs were aching and I stopped at an aid station to put Icy Hot on my legs. At about 10 miles I got the thrill of a lifetime, running down Mainstreet USA in the Magic Kingdom. By the time I exited the Magic Kingdom there were just 2 miles left in the race. At 3 hours, 11 minutes I crossed the finish line. My friend had finished an hour earlier - but it was quite a race.

Fast forward: Yesterday (Christmas Eve) I did my long run - 14.6 miles. The first 8 miles felt great. My heart rate stayed nice and low (low 150s) and I felt good. However, during the last 6 miles, the sun came out and the 79 deg F with 75% humidity was brutal. I finished the run in 2 hrs 56 minutes - a 12:20 min/mile pace. I am beginning to think that a 5 hour marathon may be out of my reach this time around. I have been unable to sustain the 11:30 ish pace needed to hit 5 hours. I have gotten under 11:30 for runs up to about 10 miles, but not for my longer runs. I am not discouraged - it's my first marathon so the goal is to finish. I don't want to go out too fast at the start to try to meet a pace goal that may not be realistic for me. I think a more realistic target pace would be 12 min/mile - depending on the weather. If we can get some cooler weather like my first half marathon, I will have a better shot at that pace.

I am now less than 2 weeks away from the big race. My blogging since August has been a detailed account of Part 3 of my Journey to Become a Runner - The Marathon. Pretty soon I will be wrapping up the writing of that part. I should really change it to "My Journey to Become a Marathoner" since I became a runner in Part 1 when I pinned on that race number!

Friday, December 22, 2006

My Journey to Become a Runner - Part 1 - The 5K



Today I found some pictures and my race number from my very first race - the day I became a runner. That day was Sept 21, 2002. I have run on and off all my life since I was growing up in Vermont. I usually would run a mile or so as a way to stay fit. I never entered a race until my 40th birthday approached. I decided to train for and run my first 5K. I remember the training well....I started by running 30 sec and walking 30 seconds. Then worked my way up to 60 sec run, 30 sec walk. Soon I was running 4 min, then 7 min, then 9 minutes without stopping. I used to read on-line about folks who could run an entire hour without stopping. That seemed just so amazing to me. I ran the entire 5K without stopping (except for water I think) in 35 min 44 seconds. I was very excited!

Fast forward to today. After going to bed a bit late last night, I slept in a bit before hitting the road around 9 am for an 8 mile run. I checked the weather and things did not look ideal. Low to mid 70s with 75% humidity. It was going to be hot. I packed my normal 8 mile stuff - fuel belt with water and gatorade, 1 Cliff shot for halfway, ipod and the trusty Garmin.

The first few miles felt like my 3 mile run the other day - I felt tired and really not into the run. I was wondering if maybe I had burned myself out. I was wondering where the charge from my run had gone. I got to about mile 6 and started to finally feel "normal" - I could push myself and not feel so tired. It was like my body woke up and began to enjoy the run. The last mile was a good push, and in spite of a slow start, I finished the run in 1 hour 30 minutes, about my normal 8 mile pace.

Tomorrow will be an off day with a 14 mile long run scheduled for Sunday morning. The plan is to rest up and get up early for the run, hoping that it won't be raining too much. If it is raining, I still want to run. I haven't done any training in the rain - this would be a good chance to do that in case the race ends up on a rainy day. I will have to leave the iPod home if that is the case, or cleverly protect it in a plastic baggie or something.

The "journey" part 2 will be on the quest for the Half Marathon.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Taper run #1 - 3 miles

Three miles?? After two days recovery from the 24.5 miler on Sunday, I was ready to do 5, but my training schedule had 3 for today, 7 tomorrow, 4 for Friday then a 14 mile long run on Sunday.

Seems strange to be tapering when you look at my schedule lately....I started tapering in November.

Ah well, 3 miles it is. I was a bit tired today but had a nice brisk 3 mile run with 30 sec breaks each mile. I hit the lap button at my turn around point and did a negative split: 1st 1.5 miles in 17:08, 2nd 1.5 miles in 16:23 - pace was 10:57 min mile. Not a blazing pace, but I want to keep my shorter runs under 11 min/mile so it was ok. My heart rate was relatively high today. My average heart rate was 162 bpm, with a high of 178 as I sprinted to the end of my street. I am using 185 bpm as a max heart rate but I suspect it may be a little higher. The general formula (220-age) would place it at 176, which is impossible since my recorded heart rate is as high as 183 (end of the hot, OUC half marathon). As I sit here blogging, about 35 min after my run, my heart rate is now 85 bpm. My resting heart rate has been measured at 58-60 bpm. I wish I understood more about the heart rate training thing. For now I am using my Garmin to capture my heart rate and observing what it is and how I feel. It was a good guide on Sunday's long run to measure when I needed to take a break. I think it will be a big help in the marathon.

2 weeks, 3 days, 21 hours to go!!!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

24.5 miles and now the taper begins!

The plan: Run 24-25 miles
The route: Up and down Lockwood Blvd - 3 times @ about 8 miles each with stops at the house for refills and such after each "lap"
Supplies: Garmin 305, 5 Cliff Shots, 9 fuel belt bottles of water and Gatorade, iPod, cell phone, pepper spray, drivers license (for ID), $5, small towel
Prep: Icy Hot (to loosen up calves), Body Glide (to prevent chafing and foot blisters), Blistex and Bull Frog (to battle the sun).
The weather forecast: 62 deg and fog at the start, 80 deg and sunny at the finish. A slight breeze and 62% humidity.

Well from the title of today's blog, you can tell that I made the distance, although the time is not what I would hope. I optimistically started the run hoping to maintain the 5 hr marathon pace. This turned out to be a bad idea, and by mile 12 all I could do is go into survival mode. I knew at mile 12 I felt a little too worn out to be halfway done, so I shifted into conserve mode, stopped looking at my pace and focused on keeping my heart rate down to a reasonable level. By about mile 15 I felt tired, like I wanted to fall asleep while running (a rather strange sensation). I got home from lap 2 shortly after 16 miles, wishing I could stop, but stubborning announcing I had one more lap to go, grabbed additional drink and cliff shots, and ran out the door. My intent by then was to make it at least 20 miles, maybe even get beyond the 22 miles I did about a month ago, or to stop at 5 hours.

I got stubborn again and decided I was going to finish this thing if I had to walk the last 2 miles!

Around 20 miles into the run, I was really feeling the heat. The sun was mercilessly beating down on me - the temperature had risen to the upper 70s and the humidity was typical of Florida, about 60%. I found myself having some trouble breathing and realized my heart rate had risen to over 165 bpm - well into my Zone 4. So I adjusted my walking breaks. I walked until my heart rate got below 150 bpm, and then started taking breaks every 5 minutes instead of every 10. This helped keep my running heart rate between 158 and 165.

Once I reached mile 22, it was a total mind game to get home. I would walk my heart rate down into the 150's, then agree to run to the next street corner before taking another break. I would walk a little bit, then run to the next clump of trees. When I rounded the corner just a quarter mile from home, I took it in at a nice clip to finish the run in 5 hours 35 minutes.

So what did I learn?
  • I can run over 24 miles!!!! I can push myself past the wall (which found me around mile 23 - legs still worked but will and energy were definitely gone).
  • Rest and nutrition are VITAL for survival at these distances. My 22 miler was 4 hrs and 41 minutes long. This one seemed to take so much longer. I was spent from my life marathon (see previous blog post) and did not do a good job carbo loading this weekend, not to mention just getting 6 hours sleep last night. I think I set myself up for a tough run.
  • Australia is a great place to run (not from my run, but listening to Burning20!)
Now its off to work, icing of foot, and rest! The taper to Disney begins today...just 3 more weeks!!! :-)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Marathon of Life

I believe that some of my best marathon mental training has been taking place in the rest of my life lately, primarily my work life. As I rapidly approach the end of my 5th week of 60+ hrs and no days off, I find myself reaching that point where I don't think I can go another minute - and then I push myself to go further. I have felt like I "hit the wall" so many times, where I feel paralyzed and can't move or think. But then somewhere I find something that keeps me going.

Needless to say, my marathon training (physical) has been difficult to maintain, this week being the worst. I haven't run at all since my 15 miler last Sun, and I am scheduled to run 24 this Sunday. I think I may do a short run tomorrow just to wake my running self up! After this week, my taper begins. Though it seems I have been tapering unintentionally since my last big run.

The good news, is that this job pace ends next week, and a 3 week vacation begins. I will be able to rest up, and focus the last 3 weeks before the big race (in between getting ready for the holidays and such). I have the training base, I just need to maintain it without pushing too much. Perhaps my heel has benefited from the extra days off (the up side).

