Sprint Workouts - Getting Faster

I meant to get up and run this morning but I was tired and grumpy.  I found the option of running in 95* at 6pm not so appealing so I hit the gym instead.  I did two workouts together, for a long fun time. 
Workout 1 - Pyramid workout.  When this is usually written for track workouts it's like "run this distance and then rest this long".  I just changed the rests to walking because it suits this situation much better.
  • Run 1 lap, walk 1
  • Run 2 laps, walk 1
  • Run 3 laps, walk 1
  • Run 4 laps, walk 1
  • Run 3 laps, walk 1
  • Run 2 laps, walk 1
  • Run 1 lap, walk 1

Workout 2 - Drills.  The point of drills is to make me stronger.  I do them in the opposite order of how much I like them, which means the ones I hate the most I do first so I can look forward to the fun ones later.
  • Box jumps on the short end of the track, run the long sides
  • Lunges on the short end, run the long sides
  • High knees on the short end, run the long sides
  • Kick butts on the short end, run the long sides
  • Cross overs on the short end, run the long sides
  • Run backwards on the short end, run the long sides

Things I noticed:
  • I would time the last lap of each step of the pyramid workout, they started at a 9:00 pace but sped up to somewhere in the 8:00s.  That's fast for me.
  • Where is everyone?  The gym is empty.
  • I focused a lot on cadence tonight, getting my feet to turn over more times per minute, which was a new exercise and I liked it.

Music that helped me make it through:


Long Run Monday - Panic!

Panic is exactly how I felt for my first 20-miler of the season.  I actually made myself meditate on Sunday, just so I'd be calm enough to get to sleep.  Oy.  It was a wild run and I keep telling myself it was actually pretty good, especially the strength of the last 10K, but the self talk only goes so far before I descend back into panic.  (Stay tuned for a post on self talk and how to make it work for you.  As soon as I get it all figured out.)

This is the second time I've used this route.  The first time was training for last year's Twin Cities. I had some pretty specific criteria for this run and this route met all of them.
  • I am so over the lakes.  Go elsewhere.
  • No way in the world will I be running any part of Summit Ave on a long run.
  • There must be facilities.  Just in case.

Apparently, though, I am a little too good at pacing.  I was trying to run 12:00-12:30s but somehow magically ran closer to 13:00s.  Oy.  That caused the most panic throughout the run.  What will I do on Marathon day?  What is wrong with me?  Again, somewhere deep inside I know it was just a pacing and judgement issue becuase I just ran an 11:29 paced half marathon and I'll have a pacer with me on Marathon Sunday.  I keep trying to hang onto that positive self talk as much as possible.  Here's what my pacing looked like.  The dip around mile 15 is that really big hill at Ft Snelling and the dip at the end was after I was done running and left my iPod going to walk and stretch the last couple blocks home.
Things of note good, bad and ugly:
  • Zero 'sick' issues and I was totally un-medicated.  There's one thing that pace is good for.
  • Hilarious reading about last year's run - the same port a pots with the same padlocks were on today's route.  Yo - Minneapolis!  What is the deal?
  • First long run where I've used salt tabs.  Either I liked them or couldn't tell a difference.  Not sure.
  • I used gels every four miles.  Gels are fewer calories than some of the other stuff I eat on runs, so if that's all I have on Marathon Sunday, I need to take them every 3.5 miles at least.
  • Eating a second gel a few minutes after the first one did not bomb out my stomach which was awesome.
  • I "hit the wall" on the downhill section of the Ft Snelling run which is ironic because that's my favorite part of that run, and Ft Snelling is my favorite route.  I never feel bad there.
  • I used a run/walk interval for the last two miles.  Trying to build up miles quickly and follow the 10% rule doesn't always work so compromises have to be made.  It was a good interval and really kept me moving.
  • My feet hurt so bad at the end of this run.  Not like blisters, more like "your shoes are awesome until you stop moving and they have no support".  Whatever, I love my shoes.
  • After the run, I forgot to eat breakfast.  Awesome.


Holy Goblet Squats - I am so sore

This week was a step back week in marathon training so the "seven miles" I did Wednesday night on the elliptical should have been the hardest workout.  Oops.  Thursday was a long day, followed by workouts on Friday and Saturday.

