Sunday, January 31, 2010

Two Weeks Notice.....

Race day is just two weeks away!! (Cue butterflies).

I went out this morning for my last longer run after a weather delay yesterday (33* and raining, um, no thanks). Weather was chilly (20's) at the start of the run, but the sun came out for the second half and it was pretty enjoyable. My body wasn't as enjoyable however. I felt really nauseous last night and still felt a little funky this morning. I figured I would at least get in an easy 13 miles and crossed my fingers that my stomach would make it through without any excitement. The cold kept me pretty tight for the first 3 miles or so, and combined with my uneasy tummy, I figured I was going to have to work for the miles today. At miles 6 I decided to take my Double Latte Powergel, but to be honest I wasn't sure how I was going to react to it given the circumstances. Surprisingly it went down pretty easy and didn't cause any trouble. It was MUCH MUCH easier to take than Gu. I think its a keeper, but I still want to try the other flavors!

I felt much better for the second half of the run. Maybe it was the sun. Maybe it was the gel. Maybe I was finally warm. Either way I am not complaining! I ended up cranking through 13.1 in 1:56! Huge confidence boost given the blah feelings at the start. I definitely still had energy left over at the end and it was a great way to enter taper time. Now if I can just keep taper madness to a minimum!

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fuelin' up Friday

Greetings and Happy Friday to all!
As I eluded to in Sunday's post, fueling did not go well for Saturday's long run and I definitely felt my gears starting to grind by the end of it. All I managed to consume was 1/2 a Tri-Berry Gu and 2 cran-razz cliffshot blocks. The thick consistency of Gu is most of my problem. I just don't understand how people can choke down a mouth full of vaseline mid-run?! I try to take them like shots complete with gatorade chaser, but usually end up giving up half way through. I had left a pack of cliff shot blocks on the hood of the car because they are so bulky to carry but I wanted them available just in case (thank heavens). I don't get much of a kick from cliff shot blocks, but I know they will go down ok and are better than nothing.

I headed over to Big Peach on Monday and the girls there were super helpful and understanding. They recommended I try some of the powerbar gels because they are much more liquidy (except for the chocolate flavor for some odd reason). I picked out a Double Latte and I am excited to try it this weekend. It has 27g of carbs and 50mg of caffeine so that should really put a boost in a my giddy up. They also recommended to try some of the Hammer gels because they have a wide variety of flavors (powerbar has limited flavors) and are made with real ingredients, not just chemicals. I picked out apple-cinnamon because I was told it 'tastes like pie filling' and who doesn't like pie? It contains 23g of carbs and no caffeine so it might be a good option as well. Now if they could only make a donut flavor.

Odd random tidbit for the day: Did you know that the Cliff Family of products also has a winery and farm? Me neither. I came across it today when I was getting links to blocks for you all. Anywho, they have a nice little organic Winery out in Napa (I feel a genius race idea coming on). Can anyone think of a better beverage to celebrate a good race?!

Hopefully fueling goes a little better this weekend. Happy weekend and running to all!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hot pants!

So running Santa never found me this Christmas. Maybe it was because I wrote a Festivus Wish list or maybe it was guilt by association because I live with a canine who was ineligible for gifts due to bad behavior. Either way, I took it upon myself to reward last weekend's 19 miler with new running garb: Running Capris! Since I am a baller on a budget, I headed off to the local Target and I ended up getting some nice Champion ones similar to these (mine have a little bit of reflective material on them). I really wanted a pair because my full length tights are fairly thick and almost too warm for anything over 40 degrees. I have also notice a few times lately while stretching after runs (yep, still sticking with that resolution!) that my hamstrings and butt are pretty cold in just shorts.

Anywho, I broke out the new capris this morning for a quick 3.25 mile hill workout, even though it was probably more long tights weather (I could see my breath). The good news is that I didn't freeze off any of my valuable bits and I really liked them! Not only do they create the illusion of womanly curves that I have always been dreaming of (I have the body type of a 14 year old boy), I felt that they kept me warmer than shorts.

I also managed to make it over to Big Peach for some fueling guidance and alternatives after Saturday's debacle. More on that during Fridays fuel report. There is hope for me yet.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Most Successful Polar Bear

Back in college I remember watching a Discovery Channel special on polar bears in which the narrator described the largest polar bear as "the most successful polar bear". He was referencing of course the polar bear's hunting and feeding skills, but my friend and I perked up and looked at each other. "So you mean the one that spend all his time pigging out and conserving calories is the most successful? I could get on board with this." From that point on whenever we ate a little too much or were a bit too lazy, we would simply declare we were the most successful polar bear and all seemed well again. This weekend I reclaimed the right to be called the most successful polar bear.

