Monday, May 31, 2010

Back to track, back to reality

What a way to end vacation, a 7am track workout. I went only because this morning was in the low 60’s and Wed night is going to be in the 80’s. That and I have a persistent friend. The workout didn’t sound terrible, 800m followed by 2x 400m. I was a little nervous, my usual pack of runners wasn’t there. Would I be able to pace myself? The first 800 was 4:02, a good 15 seconds faster than I had aimed for. This was either very good or very bad. If I just went out too fast then this was going to hurt come the 3rd repeat. The next 2 400’s were at 1:55 on the dot. Still feeling ok. The next 2 repeats were right on the money in terms of pace and although I was working hard I wasn’t dying. Today starts phase II of marathon training and it was a nice solid day 1. I’m sure the week of recovery I’m coming off of helped with today’s workout. 3 more weeks till another recovery, but 10 days till the next track workout!! YAHOO!!

Miles trained today: 4.5

Countdown to resume later this week!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

free toes

We headed out this morning on the same route as yesterday, it was our 3rd run in Costa Rica and my legs reminded me of this. I haven't been pushing the agua as I should and was feeling a little dehydrated. That and the humidity slowed me to a crawl. Joe took the lead today on the almost 2 mile downhill stretch, pausing momentarily to view some monkeys. My sneaks were still soaked from yesterday and we were planning to run along the beach again. A perfect chance to expiriment with barefoot running. The sneaks came off just before the 3 mile mark and it took some expirmenting to deterimine where on the beach to run. We had to avoid the rocks in the middle and running in ankle deep waves was not going to help our pace. We followed behind another woman running barefoot, she was also running in a bikini top and lacy underware. Pura Vida! Running barefoot requires intense scrunity of the ground ahead of you. Yesterday running on the beach seemed fun, it was finally flat and I could go faster. Today I ran gingerly, worried about slicing myself on a rock. When my feet would land I could feel my entire foot, from toes through the arch and finally my heel. I wondered how much damage I was doing as I could feel my arch hitting the sand, my orthotics purposfully keep my arch supported. We stopped after about a half mile of barefoot running and I think it will be my only half mile of barefoot running. My feet like sneakers and support. The best part, dropping the sneaks at a chair and charging full speed into the ocean fully clothed. Water temps, like bath water!

Miles trained today: three and a half

(hit a random button on the spanish keyboard and the numbers don't work)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Taste of Trail Running

So we have made it to paradise. Luckily for my readers today is a tropical depression so before I retreat to my room to drink copious amounts of "mio rico" coffee and get lost in my 3rd book of the week I have stopped to share a little about how the running has been. Our hotel sits on the side of a cliff, so to get anywhere it's a battle of the hills. Getting from our room to the road is a beautiful downhill run with lush vegitation as far as you can see. The road winds around the cliff side and above us the trees are filled with sloths and white faced monkeys. At our feet we are constantly dodging lizards of every shape and size as well as Halloween Crabs. It's a little difficult to focus on your running form with all of this to take in. Leaving the hotel property is where things become very interesting. It's a quarter mile straight up, take college hill and make it triple the steepness and then you start to understand. Yesterday we tried to run it, today we were smarter and just walked it. The pavement is a mixed concrete substance with stone so it's rather uneven and slippery, getting up or down takes much concentration and effort. At the top the pavement stops and the road is gravel. We continue uphill although at a more manageable slope for another 8th of a mile. Surrounded by houses and hotels of all shapes and sizes. The trash cans are kept in locked boxes off the ground that look like chicken coops, protection from Monkeys. There are many wild dogs that initally make me nervous and run back towards Joe, good thing everything here has the Pura Vida attidude, including the dogs who pay us no mind. Today we took a left on the paved road and ran for a mile and a half down hill towards the national park. Everything is so green, my eyes balanced between keeping focused on the uneven footing and up in tree tops. Birds are everywhere, bugs as well. This road is one of the few paved ones in the area and at times we are able to hop on the sidewalk. THere is not much traffic, but runners do not have the right of way. We hit the entrance to the park and turn around, Joe begins to beg that we not go back up the hill. So we hit the beach. It's about a mile to the hotel and a perfect run when it's low tide. The water is turquoise and the sound of the waves is beautiful. Looking out there are many rocky outcroppings covered lush green vegitation. To our left is ocean, to the right forrest and there are many rivers that empty into the ocean. In the beginning we are able to hop over the water and remain dry but soon this becomes impossible. I stop and survey my options, realizing there are none I charge full speed into the water. If the 100% humidity hadn't soaked my shoes and socks enough, I was now shin deep in water. Running on the sand was difficult, now running on the sand with squishy shoes was even more of a challenge. Just as all the water had been squished out I'm faced with another river, and in I go again. The 3rd time was a little much, I misjuded the depth, leaped off the sand and landed in water thigh high. Laughing I pull myself out and Joe jumps in behind me. We reach our beach and charge down the final path to the hotel road. The trail is a mix of different size rocks and footing again is difficult. I have to dodge branches and palms, a little worried that around the corner will be a snake, I think to myself that tomorrow Joe will take the lead here. Again surrounded by jungle I'm amazed at the beauty. We stop the run at 4 miles to ensure we don't have to run up another cliffside slope.

