Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Good Running Week!

So far a good week for running!!!

Monday was a running day off. However, my husband and I restarted the one hundred pushups program. We did the test on Sunday and this time I am starting with the middle column since I managed 10 pushups.

Tuesday I was up early for a tempo run. What a great 4 miler where I ran each successive mile faster than the previous. My splits:

Mile 1 - 11:35 min
Mile 2 - 11:06 min
Mile 3 - 10:44 min
Mile 4 - 10:11 min

It was a great run!

Today I got in 7.1 miles in 1:24:19 - the fastest 7 miler in a long time. I didn't set out to go fast. I ran comfortably, in spite of the near 100% humidity and no wind this morning. My legs felt great, I think, after a nice rolling with "The Stick" last night. I took the time to massage and roll both legs and feet. And this morning, I felt like I could fly. I am definitely going to do that again tonight after I do my pushups!!

Oh, and one more change this week. I have modified my morning protein shake with some adders, compliments of my sister. In addition to the scoop of protein and banana (mixed with rice milk), I now add: baby spinach, cucumber, avocado and carrot juice! It looks terrible but it tastes rather good. Now I am getting my veggies for breakfast! :-)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Run for the Fallen Has Completed!

If you have been listening to Phedip lately, you will know about this event that completed today.

Run for the Fallen is a group of folks who have been running across the country since Mid-June to run 1 mile for each fallen soldier in Afghanistan or Iraq - just over 4000 miles.

I started a Runner Plus challenge along the same lines.

And I am proud to announce that our challenge 55 runners ran 8637 miles for the fallen.

God Bless the men and women who are defending our freedom and God Bless their families. May we never forget the sacrifice they have made!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Where in the World is MarathonChris?

Wow, has it been 2 weeks since I have blogged??? I think all that "tweeting" makes me think I am keeping up here. As it is, Twitter keeps me so busy, I am going to have to scale back and get back to blogging again.

So where HAVE I been? It has been a busy couple of weeks. Let's see:

Sierra Vista, AZ - Last weekend I flew out to Tuscon, AZ and drove down to Sierra Vista to attend my brother's wedding. It was a small, family affair - but I think those are the best kind. I had a great time visiting with my brother and his new wife as well as spending some time with my dad. My dad was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease - and I am just learning about the disease. If anyone has any good resources please let me know. While in AZ I did one long run on Sat morning in Sierra Vista (elevation 4600 ft). I had arrived in town on Thurs but waited until Sat to run to allow acclimation to the altitude (since I live at sea level). It was an incredible run. I ran at sun rise and felt fine while running - managing 11.23 miles. I wanted to take my iRiver but I didn't have my fuel belt and it was either bring the iRiver or a bottle of water. I opted for the water.

Tropical Storm Fay - After returning to Florida on Sun evening, I had a tropical storm to look forward to. On Mon evening I got home and my husband and I managed to squeeze in 5 miles before the weather got rainy. And did it rain!!! I kept wanting to get to the office treadmill, but I worked from home all week. No running until yesterday!

24 miles in one weekend! - This weekend called for 8 miles on Saturday and 16 miles on Sunday. Even though I didn't get much running in this week, I decided to go for it. The 8 miles on Saturday were a bit tough since I waited until 8:30 am to do them (finishing around 10:15 am). Today was the big 16 miler. I rolled out of bed at 5 am so I could get a 5:30 am start. I finished the first 8 mile loop in 1:41 - faster than Saturday's 8 miler. Then did the second 8 mile loop. At 13 miles I was really begin to wonder whether I should have gone for 16 miles. Both feet were hurting and the heat was starting to build (by now it was about 8:30 am). I pressed on for the turn around at mile 13.5. At this point, the only way to get home was to finish the run. As hot and tired as I was, I finished strong - posting my best mile (outside of the first mile) as my last mile in 12:16.