Thursday - Run I did a quick four miler on Thursday morning.  Sometimes it's just better to run before going in to work.  Thursday was no exception.  I went out sort of fast.  So miles 1-3 were like "wow, this is fun, I don't normally go this fast" and mile 4 was all "don't poop your pants".  Awesome.  It looked like this:
When I got home and uploaded the workout I had a special treat.  Nike thinks I've earned 1,000,000 NikeFuel points.  (I still don't know what that is.)  The robot did a little dance and a backflip for me though, so that was cute.

Thursday - Circuit  Circuit was partly The Spartacus Workout.  The parts that were from Spartacus were Double Medicine Ball Push Ups and Goblet Squats.  As a result, I cannot do anything with my arms, including scoop ice cream.  And my inner legs hate me.  The rest of circuit was really fun, especially when the teacher came over to tell me how much I'd improved since I started their class.  Nice.

Thursday - Zumba  I love Zumba.  It's a great way to end the work week.

Friday - Bonus Zumba with Jenna which was hilarious because there were a couple songs where I was doing the wrong routine.  My Zumba teacher would be so proud.  Jenna had an hilarious set of circumstances going on that day with some other stuff, including a computer being taken apart, and no printer.  Also she has a new dog.

Saturday - Run with Beth  We agreed it was quite muggy.  It's hard to run in the muggy.  Luckily we got a break in the middle when I saw a guy from another Ragnar team and we stopped to chat.  Really I just wanted to see Beth because I wanted to hear more about her new job.  Then Beth tried to kill me at the end because she is very speedy.  It's good for me to run with her.  Saturday's run looked like this:


Ragnar Great River: How to Recover from Ragnar

Saturday after the race, my race gear and house exploded into a giant mess.  For a while, I am the opposite of a girl and totally don't care.  Only one science experiment resulted from not rinsing out and unpacking sooner. Although nothing could really top this experience.

 Sunday Go to the Farmer's Market for eggs and bacon.  Exercise is neither allowed nor advisable.  Beer would've been good but I had a 'liquor stores are closed on Sunday' issue.  Minnesota, that is a stupid rule.  The farmer's market was packed.  I got one of the last packages of bacon.

Monday Wake up and go for a short run.  Sleep in and go for a hill run after work.  I didn't mean to run so hard.  This is kind of a 'pound the crap out of your legs' route.  But it's so much fun.  It ends with a big down hill section.  Running down hill is pretty much my favorite thing in the world.  Around mile 2 of the run:


Tuesday be sick for stupid girl reasons.  Take all morning to figure out it's stupid girl reasons making me hurt and so tired I could sleep for a week.  Oy.

Wednesday Have no choice but to go to work.  Have basically an okay day, although still hurting a lot.  Make best friends with ibuprofen.  Hit the gym at the end of the day.  The gym where no one is.  This may have been my first time on an elliptical (not pictured) in August.  I've been trying to avoid them but between Ragnar and the Monday hill run, my legs needed a break.
After Ragnar and feeling like crap, exercise gave me enough energy to finally care about the mess in my house and clean it up.  All better.

Smile and be happy.  Start picking out legs for next year's Ragnar!


16.9 Miles of Running and 198 Miles of Fun

It's race season and this weekend was one of my favorite races, the Great River Ragnar Relay.  For the history, check out what happened in 2009, 2010, and 2011.  This year I was on a new team, one of the charity teams for Bolder Options(There's still time to make a donation to support my fundraising goal.) My old team is heading out to do the Vegas course in November and I can't make the trip.  I just couldn't stand not to do a Ragnar.

Through a series of mishaps and misunderstandings, we wound up with one completely injured runner and one runner who could only run one of this three legs but did a lot of driving for us.  Five of us ran a fourth leg, including me.

These overnight relay races on super long courses really bring out the crazy.  Andy set up donation jars at his work and people made donations based on whether they wanted him to shave his head or his legs or both.  He made a lot of money with that tactic.  He also wore a hat to prevent sunburn.  Good choice.