So it's off to bed with my sleepy self. Big run on Sunday!

(picture is a San Diego sunset I caught a couple of years ago)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

15 miles along a Florida waterway

And yes, we did see an alligator! Shirley and I had a wonderful 15 mile out and back run along the Econlockhatchee River outside of Orlando. It was a sunny morning starting out around 55 deg F and ending a little over 3 hours later with a temp of 66 degrees.

We met at 7:30 am. I fired up my Garmin and off we went. The park where we met the river trail was about 2 miles from where we started. Then it continued around 5 miles until our turn around point. The trail, which is also a bike trail, was not very crowded and I felt good the entire way.

Distance: 15.3 miles
Time: 3:05:06
Avg pace: 12:06 min/mile
Avg heart rate: 153 bpm
Water: 28 oz
Gels: 4 Clif Shots

I was feeling pretty tired toward the end - and there was a bit of a hill 2 miles from the end as well - but overall it was a very good run. My heel has ached a bit since then, but the ice seems to be bringing it back, and by Tuesday I will be ready for a run.

Plan for this week: A couple of 5 milers - easy week leading up to my 24 - 25 miler this weekend. Shirley suggested I run 5 hours or 25 miles. 5 hours will show I am ready for the marathon time, 25 miles, well, shows I am ready for the race. Then the official taper begins! Just 4 weeks left until the big race!!!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

A front row view for Discovery


The advantage to living in central Florida is the ability to witness one of the wonders of modern science - a shuttle launch. The night launches are a special treat!

Thursday we drove out to Titusville (near Cape Canaveral) to watch the launch and it was scrubbed. But we were back out there tonight for another go, and we were not disappointed. It lit up the night sky and we watched until it was the size of the other stars in the sky.

Not really a running post, but a cool event, nonetheless. Tomorrow is my long run. I will be running with my friend Shirley - 15 miles on a nearby trail near a beautiful river. I am looking forward to it. The weather is supposed to be sunny and warm with temps for the run in the low 60s. I am already anticipating next week's 24-25 miler, the last big run before my taper to Disney, just 4 weeks away!!!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Good morning, Sunshine!

With all the hours I have been working - I had turned to sleeping in and running midday as a break from my computer. But, today, I got up early (5:45 am) and got outside for my 8 mile run.

At first I wasn't thrilled to be up so early....I had gotten out of that habit! But as I ran along, and the sky grew brighter to the east until the sun poked through, I realized how much I missed the morning - and saying good morning to all the other runners, walkers and HS kids walking to school.

Today I had a nice running temp (upper 50's) - and Garmin did a marvelous job! My heart rate was not as high as on the hot humid race I ran. Overall, a great run - 1:29:29 - an 11:15 pace.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Another good 5 miles and Garmin is confused!

Today I brought my gear to work and finally got out around 5 pm to do a quick run before the sun set. I brought the Garmin along, but it was having trouble - first finding satellites, and then, well, the run results were weird.

I felt great even though I went to bed late yesterday. The first mile went pretty quick. As I rounded the bend running toward mile 2, the Garmin was telling me that my mileage was decreasing! It seemed to be telling me how far I was from where I started vs. how far I ran. I kept going, keeping up a brisk pace and taking my traditional 1 min walk each mile. It felt like I was running a bit quicker than normal. Even on the last mile, I was able to run briskly. By the time I got back to the office, I had run for over 52 minutes, and the total distance was showing up as .25 miles. (Sigh!) I knew I had to have run about 5 miles.

When I got home and downloaded the route, the Garmin had the route all messed up. It missed half of where I ran. Fortunately I had my total time, so using MapMyRun I retraced my route to be 5.13 miles. With my time at 52:49, that was an average pace of 10:18! A brisk pace indeed. I will count that as my tempo run! :-)

Heel felt good today - just a little ache now from tonight's run, but overall it seems to be feeling better and recoving quicker than it has in a long time!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Burning up the treadmill

After yesterday's half marathon, I had expected to take today off to give my heel a break - however, as I left for work (yes, I had to work today...ugh!) I grabbed my gear just in case I was up for a run or the elliptical machine.

As lunchtime drew near, I realized my heel didn't even hurt, and I felt great - so I hit the treadmill (still too warm and humid outside) for 5 miles....and I burned it up! I ran it in 51:06 (about 10:13/mile). Now, I was careful in my approach since the tendon in my foot had been feeling funny lately. I did some loosening up beforehand, rotating my ankles, knees and hips, getting the joints ready. Then I walked the first minute and ran the first 3/4 of a mile at a slower pace (about 11:00 - 11:30). Then I picked up the pace for the last 1/4 mile and pushed it for the other miles - starting miles 2-5 at a 10 min/mile pace and speeding up to about 9:13 min/mile pace by the end of each mile before I took a 1 min walking break. On the last mile, I did the last half lap at an 8 min/mile pace.

My heel still feels pretty good...maybe I am finally making progress. I am still going to take it easy, just to be sure.

What was especially gratifying is feeling so good the day after a half marathon that I could pound out 5 miles. The last 3 half marathons I entered I had NOT really trained for, and hurt for several days afterwards! Today, I'm feeling fine!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

OUC Half Marathon Race Report



OUC Half Marathon
December 2nd, 7:30 am
70 degrees F, 80% Humidity, light wind
Participation: 1910 runners (finishers)
Goal: 2 hrs 30 minutes

The weather was forecast to be warm, very humid, with a slight chance of a shower.

I wanted to hit 2.5 hours - as kind of a test to see if I had a shot at a 5 hour marathon in January. With that in mind, I set my iPod to a 170 bpm podrunner song and got ready to race. I felt good today - not as rested as I would have liked but excited to be racing. I also had my new toy (check out my left wrist). My new Garmin Forerunner 305 arrived in the mail on Friday - just in time to take it for a spin during today's race.

The Garmin was fun to have. I could see my pace at any particular time, although at times it didn't seem right - I was sure my pace was a little better than it told me at times. Especially when it would flash a 43 min mile while I was standing still! But it was close. Also, the mile markers on the course did not jive with what the Garmin said I had run, and in the end, my total distance on the Garmin was 13.47 miles instead of the 13.1 on the course. I also have a heart rate monitor, although I have to say, the display of my heart rate was very small (good thing I was wearing my progressive lenses)! For the most part, I was running in Zone 4 - mostly outside my aerobic zone. I could tell I was working hard. Anyway, I had to watch that I didn't let the Garmin distract me, and actually had to ignore it at times and listen to my body. Still, the graphs and downloads I got to play with later were fun!

In the end, my final time for the race was 2 hrs 36 min. I knew I was running slower than a 2:30 time pace, but there was no way I could speed up. It was too hot outside and I was feeling it. In addition to having the iPod set at 170 bpm, I tried to run 1 mile before taking a walking break. Toward the end I had to take a few more breaks per mile, but I ran the entire last 1.1 miles of the course.

I made 10 miles right at the 2 hour mark - so I knew that 2:30 wasn't going to happen. I was able to maintain my pace (just under 12 min mile). Technically this was a PR for me. My last Half Marathon race was last year's OUC which I ran in 2:54. However, my recorded time for the Phedippedations Half Marathon was 2:32. I ran that race in two parts, however (a 10K followed by 7 miles) and I think that made a difference in the time vs running the entire race all at once. So I consider today's time a PR.

Heel update: As with any run these days, my heel ached after the race. I iced it and it did just fine.

5 more weeks til Disney!!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

My running support group



I want to thank everyone reading this post - posting to my blog - and blogging / podcasting about running. Someone asked me if I have joined a training group for my marathon training. I said no, I just train on my own. But really that isn't true. I train with all of you.

I take Phedippediations out on my long run each week, and have my running companion Steve talk about all kinds of running topics, notable running legends and the Red Sox. I take Adam Tinkoff's Burning 20 with me and he talks about his training and traveling around the country and the world. Nigel of Running from the Reaper also runs with me - so I can imagine I am running on a gravel path in the English countryside dodging swans instead of a sidewalk on a busy neighborhood street dodging squirrels.

As I blog my way through my training, I have lots of friends who encourage me along the way. Besides the folks above, Susan of I Run for My Life reads and posts encouraging notes. I also hear occasionally from Melisa of Irishblue in a Running Shoe. There are other folks who have been posting lately as well, including my own sister!

I should say there is one person who I get to train with in person on occasion. Shirley has run with me a couple of times, particularly on the tail end of my really long runs. We end up talking the entire time which helps those last couple of miles! And as a certified running coach, she helps me improve my running!

And finally my biggest cheerleader...my husband. Who watches the kids while I disappear for 3-4 hrs on Sunday morning, who helps me out of my ice baths and feeds me healthy foods to keep me going.

