The Races are Coming! The Races are Coming!

Though you wouldn’t know it by my conspicuous absence (you did notice it, right?), I have been running faithfully and treating my body like a temple in preparation for the Heartland 39.3 Challenge (three half marathons in five weeks, beginning April 12th.)

I am exaggerating, of course.  I have been running, but the Hal Higdon Advanced Training Program just doesn’t seem to be for me.  As I’ve mentioned before, the program calls for six days of running each week.  I can’t manage this.  Every week, there seems to be some reason for me to skip one run.

Maybe it’s mental…I don’t know that I buy into the idea that one extra day of running will really make a difference, so I’m not committed.

I know it’s partly physical…my plantar fasciitis reallllllly doesn’t like the added day of running, and it’s like E.F. Hutton to me–when it talks, I listen.

Maybe it’s laziness…duh.

We also went on vacation to Florida, which included two LONG days of driving through every one-horse shithole in a 200-mile radius (name the movie, people!)  The driving prevented the running, but I did have some BEAUTIFUL runs along Pensacola Beach.

Time with my favorite men and some much needed sunshine…priceless!

 

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I have mixed feelings about the program’s emphasis on speed work and tempo runs.  I’ve never worked so hard on speed.  As a refresher, I am a pretty average runner, and I tend to run anywhere from a 1:52-1:58 for half marathons, which is usually in the top 30-40% for my age group (gorgeous shebeasts ages 40-44.)  I have a goal of a sub-1:50 half marathon this year, so the speed work and tempo paces are necessary, but I don’t like them.  Partly because they are so tough, yes, but also because they require so much focus and presence in the moment, which is exactly the opposite of what running usually does for me.  I love running because it is a stress reliever and because it helps me to zone out and let my mind relax.  Watching my pace during intervals and managing my tempo takes me away from that, which leaves me a little unhappy.  Also, this emphasis I am placing on time doesn’t sit well with me in the sense that I want to be grateful just for the fact that I can run and not focus too much on it not being good enough.  Of course it’s good enough!

The speed work and tempo runs are also difficult.  No doubt about it.  I am a tenacious monkey with a strong running base and loads of willpower…much more suited for long slow runs.  I look like a flailing duck during speed intervals as my form starts to degrade, and I feel like a loser.  I am definitely out of my comfort zone with this program…but hopefully it will result in a faster race (I would love to see a finish time of around 1:54-55 for the first half marathon, Rock the Parkway.)

What are my chances of reaching my goal?  I have no idea, because my speeds seem to be all over the place this training cycle.  Some runs feel pretty darn good and fuel my hopes for a great race, and other times I feel tired and close to overtraining, and then I go to the Dark Side, where…

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Oh, and did I mention an important fact?  My darling HH is running Rock the Parkway too!  This is a marriage nightmare.  HH is very fit, but he has a bad back and knees, so he doesn’t run much.  He ran one half marathon in Geneva a few years ago, but bonked out and ended up finishing just over 2 hours (he is more than capable of a 1:50, imho.)

He’s trying again (I think he just wants one great race so he can put it to rest), and it’s just bad coincidence that we are running the same race….bad because neither of us wants to lose to the other one.  He is super fit and a fast runner by nature, but he hates running and is only running a couple of times a week.

I am super fit in just one area right now, I am a slowish runner by nature, but I love running and have a good base and much more race experience.

I want him to have a great race, because his body just isn’t going to give him many shots at it; however, the bitch in me will be very sulky if he kills my time (which he should.)  Our plan is to just line up separately, wear inconspicuous clothes and try not to look for each other during the race.  It should be highly entertaining–unless I approach the finish line and see him munching on a banana waiting for me. 

Happy Running!

 

 

 

 

 

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Vacay and a Training Recap

Oh, to be back in South Florida!  I will quickly summarize our quick getaway with pics.

We stayed at the Epic in downtown Miami for the first two days and loved our balcony view…we also had a great sweat-soaking humid run around Brickell Key (can’t forget that I’m in training!)…

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We drove up to the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, played a fun round of golf on our first afternoon, then hit the beach for the next day (after I squeezed in another humid run on the boardwalk…here’s to dedication!)  I arrived on the beach to find that HH had rented us a daybed and cabana hood for the afternoon.  Happy early Valentine’s Day to us.  VD is for lovers!

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We lounged, drank Sangria, ate fish tacos and people-watched.  One of our biggest laughs was this lady in the next pic…she loved to put on her goggles and float face down in the water.  People kept walking by and thinking that she needed to be rescued!

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 Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and eventually they booted me off the beach kicking and screaming.  We consoled ourselves at the beach bar with glasses of wine while they took down our little piece of heaven (bastards!)

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 I am proud to report that I (mostly) kept up my running and squeezed in three runs during our 5 day vacation.  As for my training, I am now through with Week 5 of my Hal Higdon Advanced Half Marathon Training Program as I prepare for the Heartland 39.3 Challenge (3 half marathons in 5 weeks, beginning April 12th.)

The program calls for 6 days of running/week, and I must admit (somewhat sheepishly) that I have yet to run a week as prescribed.  I seem to dump one short run each week for one reason or another.  I’ve been pretty relaxed about it, but I do want to try to get in all the runs these next few weeks (Weeks 6-10.)