I was mostly runner number three this year.  I was always jealous of Ryan who took this leg in the past.  It's an early leg so it's done sooner in the race, and it's the lowest mileage of all the options.  The first of my three runs was a 5 mile "Corn run" on paved country roads.  I was so excited to get going that pacing was a bit of an issue.  I was only passed by a few people.  A couple people who passed me early slowed way down on the course and I passed them right back.  Jerks.  This graph is my speed, not the elevation profile.  I started off too fast but came to my senses and tried to manage pace better for the second half of the run.  The best thing about being runner 3 is running early and then getting a while to wait and cheer on everyone else. 

Even better, the weather was the opposite of last year's 95* bake fest.  It was in the low 70's and gorgeous.  There was quite a headwind, especially for the first few legs, but later on we were happy it was blowing all the bugs away from us.  Below - vans lining up to cheer on our runners.

This was the first time since 2009 I did a Ragnar on a team with two vans.  Our van had time to stop for dinner which was nice.  Mercifully the hamburger did not make a repeat performance, although it was touch and go for a while.  We also had time to stop and look around at the small towns.  Exchange 12 is on Lake Peppin.  Mother nature put on quite a show for us there.

After sunset, it was my turn to run again.  I picked up my extra leg here.  Runner 2 was supposed to run this first leg up this hill, and I was the lucky slacker who was supposed to run back down it.  In years past, this had all been one long leg so I knew it was possible to run that way.  Runner 2 was our guy who did his first leg and then drove so I told him I'd do his leg and mine together.  He gave me some salt tabs which I'd never tried before and some shot blocks (apparently Gu is not the sponsor this year?) and sent me on my way up the hill.  Here's the elevation profiles for both runs.

Now, my team was supposed to meet me in the middle, at the exchange where we would've changed runners.  My team failed miserably.  I got to the top of the hill and they were nowhere around.  The volunteers were all "are you running two legs?" and I explained my team was supposed to meet me with water and nutrition.  The volunteer handed me a water bottle and I kept going.  I was pissed.  It really came out in my running because I took the last three miles at a much faster speed than the first five.  I finished strong and had run off most of my aggravation.  The graph below is my speed, slow and steady for a long time and then boom off I go down the hill.

Shortly after I got done running I changed into clean running gear (finally), put on my sweats over it and crawled in the back of the van and went to bed.  I was so cold that one of the other runners gave me his blanket in addition to my own.  When all six of our runners had gone, we drove to the next big exchange to sleep and wait for our teammates.  This may have been my best Ragnar ever for actual sleep.

Around 5:30am I woke up and began to shovel food in my mouth because I knew I had one more run.  Eating sucked.  I could barely get the peanut butter down.  (Who knew I had a gag reflex?)  My last run was a true 5K that was both more awesome and more awful than I expected.  2.9 miles were on a running/bike trail in a suburb of the cities.  I'd actually run a section of this leg on my third run last year.  I went harder than I expected to be able to.  And then I turned off the trail to where the parking lot and exchange were.  And I saw the hill.  It was a short but brutal hill that took everything I had.  I was going so slow I was afraid I was going backwards.  The hill was that steep, even though you can't tell from the elevation profile. Good thing I did all those hill runs in training.

After my last run, I was so happy to be done.  The last legs are always interesting because once people are done, they sort of lose their minds.  And all the people who still have to run are a little grumpy and impatient.  True.  Andy had fun with his second to last and last runs and really dressed the part.  He did his run and then picked up the last leg of the injured runner.

Once our van was done, we stayed with the other van for a few exchanges to congratulate runners as they finished.  The last ten or eleven legs of the race were very different from the past year's course.  I liked most of the changes they made, particularly that runners were on running trails almost the entire time we were in Minnesota.  We saw this at the last exchange before the finish (which had been the second to last exchange the last three years)

Like last year, the course finished at the River Flats which has a view of downtown similar to this one.  This was taken a few days earlier from a different building on the U of M campus.  After the race we had a beer, cleaned out the vans and headed home, already talking about next year.



How to (not) do hill runs

I showed up for running training tonight with the Bolder Options crew and had this discussion with the trainer:
Me: Can I have a workout where I have to run down the hills harder than up, because my night leg of Ragnar is all down hill
Her: Oh, you have a race on Friday.  You can't run.
Me: Just the down hills?  I can walk up.
Her: No.  You can't run.  Just walk.