So thanks for being part of a team with me! :-) I am not alone.

Squeezed in 10 miles....

My schedule called for 15 miles today - but because of my current work situation, I had to be at work by 9 am. I don't have the constitution to get up at 4 am - so I got out to run at 6 am, ran 10 miles in 1 hour 53 min, and hustled off to work. My heel gave me hell today since I did a little 3.4 miler yesterday. With a little ice pack and ibuprofen, it is feeling ok now. Tomorrow I will need to take a break (maybe the elliptical).

My 3.4 mile run yesterday is worth mentioning. One of the guys working on this proposal with me wondered if anyone would run with him. He usually goes for about 2.25 miles. I offered to go but warned him I am slow and I take walking breaks. I also suggested a 3.4 mile route (I was feeling a bit over confident I think). Well, I tried to go a bit quicker so he wouldn't have to go too slow, and ran the first mile in 9:15 before taking a much needed walking break. We ran another 0.7 and took another break. On the return we walked at the 1 mile mark again before bringing the last mile in at 9:30. You could call it a speed workout. A rather tough 33 min run, but a good run.

This is going to be a very busy work week for me, and I have a half marathon coming up on Saturday!!! I am going to do my late nighters early in the week so I can get lots of sleep the 2 nights before the race. The next major work deadline is the night before race day....ack!

Sometimes I imagine my work schedule as a much harder "marathon" than my training has been. I would much rather do my 22 mile run than stay awake some of the nights I have been working lately. It is starting to drag on me. The good news is that the proposal is due on Dec 18th - so I will have 3 weeks to rest (and taper) before the marathon.

Now I need to get some work done! Run strong!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

5 miles for Thanksgiving!

Well, rather than push it, I decided on 5 miles (plus we have company and I didn't want to be gone for more than about an hour). So after sleeping in a bit, I got outside for an easy 5 miles. It was a bright sunny day, about 55 degrees.

Tomorrow morning I want to try to run again....but working tonight - so lets hope I finish up quickly and not too late!

I have talked my husband into an early Christmas present - a Garmin!!! At first I was looking at the 301's, since they are on sale - but I think that spending the extra $100 might be worth the upgrade to the newer Garmin Forerunner 305. If anyone has any thoughts on that I would love to hear it. I think I will be ordering through Amazon. I want to get it in time to do some of my marathon training with it (just a little over 6 weeks left).

So today as I ran, I thought about being thankful for (not in any particular order):

- that fact that I CAN run at all - many folks cannot
- for beautiful weather to enjoy
- for having the privilege to train for a marathon
- for finding great info and "meeting" great people in the running community online
- for a marvelous family
- for another day!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

All work and no run...makes life for marathonchris no fun!



Ok this isn't me but it is what I am feeling like. Since Saturday I have already put in 50 hours at work.

I missed running today - I was up until 4:30 this morning working, then off to work at 8:30. I got home around 9:30 and right now, I am just packing it up - too tired to go on. I am faced with doing some work on Thanksgiving day! Not my first choice but I need to sleep - and tomorrow I definitely need to run.

I am in proposal hell for the next 3 weeks - so the long hours are going to continue. I was able to squeeze in my long run last weekend (and will this weekend) but I don't want to lose my mid week runs!

Sigh! Just trying to stay relatively healthy and keep up with the training. Tomorrow - I am going to try for 8 miles. Legs and foot feel fully recovered from the long run so I am ready to go.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

22 miles Closer to the Marathon

This pic is near the finish of the Race for the Taste 10K I did at Disney last month. I probably felt today like I looked there - but I also felt a high level of accomplishment:

First - I breached the 20 mile distance!!! I ran 22 whole miles today.

Second - I didn't hit "the wall". I was able to run all the way through without battling the wall or its evil effects.

Third - I ran for a longer time than ever before (well, it stands to reason since I ran a longer distance than ever before). 4 hours, 41 minutes 34 seconds. This is 50 minutes longer than my last really long run of 18.75 miles. My pace was 12:48 - a good pace for a long training run.

The weather: It was a great day for a run in Central Florida. When I started, right about at sunrise (6:45 am), the temperature was about 45 degrees F. It was a bright sunny day, so it did warm up, but not too much - probably to about 65 degrees by the time I finished.

What I wore: I wore shorts, a long sleeve running shirt (wicking capable), a running hat and gloves. The gloves helped keep me warm through the first 10 miles of my run. I wore my sunglasses for the bright sun I was going to finish in. I put Icy Hot on my legs to help keep the muscles relaxed. I used Body Glide on my feet and areas on my body that tend to chafe. I wore my Fuel Belt which allows me to carry 28 oz of water and Gatorade, my gels, my iPod, my cell phone and my pepper spray ('cause you never know).

What I ate: I ate some Sharkies about 30 minutes before I ran, to begin the fueling process. I took 5 Cliff Shots (Chocolate - no caffeine) to keep me fueled while I ran.

Who I ran with: I ran with my iPod for the first 10 miles, then I had the privilege to run with my friend Shirley for the last 12 miles (she ran with me a couple of months ago on a previous 12 mile run). It was great having the company - especially as we finished up the last couple of miles. (Thanks, Shirley!!).

And the run....

Since this was a particularly long run, I planned to take walking breaks more often than on my midweek runs. I ran 8 min and walked for 1 min. Walking breaks allowed me to consume gels, drink water, etc. I had planned to meet Shirley 2 hours after starting. It took me 2:02 to get to our meeting point - so it worked out well. I stopped to refill my water bottles and off we went. At about 17.5 miles, I was nearly out of fluids so we stopped at a convenience store for water. Then from there it was just hanging in there. At about 21 miles both my feet were hurting (my heel started around 10 miles) but my muscles felt ok. When we reached the finish, I had a little energy left to sprint a bit to the end.

After the run: Ice bath. This time I added more ice and kept a shirt on (it gets a bit cold). It took about 6-8 min for the shivering to stop :-) But I soaked for a good 12 minutes. My husband took care of me by bringing me a banana and apple to eat, vitamins to replenish and then to help me out of the tub (the legs were a bit numb and my left foot was very sore).

Epilogue: Tonight we had a wonderful dinner - and afterwards I went with my husband for a stroll around the block - around a mile. Legs felt fine and even my foot felt ok. The sky is full of stars - what a day!!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Treadmill lessons

Ok, lesson learned today: When you have plantar fasciitis, and you need to run on a treadmill, don't use it at an incline!

In the past, when I have run on the treadmill - it seemed really easy (which it is, easier than running outside that is). Today, I didn't run until the late afternoon, and it was a bit warm, AND since my heel has been doing well I figured the treadmill would be easier on it. So, I decided to use the treadmill at work.

Ok, treadmills are BORING!!!

A recommendation I had heard about treadmill running was to set it to a 2-3% incline to give a bit more resistance like a normal run. So, I did that.

About a mile or so into my run, the tendon running under my foot (that would be my plantar fascia) ached like it was tired, then the ache got worse, until after about 1.5 miles I had to stop. Stretching didn't seem to work... but I figured out what it was, took out the incline, then had to take it a bit slow for while. I was able to get another 4 miles in - but at a slower pace because it would ache if I went faster.

So I got my 5+ miles in (I think 5.6 - I accidently reset the machine after I stopped to check my foot). Heel feels ok - tendon feels a little tight.

Tomorrow is elliptical day. I skipped it on Tuesday - working too many hours!

Friday - I am going to take it on the road instead! :-)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Good days and bad days...today is a good one!

I felt a little guilty for not going for the long run yesterday (I had that 10K race), but I do remember when I did that last time (also the day of a 10K) I was hurting pretty bad.

Soooooo, today I took that 8 mile run - and it went really well. It was a cool 49 degrees and, as I tend to, I over dressed a bit (long sleeve cotton shirt, capri length running pants). Next time - short sleeves! I finished in about the usual time (1:29). My heel felt pretty good today, even after the 8 miles.

To continue the good feeling heel, I will do the elliptical tomorrow and run a shorter 5 miles on Wed.

For Sunday - I am going to "simulate" the marathon by preparing for it and running the 22 miles like I will do the race (complete with resting, eating and other such prep). I am a little concerned since my last long run over 8 miles is that 18 miler I did a few weeks ago - but I should do ok. We will find out!

So, today is a good day for running and heel!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Founder's Day 10K Race Report


Founder's Day 10K
November 12th, 7:30 am
55 degrees F, High humidity, light wind
Participation: 897 runners (finishers)
Goal: Beat old PR of 1:06

Today I was going to run my race. I was not going to allow myself to start out too fast and I was going to take my scheduled walking breaks....and I succeeded! I also got a new PR for my second 10K.

