Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Carrot.

I've been itching to run a half for a few months now. Even before Birmingham, I questioned switching to the half because I knew I was primed for a good one. I ended up sticking with the full and had a great run. But the feeling hasn't gone away. With thesis ruling my life for the past few weeks and my next race not until May, I've been looking for something to keep me focused and motivated to get thesis over with.

Well, I've found my carrot.

Today I signed up for the Talladega 21000 on April 11, two weeks from today. I am super excited! I love races that are a little different and in this one we get to run around the Superspeedway for part of the race. The only 'challenge' (besides the running and training itself), is that the race is one week before my thesis deadline. I mean the hardcore-have-it-into-the-printer-or-you-don't-graduate deadline. I think this will give me extra motivation to have have my thesis done (or as close to done as possible) by race day and it will be a nice way to celebrate the hard work. Plus, the half is my favorite, so any excuse to run one is a good one.

Have a good week!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Training

If you have noticed the updated ticker to the right, I have the Ragnar Relay coming up in May! My team has decided to run as a 6 person co-ed team (instead of 12). This means each person runs back to back legs three times on a hilly course. We are a nutty bunch with a bit of a competitive streak. I am really excited for the race, but I think I need something between now and then to keep me on track. I am really goal and task oriented and more importantly, I really don't want to be the slowest member of the team. So, its time for new goals and as always good things come in threes:

1. Figure out the woes of my toes. The course is hilly and a 30+ mile weekend is going to be murder on my feet. I've got to stop the bleeding.

2. Hills. I incorporated some hills in my Birmingham training because there is really no way to avoid them in the ATL. Now I need to do a few hill specific workouts and some back to back hill workouts to get used the the relay format.

3. Strength training. I'm not shy to admit it. I have the gangly body of a 14 year old boy. I'm tall and lanky and I need to work on it. So I want to increase my core and upper body strength. I think it will help me be a more powerful runner and have better form especially when tired. Which way to the gym?

Anywho, that should be enough to get me started. If anyone has any relay pointers for me or good hill workouts to recommend, I would appreciate it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Back from the dead (or at least the books)

Sorry for my total lack of blogging lately! I have been consumed by writing my thesis so I can graduate this May. For some reason thesis writing is so mentally draining you become increasing dumb in all other aspects of life. For example, in the past two weeks I have almost burned down my apartment twice because I completely forgot I was cooking things and then while on the phone with a best friend asked who she was talking about because I was so lost, only to have her remind me that it was her brother (I will not be getting best friend of the year for that one). The good news is that the end is in sight, and I don't have to operate any heavy machinery.

But on to running!
My runs have been going well lately (probably because I can shut my brain off during them). I have changed up my training a bit and am using pace goals for my different workouts. So far so good. At first I had a little bit of trouble staying true to my 'easy' pace because when my legs feel good, I like to push. Now I have it all sorted out and am really happy with my new style.
Yesterday, we had our first real spring day here in the ATL (it was 70 in March!), so I headed out for a nice 9.5 miler. It was pretty quiet on the streets because the ING marathon is today, so I decided to run a nice chunk of the course. It was fun because they already had all the mile markers and porta-potties out (I was tempted to use one just because there was no line)! Luckily today isn't as hot for the ING (a little rainy, but not 70), so I took my Monster down to watch. She is an experienced marathon fan because we used to live on the Houston marathon course and she has cheered for that race several times. We ended up catching the 3 leaders coming through the hills that I usually drag my butt up at the end of my runs. Needless to say, they looked much stronger than I ever will on those hills. Mia Monster had a good time though was distracted by the crazy number of squirrels on the course, so I am not actually sure she realized there was a race going on, but at least she didn't do anything embarrassing like take a dump on the course or tackle one of the leaders. Small victories.

Anyways, I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Somedays just click

Yesterday was beautiful here in the ATL. The sun came to visit us and it was just warm enough to wear short sleeves on my run. I went out for a long run, but the first mile was a struggle. As much as I wanted to take advantage of the weather, I began to think maybe I should just run a 3 mile loop, call it day, and give it another shot on Sunday. Luckily by mile 2 my stride began to loosen up and I hit a good rhythm. My legs felt strong, the sun felt nice, and I was hitting all green lights along the road. It was one of those days when everything just clicks. There were tons of runners out getting in their last long run before the ING Marathon in 2 weeks (I was running a segment of the course). I ended up completing the same long run that I did last Saturday, only 5+ minutes faster! It felt great to maintain a strong tempo for the entire run. What a difference a week makes!

Hope you all had a good weekend and have a good start to the week!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fuelin' up Friday

Ok, Not a whole lot of fueling to report this week. I did not fuel during last weekend's long run, but I assure you it was a one week slip. I have fuel ready for tomorrow's run and might even try out some new options. I did try a new recovery food this week: homemade chocolate chip cookies. I figure a lot of people swear by chocolate milk, but I'm not a huge milk fan, so cookies are the next best thing. I really think they work well as a recovery food. They are portable so you can carrying them around while you stretch, take a shower, and finish the rest of your post run routine. They contain carbs, salt, and protein (chocolate comes from cocoa beans right? beans are full of protein. Ok, well humor me on that one.).
Ok other news of the week since I was not a good blogger and slacked off all week:
1. I think all the skin has fallen off of both of my baby toes. Sorry if that is too graphic and you are trying to enjoy breakfast. The good news is that the toes look and feel much better. Hopefully this is a turning point in their recovery.
2. Thanks to everyone for their recommendations on training programs!!!! I now have quite a few options to mull over and try out before my next marathon (which probably will be in the fall). I promise to report back on likes/dislikes. Huge Thanks for the support on that one!
3. The Dreadmill and I are working on out relationship. I have been trying to incorporate one DM workout per week to focus on turnover and maintaining a higher pace. So far so good! I am happy to report that I am surprising myself with how comfortable I feel at a higher pace (yes, I realize things are different on the DM, but my stride feels good).

Anyways, thats it for me today! Good luck to my friends tackling Disney Princess this weekend! I'm sure you girls are going to kick some Tiara! Hope everyone has a great Friday and weekend!
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