Friday, October 17, 2014

Injury update and MotivateU

My hamstring is starting to feel better these days. When I run, it feels like it’s really tight rather than actual pain. It’s more uncomfortable. I am excited about my deep tissue massage on the 24th. It is much needed and I hope it helps the leg heal up a little quicker. I have logged a total of 13 miles over the last 2 weeks, which is 11 miles than I had the previous 2 weeks, so I should be grateful. I just can’t wait until this is all over and I can return to running as normal. I just read an article that it takes 12 weeks to fully heal from a soft tissue/tendon injury. At the end of this week, it will be week 5. So, only 7 weeks to go.
I have another race I signed up for (pre-injury) on October 26th. It is the Run for Education 5k. I was really hoping to do well at this race as it’s my last race as a 20 something, and then I enter the tough 30-34 age group, but right now I take any running time I can get.
There is some other news that I am really excited about. This Saturday, I officially start MotivateU. MotivateU is a program put on by our company’s health insurance. They allowed everyone that is part of the insurance city wide to apply to this program and then 150 were chosen for it. The program is 8 weeks long and 5 gyms in the Reno area are part of it. It is basically a challenge against all of the different gyms. 30 people are chosen for each gym. Whichever gym loses the most weight, inches, and gains the most fitness wins. I just found out the gym I am going to be a part of had won every year since the programs institution. During the next eight weeks, I will have free access to their gym and to every class they have (including crossfit which I am super excited about) and I will be given a shopping list and recipes for the 8 weeks. Last night was the kick-off party at the gym, so I was able to see the gym for the first time. It’s a pretty awesome gym. It doesn’t look anything like the chain gyms I’m used to. I really wanted to be a part of this program because I am so injury prone and I rarely do any sort of cross training, and I don’t know the first thing about lifting weights. I am really hoping to lean up as well.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Ridiculously Long Race for the Cure Recap

This past week, my leg has been drastically feeling better, so I thought I would give running another shot. On Saturday, I went out for my normal pre-race shakeout which is 20mins slow, followed by 4 strides. Throughout the run, I didn’t have any pain, but my hamstring felt really tight, which made for a slightly uncomfortable run. After the first 10 minutes, I stopped to stretch my hamstring, but it didn’t help any. When the 20 minutes were up, I attempted the strides. It felt like I really picked up the pace, but when I looked at my watch I was only running 8:19/mi, and my leg felt even worse. On Sunday, my job sponsored a corporate team for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Akin to last year, a co-worker of mine couldn’t wait to create a race of employee vs employee. This year he said it was me vs him. For the entire month leading up to the race he kept telling me how he was going to beat me and it would be embarrassing if he couldn’t beat me. Embarrassing for who? I run, he doesn’t. I think it would be more embarrassing for me if I lost because I train. Anyway, after my hamstring pull earlier last month all thoughts of racing were out the window, at least to me. He continued on about how he couldn’t wait to race me now that he had the advantage. Him and I have ran in 2 of the same race previously. Last year we both ran the Race for the Cure (which he didn’t beat me because he didn’t want to leave another coworker to run by herself) and the Reno 10 Miler, which I DNF and he wouldn’t let me live down, because I run and he doesn’t (he completed the race).
I was still planning on showing up for the race for the cure and running it, I just had no plans of racing. When I met up with my coworkers, they were all telling me about how much Logan was bragging about beating me. I have to admit, there was a huge part of me that wanted to shut him up and kick his trash in the race, but I knew it wasn’t going to happen. His plan was to stay with me the entire race, and then blow past me in the final stretch. I left my coworkers at about 10 minutes to the start of the race (everyone else was walking except for Lagan and me) to warm up. Thankfully by the time I got to the starting area, Logan was nowhere in sight. Unfortunately, the start line was really crowded and I was lined up in the back. When the gun went off, it took forever to reach the actual start line. When I finally got there, everyone in front of my was running at a very slow pace and there was no way around. My leg was magically feeling better, so I wanted to go faster. So, I broke the rules and ran on the other side of the cones to pass other runners. I kept telling myself to take it slow, I don’t want to reinjure myself. I felt like I was going slow, until I looked at my watch 7:48/mi. Crap! Way too fast on an injured leg. I slowed my pace, until I realized, I was feeling good, why not run it how my body tells me to. If my leg starts to hurt I slow down or stop. By this point I was about a half mile into the race and all of a sudden Logan, goes running past me. My heart dropped, he was going to beat me. I wanted to try and keep him in my sights, but then I realized I didn’t want to get caught up in his game. I wanted to run my own race not his.
Within a minute of him passing me, his pace started to slow and I caught up to him. He decided now was a good time to stick with me until the end. We started talking and I noticed he was having a hard time getting words out, his breathing was heavy, while mine was still pretty easy. Ok, I know I said I didn’t care about racing him, but secretly, I was happy. I knew he was running too fast for him and he probably wouldn’t be able to hold on for the entire race at this pace. By the time we passed the first mile at 8:22 Logan had fell about one step behind me (yes!). Like a little kid, I turned to Logan and in the smug voice I told him, 1 mile down, only 2 more to go. He let out a huge exaggerated sigh and my grin got bigger. At about the 1.5 mile mark a gradual incline started.  I picked up the pace a little in hopes to but some distance between us. I saw Dale (my old quasi coach) and I spoke with him a little bit about me hamstring and then noticed I couldn’t see Logan in my peripheral vision anymore. I didn’t want to look back, so I picked up the pace slightly more to mile 2, 8:10. A little after mile 2, we turned right to a small out and back portion, I knew this is where I could see how close Logan was to me. He was about 20 seconds behind me, and he looked like he wanted to die. I almost felt bad for him. Almost. My leg started feeling tight during the last mile, and breathing started to go haywire. I was looking at my watch every 10 seconds or so to see how much longer I would have to run for. My only goal at this point was to beat Logan and I kept thinking he was gaining on me and he would run past me at the finish. Finally, I reached mile 3, 8:10. Only .1miles to go, but I couldn’t see the finish line anywhere. I looked down again, at 3.11 miles and still no finish line. Dang it! This was going to be more than a 5k. Luckily, right around the corner I saw the finish. I didn’t sprint towards the end like I normally do (I was way too tired), but I finished. The time on the clock said 26:23. I know I’m coming back from an injury, and I haven’t ran in 3 weeks, but honestly, I was a little disappointed that I was so tired at the finish and my time was 26:23. My Garmin stats said the distance was 3.21mi and total time was 26:05 for an average of 8:12/mi. My Garmin usually always short distance wise when I run with other runners, so I knew the course was in fact long. That lifted my spirits. Had this been a true 5k, my time would have been somewhere around 25:28.