For race morning prep, I ate "Sharkies", gummy shark things, about an hour before the race while I drove there. I don't normally eat before I run or before a race that is early - usually I do a gel pak. I ate the sharkies because I wanted to get some energy stuff into me (and, though I tried, I couldn't eat them on the run...they stick to my teeth!).

It was a cool but humid morning - probably about 55-60 deg and cloudy. The humidity made it feel cooler, but it was a great temperature for racing - and I was ready in my tank top. Since there was a bag check, I could wear a light jacket until just before starting.

(For those of you who are not of Floridian blood, this is actually a cool morning. Many showed up at the race in long sleeves - later regretting it.)

This time, I lined up further back in the pack and set up a 175 bpm Podrunner song to keep me paced during the race. My times were:

Mile 1: 9:46 (a little fast, but it felt comfortable)
Mile 2: 10:37 (a little slower than I wanted but ok since there was a water stop right before mile 2)
Mile 3: 10:01 (more of the pace I was looking for)
Mile 4: 10:29
Mile 5: 10:52 (water stop in this mile, and I was feeling a little tired but still ok)
Mile 6: 10:29 (I ran this last bit of the race for my daughter Carolyn who couldn't be there)
Mile 6.2: 1:44

Net time: 1:04:00 (Beat my previous time by over 2 and a half minutes!)

The race took us through the town of Celebration, Florida, not too far from Disney World. It was built to look like the old towns in the North east (verses the stucco style houses of Florida). It was a nice run through town where folks sat out on their front porch to watch the race go by.

Heel report: A little achey but not more than normally after a run. I was supposed to do a 14 mile long run, and was going to run another 8 miles after getting home, but I am going to pass on the extra miles and try to run them in the morning instead. This is an easy week leading up to my 22 miler next Sunday. I am going to treat that run like a marathon and prep for it as I would the marathon. It will be a good dry run.

7 weeks and 6 days to Disney!!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Another 8 miles and some progress

After my elliptical day break, I got up early this morning to run. Uncertain how far I ought to go, I decided to try 8 miles and figured I could turn back early if I wasn't feeling up to it. The run felt pretty good - and at the end, although my heel ached a little, it wasn't too bad. 1 hour, 28 minutes - an 11:07 pace.

As I went through the day, my heel didn't hurt nearly as much as it has in the past and this without even icing it. I am hoping the extra day off and the new shoes and insoles are helping! We will see.

Tomorrow is an off day - Sunday a 10K race, followed by a few miles of running if I am feeling up to it.

Happy weekend all!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Elliptical Alternative

Let me preface this by saying that I have used an elliptical machine, oh, maybe 4 times in my life, today being the 4th time.

So if I can run 8 miles in an hour and a half and go through my day like it was no big deal, why is it that 1 mile, or 20 minutes, on an elliptical machine leaves me dripping in sweat, out of breath and feeling completely out of shape?

It's not like I can go slower to make it easier - it fact it seems to be harder if I go slower. And then try to go backwards....now that was really slow!

Welcome to my running alternative...call it cross training if you like. What I needed was something other than running to give me a workout while giving my heel a little break. Ever since my 18 mile run, it seems my heel is aching more - not recovering as quick. I think it needs more of a break, but with 8 weeks until the marathon, I am at a critical part of my training. So, my cunning plan is to take a day break between runs, and augment the running with elliptical during the week - saving myself for the weekend long run - the critical portion of the training.

The elliptical seems to work my quads more - so I think it is a good addition. Hopefully as I use it, I will be able to last longer than 20 minutes!

Monday, November 06, 2006

New week...new shoes



I have been rotating two pairs of shoes in my running of late. Both pairs have mileage approaching the 300 mile mark, so it was time to work a new pair into the rotation. Now like most everyone else, when I find something that works, I stick with it. So it was easy to call up the local running store and ask for a pair of Brooks Addiction size 8 and a half medium. I finally picked them up last week along with new insoles called "Super feet". I am told these will give better support for my plantar faciatis.

This morning I took them out for an 8 mile spin around the neighborhood. We shall see later today how my feet have done. The heel felt good during the run, though I think I have a blister on the arch of my right foot. I am not too worried about that - I can probably prevent that next time with a bandaid or some body glide. And I logged a new time of 1 hr 28 min for 8 miles or an 11:05 per mile pace - my fastest time yet for that distance. Running 10 minutes and walking 1 seems to be working well for my mid-length runs.

It's great being out on the road again. After not running for 4 days, I was beginning to feel like a blob. But this morning I felt light and in motion! :-)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

4 Day Running Hiatus and 16 Years of Wedded Bliss!



Where can you spy ostriches wandering around outside your hotel window? Why at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, of course! While on a break from my running this weekend I celebrated 16 years with my husband - and we brought the kids along for a day of the fun!

Though I haven't run all weekend, my heel has been aching with all the walking around at Animal Kingdom and around the lodge (very frustrating, after all, I am resting it!). I am going to start the week off with an 8 miler and see how it does. I am rested and ready to start my training back up again!!

Jambo, everyone!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Rest is good



Today I slept in and I didn't run. My heel thanked me all day long by not hurting. The rest of me was happy not to be dragging at 2 pm. It was a good day.

I can't help but think that if I had just given myself an extra day after that really long run, I would have come back better. Pushing myself so soon after running nearly 19 miles really wore me thin. Next long run, I will take at least 2 days to recover.

I will also resist the urge to run before my 3 day break is up. My body will thank me next week. Besides, it is my anniversary weekend (16 years) and we have some fun things planned.

Today's picture is compliments of a North Carolina hike we made during vacation! What a RESTful place :-).

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Learning to listen to my body



This morning was one of those days that I ran when I probably shouldn't have. All the signs were there. I was still pretty achy from my long run on Sunday (legs and heel), I was short on sleep for the past 2 nights, we had been out walking around for Halloween, and I was sooooo tired! But some habits die hard. In a way, I told myself to stop being a wimp and stick to the schedule. The schedule had me down for 7 miles. And my type A personality insisted on sticking to it.

So when the alarm went off at 5:45 am, I was very comfortable, and could have so easily reset the alarm and fallen right back to sleep...but duty called and I rolled out of bed. As usual, I had laid out my running gear the night before, so I just had to pull it on and get on out the door. With 7 miles ahead, I had to pack my fuel belt as well. This was going to take me over an hour to do.

I set the iPod to a 170 bpm song and headed out. It was still dark, but already it was getting lighter outside. I was happy for daylight savings being over. Just over a mile in, I set out to cross the 4 lane road I run on and halfway across my left ankle turned on me. Another sign I should have stayed in bed! I hobbled over to the other side of the road and tested it out - it ached for a little but running on it did not hurt. I figured if it bugged me I would head home. But as I passed my street it was feeling fine so I kept going.

The best part of my run happened around mile 5. As I ran along a brick wall, at the end of the wall, sitting on a wooden fenced area, was a large red-tailed hawk - just sitting there watching the world go by. I caught sight of it just as I was going by. It was about 10 ft from me. I ran past and then stopped, turned around, and just enjoyed the view for a moment. Then figured I would check him out again when I ran back by on my return (which I did). A little ways down from the hawk I encountered another runner/walker and told her about the hawk so she could enjoy it too.

The last two miles were pretty tough. I felt spent. Somehow I managed a respectable time of 1 hour 22 minutes (11:28 pace) - about the average pace I have been doing for my 7-8 mile runs. However, I have been limping around all day because my heel is really bugging me. So, to give myself and my heel a break, I am going to take the next 3 days off from running. Tomorrow, if I am feeling up to it, I will hit the elliptical machine at work. I feel like I need some recovery time - and this time I think I will listen to my body for a change.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Good morning!

One of the things I like about running in the morning is that I get to say "Good morning!" to every walker, runner and biker I pass along the way. I don't really know any of these folks, although many of them I see day after day. Saying hi to a runner is an acknowledgement that you are both part of a "club" of folks who roll out of bed early for a run. Even the bikers will say a quick hi. As I see the high school students with their headphones on, I say hi to them too. Who knows if I might be the only person to smile and say hi to them all day.

I ran without my headphones this morning and I was so much more part of my "journey." Although I will need them for my pacing on some of my training runs, it seems running without them is not such a bore after all!

4 miles today in 42:55 - a shorter, easy run since I am still sore after Sunday. Good morning, Orlando!!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

18 miler and meeting "the infamous Wall"

For a Florida runner, today had to be the perfect day for a long run. The cold front that pushed through yesterday produced cooler temperatures and dryer weather. It was 55 degrees F with a humidity of just under 50%. The sun would warm things up to about 72 degrees F by the time I was finished. There was also a light breeze to keep things feeling cool.