My polar bear behavior started after Saturday's long run. I managed to get in 19 miles in 3 hours (I promised to meet up with a friend after 3 hours). It was probably the longest solo run I have done in a while, so I am pleased with how it went. Physically I felt good and mentally I remained fairly focused (the guy who sings while riding his bicycle always distracts me). Fueling did not go so well and I only managed a half a Gu and 2 Cliffshot blocks during the entire run. I may have to head back to the drawing board on that one.

The post run fueling went extremely well. The chocolate chip pancakes that I had been dreaming of were delightful and complemented nicely by an afternoon of grazing/lounging in my sweats. My inner polar bear was still hungry this morning, so I rallied the troops and we headed over to Sublime Donuts. Oh heavens, does that place make me happy. I had the smores donut and the black & tan donut. I also sampled the cookies & cream, strawberries & cream (with fresh strawberries), and Atlanta cream that my friends purchased. All were excellent and I highly recommend a visit if you are ever in the ATL. I made the mistake of sitting facing the wall of donuts, so by the time we were ready to leave, I was ready for round three. After much contemplation (and patience from the owner as I asked about every donut) I picked out the chocolate banana fritter for later. Needless to say, I am sporting the baggy sweatpants and the title of most successful polar bear tonight.

Have a Good week!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fuelin' up Friday

Ok, time for another fuel report. I have to admit I slacked off a little bit in my fueling. I did not fuel during my half two weeks ago, but in my defense the aid water was frozen and the thought of digging my gu out from somewhere deep in my sportsbra was not going to fly.

Now that I am back on track, here are my latest thoughts. I tried the Espresso Love Gu and found it to be ok. I had high hopes for this one because I am a big coffee fan and the name sounds like a D-list Romantic comedy set in a Starbucks, but it kind of had that burnt coffee taste that I am not so fond of. The good news is that I managed to take the entire thing! (It's really baby-steps around here). Up next for this weekend I have a few options. I have a couple of Gu (either Tri-berry or Chocolate outrage). I kind of expect to have some sort of incredible hulk moment after the Chocolate Outrage, so runners in the ATL be on the look out Saturday morning. Also, I'll bring along some cliffshot blocks (cran-razz) because I know I can get those down, but I never seem to get much of a boost from them.

Another important part of fueling is the post workout feeding frenzy. I love to eat and I tend to do a lot of it after longruns. This weekend I have planned one of the longest runs in my marathon training (20 miles), and part of my motivation all week has been planning my post run foods. Right now I am thinking about chocolate chip pancakes. In fact I've been thinking about them for 4 days. I'm hoping my desire for chocolate chip pancakes will push me through the last tough miles. Oh, the things we use as motivation. I'll keep you posted on the pancakes! Oh, yeah and the Gu and training stuff too.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I heart the dreadmill

Significant rains forced me indoors this morning and of course once I was comfortably a few miles into my run, the skies clear and sun popped out. Oh well, at least I still have dry sneakers and a spot by the windows. It had been at least a month since I have had a date with the dreadmill. We have a mostly hate relationship (really, there's no love between us). I've never been able to decide if its the heat or the boredom that I hate more, but nonetheless, there I was cranking out a tempo run. I was inspired to make it a good one after reading Runner's World Exposé on the dreadmill and workout recommendations. If so many people can make peace with the devil machine, maybe I should give it another try. I decided to go with a progressive tempo run. I started out at my typical 'short run' pace and after two miles I started upping the speed (every half mile for mile #3 and then every quarter mile for miles 4+). It went really well. Not only was I able to force myself to up my tempo late in my run, it really helped keep my interest. I also felt like I got a pretty good workout in short amount of time (35 min).
Now, I'm not going to say that the dreadmill and I have made up, but I see how I can better use it in my training to push my pace and after last week, I know I need to. I was still sweating like a pig by the end and probably resembled a tomato, but I still consider it a victory.
egb 1, dreadmill 0.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

One Speed Wonder

This week I had a 45 minute tempo run, a 5k for speed, and an easy 5 miler on the to do list (and of course the long-run for the weekend). I decided to use the same 5.25 mile loop for the tempo and easy runs because I like the loop and because I do what I want. I ran the tempo on Tuesday with no hiccups and headed out for the easy 5 today. Both runs went well, unfortunately I ran the same exact time for the two runs. Hmmm, so much for calling them 'tempo' and 'easy'. To be honest, the 'easy run' was actually 5 seconds slower, so its nice to know that I spot myself a second a mile when I am going easy on myself. There was a 15 degree difference between the two days, so maybe I was able to warm up a lot faster today and wasn't wasting energy keeping loose. Either way, its good to know I am consistent, but speed work is definitely going on my things to improve list.
In other news, the sun has returned to the ATL! It was in the 40's today, so I got to dust off some shorts (much to the horror of the residents of ATL) and enjoy some sunlight during my miles. Rumor is that its only going to get hotter for the weekend. nothing like a 40+ degree swing in a week.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Baby its Cold outside.