While I was waiting for Logan to cross, I started feeling bad about my immature ways with him during the race and I didn’t care who beat who (honestly, if he had beaten me, I might have cared). So when he came across the finish line, I cheered loud for him. I congratulated him and told him how awesome he was because he ran the whole thing, and most people who never run can’t do that. I was totally being a good sport. But he insisted the only reason I beat him, was because he got a side cramp and then he felt like he couldn’t breathe so he had to slow down (seriously!?! I just told you what a good job you did jerk). I just said, ok Logan, whatever and my smugness returned. I told him because he made such a big deal prior to the race about beating me, and then huffed and puffed at the fact that I beat him after the race, that I would post a large sign at the entrance to work that said “Lynsey beat Logan!” After that, he did congratulate me and told me running was harder than he thought it was. He remained a good sport for the rest of the day.
I was a little worried I ran too hard for my recent injury, but today (1 day later) my injury feels fine. Except for the fact that both legs are super sore like I had never ever ran before and decided on whim to run a race on Sunday. It’s crazy what 3 weeks off will do to the body. I am glad I haven’t lost as much fitness as I thought. And I am ecstatic that I can start running again!!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Whole New Outlook

Week 3 of no running begins. I did not run in the Sherrif’s 5k on Saturday. I made the mistake of seeing how I felt by going on a short jog around the neighborhood on Friday. My hamstring didn’t necessarily hurt during the run, it just felt really, really fatigued. It felt like a time when I had a personal trainer, and to test my fitness, he would make me lift a certain weight as many times as I could, until I absolutely couldn’t physically lift that weight another time. So, my hamstring felt like that last rep right before I crapped out and I couldn't do anymore. It felt like that throughout the whole run. I ran for about 2 miles and it was tough. My breathing was out of control and both legs felt so stiff. I felt ok at the end and decided I would show up to the race and listen to my body. If it said to slow down or walk, I would do that. I picked up my packet and saw one of my crazy fast friends there. I asked him for his advice on what I should do and he agreed that I should listen to my body.
Later that night, my body made it loud and clear that there would be no running or walking the next day at the race. My leg was now sorer than it was when I initially injured it. Before walking wasn’t painful, but now it was. I really wish I wouldn’t have run, but I was so eager to get back out there. Unfortunately, I tend to learn everything the hard way. Now I know, I need to wait until I have recovered fully to even attempt a run. I have been doing everything in my power to try and heal as quickly as possible, including ice, Epsom salt baths, a lot of rolling, I even bought a Groupon for a deep tissue massage because I heard it could help.  I have to admit, these last 2 weeks I have bumbling around the house feeling sorry for myself and giving dirty looks to runners I see around town, but no more. This year’s resolution was to be more positive. When this is over I will come back stronger than I was. This honestly helps me appreciate running more. You know what they say, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
I am going to use this time to make cross training a part of my schedule. Yesterday, I went to the gym for the first time in months and I hopped on the elliptical for 30mins, followed by the bike for 15mins, and finally the rowing machine for 10mins. Today, I’m hitting the pool. I have to admit, it is exciting, mixing things up. There was a point recently where I was dreading having to go out for a run, but I am very much looking forward to gym time and doing something different. I think this break is going to rejuvenate me and my running. I will be better for it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Haze and Hamstrings

You might be looking at this picture thinking, "huh, I didn't know it was so foggy in Reno." That, my friends, is not fog. That, is a huge damper on my running. That is the reason IronMan Lake Tahoe was cancelled last weekend. Those are not clouds it the sky. That, is smoke from the King fire. This is week two of some of the worst smoke we have ever had here. Last year we had a lot of smoke in the valley for about a month straight because of the Yosemite fire, but I don't think it was this thick. Normally, I would be throwing an adult termpertantrum, but even if I was tempted to venture outside for a run, I couldn't do it anyway.
At the Journal Jog, the Sunday before last, while warming up, I was doing my normal pre-race routine and doing some strides. Upon coming to a stop on my last stride, I felt a deep ache in my leg. I just brushed it off and ran the race. My leg was a little crampy in the beginning, but after a mile, I completely forgot about it. After the race and after I was sitting around for a while, I noticed the pain returned in full force, but I didn't want to entertain the thought that I might have actually injured myself. But, now more than a week later, realizing I can't run more than two steps without pain, I have finally decided to face reality. As they say denial isn't just a river in Egypt. I'm not sure what I did, but I have been Googling non stop and it sounds to me like I have a grade 1 hamstring strain. According to what I have read it takes about 1-2 weeks to heal, however, that is with doing R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression, elevation) immediately. Since I spent the first week in denial, I didn't start any kind of treatment until Sunday. I have a race this weekend and the following weekend, and I don't think I'll be able to do either. I am super bummed, because (please excuse me while I throw myself a pity party) I turn 30 in November of this year. I don't know if this is the same everywhere, but the female overall winners seem to always come from the 30-34 age group. At this point for me, age group placements are all I have to go for, and almost every race this year I have been on the cusp of winning an AG award. I felt like this was my last chance before I enter the super competitive AG in November, and now I have a bum leg. I have been a good girl and I only attempted to run once since the Journal Jog ( I made it .25mi before I threw in the towel). I am hoping the rest helps, and if I'm still in pain on Saturday, I guess I wont be racing. Fingers crossed!!!
One more picture of the smoke, you can actually see the smoke rolling in for the day in this one:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Journal Jog Recap