I also got a one hour reprive the return to standard time. Sunrise today was at 6:35 am - and I started my run right about that time. I figured 18 miles would take me just under 4 hours. I was pretty close on my prediction.

For these long runs, I take an easy pace to conserve energy and enjoy listening to podcasts and just any old music along the way. Based on my recent epiphany, I decided to run the first 5 miles without listening to my iPod - so I could really enjoy the journey of my run. I was not disappointed! The birds were singing and the sounds of the morning were wonderful to listen to. I was happy to envelope myself in that - and I didn't feel the need to be distracted from my run.

About 2 miles into my run I realized that I really wanted to have my sunglasses and that I had not used body glide in one area I knew would chafe. With my route bringing me about 1/4 mile from my house, I made a quick side trip / pit stop to pick up the shades and use the powerglide. As I calculated later, it actually added another .6 miles to my run.

I continued on and made my next "stop" at my office. I work about 5.5 miles from my house. With the route I mapped out, I arrived there about 8-9 miles into the run, just in time to refill my water bottles. I checked in with home to let them know I was doing ok (I was already 1 hour 45 min into my run). I continued on my way, running through a quiet UCF campus and out around the nearby roads. My right quad started to ache a bit around mile 10 - but it wasn't too painful. Made me think that I need to cross train more on the elliptical machine to build that muscle up.

I had scheduled a quick stop at the house just 2 miles from the end to get more gatorade. I knew I would run out by then. But, it would be hard to stop there and not be done. Hmmmm, perhaps I could make the last 2 miles without the stop. But as I drew closer to the house, knew I needed the gatorade. It was warming up and I was out of drink.

I made it a quick stop. Fortunately, I had prefilled a couple of fuel belt bottles with gatorade the night before, so all I really needed to do was run in, grab the bottles, and get out of there. I said a quick hello, then beat it out to finish up those last two miles.

Shortly after that is when IT happened. Chris, meet the Wall. Wall, meet Chris. I felt pretty good running up to my house, but about half a mile back out (17 miles into the run) my left leg joined my right leg in aching. The ache extended all the way down my legs. It felt like my quads were getting tighter. My calves started to feel a little stiff as well. Nothing locked up - it was just a tighter feeling, so I kept on going. After all, I was now less than 2 miles from finishing this run. There was no way I was stopping.

I got to my turn around point and now started into my last mile of the run. I pushed my pace up a bit and skipped my walking break - I didn't want to stop running and then have to get going again. In the last tenth of a mile, I opened up my stride and sprinted in. I was done!!!! My final time and distance: 3 hours, 49 minutes, 58 seconds - 18.75 miles. I got home at 10:30 am.

I felt really good! A gatorade, protein shake, and ice bath completed the perfect long run day. And the heel - it is aching. I think I will need to ice that for awhile today as well. Overall, it is hard to deny that today is a good day to be a runner!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Cold weather running and my epiphany

Although not cold by many standards, in Florida this morning was cold and clear. Our first cold morning of the season, it was 48 degrees F and I was excited to see how it would feel to run in the chill instead of the heat.

Uncertain how cold I would feel, but knowing I would warm up quick, I wore capri length jogging pants, a short sleeve shirt with a long sleeve running shirt thrown over it. Instead of the visor I had been wearing (more to keep sweat out of my eyes than the sun) I put a running hat on to keep heat in.

Setting my podrunner tunes to 170, I set off for my 5 mile run at a brisk pace. The cool air felt great and the stars twinkled brightly. My first mile breezed by at 10:06 - a bit fast but still a comfortable pace. I was already warming up so I pushed my sleeves up and after my 1 min walking break I pressed on. My second mile was at 10:26. This was feeling great.

The entire run continued like that - I felt like I could run on and on. I finished the last mile of the run in 9:46 and felt great! 51:51 for the 5 miles - my fastest run on this route yet. This weather is a lot like the weather around the date of the marathon. If we get a morning like this I will be in heaven.

As I ran today, I was thinking of a recent epiphany I had regarding why we pursue certain goals in life, accomplishments, our "blue ribbons." Without getting into the details of my epiphany, I was wondering if my goal to run a marathon was just another blue ribbon I was seeking in my life - an accomplishment in the eyes of the world. And in many ways it is, at least it started out that way. But as I train I realize that it has become much more. The journey to the race has been much more important than running the race itself. Oh sure, I am looking forward to the race - but I wonder if I would be pushing myself out of bed to run on mornings like today - when I don't feel 100% and its cold outside. Would I be running 5 days a week if I didn't have that goal looming ahead? Would I plan my schedule around running 18 miles on a Sunday morning before many folks are out of bed? I think there is a good chance I wouldn't. So the goal is serving a greater purpose. It is establishing an exercise routine, a healthy approach to life that benefits me, my family and the people around me. They don't care if I win a race (which is good since I never will). They care if I am healthy, happy and part of their lives. That makes me a winner in their eyes. And THAT is the real prize.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

UCF 5 Miler - a 5M PR




It was a warm, sunny day for this race. A bit too warm, in fact. It was about 75 degrees and 97% humidity with no wind. At the start it wasn't too bad, but as the sun came up, it became quite warm.

In typical race fashion, I went out quickly, keeping up with the folks around me. I finished mile 1 in 9:15 - much faster than my normal pace - and I could feel it. I slowed my pace a bit and worked to keep going until the first water break but had to take a short walking break....the first water break was just before mile 2. I covered the second mile in 10:07 - still on the faster side but closer to the pace I was hoping for in the race. I reached mile 3 at just over 30 minutes into the race. Still a pretty good pace for trying to hit 50 minutes, but I could tell that I was pretty spent. I chided myself for wanting to stop and walk after only 3 miles, I mean, what was I going to do when it came to running 26?

Shaking off the self criticism, I pressed on. I took a few more walking breaks - to help catch my breath and give me a stronger finish. The 4th mile took me 11:07 to complete. Not too bad, and I was starting to feel a little better. I tried to keep my stride quick and shorter, focused on being relaxed to run more economically. I was in my last mile, and I told my daugther before leaving the house this morning that I would run that one for her - so after a short break, I started out on the last mile. I did take a 30 sec break about halfway through, then pressed on.

As I got near the finish, the runners that had already finished the race were making their way back down the course to encourage the runners that were coming in. That was a sign that I were close. I sped up a little at that point, and as I could see I was in the last quarter mile, I fell into a comfortable sprint to the finish line. It felt good to stretch out my stride and run for the finish. I crossed the line at 51:40, or a net of 51:15. Although I was hoping to get to 50 min, this time was a new PR for me. My best 5 mile training runs were 52:40 and my last UCF 5 miler 2 years ago was about 58 minutes.

As much as I felt like I was having a tough race, I did really well. I hung in there and finished strong. The last mile took me 10:05, not a bad finish considering how fast I started out.

I have had an easy weekend. We have had company and so I have been breaking my diet, eating more red meat and even some fries along with a few glasses of wine. Somehow I think the race was tougher because I didn't stick to my diet - at least that sounds plausable.

This coming week is a recovery week leading up to my 18 mile run next weekend. Just 11 weeks until the big race.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Pain is weakness leaving the body...

Today I ran my 16 mile long run. It was actually 16.2 miles - the longest I have ever run. I planned a run that had two 8 mile components, with a stop back at the house to refill my water bottles.

I took a new route, running the first half in a different neighborhood to the north of mine. It was an interesting run, but the sidewalks were annoying. Whoever thought of winding sidewalks that snake from side to side instead of going straight did so to torture runners and bikers who want to just go straight.

My heel started to ache around mile 8, my legs at about mile 10 - but it wasn't something I couldn't push through. I just remembered the quote from a famous running coach (can't remember the name at the moment) who said that "Pain is weakness leaving the body." I got rid of lots of weakness today (and still am!).

This has been a good training week. After last weekend's busy time of racing I took Mon and Tues off, ran 8 miles Wed (overdoing it a bit), on Thurs I cross trained to give the heel a break, doing 17 min on the elliptical machine, then when I got home about 2 miles of jogging with my daughters (very cool), ran 5 miles on Fri, Sat off and then today's run. The Parrot predictor for my marathon based on my weekly running is pointing to a 5:04 marathon. 5 hours could be a doable goal!

I did feel like I did more "dodge car" in my early morning runs. It will be nice when we turn the clocks back and I spend more time running after the sun comes up instead of almost entirely in the dark. Cars are scary. Stretches of road with few street lights are scary. Areas near the woods are scary. I carry a mace item and a cell phone and in the scary areas take off my headphones. I am in a nice neighborhood but you never know.