Total for today's long run:

16 miles
3:24:36 / 12:47 min/mile
AHR 152, MHR 176
2608 calories burned (according to Garmin)
4 Cliff shots, 40 oz of water and 32 oz of G2 Gatorade
10 ice bath afterwards

As much as I would like to get my long runs in the 12 min/mile range, I am giving myself a break with the heat and humidity - and the trend on my long runs is that they are getting faster each week. Check this out for August:

Aug 3 - 12.1 miles / 2:40:15 / 13:16 min/mi pace
Aug 10 - 14.0 miles / 3:03:34 / 13:07 min/mi pace
Aug 16 - 11.2 miles (elev 4600 ft) / 2:24:57 / 12:54 min/mi pace
Aug 24 - 16.0 miles / 3:24:36 / 12:47 min/mi pace

In another surprising moment of discovery - this year I am running on Saturdays as well as on Sundays in preparation for running the Goofy challenge. I was worried that the Saturday run, usually half the distance of the Sunday run, would make the Sunday run harder. In fact, no matter how bad Saturday is, the following day seems to go really well. Perhaps running the day before DOES prime the pump. Now, according to the Higdon plan, I need to be running Saturday at race pace - I haven't really been doing that. I have been taking it nice and easy. But I hope to step it up to race pace as time goes on.

Today I also signed up for the Miracle Mile 15K on September 27th. This is one of the few races I will run before my marathons.

Podcast: Not sure when I will get the next one out. I have been too busy to publish - though I have tons of files. We will see....

Run strong everyone! :-)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

14 miles - Longest Run Since Disney

I ran 14 miles this morning - a distance I haven't reached since running the Disney World Marathon in January. Must be marathon training time! :-)

I wasn't sure how today's run would go. For one thing, I ran 7 miles yesterday - my first go at running Sat and Sun with Saturday's run half of the long run distance. For the last two weeks I have run on Sat, but only 4 miles - and both times - very tough runs. Yesterday's run went very well and I concluded that: a) I have reacclimated to the heat and humidity and b) I run much better when I finish before 8 am.

Today my goal was to take it nice and easy - targeting a lower heart rate for most of the run. The lower I can keep my heart rate - the better my endurance. For me, I am optimal with a heart rate lower than 155 bpm. The longer I can keep it below 150 bpm, the better. When I am tired, my heart rate rises quickly - but today was yet another good day.

I knew I was looking at about 3 hours on the road. I had to balance my desire to finish before 8 am with running in the dark for too long. I don't like to run when it is really dark....people who drive through my neighborhood sometimes think that breaking bottles on the sidewalks must be cool. Darkness makes it hard to see hazards on the sidewalk. Fortunately, the city of Oviedo and/or my homeowner's association have seen fit to fix the street lights so that they were well lit. Add to that the fact that they have stopped running the sprinklers during my morning runs and running early isn't so bad.

I decided I would target getting out on the road around 5:30 am. I would run 8 miles, then stop at the house to refill my water bottles before doing another 6 miles. I should finish in about 3 hours.

The alarm went off at 5:10 am. I am NOT a morning person and had just gotten up yesterday at 5:45 am. However, I needed to get an early start - so I got up and got ready. By 5:30 am I was outside waiting for my Garmin to catch the satellites. It was quite dark but the skies were clear and there were lots of stars to decorate the sky. It was probably around 74 deg F and the humidity was high, as was usual for morning runs.

At 5:33 am I was on my way. My starting heart rate was in the 70's - a good starting rate. As I made my way through the dark through my first couple of miles I felt pretty good....heart rate was comfortably in the mid 140's. I cranked up the latest Phedip episode and plugged on.

One thing I DO like about the early runs is watching the sky begin to lighten and eventually the sun to rise. By 6:15 am, it was light outside - making me feel a little safer running through my neighborhood. By 7:15 am, as I was running by the elementary school about a mile from my house and my water stop, a bright orange ball of a sun was coming up on the horizon - the heat was about to really get going.

At 1 hour 43 min - 7.9 miles into my run I was at my house, refilling my water and Gatorade with a quick pit stop. Hard to believe I had to pee, but I guess I was hydrating well. I headed back out for the last 6 miles.

Things were warming up but I still felt pretty good. I didn't start to "feel" it until sometime after mile 10. My body was now letting me know this run thing was getting a bit long. I pressed on. This last 6 miles was an out and back, and I was due to make my turn at about mile 12.

At 11.99 miles, I turned around and started heading back. I kept wanting to speed up but held back a bit....about 2.5 miles from the house I gave myself permission to pick up the pace if I wanted...allowing my heart rate to rise out of my nice aerobic pace. I kept my AHR below 160 for the first 11 miles or so....really good!