On Sunday I completed the RGJ Journal Jog for the 2ndyear. Last year during this race I surprised myself with the pace I was able to maintain. Last year I averaged 8:42/mi and I was hoping to come in around 9:00/mi. This year, my goal was to average about 8:25/mi. I thought this was a pretty lofty goal, but according to my favorite running calculator, it said I could do it. This would bring me in at 41:48.Lately, most of my 5k races have been around 8:25ish, and this was an 8k.

One of my running friends was also doing this race, so I was really excited. 99% of every race I have done, I show up by myself, walk around the post-race activities by myself, and then leave by myself. So it was awesome to have someone to talk to before and after the race. Note how I didn’t say during the race. She is way too fast for me. We lined up together by the 8-9min pace area. That was a bad idea because for a small race (about 500) it took too long to cross the actual start line. She took off, and I was left to my own thoughts and pace. In the first mile of the race, I heard one of the most amusing comments, a little kid running next to his dad said “Dad, Jenny has a brown spot on her pants…and it’s on the butt part”. Love it!

I have a horrible habit of staring at my watch during races, and this race was no different. The first mile ticked off at 8:19. I usually like my first mile to be my slowest and since my goal was 8:25, I was going too fast. I usually try to pick someone ahead of me who seems to be going about my pace and stick with them until them, and then make it my goal to pass them in the end (yeah I know, it sounds presumptuous and competitive, but it really helps push me). The woman I chose was wearing a black tank top with a neon pink stripe going down the back. There were a couple times during this race I got perfectly in stride with another runner. This is always awkward. Do you say “hi”, or “hey, how about them Dodgers?” I usually try to de-stride myself from them as quickly as possible. Miles 2 and 3 where a bit of an uphill and I think I got a little too comfortable with slowing down. The next miles were 8:32 and 8:34. The woman with the black tank top was still in my sight. The great thing about miles 2 and 3 being uphill, meant miles 4 and 5 were downhill. During the Reno 10 Miler last month, I ran more by feel (I was going for a hard effort) not by what my Garmin said. I decided to adopt this attitude for the remainder of the race. I was feeling pretty good, and decided to pick up the pace a little. The woman in the black tank top did too. Mile 4 was at 8:05. For the final mile, I wanted to leave it all out on the course. As we made the final turn for the finish which was about .4 miles, I really kicked it in to high gear. It was then I realized I didn’t see the woman in the black tank top anymore. She must have really taken off in the end. When I was nearing the finish line I saw 40:50 on the clock. Wow! I then made it my goal to come in under 41 minutes. I gave it everything I had left. My legs felt wobbly and there were a few steps in there that I thought my legs were going to give out on me. Unfortunately, I was too far from the finish and I crossed the finish line at 41:04 L. I was a little bummed, but happy with my performance.

After my breathing calmed down, I went in search of my friend. I found her in the snack line and we decided to go to the nearby park and await the official results. As we were walking to the park, I passed a woman in the opposite direction and she said “Oh my gosh, good job out there. I was really trying to catch you, but you just flew by me, but it really helped me push it in the end trying to get you.” I laughed and told her she did a great job too, even though I had no clue who she was. I started to think, maybe I was the person she chose to keep close to the whole race. Then she turned and started to walk away and I saw the back of her shirt. Black tank top with a neon pink stripe going down the middle. I honestly have no idea when I passed her, but little did she know, she actually pushed me the whole time.

My friend thought she might have had a chance at placing in her age group, so we went to check the results. I was pleasantly surprised as I completely forgot about chip timing. My official chip time was 40:44, that’s 8:12/mi! I was super excited. I have to continue this running by feel thing rather than relying on my watch. I am the proud owner of a shiny new PR by almost 3 minutes!

Official Stats:
Time: 40:44
115/431 overall
30/240 in gender
5/34 in age group
Splits: 8:19 / 8:32 / 8:34 / 8:05 / 7:32 (that last .4 was in an average of 6:50/mi)


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Reno 10 Miler

Super late to the party post. I ran the Reno 10 Miler almost a month ago, but I never got around to writing a race recap. This is actually going to be a very vague race recap, because unfortunately I have already forgotten the details :( So...without further ado (I actually thought it was without further adieu, but I Google'd it, and ado means bustle, flurry, or fuss <as in "Much Ado About Nothing">, while adieu means goodbye. So all this time I have basically writing without further goodbye?!? Yikes! Well I want to give a big thanks to Grammar Girl! I will never make this mistake again.) (I guess there was further ado after all).

As I have stated in earlier posts, last year I earned the 3 letters no runner ever wants to get. The dreaded DNF (did not finish) on a race (dun, dun, duuuuuuuuuun). I was struggling with IT band issues but decided to run it anyway. I have learned that that is Not. A. Good. Idea. I think I made my injury worse and I had to spend a longer time trying to repair myself. This year, however, I have been feeling strong. My goal numero uno was to finish the race. Goal numero dos, come in under an hour and a half.

