Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tempo Tuesday

Most people follow some sort of training plan when they are preparing for a distance race. This involves things like tempo runs, long runs, 400s, 800s, speed work, fartleks, 3542s. Okay, I made the last one up. But you get the point. This is complicated. I'm sure I could understand it if I tried, but I just file it away in the "things runners do that make other people think they are crazy" file.


I'm on a running roll and I'm pretty proud of that. Last night, I ran 9 miles. It's only February and I'm training for Tinkerbell Half in May, so I feel way ahead of myself. Yes, I'm aware that this is what normal dedicated runners do, so I've been pretty busy patting myself on the back, feeling all awesome for doing shit most runners do all the time. Baby steps, people.

Saw this on Instagram


I've developed my own kind of tempo/long run/speed work type of training plan that I've sort of become addicted to. I use a Garmin but I also use the Runkeeper app on my phone. I had taken most of 2015 off of running, so when I committed to run 1000 miles in 2016, I was basically starting over.

I started taking a screen shot on my phone at the one hour mark. Each week, I've tried to get a little farther in one hour. Then I keep a list on my phone to see how I've progressed. I have a file for 1:00, 1:30 and 2:00 hour runs. This includes my warm, walk breaks, water breaks, and freaking out over Darth Vader runners in my neighborhood.

Tracking myself this way forces me to be really aware of how long it really takes me to cover a certain distance. For example, if I can get to 5 miles in a hour and then be at 10 miles at two hours, I have a chance at getting a PR at Tinkerbell. I'm shooting for getting to 5.5 in an hour before May, which is totally doable. If I can get to 10.5 or 11 in two hours, I'll be golden for a PR.

These were my screen shots from last night. I didn't really intend to run on a Monday night for two hours, but I just kept pushing and I felt pretty good for most of it. Because I was only intending to run 5-6 miles total, I didn't have any fuel and I was really feeling it in miles 7-9. (I did finish 9 miles but only took a screen shot right a two hours.)

Yes, I know this is slow, but I'm getting faster!




This method seems to combine tempo, a bit of speed work to beat the clock, and distance running. I like watching myself improve, even if it's just in small increments. Instead of focusing on specific distances, I'm focusing on time and increasing the distance within a certain time.

So far, I'm really enjoying training in this manner. I definitely don't do this for every run. Some runs I just mosey along and get some miles in, however they come.

Last night's 9 miler leaves me with 910.44 miles left to run in 2016.



Tuesday, February 2, 2016

I Can't Make This Stuff Up

It's amazing how much more I have to write about (on my running blog, no less) now that I'm doing actual running. Also, it's amazing how much weird shit happens right in my own neighborhood. Also, there's a lot of pot smoking apparently, because wow. The neighborhood had that particular "aroma" hanging about last night. (At least it's what I imagine pot smells like because, in case my boss or parents are reading, I certainly would not have any first hand knowledge of such things. Especially not back in college when I had a pot dealing roommate. No, sir.)


Anyhoo. When I run by myself, I run at a park that is about a mile in perimeter. I head to the park straight from work because if I dare set foot in my house, the couch emits laser precise tractor beams and holds me hostage against my will, forcing me to watch Netflix.


I had forgotten my iPod *gasp* and I'm seriously not capable of running alone without music and I've already addressed the danger of stopping by my house first. Well, I had my phone and some giant, clunky skull headphones in my desk. Off to the park I went, straight from work.


Now I should preface this tale by saying that it was really cold for Arizona last night. And windy. Brrrr. Instead of wearing normal running clothes, I wore a thick hooded sweatshirt. Basically, I just run laps around the park and I always run in the same direction. Now mind you, this park is pretty well lit, has houses on 3 sides and a police precinct in the middle. All in all, it's pretty safe. There's just one short side that's pretty dark.


Because I didn't have my iPod with my trusty playlist, I was forced to scramble through random shit on my phone, like Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, specifically the last movement which is the choral section, better known as Ode To Joy. I'm telling you this because I like my life to have a soundtrack and Beethoven's Ninth is very dramatic and very German. I sang it in college several times and shockingly, still know ever last word of it in German. #lifesoundtrack


As I came to the dark side of the park, I see a man dressed entirely in black, with a black hat and what appears to be some sort of face warmer covering the bottom of his face. I don't pay too much attention but I notice that as he passes, I hear a weird sound that appears to be interfering with my music. Weird.


Well. I run into him again on the opposite side of the park where there is more light, but it's still dark. You know those moments you have where you see something but your brain can't process or comprehend what it's seeing, and you have a delayed reaction?