About the time I was to hit 12 miles I looked at the said 10.59 miles!!!! Hey, how could I DECREASE in miles. Somewhere during mile 11 (probably right when I turned) I lost 1.5 miles on the Garmin. I knew how far I was going, so I figured I would calculate the correct pace later.

The last couple of miles were pretty hard - as they should be on the really long runs. I tried to maintain a decent pace, and actually finished my last mile just 1 second slower than my fastest mile on the run at 12:46 min. I wanted to try to finish in under 3 hours but didn't have the gas to do it. I finished the 14 miles in 3 hours 3 min and 34 sec. My final average pace was 13:07 min/mi - faster than the pace for last week's 12 miler! :-) This a good pace given the heat and humidity. The temp at my finish was 78 deg, but felt like 82 deg with the 74% humidity.

As much as I tried to prepare for chafing, I got a pretty good burn where my heart rate monitor strap runs across my chest (just in the middle). Body Glide is not working for that spot. Otherwise, I survived the run pretty unscathed and extremely hungry! Last night I didn't have much of a dinner - this morning after the run I had to have some calories: ham and egg omelet, bowl of fruit and english muffin along with a cup of hot tea. Mmmmmm...much better than Clif Shots!

A long - long run story - but a happy ending.

14 miles
3:03:34 / 13:07 min/mile
AHR 152, MHR 177 (last then of mile)
2129 calories burned (according to Garmin)
5 Cliff shots, 40 oz of water and 18 oz of G2 Gatorade
2 - 8 hour Tylenol before the run (for foot pain and possibly legs)

Off to take the kids to the pool!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Introducing Super Amy!

SuperAmy is a longtime friend of mine. We worked together 16 years ago here in Florida and since both of us have moved around the country a bit. She currently is living just outside of Houston.

In 2003, Amy and a mutual friend of ours (Margaret), got the idea to run a half marathon together. We signed up to run the Disney World Half in Jan 2004. Amy was unable to run that race and I nearly dropped out but decided at the last minute, with little training, to do the race anyway (my first half marathon). Margaret trained and ran an 2:10 race!

The following year, Amy and Margaret returned for the 2005 Disney Half and we all ran it together with my husband and another friend.

This year, Amy is training for her first full marathon. She will be running the San Antonio Inaugural Rock 'n Roll Marathon (yes, that is the same one I am training for and a good part of why I signed up for the race!). She is running for Team in Training. She has been a triathlete - biking, swimming and running - but also a softball player along with her duties as full time mother of 2 and full time career woman! She is challenged by a number of aches and pains, but is pressing on to run the big one.

She has started her own blog to capture her journey to her first marathon. Check her out and say hello!! :-)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Running for a Cause: Run for the Fallen

Beginning on 6/14/2008 a campaign called Run for the Fallen was started. I heard about it on an episode of the Phedippedations podcast. There is a group of runners that are running across the United States - 1 mile for every soldier fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan. To join in the spirit of this run, I added a challenge to the Nike Runner+ system - a challenge to run the same number of miles as the Run for the Challenge group. The response has been incredible!

There are currently 46 runners participating, and each week a few more join in. Last week we were just under 3500 miles - but this week the team has run a total of 5015 miles. There are still 2 weeks left to go! The Run for the Fallen runners were planning on running just over 4080 miles - we have already gone beyond that.

Check out their website! You can participate by running 1 mile on August 24th - the last day of the run. You can even download a runner's bib for the event!

Feel free to join the Runner+ challenge or join on the Run for the Fallen site for the 1 mile on the 24th.

Hot, Hot Run!

Yesterday was a very long day of travel. I was up at 3:30 am to catch a 6 am flight to NJ where I attended a meeting out on an Army range. Much of the activity was spent standing and walking around so I was on my feet for a good part of the afternoon. Then it was back to the airport and the flight home, arriving at the house last night at 11 pm. My feet were not pleased with all the standing and walking around in work shoes, so they were pretty sore last night. Running was not in the cards for this morning.

So I figured I would get my 4 mile run in while the kids were in karate class. I dropped them off at 7 pm and headed out. The sun was still out, so it was pretty hot. About 2 miles into the run I passed a church sign that showed time and was 91 deg F! My miles got slower as I went on and my heart rate got higher:

Mile 1: 11:01 min - AHR 154 bpm (not too bad here)
Mile 2: 11:15 min - AHR 166 bpm (keeping pace but heart rate rising)
Mile 3: 11:43 min - AHR 171 bpm (this HR is HIGH for me...max was 176 bpm)
Mile 4: 12:09 min - AHR 173 bpm (MHR 177)

Total average pace: 11:30 min/mi, AHR 166 bpm (anaerobic)

I am pretty happy with the pace in spite of the heat and humidity. As hard a run as it was, I feel I have acclimated to the heat again so I can tolerate the work.