I arrived at the race early and did a short little run around to warm up. Since my goal was to finish the race and coming in under 1.5 hours was second, I lined up in the middle backish and reminded myself to take it slow the first mile. The course is actually pretty awesome. We start under the Reno Arch.
Yep, right there, only in the daytime.

The course then heads up to the University of Nevada, Reno takes a lap around the track, heads back downtown, onto the river path, and past a bunch of fancy homes I could never afford, and then to the finish. What I failed to realize was that, 75% of this was uphill. However, that didn't seem to phase my body (yay body!!!!) I felt stronger than I ever have in any race over 3.1 miles. The only real lesson learned during this race, was that I should never use any kind of energy chews. I am not the most coordinated person on the planet. So trying to chew, swallow, AND run. Yeah, not my strong suit. I had to opt for the chews though because, I forgot to purchase gels before race day, so I was stuck with what they had at the grocery store.

Splits: 9:04 / 9:28 / 9:27 / 8:27 / 8:36 / 8:54 / 9:15 / 8:45 / 8:47 / 8:37
Total Time: 1:28:03 (met goal 1 and 2)

Obligatory race pics:

P.S. sorry for all the "()"

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Kaleo's 5k Recap and July Training in Review

On Sunday I ran Kaleo’s 5k in Carmichael, CA. I was really excited for this race because the peak elevation was 50ft. I have been wondering if elevation really does affect performance. Here in Reno, I train and usually race at 5000ft. Max and I made a weekend trip to Sacramento for the race. It was a short, but fun trip. We ate at this awesome restaurant that is unique to the Sacramento area called Brookfield’s. They had the most amazing garlic fries I have ever tasted. I was expecting fries covered in garlic salt, but this were covered with olive oil and actual garlic. Needless to say, I was definitely in need of some Orbit Gum (for that nice clean feeling, no matter what). After dinner we saw Guardians of the Galaxy. AMAZING MOVIE!!! It was funny, action packed, and super cheesy. I loved every second of it.
On the day of the race, I woke up and went down to the free breakfast the hotel offered. I was a little bummed because my race morning breakfasts are usually incredibly plain. I opted for a piece of toast and some apple juice. I was bummed because this was one of the awesome hotel free breakfasts with waffles and pancakes, etc. I showed up to the race about 45 mins early in order to get my bib and warm up. I was a good runner and actually warmed up for a full 20mins prior (usually my warm-up consists of about 5 mins of slow running…the end), and I included dynamic stretches and even 4 100m strides. I have a bad habit of judging my competition and while warming up I saw 2 other runners stretching dynamically and running pickups as well. One was a man and the other a woman and they were both super fit looking.
At the start line, those 2 runners were lined up right at the front. When the gun went off, I kept repeating to myself, don’t go out too fast. I settled into a comfortable pace for the first maybe .25mi until I glanced at my watch and saw that comfortable pace was 8:47 min/mi. Since I was hoping to PR in the low elevation, I knew that pace wouldn’t cut it. I picked up the pace a little and fell in perfect stride with a man right in front of me. I looked down at my watch again and saw 7:38 min/mi and I thought, what the heck, let’s see how long I could stay with him. I ran the first to miles directly behind him. Right after mile 3 started I noticed he was starting to slow, I was still feeling pretty good, so I passed him and tried to work on catching a man in a bright yellow shirt who was a ways ahead of me. This last mile was tough. I had to do a lot of self-talk to keep myself going at the same pace. With about a quarter mile left, I started closing in on the guy in the yellow shirt, I knew I had less than 2 minutes left of running and thought, I can do anything for 2 minutes. I stepped on the gas and passed him. I kept that final pace all the way to the finish line.
I have to say, I was very proud of myself for this race. I really wanted to slow down for most of the race, but I was able to keep going. I do believe if that man that I paced for most of the race wasn’t there, I would have slowed, but I was determined to keep with him. The result? A brand new shiny PR! I dropped exactly one minute off of my last PR. I came in at 23:46 which is 7:39min/mi. I was hoping to come up with an age group award with that time, but there were some pretty fast people in this race. Including the 2 runners I saw warming up earlier. I think they got 1st and 2ndoverall. The women placed 2nd overall with a time of 17:XX. Crazy!
Official Stats:
Time: 23:46
26/171 overall
10/114 female
7/23 in AG
As far as my training went for the month of July, not so good, I fell short of my weekly mileage goals every week. It has been very rainy here this month so I had to do a lot of treadmill running, and unfortunately, I can only run on a treadmill for so long before I want to shoot myself. Also, with having class on Saturdays, I am unable to go as far for my long runs as I planned on. Also the class interferes with my Tuesday and Thursday runs. I just haven’t worked out a plan to get all my runs in. I am a little worried about the upcoming 10miler in 2 weeks. I am definitely not as prepared as I should be. I did get a new PR for the mile, 6:37! I never thought I’d see a 6min pace for me in anything. So that’s pretty awesome.
Total Miles: 90.8mi
Peak weekly mileage: 7/14/2014-7/20/2014 (28.8mi)
Longest Run: 11.3mi
Average Pace: 10:11 min/mi
Races: 1
Truckee Firecracker Mile – 6:37 - PR
Lesson(s) learned
  • Sometimes you have to sacrifice in order to stay on schedule
  • Juggling work, school, personal life, and running is a lot harder than I thought it’d be
Plans for August:
Arrive at the 10 miler injury free and enjoy the race. Don’t stress too much about time. I have no other races I am signed up for, so I would like to return to building a stronger aerobic base for running.
Upcoming August Races: 1
Reno 10 Miler – 8/17/2014

Friday, August 1, 2014


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Friday, July 11, 2014

Walk, Jog, Run for Prevention Race Recap

On June 14th, I ran the 4th Annual Walk, Jog, Run for prevention in Minden. The race theme was superheroes. This was the first themed race I have ever run so I was a little excited. The first thing I did was Google female superheroes. I wanted someone that I could duplicate easily, and whose costume would be practical to run in (to me that means no capes, long sleeve shirts, or any accessory I would have to carry with me). I decided on Ms. Marvel! 
Never heard of her huh? Well neither had I. I think she is about to make it big though as there is rumors about her being in the next Avengers movie. Her costume was simple, plus her superpowers are super human: strength, speed, stamina, and durability. Those are all great powers to run a great race!