I was torn between wanting to still run downhill and being super happy about not having to run up that stupid hill tonight.  My head hurts.  My back hurts.  I want to sleep.  I entertained myself by taking pictures with my iPod while I was walking.  There was no wind at all.  I've never seen the river so calm so late in the day.



Long Run Monday - The Construction has moved to the bike trails

Yes, I did just run a half marathon two days ago, so running 17 miles at the crack of dawn seemed like the best idea in the world.  Right.  I meant to do the long run Sunday morning but had a killer migraine so everything got pushed back a day.

5:00am - Why is there light?  Why am I awake?  I hate eating these protein bars before a run.  Before races I usually have granola and yogurt but I didn't have time to let that settle so inhaled a bar and packed another for a snack, something I hate just as much, because I didn't have enough Gu for the whole run.


5:30am or so - off I go.  Nike wants me to know that I work out way too early in the morning.  I completely agree.

Miles 1 and 2 - Slow down.  Given the fiasco that was half marathon pacing on Saturday, my goal was to take this run nice and easy and practicing managing a pace even when I wanted to go faster.

Mile 2 - Pit stop number 1.  I wish I knew how many minutes that added to my time.

Lake Harriet - I love this lake when no one is here to bother me.  Lake Harriet is everyone's favorite lake and as such, is totally packed much of the time.  It's fun in the early morning when just a few people are out and there's plenty of room to maneuver.  Also, there's a pretty good dirt track next to the path all the way around this lake.  I like to run in the dirt.  Shocker.
Ate first half of Gross Bar number 2.

Lake Calhoun - Sunrise was pretty impressive.  Seriously. Slow down.  It's not time to go yet.

Midtown Greenway and Kenilworth Trail *Construction Detour* - awesome.  I'm not really sure what I did here; I think the way I have it drawn on the map is accurate, but who can say for sure.  I knew the detour was actually going to take distance off the run but decided not to panic.  It's not clear how long all this crap will be going on or how many more runs it will impact.

Lake Cedar - Ate second half of Gross Bar number 2.  Boo.  Lake Cedar made up for it by being the most beautiful part of the entire run.  As always.  It was also the place where I finally thought about going a little faster, although I was still trying to keep it under control.

Cedar Lake / Luce Line Trail and the northern edge of Kenilworth - mercifully not under construction.

21st street and Lake of the Isles - I finally started to kick here and maybe did too good a job of pacing earlier because I had plenty of energy to keep it moving.  To my friends at the Minneapolis Park Board - why are there no facilities or portable facilities at Lake of the Isles?  Also, were the portable facilities at the Lake of the Isles Greenway entrance set on fire?  Because that's how it looked.


Lake Calhoun again - long pit stop.  I love plumbing.  Again, I wish I knew how long that ultimately took.   I couldn't have been that long.

Lake Harriet - loving running in the dirt track next to the trial.  My shoes, socks and ankles are so dirty.

40th street Greenway - How did I get up that hill?  I ran all the way to the35W bridge and then did 1 block run; 1 block walk intervals to cool down the rest of the way home.  I calculated the actual distance of the actual run, just shy of 17 miles but with the warm up and cool down walks it evens out.  Boo for detours.

Thoughts on the run:
  • As you can see my Nike+ kit will never be accurate.  It's only 4.5 miles off today.  WTF?  Too bad.  I wish I knew how fast I was actually running.
  • Pacing seemed both good and bad.  It felt good at the beginning to keep it really slow, something that's really important for the marathon, but perhaps I was going too slow?  The whole run took 4 hours and should've taken about 25 minutes less than that.  How slow am I?
  • I was trying to calculate where the time went, a couple minutes at the beginning, some time for a couple of pit stops and a couple minutes for walk lights on the way back, but not 25 minutes
  • Nutrition - I hate bars, although they seem to keep me really full.  I took 1 less Gu than I'd planned.
  • Hydration - every time I drink I want to puke.  This cannot be good.  Running does seem to eventually calm my stomach down but has the regrettable side effect of making me thirsty again.
  • I had to put a bandaid over my belly button becuase that's where my skin rubbed offin the race on Saturday. (I have no explanation.)  WIN for the band aid for not falling off that whole sweaty run.
  • My last long run will be in Cincinnati.  Dad is helping me find a long run route.  I love he's so interested.