So, a new long distance for me. Next weekend is the UCF 5 Miler and a short long run. The week after is the infamous 18 mile run.

11 weeks, 6 days and 18 hours until Disney!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Great 10K, rough 8 miler follows



Lesson learned #1: Don't run a race, then try to do a long run in the same day. Running in a race is different from typical long runs. For one thing, you tend to run faster in a race. Now I really tried to go easy in today's race. I kicked on some running tunes and just settled in to a pace, but in spite of all the people who passed me throughout the race, my pace was still faster than my long run pace: 10:34 mile 1, 10:45 mile 2, 10:29 Mile 3....my final time was 1:06:39, a 10:44 pace. I was happy to beat the 1:10 time I put out as a goal. I finished strong over the last 2 tenths of a mile. When I got home, I decided to set out and get the long run in before I got too comfortable, so I changed into some dry running gear, loaded up my fuel belt and took off - quite slowly. My heel was aching pretty good and the rest of me didn't feel quite right either. Oh, did I mention that I may have a sinus infection? I really had to struggle to do this run - my foot hurt, my muscles began to ache, my digestive system was unhappy, and I was tired. It was sunny, which usually is a death sentence, however today was cooler and breezy and the sun didn't really get to me.

Lesson learned #2: Don't race at Disney two mornings in a row. On Saturday I had to be there at 6 am to be ready for the race. Today I needed to be there at 5:30 am. Not much sleep before Sat, about 5 hours before Sun. I can do 1 morning like that...2, well it was a bit much.

So a successful 10K, survived 8 miler, and successful Phedippedations Half Marathon completion (use my 10K and my 8 mile pace to obtain a 13.1 mile time). But I am so spent! Heading to bed right after typing this. I think I am going to take Mon AND Tues off from running.

Limping around in Florida....

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Running for Nancy, a new PR and meeting the host of Burning 20

Today I got to run my race for Nancy. Many of the racers were running for themselves or loved ones who have fought with breast cancer. The dedication was inspiring.

A full moon greeted us as we arrived in the dark around 6:00am. Excitement was already in the air. The temperature was a cool 68 degrees F. A beautiful sunrise preceeded the race start. I met a new friend, Laura, who was running her very first race ever! She was very excited.


As I waited for the race to begin, I ran into Adam Tinkoff, the host of the podcast Burning 20 (an excellent listen, by the way - you can find out more at http://www.burningtwenty.com). Like me, Adam is also training for the Disney World Marathon in January. In addition, Adam and I are participating this weekend in the Phedippedations World Wide Half Marathon (http://www.steverunner.com/halfmarathon.htm). It is always fun to meet folks in person that you feel you know after meeting them "virtually."

The race started off a bit crowded but I was able to make my way up to where the crowd was a bit thinner. I know that I took off at a strong pace, but I wanted to try to break 30 minutes today - and I figured I could adjust when I saw my mile 1 time. Well, mile 1 was NOT marked, which I realized after going about 11 minutes. I pressed on until I saw the mile 2 marker which I crossed at about 19:28. My pace was under 10 min/mile, which was what I was shooting for.

Now I had a couple of things working against me. I am suffering from a cold right now and had tanked up on decongestants last night in a failed attempt to sleep. So strike 1 - I had about 1-2 hours sleep. That was not my trouble. The drugs made my mouth and throat dry, leading me to stop for water at mile 1 and 2. Though I only walked for perhaps 30 sec each time, it made the difference for my final time.

I was pretty winded but instead of walking I slowed my pace to catch my breath. As I rounded the last corner for the finish line I sprinted to the finish. I could see on the clock that my time was about 31 min - as I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch, my net time turned out to be 30 min, 3 seconds. Just 3 seconds shy of busting 30 minutes. I was excited that I was able to set another PR and be so close to a 30 minute 5K.

Tomorrow my first ever 10K race - the Race for the Taste 10K. It's back to Disney early tomorrow morning (I need to be there by 5:15 or so) and a run through MGM and Epcot. Should be fun!

Friday, October 06, 2006

In loving memory of Nancy K. Bouwens


Tomorrow morning is the Susan Komen Race for the Cure 5K at Disney's Animal Kingdom park. And tomorrow I am doing something I have not yet done in any of the races I have run. I am dedicating this race to someone - to my mother-in-law, Nancy Bouwens, who left this world to be with her Lord on Nov. 28, 2001 after losing a lengthy battle to breast cancer.

As I paste her picture on an unused race number to pin to my back as I run, I begin to realize how much I miss her. She was a hard working woman, having raised 4 boys (and since my husband was one of them, I can understand why she spent so much time praying). The phrase that best describes her, at least to me, is that she was a woman of God. Her faith and love served and inspired all around her. Tomorrow, as I run 3.1 miles to help raise money for breast cancer research, I do it knowing that it would be the kind of thing she would be proud for me to do.

Although it has been nearly 5 years since she physically left us, it has not diminished the feeling of loss I have. I feel like she keeps watch over our family, and is certainly here with us in spirit. Still, I miss her.

As runners, we run for many different reasons. Tomorrow, I run for Nancy.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

As the sun rises...

I run through the morning - first in the dark - then as the sun comes up. I am a night owl by tradition, but there is something about being outside at first light that is energizing!

Today I began my run, as usual, in the dark at about 6 am. I had a longer mid week run scheduled - 8 miles. About 4.5 miles into my run, the sky started to get lighter, and by 6 miles in it was light and I felt wonderful! The last 2 miles of the run felt almost effortless - and as I pushed myself to run faster, the fatigue never came. My last mile was covered in 9:50 - with my pace for the run at 11 min/mile.

I feel good! It's a good day to be a runner :-)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Toughest long run yet!

Today I was scheduled to run a 14 mile long run. Since I had successfully done this a couple of weeks ago, I have been optimistic about being able to do this again. However, the circumstances for this weekend were a bit different.

After running my best 5K ever yesterday morning, I showered up and headed over to help a friend move. I got there around 11 am and worked until 10 pm. After getting to bed late the night before, getting up early for the race, and running like a crazy woman, I was, well, a bit tired. There were a few times during the day I was wondering if I was going to make it, kind of like being in a long run where you are really worn out and just want to stop. With the move, the last couple of hours were tough not only because we had been working all day, but because I did some of the heaviest lifting of the entire day during the last hour of work.

I got home around 10:30 pm and immediately climbed into a nice hot bubbly bath. I knew that I was going to be sore in a few muscle groups I was not accustomed to using. My lower back was already a bit sore. Getting up at 6 am to begin a 14 mile run seemed out of the question. I wasn't sure whether I was going to get to my long run the next day, but for that moment, I just needed to rest up.

My body naturally woke me up around 7 am, so I dragged my achy body to use the bathroom, popped some ibuprofen and climbed back into bed. I got up a little before 9 am and wrestled with the idea of my long run. My legs felt ok and I felt pretty ok. I realize that my long run is THE most important run of the week, and I really didn't want to skip it. My husband suggested, and I agreed, that I would probably feel ok once I got out there.

Now remember my previous post regarding the fact that it is still summer in Florida? Well today was no exception. The temperature was about 82 degrees, the humidity was around 43% and the sun was bright, with no clouds in the sky. I knew if I ran, it was going to be quite hot. So I resolved to go for an 11 mile run (to my office and back) and I could extend it to 14 if I felt up to it. I would take it easy, run slowly and take breaks when I needed.

So I put on the usual Icy Hot, and also a coating of Bull Frog sunscreen since I knew I would be in the sun for over 2 hours. Packed my water, gel packs, ipod and cell phone and took off.

In a nutshell, toward the end of my run, it would be better characterized as going out for a long walk with running breaks. My total time was 2 hours 33 minutes (just under 14 min mile pace) and I had an untimed stop at the office to cool down, refill my water bottles, and pop a couple more ibuprofen. I was glad I wore the heart rate monitor, because I used it to help me judge when I needed to take a walking break and when I could start running again. If my heart rate got over 160 I really kept an eye on it. Over 165 and I took a break, no matter how long it had been since my last break. It helped me to not overwork myself. By mile 8, I was having some labor with my breathing, even though my heart rate was ok, so I had to walk a bit more. By mile 10, I had to simply walk until my breathing felt normal. I started to feel some light headedness and noticed that I was not sweating nearly as much on my run back (the last 5.5 miles) as I had in the first half of my run. With that feeling I walked. I jogged a couple more segments (they were short) and arrived back to the house - exhausted.

Once I got into the house, breathing was still labored. I used a bit of Primatene to help open up my airways. Shortly after that I started to black out and had to lie down for about 5 minutes. After that, I got up to get a protein shake into me to replace some nutrition. I am icing my left heel and blogging as I rest up. I think I flirted with heat exhaustion today. I know hydration wasn't a problem - but it still got hot.