I signed up for this race because one of my friends who moved to Vegas and recently started running was going to be in Reno and wanted to run a race. He is a Spiderman/Marvel maniac.
I look just like her huh?
OK,  maybe not. 
On race morning, I could tell it was going to be a tough race for me regardless of the course or weather. My legs felt sluggish and like lead. I had signed up for the 10k because that’s what my friend was running and I wanted to see if EFAST had helped me improve my 10k time, but I knew a PR would not be in the cards for me today. The first thing I did when I arrived at the race was transfer to the 5k race. At least I would only have to muddle through 3.1 miles rather than the 6. I am so glad I chose to do that, because not only was the course downhill on the way out, and then uphill on the way back, but it was hot, and my legs and lungs decided to throw a fit.

Usually the first mile of the race is the easiest because I’ve got all the adrenaline I am able to plow right through it. Not the case today. From the first step I took until the very last step was pure struggle. My breathing was out of control. It was super quick and shallow. My legs were slapping the pavement so hard I thought I was creating craters with every step. The only amusing part of the race was listening to spectators try to guess which superhero I was trying to imitate.

I finished in 26:43, which wasn’t my worst race but with all the speed training I have been doing I was expecting to blow my old times out the water. Besides the miserableness of running, it still turned out to be somewhat fun. It was awesome cheering on my friend who got a PR. He came in at 51:XX which is my goal time for the 10k. Part of me wishes I would have just sucked it up and tried to run with him to reach my goal. But, perhaps another time.

June in Review

Just when I thought I was improving on this blog thing, I mess it up and wait over a month for a new post. Oops! Last month was all about me joining the EFAST run team, which to date I am no longer a part of L. When I first started running with them I thought I was taking a step backwards in my running. Running because more difficult than it was when I first started. My legs were always heavy and tired. My race times were declining, and then suddenly, just like that, everything stopped hurting, my legs felt light as light as air, and I became faster. I am not able to continue with the team because I just started a medical assisting class that is tailored for working professionals. This basically means, the time I used to go running after work, is now the time I spend in class. So, it didn’t make any sense to keep paying for something I wouldn’t be able to do.
My mileage in June was very low. With all of the stiff leg muscles I had going on, I found it hard to complete scheduled runs, and I took more days off than I normally would. This was probably my worst running month in terms of how I felt and mileage in a long time.
 I ran 2 races in June; I plan on doing race recaps for both of them, because in my mind, they both taught me great lessons that would be too long for just one post. In short, the 5k I did on the 29th, I ended up running a 2nd loop when we were only supposed to run it once and I dropped out of the 10k I had planned for the 14th and switched to the 5k.
Total Miles: 70.1mi
Peak weekly mileage: 6/16/14-6/22/14 (28.4mi)
Longest Run: 8.3mi
Average Pace: 9:57min/mi
Races: 2
Walk, Jog, Run for Prevention – 6/14 – 26:43
Reno 5000 Race #2 6/29: 31:50 (accidently ran more of the course than I should have, total distance was 3.67mi)

Lesson(s) learned

  • Sometimes you have to break your body down completely, and get yourself out of a rut to see true improvement.
  • Trust your instincts and pre-course running when it comes to following a race course.
  • My body is capable of more than I think it is.
Plans for July:
I am running the Reno 10miler in August (the race I DNF last year) and that is my main focus. I just want to be strong and ready for that race. It is going to be very hard juggling full time work, school and running but as long as I prioritize, I know I can do it.

Upcoming July Races: 1

Firecracker Mile 7/4 – 6:37 PR!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Month in Review - May

This month I joined a running team (EnduranceFAST) that includes 2 runs per week (I opted for the 1x per week option) and a personalized training plan. It has been a tough month for me in terms of training. My running intensity has gone up since joining the team. We have a speed workout every Monday, and I have progression runs and hill intervals sprinkled in on the other days. This has made for very tired legs for almost every run. They also have me running a lot by time rather than distance. This method is supposed to promote quality over quantity. I have to admit, I am losing a little confidence in my running ability. I used to be able to run at a very easy pace at 10min/mi, but sometimes this month I was struggling to keep my pace under 11min/mi. I spoke with my coach about it, and he has adjusted my schedule to include a base mileage day rather than more intervals. I also don't believe I was recovering correctly. I noticed on the days where I ate immediately after (usually some sort of protien), my legs felt a lot better the next day. I am excited to see if this intesnsity increase will show on race day.
Total Miles: 91.0
Peak weekly mileage: 4/28-5/4 (30.9mi)
Longest Run: 10.5mi
Average Pace: 9:44min/mi
Races: 2
Mom’s on the Run 10k 5/11/2014 (53:48) PR!
Biggest Little 5k 5/17/2014 (25:48)

Lesson(s) learned:
  • I’m not the “speedster” (McMillian term) that I thought I was. As it turns out, its takes me a while to recover from a speed workout.
  • I need to recover correctly after a hard workout to have a better quality workout the next day.
Plans for June:
My main goal is just to stay healthy. I originally said in May that I wanted to increase my weekly mileage, but because I increased my intensity drastically, I don’t want to risk increasing mileage and getting hurt. I have to remember my run teams mantra “quality over quantity”.