Miles trained today: 4

Friday, May 21, 2010

floating, not running

Just what was ordered, a very long relaxing run. I know, it just doesn’t sound right. But I have to say; this was likely one of the nicest long runs I have completed in quite a while. After a trying week and upcoming anxieties, I was feeling slightly out of control of myself. Prior to leaving the house I debated canceling it but thankfully got myself there. At one point in the beginning, I thought about the loop and got slightly overwhelmed; we are going to be out here all night. Then we just started to move. No pressure in regards to pace or time, I had forgotten my watch and wasn’t missing it. It was a beautiful night out, when we came back around to the Blvd, I was shocked by how many people were out, the same thing down by the river. It wasn’t one of those runs that was followed by a runner’s high, more of a runner’s zen like state. I wish I knew how to recreate this run. Starting early June I will embark on phase II of marathon training, full of long runs, very long runs. It would make it a whole lot easier to be able to float through them like I did tonight.

Miles trained today: 10

Days till Old Sandwich Road Race: 16

Harvard Pilgrim 10K: 44

Beach 2 Beacon: 78

Chicago: 142

Monday, May 17, 2010

Needed this one

I don’t know if it helped today, it was all I had left. It was go for a run or go to bed at 5pm. After a long run last night, there were no guarantees as to how this would feel. But in some ways I knew it would help somehow. Today had nothing to do with training, noting to do with exercise. I was out there because I needed to run, I wanted to run. It was all I could think of to try to clear my mind. As predicted it was a fairly ugly run, but when compared to how terribly wrong the rest of my day had been it was a great run. No pain, just completely exhausted legs, but I found after about a mile my brain calmed down. For the first time in what seemed like hours my heart wasn’t pounding. I was able to focus on the conversations around me. My breathing was calm. I felt the sun on my face, the feel of the air on my hands, the unevenness of the ridge in the bike lane through the soles of my sneakers. When I took a left up Elmgrove for my last mile I was alone. The music went on and it was loud, real loud. For the next 10 minutes there was no thought, I was just moving forward. Not fast and my form was likely a mess but I was going. So I did it, calmed myself down, I feel better. I will run tomorrow and I will continue to feel better.

Miles trained today: 3.5

Days till the Old Sandwich Road Race: 20

Harvard Pilgrim 10K: 48

Beach 2 Beacon 10K: 82

Chicago Marathon: 146

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Just enjoying myself.

I have relaxed a bit in regards to this whole running thing. Only wearing my watch during speed work and long runs, not allowing myself to completely obsess about mileage goals. Backing off when the aches and pains become too loud. I hate to say it, but it seems to be working. I have run every day since Wednesday and not really dreaded any of it. Each run has been a little different, some more enjoyable than others, but all relaxing in their own right. I did spend close to two hours the other day mapping out the next 4 months of my training, but rather than viewing it as a do or die prescription, it is really only a guide. 2-3 miles off is not going to make a difference in the end. It was beautiful out there tonight and I took in the moon and the stars instead of focusing on what my garmin was doing.

Miles trained today: 12

Days till the Old Sandwich Road Race: 21

Harvard Pilgrim 10K: 49

Beach 2 Beacon 10K: 83

Chicago Marathon: 147

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

resting appears to have worked

Pure panic, that’s the only way to describe my frame of mind on Monday morning. I noticed at work that when I stepped on my left leg there was a pin point of soreness. This started late on Sunday and was no better Monday morning. So I did what anyone would do, I started to google “quad pain”. It was only a matter of minutes before I had worked myself into a blind panic. My pain now had become a full blown stress fracture of the femur that was going to require 6 weeks on crutches. After some deep breathing exercises and reassuring e-mails from coaches I calmed down. Stress fracture unlikely, more likely, a quad strain from the hills of last week. Now what to do? Time off was required but not desired. But I did it. I did not run Sunday, Monday and even Tuesday. I have to admit this is the first time I have backed off immediately at the first sign of injury and I have to report it worked. Not only did I kill a hill workout tonight, but I had enough in me to enjoy a 2 mile cool down. Lessons learned, when pain begins:

1. Stay off the internet

2. Rest for 2-3 days

3. Drink wine to distract from lack of running

Miles trained today: 7

Days till Harvard Pilgrim 10k: 53

Beach 2 Beacon: 87

Chicago: 151

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Adventures in North Providence

Off I go! The plan is easy enough, run from my house to the ball field where I will have friends waiting with water and run home. No problem-O, that is until I start on the first of 3 hills. Huffing and puffing I make it up. Running along Mineral Spring Ave at 6pm is rather distracting. There are too many cars and no one is moving quite fast enough. Never mind that, I’m recovering on the downhill. Just as I catch my breath I run into Jim from work. He kindly reminds me that I have another big hill coming up. Thanks Jim, really thanks! This hill almost does me in. You have no idea. It never ended, well finally it did. Ok, time to recover on the downhill. Before I know it, I hit Centerdale and am feeling pretty proud. We’ve talked a lot about running here and never made it, likely due to the 2 friggin hills I just dragged myself over. Now here is where the run goes horribly wrong. I should have taken a sharp left, instead I take the other left. It felt wrong right away, but I kept going. Yep, I kept going for about 10 minutes until I stopped to ask someone. These 2 ladies laughed out loud at me! “You aren’t running there are you?” With all my self-confidence drained I follow their direction and head towards the field. I have no idea what time it is and if my friends will still be there. I start to panic. I don’t have my phone. Even if someone let me borrow a phone the only numbers I have memorized are useless. If life isn’t cruel enough I have to get up another hill, little do I know that I have now entered into the world of the “Evil Smith Hill Route”. I wonder if I can blame this on Anne someone. Finally in the distance I spy a little leaguer, my pace quickens. I pray it’s the right field. I can’t go any further. Please let them be there! Yes! They are there and not only do they have water, but they are willing to drive me home!!

Miles trained today: 6

Days till the Harvard Pilgrim 10K: 59

Beach 2 Beacon: 93

Chicago: 157

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

April Recap

30 Days in April

122 Miles logged over 19 days

Average run of 6.42

No races and no injuries, but lots of illness

So I had a better month even with all the illness. Mentally I’m refocused and happy to be running. Physically I am feeling good, even with 2 weeks of illness. My mileage has made it into the 40’s. No I didn’t get the 15 miler in, but that’s ok. My mindset must be the biggest change; I’m not rushing to get the miles in. If I need a day I take a day. If it takes 2 weeks longer than expected that’s ok too. Going forward I need to keep this going, it’s the squeezing the miles in that really kills me. So what’s on tap for May? 41 miles this week, 43 miles after that, 46 miles after that and then VACATION and an easy-peasy week. Long runs? I don’t know, maybe that elusive 15 or 16 miler….

Miles trained today: 7.5

Days till the Harvard Pilgrim 10K: 61

Beach 2 Beacon: 95

Chicago: 159

Sunday, May 2, 2010

!!SpArKlY SiGnS!!

Nothing special about today’s race, I’m focused on Chicago. Today would have just been another long run, except for MY FANS!!!! There she was, Dr. G and family, sign reads: “RUN JOE’S WIFE RUN”! There was jumping, yelling and screaming and then they are gone.

We aren’t alone for long. Mike is next, my coach from work, more jumping, yelling and screaming.

Mike, “How are you doing?”.

Me, “This sucks it’s hot”.

Mike, “You’re doing good, keep it up”.

Easy for him as he turns and walks home!

Then there was some ugliness in Pawtucket; it was pretty ugly. I’m focused on making it back to the Blvd and running down Alfred Stone and there they are again, Dr. G and her sign, more yelling, screaming and jumping. This time we all get into it

Fast-forward and we are down by the water on Irving and the finish is 3 miles away. Now worries because it’s the running club cheer squad! Sherri, no sign but I appreciated the sign-language like sparkles! Matt and Rick with their cameras, and there was no cursing for Rick this time around. After a quick photo op we are alone again, or as alone as you can be running with the masses.

Stranger’s cheer out my number in Richmond Sq. Joe gets Jealous! I’m cuter in the race uniform, what can I say! There was Joni relaxed on the stairs cheering us through India Point Park and the strange PRMH man who stalked us on his bike the last mile. Neither of us can recall his name and it’s doubtful we knew who we were, but we run for the same cause!

Then there is the finish, we are coming back into the city crossing the river and it’s starting to get ugly again. Last turn and I can see the finish, but wait! More sparkly signs!!! Renee, Paul and Vinny are along the finish line chute, the last bit of jumping and screaming happens a quick high-five and we are DONE!

Miles trained today: 13.1

Harvard Pilgrim 10k: 63

Beach 2 Beacon: 97

Chicago: 161