So I am glad I did a long run, and probably tested my body's endurance as much as I might have done with a early morning 14 miler. I think I will modify my training plan a bit so I work in the longer runs over the next few weeks without increasing the mileage too much (that old 10% rule).

It was a tough run, but a good learning experience. Until the weather cools down a bit more, its back to the early morning, in the dark, runs.

A new 5K PR!!!!



On Saturday, my family came to watch me race in the Rock and Run 5K in Casselberry, Florida. Though I had spent the night before helping a friend get ready for a move (more on that in a later blog entry) and was up rather late, we were up dark and early to get to the race in time for a 7:30 am start. By the time we got to the race area, the sun had come up, and it was a bright and sunny, but thankfully a cooler Central Florida morning.

I was very excited for this race. I had two really good 5 mile runs during the week, and I felt very optimistic that I could set a PR (personal record) for the 5K - I was shooting to get my time under 33 minutes. The race started as most others, except this time I did a couple of things differently. I set my ipod on a 170 bpm podrunner tune to keep my cadence up. I also set a brisk pace - comfortable but brisk. The usual few runners breezed by me, but for the most part, I kept up with the crowd (normally I fall way behind). I knew I went out a bit faster than usual, but when we got to the first mile I looked at my watch and I had run it in 9:33 - a min per mile faster than I was shooting for. I decided to slow my pace a bit so I didn't burn out so quickly. When the water stop came up around 1.5 miles in, I skipped the stop. On a 30-ish min run I have no problem finishing without a drink. Just ahead of mile 2 I took a 30 sec walking break, just to rest a bit before the last push. I reached mile 2 in 11:10, then bumped the pace up for the last mile. About a quarter of a mile from the finish, I kicked my pace up, imagining that portion of my normal training run course where I always speed up. At 3 miles, which I reached in about 10:10, I sprinted for the finish. As I was crossing the finish I looked at the clock and saw 31:05 as I approach, and realized I not only beat 33 minutes, but blew it away. I crossed the finish and hit my watch stop button. With the 25 sec delay at the start, my net time was 30:44. My official race time ended up being 31:10.

I was ecstatic! A 30 min 5K was an goal I hoped to achieve sometime in the next year - with speed work after my marathon training. I didn't dream I would be this close to 30 min at this point in time. I was SO excited!!

We hung around for the kids runs. Both of the girls bravely ran the 1 mile run. My 11 year old completed the mile in 11 minutes. My 6 year old completed it a minute later in 12 min. I was so proud of them both.

It was a great morning to be a runner!!!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Easy recovery week

This is one of my scheduled recovery weeks. I am just running two days - Tues and Thurs - scheduled for 4 miles each. Actually I ran 5 miles on each day. I have a 5K race to run on Saturday and then my long run this week is another 14 miler.

This has been good since it has given my heel lots of time to rest up. Even on my run days it has been hardly sore at all.

I am excited because my 5 mile runs have been the fastest runs I have posted for that route. Today I ran it at a pace of 10:41 min/mile. At a pace of 10:30 I will set a PR for the 5K - which I believe I can maintain for 3 miles. So I am excited for Saturday's race.

I guess the toughest thing I have been contending with lately has been my appetite. In the morning after my run I have a protein shake (about 400 cal) followed about an hour later by a piece of fruit like a banana. By lunchtime I am SO HUNGRY!!! Then I tend to want to graze all afternoon. I try to keep healthy grazing snacks in my office like celery sticks or carrots but when I forget to bring something with me to work, I start foraging around by the vending machine. I realize I am burning more calories - I just want to keep my eating healthy.

Next posting will be a race report on Saturday. Run well everyone!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I am so hooked!

I was so excited the other day when my 11 year old daughter decided she wanted to start running and asked if I would go with her. I had discussed it with her earlier, that we would start on an easy 30 sec run / 30 sec walk - then move up from there. It is also about 2/3 of a mile around the block, so that was a good starting distance. Depending on how she felt, we could do more laps.

So yesterday we took our first run together. 30/30 all the way around the block. She did great and we chatted the entire way. We will try to go again later today as well. If one of the results of my running is that my kids take up running or other type of exercise, well, that would be a wonderful result!!

After the short run with my daughter, since I was dressed up anyway, I decided to go for just a few miles - so I headed out for a short 3.4 mile run. It was warm but nice, the sun was going down and the temperature was comfortable. It was strange. Though I was scheduled not to run yesterday, I kept feeling like I needed to get out and run. And doing the run was a relief, like I was itching to do something and I just scratched that itch.

And so I think I am hooked!

I could hardly wait to run today, and though I am starting a recovery week and was scheduled for a 6 mile long run, I did almost 8. I missed a few miles earlier in the week so I figured I would do an extra mile or so. It felt good, running on a Sunday morning. The traffic is much lighter and with the shorter run I could start a little later and not run in the dark. I have found that running the miles is not such a chore as it seemed earlier. I decide on my running route and just head out. I listen to music, podcasts, or a cadence I want to keep and the time just goes by. Before I know it I am finishing up the run.

In my running log I have had the biggest month yet - 105 miles in September so far, and I still have a few more days left. It is encouraging to look back in my running log and see how far I have come since the beginning of this year, even just since July. When I had the goal to run a 5K before my 40th birthday just 4 years ago, a marathon was hardly a thought - and running more than 5K a little ambitious. A half marathon was quite a stretch but I have now managed to do that 3 times. But the discipline and training to reach the marathon distance - well it is so much more of a journey in itself. The race will be the culmination of 6 months of planning, working, dedication and many miles. And I am enjoying and growing from the journey as much as I believe I will from the race itself.

14 weeks, 6 days until the race!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Already planning my 2nd marathon

I am just getting into the heavy training for my very first marathon, and I am already eyeing another marathon for next year. Premature? Perhaps, but I am having such a good time prepping for this one, why not? I have a few friends who are interested in doing their first marathon next year, so I figure I will join them - as someone who has just been there. Besides, we are talking about the Marine Corps Marathon, and that one looks really exciting. 34,000 runners through some of the most visited places in our nation's capital.

It was pretty hot at lunchtime today when I did a 4 mile run. I was itching to run today since I sat out the previous two days because of a sore heel and calf. I was supposed to run yesterday but after the 14 miles I did on Sun I figured I would give the heel and calf and extra day's rest. Today's run went well, with some soreness after. I am going to run 7 tomorrow morning, and I imagine my heel will complain, but the weather is supposed to be wonderful - a cool and less humid 65 degrees. I think I know the source of my heel issue and I am going to try something to see if it helps.

I have an easier week ahead. This weekend I have a shorter long run - before I go into the next few harder weeks. I am feeling great!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A new distance - 14.3 miles!!!

Well I was so excited for today and now that my run is over and the ice is on my heel, I can safely say that it was just as exciting, if not more, than I thought! I completed a distance I have never done before, 14.3 miles. Why 14.3 you ask? Well, using mapmyrun.com (the run is at http://www.mapmyrun.com/view_route.php?r=d12a17327dc2cb7246c05c623babf5d7 if you want to check it out) to map out my route, it is difficult to get it to exactly 14 miles - and so I am taking credit for every extra tenth of a mile I ran!! Since I can only carry enough water to last about 10 miles, it worked out perfectly that I could stop in where I work at mile 8.5 and refill my water.

This was a great longrun, I really felt like I was "in the zone". I woke up feeling pretty good and left the house just before 7 am - it was still dark outside. After about 45 minutes, the sun started to peek out, but its effects were delayed because of some morning clouds to the east - so for the moment I was spared the heat. But I knew it was coming. I knew I wasn't going to be finished until almost 10 am - and by then the sun can be brutal.

I loaded up a 165 bpm Podrunner piece (Thanks to DJ Steveboy - you can check out his tunes at http://www.djsteveboy.com/mixes.html ). The music really keeps me paced as I go along. If I begin to get winded I just shorten my stride a bit. I took 45 sec walking breaks every 6 minutes, with a short stop at the office to refill my water bottles. After the water stop I listened to Phedippedations (a great runner's podcast at http://www.steverunner.com/ ) as the heat of the morning sun really began to set in. For the last 2.5 miles, I swapped back to Podrunner to help keep my pace up for the end of the run. In all of this, I went through 3 gel packs (plus one before I left this morning).

I also wore the heart rate monitor today. I set the target zone for 135 - 155 bpm. Of the 3+ hours of running I spent 1 hour 49 min in that zone - but as my run went on and the heat of the morning really started to hit me, I couldn't keep my bpm much below 160 (160 is about 85% for me) or so, particularly for the last 3 miles. It was a good way to gauge how I was doing in maintaining a long run pace.