Friday is a rest day (also pushup day). Saturday I am going for 7 miles and Sunday I plan to do 14 miles.

Pushup progress: My husband and I are doing the pushup program together. We got through the first 2 weeks ok, but I was always JUST making the minimum for the first column (easiest). Week 3 was another story. I should have done the pushup test and gone back to week 1, but instead I just pressed ahead to column 1 for week 3....and could not do it! So instead we have been doing as many as we could. Instead of 15 I could do about 10. Next week we will attempt week 3 again.

Core workout: I happened upon Runner's World videos for building core muscles and have decided that I am going to add some core work to my program. I haven't been getting in the strength training like I wanted. At least the core work I can do at home.

I think I am going to begin by doing Planks (front and side) and the Bird Dog and add stuff from then. I will probably try to do them on the non-pushup days. I am open to recommendations!

Tomorrow is a day off! My company has gone to a 9-80 program where for every 2 week period, you get your 80 hours of work in the first 9 days, taking the 10th day (every other Friday) off. Sometimes working on that Friday is unavoidable, but this is the second one I have managed to take. Hubby is with his brother this weekend so it is just me and the girls. I think we will go school clothes shopping tomorrow and try to beat some of the weekend is the last weekend before school - and things can get a little crazy then!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

TNT Runner Seeking Support

I know a few of you have run for TNT before. My sister, Tammy, is training for her first half marathon and is doing it with TNT. She has raised some of her funds but is headed toward missing her milestone this week. She cannot makeup the difference herself, so she may have to drop out.

If you have a place in your heart for TNT and can spare a few $$, Tammy will run in honor or memory of anyone you tell her. She is already running in honor of Elijah.

She will run in honor and memory of folks, even if she has to drop out from the TNT program.

Thanks for any help you can provide!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

iRiver Located and 12 Miles DONE!

Yummy Salad Shared with Fellow Runner Rachel!

This week has been a mixed bag of training. After a full week last week I was hoping to continue, even while on business travel to McLean, VA. But travel really threw off my running.

After taking Monday off, I ran 3 miles with my hubby Jim on Tuesday. He currently trains to run 1 min and walk 1 min. I use the run as an interval session and run a bit faster in between the walk breaks. I really enjoyed running with Jim - gives us lots of time to just catch up on things.

Tuesday night I was not feeling well and wasn't able to get up early to run on Wed. I traveled to VA Wed evening and thought to run but by the time I got in it was too late. Perhaps a run in the morning?

Meanwhile I had been Twittering with fellow runner Rachel who lived in the area. She wanted to get together for a Thursday I put the run off for later in the day. As the day went on, we found something better to do on Thursday night. We saw Ultramarathon Man - Dean Karnazes story about running his 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days! What an inspiration!

So not much running....but a good movie!!

Friday is supposed to be a rest day, but I thought I might try to get a short run in after my flight got in to Florida. Instead, I skipped the run in favor of dinner with Jim and a plan to run my scheduled Sat morning run.

Saturday's 4 miler was really tough! My heart rate at the start was 98...about 20 bpm higher than normal. I struggled to keep it low and did lots of walking...but got the run done. I hoped that Sunday would be like last week - tough run Sat followed by good long run on Sun.

And that is how it pretty much happened. Although my heart rate was about 90 at the start, it stayed nice and low, below 160, for the first 4 miles or so. After 8 miles I stopped at the house to see if Jim wanted to run the last 3-4 miles with me - but he was having foot issues so I headed back out for the last 4 miles. They were not easy miles since it was already after 8 am and the sun was well into the sky, but even with my heart working hard, the run went well. Finished 12 miles at a 13:15 pace - 2 hours 40 min. I also found my iRiver and took it along on the run today. Maybe I can sneak out a mini-adventure this week!

Now to get a few things around the house done. Feet are a bit sore...a sign I am getting into the longer run territory! The end of week 3 of marathon training for San Antonio as well as the end of week 2 of the 100 pushup challenge!