March 31, 2009

Sizzle me this

Today's afternoon run with hill repeats was a sizzler at about 70 degrees. But, according to my mantra, the harder and wackier the training conditions, the easier the racing will be :P

I felt good on the warm up and reached a hill that I'd scouted out for oh so fun hill repeats. The first couple 1 minute uphill bursts felt fine, and it was tough to tell if I was working hard enough because I do these based on effort. By the fourth hill repeat, it was hard, hard work. I gave it my all on number 5, but it would have been possible to do a sixth repeat, which is always the intended goal. After completing all five repeats, it was tough to catch my breath and my body was feeling the heat. Next time I do hill repeats (in a couple weeks), I will plan to do 6 repeats. I cooled down for about another 20 minutes, though the last mile was pretty much a jog, as I was fried.

March 30, 2009

Air legs

We landed late last night and my legs had been sardined into airplane seats for the better (or worse) part of Sunday. Mental note- if flying to a marathon, allot an extra day for legs to revive from the flight before the race! Without a full dose of sleep, I went for a run. My gut felt like it could sink the Titanic and my left knee was creaky at the beginning. But the last third of the 40 minute run was fine, and I'm hoping it'll boost my energy till bedtime.

March 28, 2009

McMillan would be proud

Spring break meant a flat 45 minute run around the squares of Savannah on Tuesday morning. I covered a lot of ground that Jeff and I had explored and walked through during the previous days of sightseeing.

On Thursday morning, I used the gym's treadmill and programmed a tough tempo run. Although I kept the incline at zero for the tempo part of the run, my speed started at 8:20 and decreased to 7:50, which is my appropriate challenging tempo zone according to McMillan's running training calculator. I was sweating up a storm and definitely sweated out some toxins--courtesy of southern fried food plus cocktails galore!

Yes it was hard work amidst the delights of vacationing, but good stuff...

March 21, 2009

Boulevarding

I learned that crepes, as delicious as they may be, are NOT the breakfast of champions for running ;) Regardless, I enjoyed a 1 hr 50 min run- 2 loops around Cherokee Boulevard.

It was warmer than I'd expected, and my tummy needed to concentrate on its digestion of an insane amount of homecooked food. My legs felt good at the end, and I kicked it up a couple notches for the last couple miles, so it sorta counts as a fast finish long run!!

March 20, 2009

You could wear jeans

A nice 50 minute run along the marina in Oak Ridge--the river's water was glittery! I passed through a couple groups of college rowers. My mom suggested that I run in my jeans since it was chilly, but I chose to borrow a pair of sweatpants ;)

March 18, 2009

Smokin'

I headed up to the high school track, and it was a bit dark and early. During the warm-up jog my legs felt a little tired, and I patted myself on the back that I dragged myself out of bed to do my first track workout of the Bay to Breakers training cycle. Tracky time is always a bit painful and pushes me out of my comfort zone, but I'm certain it boosts speed and builds muscle like nothing else. The track facilities are OUTSTANDING--there's something about that deep rusty-reddish ellipse that gets me going :)

My goal was to do six repetitions of 400s (1 lap of the track), so I treated it like two sets of 3 X 400s. The first three 400s were all under 1:47. I felt like I was cruising through those three intervals, which is not so shabby. And my second three 400s were between 1:41-1:44--with my final two 400s as my fastest! I was definitely concentrating more on that second set and my lungs were working overtime on that last lap.

The best news...I completed all 400s well under the 1:50 specified by the McMillan pace calculator (one of my most trusted running resources!). I think the hill workouts and long runs strengthened my legs because these 400s are quite a bit speedier than my 400s in December-January when I was training for the Kaiser halfie.

March 17, 2009

Tree craze

On my run, I saw a palm tree (you gotta love California), a very gnarled tree, an orange tree laden with fruit, a tree with small dark-pink rose or ranuncula-like flowers, a tree with pink and white magnolia-like blossoms, a tree with itty bitty yellow flowers, pink cherry blossoms, and redwoods--yes, redwoods in the midst of the East Bay.

I think I sound like the shrimp thing from Forrest Gump. But, seriously, SO many neat trees, and I really wish I knew the names of all the trees, especially when they're displaying such lovely springtime blooms!

March 16, 2009

New jacket

It was misting this morning, so I tested my new Marmot running rain jacket which I'd purchased through Amazon.com with a gift certificate...Who needs books when you can get running gear?!?

The poppy-colored jacket kept me warm but not too warm and was breathable. It's a close fitting jacket- almost like a long sleeved shirt- so definitely not bulky. The zippered pockets are perfect for keys. A bonus- its bright orange color forced motorists to notice me, so it's a great choice for rainy days or darker winter days. Overall score- 4.5/5 stars because I love the color and fit!