Upcoming June Races: 2
Walk, Jog, Run for Prevention 10k - 6/14
Reno 5000 Series Race #2 5k – 6/29

How did your training go in May?
What are your plans for June?


Monday, May 26, 2014

New Training Coach and Biggest Little 5k Recap

Last weekend I ran the Biggest Little 5k. I always hate the chance to pass up a cheap 5k on the weekends (this one was only $25). I should have had some sense of how things would go down just by the start time of 10:00am in 80 degree weather.

At packet pickup, they told me the t-shirts have been lost in the mail along with all of the samples. So the only thing I got at the pickup was my bib. Lucky number 666.

The day of the race at the start line, I was greeted by a cloud of smoke from spectators. The person starting the race was thanking us all for coming and then randomly said "begin". Everyone just kind of stood around looking confused. He said again "start". Again, everyone was standing around. Finally, he said, "start means go". A few people started walking past the start line a little confused, and then finally everyone took off running. I was confused myself. Usually we sing the national anthem, or at least have a countdown to the start. Because of this delay, everyone had 10sec added to their overall time (it was not a chip start). The run itself was hot and kind of dreadful. The course was poorly marked, and there were not any volunteers along the course except at the aide station. Luckily, a lot of 5ks around Reno are held on this exact course, so I knew where to go. I don't really have much more to say about the course. I did ok and came in at 25:48 (25:36 according to my watch). They gave out prizes for the top 3 overall, which kind of sucks because the top 3 were all men. I don't think I would do this race again, but since it is the inaugural year, it might be better next year after they get feedback.

In other news. I got a running coach! I joined a program called Endurance Fitness and Scientific Testing (EFAST). It includes a personalized training plan and a 1 or 2 days a week run team. The run team is awesome, because it is highly coached and I receive a lot of feedback on my form and speed. At the beginning of each run we perform running drills and at the end we have a team stretch and core workout. I have heard a lot of positive things about EFAST and how much people I know have improved upon joining. I am excited to be part of this and see is I improve any. I just finished my first week in the program. It was a tough first week. The week included track intervals, a hill run, a progressive run, and then a long run. I have to admit, my legs were like lead all week. I am used to running easy almost every day.

Have you ever joined a coaching program?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Stamina vs. Endurance and Moms on the Run Recap

After today's 10k race, I realized a hard truth, I am seriously lacking stamina. I am able to keep a 7:57/mi pace for a 5k, but I seriously struggle to keep a 8:40/mi pace in a 10k. I know my 5k and 10k pace wont be the same, but that's almost a minute per mile slower. According to the McMillan Running Calculator (which is my running pace end all, be all) with my 5k time, I should be running a 51:26 (8:17/mi) 10k. Instead, I ran a 53:49 10k today. Which is a new PR for me, but nowhere near what I could be running. On my quest to be an ever improving runner, naturally, the first thing I did upon arriving home from the race was research on how I could increase my stamina. What I found was a little upsetting.

I found that the two words, endurance and stamina, were used interchangeably. I want to help set the record straight. Endurance and stamina are not the same thing. Endurance is basically how long you can go (ie: a 50k runner probably has great endurance to cover that distance). Stamina on the other hand, is the ability to run a certain distance at a chosen sustained effort (ie: an Olympic 5k runner probably has great stamina to run 3 sub 4min miles, but probably doesn't have the endurance of the 50k runner) For a runner like me, I think I have fairly good endurance, but I lack stamina. I was not able to find anything on how I can improve my stamina (I found a lot on how to increase endurance), but I did find that the pace you train at is the pace your body becomes most economic at. In essence, if you train easy all the time, you will not be able to maintain a hard pace during a race. So, I think I need to start doing more race paced runs, and incorporating progression runs for my long runs. Right now I only have 2 speeds. Easy and hard. No middle ground. Over the next few months, I want my focus to be on improving stamina, while maintaining my endurance.

So, as I mentioned earlier, I ran the 14th Annual Pinocchio's Moms on the Run. It is a 3k/5k walk or a 5k/10k run. I opted for the 10k run because I have only ran one 10k previously and I wanted to see how I would do after half marathon training. My work sponsored a team, so it was even better because that meant a free race!

I arrived at the race early because I was chosen as team captain so I had all the the bibs and shirts for my co-workers. Only 2 out of 8 coworkers actually showed up at 8:15am like we had planned. The other ones came up to me about 3 minutes before the start of the race (8:57am) asking for their stuff. Luckily they were walking and could wait until the end to get their shirts, etc.

When the race started, my plan was to average 8:20 pace the entire time. I wanted a nice evenly split race. Probably not the best plan because the first half of the race is uphill. I did manage to run a negative splits (minus the first mile). There were about 3,000 walkers and runners all staring at the same time, so needless to say it was very crowded that first mile. I was staring at my watch for most of the first mile, trying to tell my self to slow down and not get ahead of myself.

After the first mile, things were not that great for me. I was struggling to keep a sub 9min pace. It started getting really hot, and everyone seemed to be able to run a lot faster than me. There was some mini hills that just seemed to suck the energy right out of me. When I saw the 5k turnaround sign, I kept wishing I signed up for the 5k instead. But, I didn't and I had to keep on keeping. The course was basically an out and back, except for one section in the final 2 miles we ran around a neighborhood block (which was uphill, ugh). For the final mile I just decided to leave it all on the course and really give it a go. Unfortunately my go wasn't enough to rescue my race time.