So, my final time was 3 hours, 5 minutes, 39 seconds, a blazing 12:59 pace. I was hoping for a better pace, but I had to keep reminding myself that the purpose of the long run is not speed, but distance. If I had gone out faster I think it would have been much harder to complete. As it was, I finished strong in the last mile, 11:52 with a good strong sprint down the street to my house.

After more water and a cold bath I am now sitting at my computer and reporting on my run. I think for my next really long run (another 14 miler in 2 weeks) I am going to try ice in the bath water. I had to get used to the cold water idea - but the cold water has felt great so I am going to try it with the ice next time. Afterall, I am in training for all aspects of the marathon, including the ceremonial ice bath to help speed recovery.

Thanks to my friends Jennifer and Karen who I am sure thought of me this morning as they got up to another beautiful morning in Florida. Thanks most of all to my husband who gets to share this adventure all along the way with me, watching me listen to running podcasts, read running books and magazines, visit running websites, and just basically living, eating and breathing running. It is week 16 of training - just 15 weeks and 6 days to the Disney Marathon.

Friday, September 15, 2006

It's still summer in Florida!!!

Today I decided to meet my daughter after school (she bikes to school) by running there. The school is only a mile away, and I wanted to run more than 2 miles, so I left the house a little early and got in about 4 miles, ending at the school in time to pick her up.

Now 2 pm is about the hottest time of the day. The temperature is 89 degrees, however with the humidity it feels like 94. Combine that with the over confidence I developed this week as I ran a 7.2 mile run on Wed after having that great run on Tuesday, and, well, I got this crazy idea that I could run in the heat of the day. Perhaps my flawed thinking was compounded by reading Dean Karnezes book "Ultramarathon Man" yesterday. Hey, he can run over 100 miles through the desert in 130 degree heat. What's 5 miles in 94 degrees?

I conveniently forgot that I run at 6 am because I don't like to run in the heat.

But I was feeling good, and strong and somewhat invincible, and set out at 2 pm to get my 5 miles in with a brief stop to meet my daughter on her bike.

This is actually a good story - the first mile felt pretty good, as did the second. As I turned around to head back toward the school I worried that I might not get there in time so I bumped up my pace from 165 bpm to 170 bpm. You see, I was trying to go easy since it was hot (see I didn't completely lose my mind). I even brought water along with me.

I got a bit winded, but I maintained the 10 min run/1 min walk pace and got to the school in plenty of time. I even got to chat with one of the moms I knew and talked about running.

Once my daughter came out, I ran the entire distance home at the 170 bpm pace. It was strenuous, but the tiredness that I felt is the kind that you feel good about after you finish the workout.

And I logged my best 5 mile time, although I may not have measured it right with my wanderings through the school yard. It is still one of the best paces I have maintained - just over 11 min/mile.

In Central Florida, we really don't get to enjoy the cooling of the fall season until late October or early November. September - well it is still summer here!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A breakthrough!

This morning for my 5 mile run, I set off to try my run using the smaller, quicker steps that Shirley suggested on Sunday. To help me maintain the faster pace, I used a Podrunner song at 165 bpm (normally I had been pacing around 155 bpm). I started off in the usual manner, walked a quick minute then started my timer for the 4 min run 1 min walk pace. When I reached my first walking break, I was hardly winded but took the break anyway. At the second break I felt so good that I skipped it, along with the next one, and the next one, and the next one. I ran 3.5 miles before I took a break, and that break was to set the ipod to a 170 bpm song because I was hardly getting winded. I ran the rest of the way home at that pace.

Now I didn't set any records today (except for running for 45 min without a break). My pace ended up at 11:30, which is not my fastest but is still pretty good. The shorter steps felt sooo slow, and are slower than running the normal stride - HOWEVER, and this is big - I could last so much longer. And the name of this game is endurance. It seems the smaller stride took much less energy to maintain - which kind of makes sense, since I don't have to move my leg so far for each step. I also did not have the force of the heel strike working so much against me since my foot hit the ground closer to me, thus at less of an angle against me. Basic physics can show what a difference that is.

So, either I was just feeling really good because it is my birthday, OR, I have made a breakthrough in my running and can reach my goal to take less running breaks when I am out. I loaded up the faster bpm podrunner songs in my ipod. I am going to try to do more of the run at 170 (instead of the last mile and a half) and see how I do. I will shoot to take a walking break every 10 minutes.

The downside is that I need the music to keep moving, so I can't listen to my other podcasts, at least not right now. Maybe when I get used to the new pace I can go back to the podcasts and other music.

16 weeks, 4 days and 13 hours until the marathon!!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Short little steps

Today I ran my 12 mile long run with a friend of mine, Shirley, who also happens to be a certified running coach. And though my intent in requesting her help was not to have her run with me (since I am a slow goer) she offered to run with me on my long run this weekend to observe how I run and offer some tips. Also, as she is training for her first Ironman, she felt an easier run would be good after a tough bike ride on Saturday. I have never really run with anyone else because they usually are much faster than me, but I really enjoyed the company - and it made the run go much better!

2 hours, 28 minutes later - in the bright Florida sunshine, we completed the 12 miles. What got me through the last 2 miles was some advice from Shirley, who recommended I try to run with a shorter stride - short little steps - and just pick up the pace a bit. It turned out to be easier for me than my slower, longer stride, and seems to have good potential to be easier on my left heel, which continues to bug me on and off. I had been running at about 155 beats per minute (BPM) but I am going to try this week on my shorter runs to go with a shorter stride at around 165 or 160 - I have the BPM music I have picked up on line to help keep the pace up. I am excited that if this turns out to be easier, I will last better. My long runs are getting longer in time, and next week's 14 miles will take me nearly 3 hours to complete.

So, I feel great - with 12 miles behind me today, which is good. When I go for 14 miles next week it will be the longest run I have EVER done. A half marathon is the longest I have done to date. I will be treading into new territory, and I am excited!! I ran 31.4 miles this week so the Parrot Predictor did its calculation and it is predicting a 5:07 marathon. I am thinking that a time between 5 hours and 5.5 hours will be a good goal for me.

It's a good day to run!! :-)

Friday, September 08, 2006

69 hours of running

That's how many hours of running I have logged this year - 69 hours, 8 minutes to be a bit more precise. In that time I have covered 356.2 miles. That is just over 5 miles for every hour I have put in.

I like numbers. I track my running on an excel spreadsheet that I found on the internet that has all kinds of calculations and stuff built in. That may be why I majored in Math while in college, and then majored in Math again for my master's degree. I don't ever use what I spent all that time learning, but in conversation it sounds impressive anyway.

This morning was another day with a 5 mile run planned. My body was NOT in the mood to run - although I did not feel as bad as I did on Wed (when I didn't run) I still felt a bit crappy (I still feel crappy after having completed the run). But I bravely pushed myself out the front door and logged another 5 miles and nearly another hour of running. This was in such contrast to yesterday when I got up and ran 6 miles in an hour and 10 minutes, and felt great during the run and afterwards. Good days and bad days...At least I have my podcast buddies to keep me company while I run.

Now it's time to get on with the every day once more. If I can only get out of this chair....

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Racing a storm

It was just yesterday when I read a story about a runner, running in a storm with lightning, thinking things would be ok, then getting hit by lightning. Today, as I stepped out late in the afternoon to run a quick (by my standards anyway) 4 miles, the clouds to the north and west looked a bit dark, but appeared to be headed away from me. It was clearer in the direction I was going, so I headed out, figuring I would be ok.

About a mile and a half into the run, I felt a drop on my shoulder, shortly followed by another one. As I looked behind me (toward the north) an angry dark sky was bearing down, and it appeared I needed to hurry a bit. I ran a little further to make my total run about 3.4 miles, turned and headed home, the dark clouds seemed closer and not only ahead of me to the north but also to the west. Lightning flashed and a few more drops came down as I approach the mark where I would be 1 mile from home. I picked up my pace, still taking my walking breaks, but pushing the running. "I better have a pace under 11 minutes or I am going to be disappointed" I thought to myself.

I got home before the storm hit (and it was a pretty good one) having achieved a pace of 10:43, one of my fastest paces for that particular run. No lightning strikes that day, but Jim getting a bit worried and was about to come out and find me when I got home.

I am excited that my heel does not hurt at all - a good sign!

Tomorrow morning I will roll out of bed early and do 6 miles. Time to pick up the mileage now that I am just over 17 weeks away from the marathon. This is when many of the marathon training programs really kick in.

Hopefully the weather will be a little clearer in the morning! :-)