My legs felt a little tired from Saturday's long run, and I just eased my way through the 45 minute run.

March 15, 2009

Change of scenery

I'll be in the Bay Area for the first half of the week and in Tennessee with my parents for the second part of the week. Fortunately, there are some terrific places to run in Knoxville and Oak Ridge, and I'm a-okay running here and there!

On tap for this week:
Key 1: Back to the track...
  • 400s at 1:45-1:50 pace. Do 6 repeats.
Key 2: Medium run
  • About 60 minutes- will be in Tennessee and will be hilly
Long: 10 miles
  • Probably on Cherokee Boulevard with drop-dead views!

March 14, 2009

Dodge run

The morning was overcast, and I decided to do a 12 mile run out from our place to Berkeley. By 10 am, the sidewalks were filled with people, bikers, dogs, strollers, toddlers, and Girl Scouts selling cookies again, so dodging the mayhem added an extra challenge to the workout.

I felt great with my long run pace of 9:48 and was pleased that two of my fasted miles (9:24 and 9:25) were miles 10 and 11! My legs definitely could have handled a couple more miles. I've noticed that it takes me a few miles to warm up and ease into an ideal pace.

March 13, 2009

I'll take it

I was tempted to bag the tempo run and spend more time in bed--sometimes daylights savings time does that...The evil voice in my head told me that I could run later- but, really, by the time I get back from campus, I'm too fried to run. So, I braved the semi-darkness, strapped on Garmalade, and braced myself for another tempo run.

It started off mellow though my legs felt a bit sluggish- maybe still from the hill workout. I jogged up a couple pretty major hills, and then it was time for the tempo part of the run to start. My legs didn't really feel like kicking it up, and my pace wasn't exactly where I wanted it. The first mile was about 8:50. Yes, the first mile included some uphill (over 400 feet of ascent, according to Garmalade). I told myself that I COULD work harder. The second mile was exactly where it should be- 8:25. And the last half mile was at 7:50 pace- and felt GOOD! Then it hit me that running a faster second mile of a tempo meant that my legs and heart could do an entirely tougher tempo. Hmm, how am I going to even out those paces?! I'd like to run a tempo with all miles in the 8:05-8:25 range.

Whatever. I'll accept that the tempo showed improvement from last week & I completed a solid workout on a Friday morning!

March 11, 2009

Power hill

A quick post to say that the six-1 minute-hill repeats near Arguello in SF went great! My legs felt powerful, and I gave it my ALL. Now I must conquer the challenges of the rest of the day ;)

March 10, 2009

Flipsy

I thought it was going to be a chilly day (well, in the 40s or low 50s) but by the time I went out to run, it was much, much closer to 60. I was cookin' in my black long sleeve shirt by the end of the 40 minute run, but after a somewhat angsty morning, I needed the fresh air. It might be time to commit to wearing shorts for all runs...I guess it was the opposite experience of a blogging friend & role model!!

March 9, 2009

Already?

This morning's 50 minute run flew by, and I truly had to force myself to turn around and head back home! My legs felt fresh and strong, and the air was cool and crisp. I'm pretty sure that I don't run to escape from something but every once in awhile it sounds and feels perfect to just run and run and see where I end up :)

March 8, 2009

Week of 3-9-9

Just based on the coolness of the numerals 3-9-9, I'm confident this will be a rad week of running!

On tap for this week
:
Key 1: Hill repeats
  • About 70 seconds all-out effort up a classic SF hill. Do 6 repeats.
Key 2: Tempo run
  • 15 minutes warmup; 20 min. at 10k pace; 15 min. cooldown. Garmalade will keep me on track, and I'll try my best to get as close as possible to 8:25 min/mi pace.
Long: 12 miles
  • Probably in Alameda for some stunning views of the SF skyline, plus it's flat :>

Introducing...


Garmalade!

I got a Garmin Forerunner 305 in January and have rapidly become addicted the way it collects and files running data for me. It's an oversized watch with a GPS brain :>

You put it on (I have to wear a wristband/sweatband under it to make it fit better and stay snug and comfy on my wrist), turn it on, and it finds satellites. Then, while you're running it tells you how long you've been running (that's easy), how far you've gone (to the 1/100 of a mile), and--coolest of all-- how fast you're going. You can even program workouts into the watch so it'll beep at you if you're going too fast or too slow :O It's really, really helpful to get objective feedback on your pace. Sometimes I'm feeling really relaxed and look down and notice that I'm running fast (anything under 8:20 min/mi) and other times, the legs are tired and Garmalade lets me know that my speed's just not there that day.