Overall, I am a little disappointed in how quickly I felt tired, but still happy for a PR!

Time: 53:49
Splits: 8:30 / 8:55 / 8:53 / 8:46 / 8:44 / 8:19 / 7:26 (final .2)

Do you have any thoughts on increasing stamina?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Month in Review - April

I thought it would be a good idea to start a monthly training post where I can reflect on what I’ve done, lessons I can apply to future training, and what I hope to accomplish for the coming month. April was a low month for me as far as mileage goes. I ran my first half marathon and with the taper week, race week and the recovery week, I lost a lot of running time.
I have been trying to focus on running my easy runs easy lately, and I did well at that this month. I just started adding speed work back into my training after an almost year hiatus. Unlike most runners I have met, I am a speed junkie! I love running fast, so I am looking forward to the speed sessions coming up.

Total Miles: 83.6
Peak weekly mileage: 4/21-4/27 (27.4mi)
Longest Run: 13.1mi
Average Pace: 9:43/mi (including races, without races my guess would be about 10:05/mi)
Races: 2
Downtown River Run Half Marathon 4/13/2014 (1:59:48) Automatic PR!
Race to End Domestic Violence 4/19/2014 (26:16)
Lessons learned:
  • Racing less than a week after my first half marathon was probably not the best idea. Legs felt great and recovered all week…until I started running.
  • For next half marathon, I can run the first half a little less conservatively.
  • Hydration really does affect performance.
Plans for May:
This month I just hope to keep increasing my weekly mileage. I am following a new training plan to help me increase safely. I also hope to run more hills this month. I am used to running on flat roads, but I have a hilly race in June that I need to be prepared for. I have one race that I am signed up for in May, the Mom’s on the Run 10k. I have previously only ran one 10k, and I would like to see if I have improved, but I am not putting too much pressure on this race.

How did your training go in April?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Downtown River Run Half Marathon Race Recap

I am officially a half marathoner (can I say half marathoner? I know people say they’re a marathoner when they finish a marathoner, so why not for a half?) This Sunday was the Downtown River Run. I signed up for the race a few months ago on a whim. This race featured a 5k, 10k, half marathon, and a newly Boston Qualifier full marathon. I really wanted to sign up for the 5k, but I knew this year I wanted to complete a half, so before I wimped out, I signed up quickly. This past week, I was crazy nervous. I would just be sitting and my desk and suddenly want to scream out in excitement and nervousness. I was really worried about not being able to sleep the night before, but surprisingly I slept like a baby (why do people say this when babies are constantly waking up?) a person who sleeps really well.

Begin race recap:
I woke up at about 5:30am. The race didn't start until 8:15, but I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to use the bathroom, and digest my food. I arrived at the race at around 7:45. I met up with a friend who was there to cheer me on. She was great at keeping me positive and reminding me how hard I’ve worked. I wasn't really sure if I should warm up before the race because my plan, if executed correctly, was to run slow in the first half and gradually increase during the last half of the race. I decided on a quick little jaunt down the road, it was probably only a .25mi jog, but it helped my nerves a little. Two minutes before the start of the race I lined up near the backish. The national anthem was sung and we were off, right on time! My race plan was to keep the first few miles at about a 9:30/mi pace. The first mile came and went incredibly quickly, I checked my watch 8:57. Dang, I have got to slow it down! The next 3 miles went by equally as quickly and without any problems.
Miles 1-4: 8:57 / 9:22 / 9:27 / 9:27

The next couple miles were a little confusing. This was an out and back course along the Truckee River path, and near the turnaround point we were supposed to come to a fork and go to the right and exit the river path and run on the road by Patagonia, and then loop around into a park and back onto the river path, this was all according to the course map posted online. However, when I approached the fork, runners who had already completed the loop and running back towards me were coming in from the right. So the group of runners I was running with all veered the left and entered the park first. There were no signs or volunteers in the area to direct us which way to go. I told my husband he could wait for me in the park to cheer me on, I told him the time I expected to be in the park, but because we ran through the park first, he was not there. Suddenly I felt kinda sad, I was counting on him to help lift my spirits and keep me going strong. We looped around onto the road and right as I passed Patagonia, there he was with Casper cheering me on (he apparently didn’t feel like going into the park and had only arrived along the street 3 minutes before I approached, perfect timing). His presence worked and I felt refreshed again. During mile 7 there were 2 women who were running right behind me. One of the women must have been really tired because the other woman was coaching her, telling her to imagine the eyes of her favorite person, and think of every detail. She also suggested saying the alphabet backwards. I’ll have to remember some of those “get your mind of the pain and tiredness” tricks.
Miles 5-9: 9:27 / 9:27 / 9:16 / 9:09

During the next few miles, things were starting to go downhill for me (unfortunately the race course was not). Every incline, big or small, felt like a giant mountain. My legs started to feel as if they didn't want to support my weight anymore. It was weird; they didn't hurt or feel that tired, they just felt wobbly. This part of the half marathon is where the real race is supposed to begin, according to some articles I read. Those who started out too fast will start to fade and because I started out slow, I was supposed to fly by them. Hmm, yeah, that didn't happen. I didn't necessarily get passed by that many people, but I think I only passed 3 people total (one was walking). I actually thought about walking during the last two miles, I was mentally and physically done with the race and on an incline, but I knew I would be embarrassed later to tell everyone that I walked, so my pride kept me going. Around this time I checked my Garmin and was trying to do the math to figure out if a sub 2hr race was still possible. I would have to run the next 2 miles in under 9:30 to make it. It was going to be a close one. During this part of the race I was supposed to be steadily increasing my pace until the end. I honestly felt that I was slowing each mile. I rounded the corner to home stretch of the race and I glanced at my watch. It read 1:59:10 already, and I still had the .1 mile to go. In my head, I knew I wouldn't make it. But, there was a runner a little bit ahead of me, so I thought since I wouldn't make my goal, at least I could beat this guy. I took off at a full sprint and passed him, I honestly was going to slow back down, but I thought, eh, what the hey, finish hard. I crossed the finish line feeling like I wanted to pass out. I made sure to stop my watch right as I crossed. Looked down at my time and felt elated. My watch said 1:59:47!!!! I did it! A sub 2 hour half marathon! I am so glad that there was a guy that I really wanted to pass in the end, otherwise I would not have made it.
Miles 10-13: 9:09 / 9:02 / 9:11 / 8:56 / 6:20 (last .1mi)