Gopher to Badger Half Marathon 2:31:30

It's officially race season.  Today was the Gopher to Badger Half Marathon.  It was a new race for me and more challenging that I'd expected.  I was running with most of the Devil Made Me Brew It Crew minus Bob who did not make the trip.

A few of us met last night for a pasta dinner.  Then this morning at 6am, everyone came to my house.  I was elected to drive.  We went to Hudson, WI to park and get on the school bus to the start line.  We hung out in a park at the start line.  It looks like something bad happened to that slide although no one could figure out exactly what could've ignited it.

Group shot before the start of the race:

The race itself was more and less disappointing than I thought.  The race profile was less than accurate.  There were some fantastic down hills at the start of the race.  The end of the race was less down hill than it looked and the middle of the race was more brutal than it looked.  I started off with a pacer, came off ahead quickly in one of the downhills and stayed ahead of her for at least half the race.  Around the half way point Dee passed me.  I was really excited for her because she'd been predicting 13:00 miles, although apparently that was handicapping for Lawrence Kansas 100* and 90% humidity training.  Shortly after Dee passed me I realized I had goosebumps.  (Oh man.  That's not good.)  So I threw in some walks and dialed back the pace a bit.  I was mildly disappointed but not really when the pacer passed.  Running over the bridge was long but nice for one last down hill.  The last mile was the longest mile of my life.  I would've stopped to walk several more times I think but I'd met this girl Kristin in the first mile and we stayed together the whole race.  She really drug me along there at the end.

After the race, we headed over to a restaurant and had some good food and a beer.  Then we headed home.  I promptly fell asleep on the couch.  I am planning an excursion to a Thai restaurant for some food, but waiting a little while because True Thai gets wild on Saturday night.

Thoughts on the race:
  • Win for Final Stretch which has very well organized races, in my limited experience.  This snowy race was my first experience with them.
  • I'd run on courses that were open to traffic but only in races like Brew to Brew and Ragnar.  This was my first road race that was open to traffic.  I'm not sure how I feel about the experience.
  • The run up to the I-94 bridge was horrible although it got much better when I realized the other side of the bridge was mile 12.
  • Should've taken my own advice about starting slower than I thought I needed to.  I always feel so good at the start of races.
  • I should not be running with the 11:27 pacer at the marathon.  No good will come of it.
  • Breakfast was a winner becuase I really didn't get hungry during the race.  Yogurt, banana, oats and nuts, chocolate chips which are special for race day.



Mmmmm. Carbs.

It's been a week of "tapering" and I'll use that term loosely here.  Now I'm packing on the carbs for the race on Saturday.  This is one of the best parts of racing.

Sunday - long run with Running Beth and long bike ride, as previously mentioned.
Monday - no working out.  none.
Tuesday - last day of double workouts.  For some reason my body just wanted a longer run, so I decided to oblige with a trip around Hiawatha and Nokomis in the morning.  It was hot.  Tuesday afternoon was ladder workouts at the track.  I made mine a shorter workout since I'm tapering.  (What a princess.)
Wednesday - some house cleaning, no actual workouts.
Thursday - Zumba, because it's what I look forward to all week.

The Gopher to Badger half marathon is coming up on Saturday, then next week is Ragnar and somewhere between the two I need to squeeze in a long run.


A Weekend of Biking and Running

Turns out, I'm running a half marathon on Saturday.  I decided I should use this weekend for training.  Hilarious.

Run: 4 mile 'speed' workout - jog 90 seconds and sprint 30 seconds, walk after every third round.  It was a fun run.  Things finally cooled down and I was happy to be out.
Bike: I have no idea how far I went.  There was a sailing party at Lake Harriet.  They'd put down fresh oil on the Luce Line trail.  One signs was still up saying it was closed but all the other signs were down and riders were all over it.  Nice and smooth!

Run - 11.5 miles with Running Beth who is running the half marathon as well.  It was a gorgeous morning and a gorgeous run.  

Bike - 18 or so miles, also gorgeous out.  I got caught in my clips and fell over, clipped into the bike which was awesome.  I don't think I'm hurt but my hand feels like hamburger.  I'm doing "two a days" (and I use that phrase loosely) because the week after the half marathon is Ragnar Relay which definitely requires two-a-day preparation. 

Wordless Weekends - the heat broke, go outside