He gets close to me and all I can hear is insanely loud breathing that I'm totally not exaggerating here- sounds exactly like Darth fucking Vader. As he's passing me, he reaches up to his hat, and parts of it light up. It took a few more steps of running on my part before my brain caught up and said, "what the fuck did I just see?" And yes, all of these f bombs are necessary because 1) I really like saying it and 2) it really was fucking weird.

All that makes sense to my brain at this point is this:

This is a villain from Batman


This is what my brain interpreted. So I decide I'm totally going to be ready for this guy on the next lap. Ready to to fight crime? Ready to save the world? No, sillies. Ready with my camera to document this shit for my blog, because God knows I won't be able to tell this story well enough.

Obviously, I'm Batman in this scenario. Duh.


Sadly, he must have called it a day, because I didn't cross his path for a third time. It took me awhile, but I'm guessing he was wearing a elevation training mask. I've never seen one actually used, but I read about it when I considered hiking to Everest Basecamp. But seriously, dude, you look super fucking scary in that get up and my brain has no choice but to immediately see myself as Anne Hathaway as Cat Woman. And I left my cat ears at home. Sheesh.

Me or Anne? Can you tell us apart?


So here is a public service announcement for those of you deciding to wear all black at night with a breathing apparatus that makes you sound like Darth Vader: maybe you should consider wearing a shirt that says "Elevation Training" or "I'm Not Darth Vader" or "Sorry, Cat Woman, You Don't Rock That Suit As Well As Anne Hathaway". You know, something that makes you look a little less terrifying.

Side Note: I set out to run 4-5 miles and ended up running 8. I felt like Forrest Gump last night. I felt so good running that I just kept going. And that kind of shit never happens to me.

And with that, I have 935.56 miles left to run in 2016.


Monday, February 1, 2016

One Month Down, Eleven To Go

As you all know, I signed up to run 1000 miles in 2016. It's definitely a daunting task, particularly when you consider that I'm not always a dedicated runner.

After running the NYC Marathon in 2014, I was pretty much over running, in general. I managed to ride that training cycle into January and complete the Star Wars Half, basically on residual training from NYC. After that, I half assed it for Wine & Dine (although "half assed" is reaching. Quarter assed would be more accurate) and called it a day for the rest of 2015.

It was enough of a break that I've rekindled my desire to do some actual running. (Also, this break has rekindled a love of buying all merch at races, which I thought that I had gotten over. *sigh*) I turn 40 in July, so I decided it would be a good idea to go into this year ready to tackle the last few months of my 30s.

Running 1000 miles in one year is somewhat of a numbers game, particularly if you are starting over. For example, 1000 miles breaks down in several ways. It's approximately 2.73 miles per day...or 20 miles per week...or 84 miles per month.


I ran 56.3 miles in January, which for me, is pretty good. Plus, having to basically rebuild my running base means that I had to be careful not to do too much too fast. Running 20 miles a week doesn't sound too bad, but that works out to be five 4 mile runs, or some similar variation. I couldn't really just start out having 8 mile long runs right off the bat if I wanted to keep myself from getting injured early in the year.

I'm behind, but honestly I'm not too worried about it at this point. Now instead of having to run 83.33 miles a month, I need to run 85.79 for the remaining 11 months.

My early Sunday run

In January, I was more consistent with running than I have been in a long time, so I feel like I'm off to a good start. I ran 5.22 miles yesterday morning and it's finally starting to feel easier. We walked much less than usual, so that's good.

I'm excited to go into Tinkerbell Half training with a good base so that I'm not scrambling to cram all of my training into the month before. I can pull it off, but it totally feels like shit when I do that.


Post race rehydrating like a champ at DCA

I ran the inaugural Tink in 2012 when it was still in January and had a great time. I'm looking forward to running it in an anniversary year. I know people were complaining that they should have changed the medal more, but I like it.

I took a screen shot of this awhile ago, so I don't know whom to credit. My bad.


As far as other resolutions, I have not had a single soda in 2016. I do drink club soda at restaurants or when I'm really craving a Coke, but I don't think that counts. There's no sugar or artificial sweetener, so I figure it's okay.

Also, I've ridden my horse without stirrups during my warm up every single ride this year. That's something I haven't done since I jumped as a teenager. In case anyone is wondering, riding without stirrups strengthens your legs and core and it helps me get my leg longer in the saddle.

Warm up day at last weekend's horse show. That tent is where the judge sits.

I'm planning to start February off right and run tonight. Sadly, IT IS X-FILES NIGHT. Serious sacrifices being made on my part. It's like I'm curing cancer or something.

I <3 them


So yeah.... I think 2016 is starting off nicely. Granted, I feel like I'm getting fatter, despite all of my changes, which is super annoying. I guess I'll tackle that next.

943.7 left to run in 2016.