Rounding the corner to the finish

Looking back at me splits, I apparently was not slowing down when I thought I was in last couple miles. After the race, I collected my medal and met back with Amy and some other runners from the running group I run with. Amy decided to be a race bandit and run the 5k, and Luis placed 3rdoverall in the 5k. I have to admit, during those last 2 awful miles, I was thinking I would never do a half marathon again, only 5k’s for me, but now, I am excited to do my next one.

Amy and I

I was excited to see this one because it looks like I actually
land mid foot!

Official Final results:
Time: 1:59:48
13th out of 40 in AG; 213th overall out of 488

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Leprechaun Chase Race Recap

Today was the Leprechaun Race. It Marks the first solo race I have repeated since I have started running last February. I was really excited about this race, because I thought it would be a true test to see my progression. Last year I ran the race in 30:33. My goal last year was to come in under 30mins. I was close, but no cigar. This year, my goal was to come in under 25mins. My current PR was 25:43. During this race, there is a leprechaun you are trying to beat. He starts after every runner has passed the start line. If you beat him, you get a special prize. Last year, he passed me in the fist 1/4mi. I learned a lot of valuable lessons last year and used them to make a better race this year.

I had a plan to arrive at least 20mins early so I good could a good warm up in. Unfortunately for me, everyone seemed to have this idea and there was absolutely no parking, and since this event was taking place downtown, everything was metered. So I had to circle all of the side streets and then park a good distance away from the race. I technically got my warm up in, as by the time I found a spot to park, I had to haul booty to the starting line. Last year, I lined up in the back in front of those with the strollers and spent the first mile or so weaving in and out of runners and walkers. This year, I chose a spot up near the front but not quite with the crazy fast runners. I made it to the start line with about 2 minutes to spare. As as the gun went off, I took off. I was channeling good thoughts and sub 8:00min miles the entire route. I kept picking other runners near me to try and stick with, but it wasn't working out so well. There was one girl in some awesome shamrock socks that was perfectly in front of me for the first mile, but she was able to hold the pace and I wasn't. Then there was a guy with a gigantic clover on the back of his shirt, lost him. Next, there was a woman with a green tutu, same situation. Finally, around mile 2.5 I realized, I should just try to run to the best of my ability instead of trying to cling to someone else.

The course was generally flat except for the last half mile which has a slow ascend. However, since I started out too fast, I didn't have much gusto for the final climb. I gave it my best and huffed up the incline. Right when you get to the top, you can see the finish line and big clock. When I looked at the clock it said 25:XX. As said as it was to see those numbers,I was slightly heartbroken, but just glad that I beat my time from last year. As I got to the finish line, I realized I was not wearing my contacts and have sucky vision, and the clock was actually reading 24:XX. I have to admit, when I thought I saw the 25:XX I slowed down a little because for a second I thought "why bother". Here my goal this year is to think positive, and I crack at the first sign of defeat.

Believe it or not, I am actually very happy in this picture, I just don't know how to pose for photos.

So if you haven't figured it out yet. I PR'd! My official time 24:46. Almost 1 minute off my previous PR and 6 minutes faster than last year! I am super excited. I finally was able to see a 7:XX pace next to my name! Now, I can set a new goal to strive for in the 5k distance. Also, though I did not beat the leprechaun this year, he didn't pass me until 2.5 miles in.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Tapering for a 5k?

Today was one of those days. One of those days where my legs just don't want to work. I was supposed to run an easy 3mi, but for whatever reason, it felt like those were the first miles I have ever ran. I felt incredibly sluggish, though, oddly, not the whole time. It came in waves. I started off feeling stiff, and although I was breathing fine, my lungs felt tight. Then all of the sudden the feeling would go away and I was feeling perfect, light as air. Then, as before, that feeling would pass and the stiffness would return. Are you starting to see the pattern here? I actually didn't even finish the 3 miles. I only went 2, because of the wonkiness (don't mind me, just making up my own words) of the situation. I'm not really sure what's going on, but I'm sure glad today was not race day. Which brings me to the 5k I'm running on Sunday. I feel kind of silly for saying this, but I am actually tapering for the race.

 I haven't reduced my mileage at all so far this week, but I have been doing only easy runs since Tuesday and I will not be running at all tomorrow (which is normally my long run day). I was telling a friend this on Tuesday (she is in taper phase for her half on Sunday), and she kind of laughed at me. I didn't think it was that dumb. I think it's good to have fresh legs, no matter how far your race is. Well, because I am a Googleholic (still making words up), I decided to search for an answer. What I found was good enough to make me feel a little better. An article on states that (clears throat), "Tapering isn't just for marathoners. In fact, one recent study showed a huge performance benefit when subjects tapered for a 5K." Well, there you have it. Tapering for a 5k is officially ok. So, I will just get back to my tapering duties (is it just me or are there a lot of parenthesis in this post?). 

What do you think? Is it weird to taper for a 5k?
Anyone else running a race this weekend?

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