Yesterday I ran the Red Nose Half down in Columbus, GA and it was a bit chilly. Like so cold the water at the aid stations was frozen. Luckily the gatorade remained liquid because sucking on ice chips was not going to hydrate me or help keep my core temp up.

I had never been to Columbus and had no idea what to expect. I planned on using the race for training because it was free (with encouraged donations to a local charity). The local running club organized it and they did a wonderful job! They had a small indoor area for everyone to gather pre/post race for snacks and warmth. The volunteers along the course were friendly and encouraging which was amazing considering I couldn't even feel my lips by the end and was certain they were so swollen that I was going to look like Jennifer Coolidge at the finish line. The course ran along a river on a nice exertrail and was very scenic. However, there was a bit of wind coming off the water, so I had trouble keeping loose. The temp never got out of the teens during the race and that is not including windchill. I thought around mile 6 that I finally was warm, but we turned around at mile 8 and the headwind immediately caused my hips to tighten up.

For the rest of the race I had to focus on lengthening my stride because my hips were tight I could feel my stride getting all wacky. I did enjoy the distinct smell of freshly cooked donuts along the course, though I was a bit distracted trying to find the source. I felt incredibly slow during the race, but ended up running at my usual long run pace and was pretty surprised at the finish (2:05 finish, definitely not a PR, but I am considering it a PR-T, PR at Temp). All in all, I was really happy with the race. I would definitely do it again and I think in nicer weather it is a PR-able course.
Here I am still fully layered up at the finish. Still got some good ponytail bounce going. (credit)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Running Resolutions and Goals

It's New Years so its time to get around to scribbling down some resolutions and goals for the year (obviously, timeliness wasn't high on the list). I always find writing it down makes it more official and forces me to be more accountable (I guess publicizing it does too). Without further ado, here is my list.

1. R-e-s-p-e-c-t stretching and cross training! I enjoy running so much that I have allowed myself to become a bit of a 'one trick pony' if you will. I am horrendous about stretching. I do the classic bend over for 30 seconds like you are touching your toes after each run and then head to the car or the fridge for some gatorade. Well, no more of that! I am going to treat stretching with the respect it deserves. I've picked out a nice little 6 move stretching routine from Runner's World that focuses on opening up the hips (my hips don't lie, they are the source of any troubles with my stride). So far my dog thinks move number 5 is the funniest things she has ever seen me do and causes her to bounce around with doggy giggles.

Bonuses: Stretching helps keep injuries away and extra flexibility is a benefit in all aspects of life! Cross training can be done at the gym when it is dark and cold out without the danger of being hit by a car/raped/mugged.

2. Consistency! My schedule is variable to put it nicely these days. Everyday of the week is different and things change greatly from week to week. Running constantly makes me feel good and gives me a sense of accomplishment. So for the new year, when the E gets busy, she is going to keep on running. I've set a modest goal of 3 runs per week so I can focus on quality runs. Also, this gives me the choice to pick which days fit my week. Any extra time can be used for cross training (see item #1).

Bonuses: With the less is more plan there is a better chance of success and less opportunity for me to feel bad about missing runs. No reason for running to be a source of stress in my life!

3. Get back to racing. My schedule (and wallet) kept me from racing as much as I would have liked in 2009. Racing is fun, reminds me of why I lace up the kicks each time, and creates great training goals. I'm not looking at any major quantity for 2010, but I want to try different events and have better quality races by focusing on improving specific elements (fueling, PRs, speed work).

Bonuses: New events will bring new challenges and new goals will help me with item #2.

4. Stay positive. Training is hard especially for long programs. I tend to have things snowball when something goes wrong with training. I miss one long run due to weather and then life bumps me from a tempo run the next week and then all of a sudden I feel behind and start putting pressure on myself to make each run go perfectly as planned. This year I want to take a deep breath, remember that running is for enjoyment, and stay calm. I'll still get to the finish line one way or another. Might as well enjoy the journey.

Bonuses: Happy thoughts are always a good idea.

Ok, that is my short list for the year. Feel free to keep me accountable or share your resolutions and goals!

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