But wait, it gets cooler....After your run, you connect it with a USB thingy to your computer and data from your run is uploaded to a garmin program on your computer. The program creates maps of where you ran and, more importantly, chart with your distance, speed, elevation traveled, etc. The charts are really neat and that's what I pasted into the post on my North Berkeley run. The program saves information from all of your runs so you can keep track of your improvements or how you did on a similar course.

In a nutshell, Garmalade's a terrific coach!

March 7, 2009

Sprang

With plenty of sunshine and oodles of flowers all around, I sprang through a 10 miler. I was pleased with my pace- 9:50 min/mile- including a couple stops for traffic lights and water and a 2 mile long uphill from the greenway to Oxford Street and North Berkeley. My garmin (it really should have a name...Gary? Gargar? Garmalade? Garfunk?) provided lots of information about the distance covered and my pace, but I tried to run by effort and not get too wrapped up into what the brilliant computer on my wrist was saying.
I enjoyed exploring the Ohlone Greenway and appreciated the fanciful yards and gardens throughout the East Bay. Afterwards, I grabbed an iced latte and picked up an assortment of treats at La Farine (including pain au chocolat for Jeff). I also noticed the kind Girl Scouts selling cookies in front of Peet's and, of course, purchased an exquisite variety :P Without a doubt, this long run kicked off the springy weekend in a super way!!

March 6, 2009

Tempo + hill =

For this training cycle, I've committed to doing tempo runs on my regular, hilly courses instead of seeking out flatter terrain for these speedier runs. So I put on the Garmin (running knowledge is power, right?!?), warmed up, and tempoed up a moderately long hill, then some flat ground, and finally back down the hill (no complaints about that!).

Overall, the run was fun, and I worked hard during the tempo but didn't hit my McMillan tempo-pace of 8:25 minutes/mile. That's alright...I think the hills keep me honest, and I know that, depending on the course, tempo runs can feel different and can go at different paces. The main goal is to get out there and push faster than you're usually comfortable doing.

March 4, 2009

Steepness

A bright and early run in SF's Pacific Heights with a running buddy made me want to cheer, "Viva hills!" and reminded me that SF is an extraordinary place for runners.

We did a nice and mellow warm-up loop which, by the way, included a few hills. Then we attacked Baker Street with one minute at a fast pace, two minutes to jog down and recover, and then back up. I felt very strong on the first three repeats. It was hard to stay focused on the fourth. I definitely worked hard on repeat #5 and was rewarded with a wowzers view of Palace of Fine Arts and the bay. Afterwards, I enjoyed a well-deserved latte at Martha Brothers.

March 3, 2009

No Vegas for me

I decided to test my luck and keep my eyes peeled for a break in the rain. The odds were against me; I lost.

It wasn't raining when I started the run, but with over 15 minutes left it began pouring rain. At least it didn't hail ;) And, of course, there was plenty of sunshine for my stretching.

March 2, 2009

Jacketed

I'm not too allergic to running in the rain and usually face the elements without a rain jacket. But today I decided to wear my gore text rain jacket because the rain was coming down pretty hard...Again, I shouldn't complain because I know that east coasters are coping with treacherous amounts of snow today.

So- a review of how the hiking jacket fared during the 4.5 mile run:
At first, the jacket felt perfect and kept me cozy and dry and didn't even feel too bulky. Then I got FAR too warm and felt as if I were in a wet sauna- not so fun. I unzipped a few odd zippers (arms and chest) and that helped a bit. Then the jacket just got wet and heavy, though it did manage to keep my body dry and core temperature where it should be.

The verdict- I might need a new rain jacket specifically for running. Or maybe I should motivate to go to the Berkeley gym on rainy days.

March 1, 2009

Uno

Tomorrow is day 1 of my sparkling new Bay to Breakers training plan. B2B is only 7.5 miles but has a few big-time hills. I'm aiming for 2-3 'key' runs per week that serve some sort of purpose plus a long run. I'm choosing to do longer weekend runs because a) I love them AND b) it's great early preparation for the summer SF half marathon. Finally, I'll do a couple recovery runs.

On tap for this week:
Key 1: Hill repeats
  • About 45 seconds all-out effort up a hill. Gasp, sip water, walk, and repeat. This WILL prepare muscles for Hayes Street hill!
Key 2: Tempo run
  • 15 minute warmup; 20 minutes at 10k pace; 10 min. cooldown. This might kick my keister because it's tough to maintain the speedy effort, but the Garmin will come in handy.
Long: 1 hour 40
  • Probably in North Berkeley with some hills.
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