Yesterday’s long run called for 90 minutes.  It wasn’t my best run, which seemed odd because I was well rested and hydrated to the gills.  Sometimes you just don’t know, right?  I ran 9 miles at an average 9:24, which is a little slow for my long run pace lately (I had expected to average around 9:15.)  I ended up cutting the run short by about five minutes because my stomach felt upset…and then had stomach issues for the rest of the night.  So I don’t know if I had a bug, or if the run overtaxed me somehow and made me feel a little ill.  Just a weird day, I guess!

This week calls for 3 miles easy plus strength training today, 6 x 400m repeats at 5k pace tomorrow, 3 miles + strength Wednesday, a 30-minute tempo run Thursday, rest or easy run on Friday, rest on Saturday and then a 10k race on Sunday (which I will probably just treat as a tempo run.)  We shall see how it goes.

I have to say that 6 days of running each week is daunting.  The program calls for running Saturday to Thursday.  So I run 3 miles on Saturday, then have my long run on Sunday (which has been 90 minutes since Week One and will jump to 1:45 next weekend), followed by more running Monday through Thursday.  I’ve never done a program with more than 5 days/week of running.  Even my marathon training was only 5 days each week.  It’s a bit tough for me mentally during my long runs to know that I’ve still got 4 more days straight of running before my legs get a break.  I haven’t felt like I can’t do it or anything, it just seems to be a mental hurdle for me.  Maybe I’m just crazy…

What I’m running to: nothing new here.  It’s old standby week:  Rebel Yell and Minute by Minute by Girl Talk!

Boston/Cape Cod Vacay and the GITHOW Run

We are back from vacation–and though I had big dreams of squeezing in 2-3 runs, I only managed one.  Here is a quick vacation recap…

Boston…I’m in love.  We arrived on a Wednesday afternoon, and our hotel was half a block from the Boston Marathon finish line.  As we walked down Boylston St., I was amazed at the number of late afternoon solo runners and running groups that we passed.  Wow did it make me smile!  Boston is a running city, big time.

We were very touched by the memorial to the Boston Marathon bombing.  Here are a few pics…

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ImageOur days were busy with sightseeing, walking the Freedom Trail and eating our hearts out, but I did manage to squeeze in a great run on Friday morning.  I ran down Boylston and through the Boston Public Garden and Boston Common.  Gorgeous run!ImageIf this next pic doesn’t inspire your run, you are dead inside…

If I could just shave 45 minutes off my marathon time, I’ll be close!

ImageI think the highlight for the boys was the tour of Fenway…

ImageI think the highlight for me was the food.  Here I am preparing to dive into God knows what…I sure look excited, don’t I? Woof.

ImageWe had a gutbusting dinner in the North End one night and decided to walk back to our hotel.  Great night pic from my iPhone!

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I ♥ Boston!

ImageThe only bad experience was climbing the 294 steps to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument.  I didn’t think it would be any big deal, since we climbed 500+ steps to the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral a couple of years ago and survived, but that climb and descent tightened up my quads and calves so bad!  I had to walk backwards down the steps in front of the monument as we were leaving.  Extremely embarrassing.

We packed up on Sunday and drove down to Cape Cod.  It was gorgeous!  I formulated a new plan for retirement which includes winning the lottery or making millions by writing the next great American novel, running the Boston Marathon and moving to Bunker Hill with a summer home on Cape Cod.

Yeah, I see that happening.

Anyhoo, the beach was beautiful…(see the boys?)

ImageThe family time was wonderful…

ImageThe Dramamine that we doped Max up with for the drive down was powerful…

ImageThe fish pier was equal parts entertainment and horror…

Imageand I loved it all.

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On our last full day, we chartered a boat and went fishing for a few hours.  Max was nervous at first.  This picture cracks me up…

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ImageThe boys caught a few smaller fish, but HH caught the big ones with the captain’s lucky rainbow squid lure.

That fish belt is hot, honey!

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All in all, it was an amazing vacation.  For our last morning, I planned on heading out for a long run, and I was so excited.  There was so much to see, and you always see things differently on a run than you do in a car.  I rummaged through my suitcase the night before to set out my running gear and COULDN’T FIND MY RUNNING SHOES!

I had left them in our hotel days earlier.  Mon dieu!  My custom orthotics were in there, and those things would take weeks to replace!  I flopped a sweat and started cursing.

Thank you, Lenox Hotel and housekeeper for Room 821, who had found the shoes and turned them in.  HH deposited us at the airport and took the subway back over to retrieve them for me.  I owe him!

What kind of an idiot leaves their running shoes?  This kind!

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Finally, after lots of history, sun, croquet, etc., it was time to say goodbye and return to the heat.  I went out for a run Thursday morning at about 9:30 and almost died.

Sweat burning my eyes, mild heatstroke setting in about one mile in…yikes!  My planned four-mile slow run quickly turned into what I like to call the Get It The Hell Over With Run (the GITHOW run.)

It’s remarkable how much faster I can move when I just want to get back to a/c and the dual ceiling fans in my family room.  Thank you, heat and humidity, for inspiring motivating encouraging forcing me to do a tempo run.  It was awesome!