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?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Weekly Training Wrap-up

I am pretty sure I mentioned before that I am currently in training for my first half marathon on April 13th. This will be my longest race distance to date. I am honestly terrified of running a race distance that long. So much can go wrong (or right) in 13.1 miles. I LOVE 5ks, because not much happens for me in the 3 miles. I either feel good, or I feel bad. And if I feel bad, I’ve only got to struggle through 3 miles. Consequently, if I feel bad during the half, well, that’s a whole other story. However, my goal this year is to think positive. So, like the little engine that could, “I think I can”. I am on my 10th week of training, following a highly tweaked Hal Higdon Intermediate Plan. Last year, my mileage jumped pretty quickly, and as a result I was injured quite often. This year, I have done a lot of research on proper training. As a result I have made some training rules:

1. Running easy on easy days
2. Running even easier during long runs
3. Running hard on hard days
4. Never allowing my long run to exceed more than 35% of weekly mileage
5. Increasing weekly mileage slowly (slightly less than 10%)
6. Weight Training

I know a lot of those rules sound like common sense, but last year, I did not have any “gears” when it came to training. All of my runs were at the same pace except when running intervals. Then, I would just run as fast as I possibly could and then burn out after the 4th or 5th interval. I think that my first year of running was learning a lot of lessons the hard way, and now this year is about running smart. Following these newfound rules, I have remained injury free, which for me is a miracle.

I stayed pretty closely to my schedule this week.

MonEasy 4.5mi Easy 5mi
TuesTempo 6.5Tempo 6mi
ThursEasy 4mi Easy 3.25mi
FriHM Pace 4mi HM Pace 4.27mi
SatLong 10Long 10mi
SunWeights Rest
Weekly Totals2928.52

I varied very slightly and I wish I would have done weights again on Sunday as scheduled because I think that is one of the main reasons I have been injury free this year so far. It’s something I did not incorporate at all last training cycle. Also, my long run on Saturday was faster paced than I would have liked it to be. I ran with NSET running group and I didn’t want to get left behind. Hope that doesn’t come back to bite me.

I am really excited about next Sunday. I am racing the Leprechaun 5k Race.

Since I just started running consistently last February, it was my very first solo race ever last March. This is going to be a very good indication as how far I have come a s a runner in a years’ time. My time last year was 30:33, I can’t wait to see what I run this year.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Runner Defined

What is a runner? And, is it possible that I am a runner?

It’s a question I have asked myself numerous times over the past year. Really, what is a runner? Is a runner someone who runs 70+ miles per week? Someone who runs nothing shorter than a marathon race? Is a runner someone who has all of the latest running apparel/shoes and gadgets?

My previous definition of a runner was all of the above. I thought a runner was super-fast, ran super-far, and has been running for a…super…amount of years. Come to think of it, I thought anyone who even ran at all was a runner, with the exception of me. It wasn’t until January of this year, when one of my co-workers was talking about running to another co-worker and said, “Lynsey’s a runner” that I even contemplated myself as a runner. I promptly corrected my obviously misinformed co-worker, that I was not in fact a runner. “But, you run don’t you?”  She retorted. “Well…yeah, but I’m not a real runner.” And with a shrug of her shoulders and a roll of her eyes, the topic of my status as a runner was over.

What didn’t she understand? I am by no means fast. I could never get away with running in a sports bra and shorts (or skorts). I’ve never even run a half marathon, let alone a marathon. Sure I ran, but that doesn’t make me a runner…does it?

Well according to my good friends over at Merriam-Webster:
noun \ˈrə-nər\
One who runs.

Huh? One who runs? That’s it? Where’s the part of the definition that includes sponsorships, and 6 minute miles? A runner can’t simply just be one who runs, right? Wrong! I have come discover that it is that simple. A runner is one who runs. It’s funny, I’ve always said I’m not a “real” runner, but if I  wasn’t a real runner, than what was I? A fake runner? To all of those that think like I previously thought, I really want to put this out there, that it doesn’t matter how fast, far, or how much you run. It doesn’t matter if you’re 8 or 80 years old, what size pants you wear, or how long you have been running for. If you run, you’re a runner! I think as humans, we are our own worst enemies and we downplay ourselves. Either because we are just trying to seem humble or because we truly can’t fathom that we are good enough to hold the prestigious title. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to be fearless when it comes to running, and part of that I believe is getting over the silly notion that I am not a runner. So, I am a runner! It’s in my blog name and it is something I am proud to say. I hope all of you will join me and “Say it loud…I’m a runner and proud!”

What is a runner to you?
Have you ever had trouble saying you were a runner?
If so, why?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Runniversary Reflection

It's my 1st Runniversary!

I have been reflecting a lot lately. About my training, and the way I am carrying it out. I have in the past been very negative towards it, often comparing myself to others. I don't want to do this anymore. I am my own person. I am proud of what I have accomplished so far. So, for my 1 year runniversary (it was in February), I changed my blog design and title, and thought I would reflect a little on what I have learned this past year.

  • When I first started running in February of last year, I had no idea what tempo, LSD, cross training, or even how far an actual marathon was. I refused to call myself a runner. Now, I am proud to have added many new words to my vocabulary, and I am a runner. I run, therefore I am! 
  • I started by huffing and puffing through every run, running each one at a pace I hoped to maintain for any given race. I learned this was a very quick way to develop injuries and not improve very much. You can never run an easy run too slow.
  • I learned about ITBS, and that it takes a lot of time to recover, and prevention is the key. Strength training is now my best friend.
  • The running community is amazing an supportive. From the beginner runner to the crazy fast elite. Everyone seems willing to help
  • Compairing myself to others will only bring me down.
  • What you eat matters a lot when it comes to running performance, and how you feel during a run.
  • Hydration, hydration, hydration!

And to end this quick little post, some of my accomplishments from February 2013 to February 2014:
First 5k: 30:33 --- Most recent 5k: 24:43
Longest distance run: 4mi --- Longest run to date: 12.5mi
Fast training pace: 10:00/mi ---Easy training pace: 9:45/mi

*MAF Update:
In my previous post I spoke about heart rate training and more specifically, MAF training. Even though I did a lot of research on it, I think I jumped in too quickly. Unfortunately, the pace MAF training requires me to run at, hurts my knees and feet. So I think until I have a little more running under my belt, I wont be able to continue on with the plan. This doesn't mean I'm not going to run easier at a slower pace though. I am still wearing my HRM, but it's there for a guideline, not a strict rule.
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